Meet the Therapist: Rowena Shingler
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I’ve always been interested in self-development and mental health. I’ve had various types of therapy throughout my life and knew in my early twenties that I would be a therapist when the time was right.
Where did you train?
I’m in my final year at the London School of Biodynamic Body Psychotherapy (Gerda Boyesen Method) and am a fully qualified biodynamic massage therapist and trainee body psychotherapist.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Biodynamic therapy is a body psychotherapy so incorporates body (using attuned touch), and mind. I came across it as I felt that talking therapy had helped to an extent but there were underlying issues that I couldn’t seem to make sense of. I felt as if something was still missing.
The body element allowed me to access old memories and emotions that I was not even aware I was holding and integrate them consciously. It has allowed me to be more in tune with my natural rhythm and feel more in touch with my emotions and my body.
How does body psychotherapy help?
Body psychotherapy can be particularly supportive with any psychological issues that are body related or as a different way of exploring your inner world and your past in relation to the present. I have found that the touch element is particularly useful for people who have a difficult relationship with their body (i.e eating disorders) and for anyone with low self-esteem.
It can also be particularly helpful with depression and anxiety, allowing the body to return to the parasympathetic and restore calm and trust.
What sort of people do you usually see?
Biodynamic psychotherapy can work on many levels as I work with body and mind, so I have a complete mix of clients and ages. I have clients recovering from chemotherapy, long Covid and anorexia/bulimia. I also have clients who have simply lost their lust for life.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I am constantly amazed by the innate desire of each client to fulfil their internal needs, even if they are not aware of it. Holding a space for each client allows them to step in to themselves and I love being part of this process.
Watching people become who they truly are is a very special experience.
What is less pleasant?
Some of the stories that have brought them to where they are can be painful to hear.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’ve been with welldoing.org about a year…I found it easy to set up my profile and very low maintenance. It is good to know I am out in the world on a platform that is easy to manage/manoeuvre.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I often suggest books by Gabor Mate as he feels that most addictions and mental issues are as a result of something that happened to us at a young age that we have been unable to integrate.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk which looks at how trauma is held in the body. Befriending Your Nervous System: Looking Through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory by Deb Dana can also be useful.
What you do for your own mental health?
I run, swim, dance and do yoga….and regular biodynamic massage both on myself and with colleagues.
You are a therapist in Camberley, Surrey. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
I think I have a slightly older client base than if I was in a bigger town or nearer to London. Most of my clients are word of mouth which also has an impact on the clients I see as they tend to be a similar demographic.
What’s your consultation room like?
Peaceful…with a massage table and a mattress for body work.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That it can be life-changing but also fun. I think people believe it needs to be tragic/painful which can be part of it but I believe humour and laughter are also vital.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That just being myself is enough. And to trust my gut.