Meet the Therapist: Petra Morris
What attracted you to become a therapist?
After a degree in psychology, I became a social worker for many years, for the bulk of my work as a palliative care social worker in a hospice and that involved a lot of counselling. I loved that connection with others, something meaningful yes, but also I am fascinated by people and their lived experience. Working in end-of-life care hones your priorities and I wanted to work with people more deeply.
Where did you train?
At CCPE - Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education. It was a 4-year postgraduate Diploma in Transpersonal Integrative Psychotherapy.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practice as a transpersonal integrative psychotherapist. The integrative bit means that I studied a lot of different theories and models which means that I had a very rounded therapeutic education and that can be excellent when I wish to draw on different ideas and methods to suit a particular client or a particular difficulty.
The transpersonal bit means that I practice with the idea that we as individuals are part of something bigger than ourselves. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a faith, be religious or spiritual…the ‘something bigger’ could be humanity or the planet or being part of a neighbourhood. It also means that we are on a quest to find and live life according to our authentic selves. That’s a long journey, but an incredibly exciting one.
It also means that this type of therapy honours the specialness and strangeness of the therapeutic relationship in a sacred way. People attending therapy are at their most vulnerable, divulging their most intimate and sensitive parts and the most important aspect is to create a safe and trusting space for clients week after week.
Talking is a big part of the therapy but I also work with creative imagination bringing the body as well as the mind into the practice. This for me feels like a truly holistic way of working.
How does transpersonal therapy help?
I work with a number of people who suffer with anxiety, depression or feeling lost in the world in some way. Often clients have had experiences that are unresolved or behave in ways that no longer work for them. Transpersonal therapy works best when people don’t look for quick-fix solutions, but are prepared to engage in longer-term, depth work. That’s when we can engage mind and body and real transformation can occur.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I am qualified to see individuals from the age of 18. Currently my clients’ ages span from mid-20s to mid 60s. Common difficulties are anxiety, depression and unresolved childhood trauma. I also have a few clients who are students training as psychotherapists.
What do you like about being a therapist?
To me it is the most exciting job going. I am privileged to see into other people’s lives and connect in a very deep way. Witnessing someone’s personal growth and the impact that has on them is both humbling and inspirational.
What is less pleasant?
Tax returns! And wishing that more people recognised the value of therapy, rather than feeling that it’s “self-indulgent”. It’s like going to the gym for your emotional and psychological well-being.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’m reasonably new to welldoing.org but I’m already impressed by the articles on the site and wealth of resources.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Absolutely, a small selection are:
- Brene Brown - all of her books, podcasts and TED talks
- Tara Brach - an incredible meditation teacher
- Headspace app - great mindfulness start for the novice
What you do for your own mental health?
I meditate, run and do gyrokinesis. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family and I love a good TV drama!
You are a therapist in Stroud Green. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
Stroud Green/Finsbury Park is where I currently work and I used to see clients also in Paddington. Now of course some people are online and it’s great to be able to continue to work with clients wherever they are, even abroad! Certainly these areas in London are culturally and socially diverse which means that my clients come from a wide range of backgrounds which is very stimulating.
What’s your consultation room like?
It’s a very calm, restful space and I hope I can create that for my online clients too.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That to be seen and heard without judgement feels incredible and is a path to lasting change.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That no matter what stories we tell ourselves we always have choices and that living your own life rather than fulfilling others’ expectations is liberating and wondrous.