Meet the Therapist: Richard Bamford
What attracted you to become a therapist?
For a very long time, I’ve been curious about human thoughts, feelings and behaviours and how we interact with each other. I started delving into my own inner journey through counselling and psychotherapy in about 2010. From that, it further increased my appetite for studying human psychology.
Where did you train?
At The Wealden Psychology Institute and The Berne Institute.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I trained in transactional analysis. TA, as it’s often called, is a person-centred, humanistic practice that pieces together why and how we are with the world. Eric Berne, the father of transactional analysis suggests: the destiny of every human being is decided by what goes on inside his skull when confronted by what goes on outside his skull.
His theory is that each of us, through our own history, has learned how to communicate and to get our needs met. Often, on an unconscious level, by playing psychological games, such as the Karpman Drama Triangle.
Berne posed that all humans have a “life script”. This is formed in early childhood and tweaked and added to. We follow this “script” because we feel it will keep us safe and get our needs met.
How does transactional analysis work?
I practice what is commonly referred to as “relational TA”. This works on the therapist and client building a relationship together to uncover how they relate to the others in their lives.
We think about ideas like game analysis, script analysis and ego states. Ego states are parts of our inner psyche: The Parent, The Adult and The Child. Analysing our ego states can be really useful to see how we interact.
The Parent ego state is where all our inner “shoulds, oughts and musts” live. The Child ego state might be how we adapt in certain situations. For example, if working with a couple, it could be that one of the partners spends more time in their Parent ego state and the other party in their Child. The therapist's job is to notice these interactions and to better inform the both clients' Adult ego state, which is the present-centred, here-and-now, rather than the there-and-then.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with a range of people. My youngest current client is six years old and my eldest is 70.
I cover multiple difficulties including anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation and relationship difficulties.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
Yes. The general attitude does seem to be improving, however, there is still quite a lot of shame attached to seeking help with your mental health.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Empowering the clients to facilitate their own growth and healing.
What is less pleasant?
Working with a lot of trauma, particularly in children.
How long have you been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I think this is my third year with welldoing.org. I find them helpful, informative and equally as useful as other therapist databases.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes. Headspace (app and Netflix series). In terms of books, The Four Agreements by Dom Miquel Ruiz.
What you do for your own mental health?
Personal therapy, mindfulness, music (creating and playing), reading, walking my dogs and CPD (continuous professional development).
You are a therapist in East Sussex and Kent. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
My face-to-face clinic is in Crowborough, which is in East Sussex but on the edge of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. I’ve had online clients all over the world.
What’s your consultation room like?
Inviting, slightly quirky and warm (this time of year).
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
As American Psychologist, Rollo May stated: “The purpose of psychotherapy is to set you free!”
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That each of us has worth, value, and dignity as a human being and deserves to be treated accordingly. Everyone has the capacity to think. People decide their own destiny in making early script decisions and these decisions can be changed.