Sally Turberville-Smith is a therapist in North London

What attracted you to become a therapist?

Many factors. I have always been interested in health and wellbeing, whether it is physical, spiritual, mental or emotional. For me they are inextricably linked. Initially I trained as a beauty therapist and then as a nutritionist, but my own experience of therapy at certain times in my life was and is invaluable. Loss has been a big part of my journey and an eating disorder in my teens and 20s, but it was my experience of couple therapy that was ultimately the motivating factor. As I sat in the chair facing the therapist I just knew on a physical/sensation level that this was the work I also wanted to do. Not surprisingly relationship counselling, whether it is with individuals or couples, forms a large part of the work I currently do in my practice.

Where did you train?

At the CCPE, the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education in Little Venice, north west London

What sort of people do you usually see?

All sorts – that’s what makes counselling such an interesting and rewarding profession.

What do you like about being a therapist?

The variety. There is always more to learn and more ways to develop and deepen as a therapist. Seeing my clients ‘bloom’ as they discover more about themselves and risk bringing more of themselves to their relationships and their work.

What is less pleasant?

Feeling that you are not able to help. Sitting with someone in deep pain, sadness or despair and knowing that that is just where we both may need to be right now.

How long you’ve been with and what you think of us?

Eight months. I have received more clients, and clients who are keen to reflect upon themselves between sessions from than from the other counselling websites I am signed up with.

Have you used the booking and payment system? And how do you find that?

Yes and it was very straightforward.

Have you joined the Therapist Community on Facebook? If so, how did you find it?

Yes, but I find it hard to find the time to read the posts by the community and contribute. For me face-to-face peer groups work best plus my own supervision and therapy. 

Have you tried the Calm mindfulness app offered to all our therapists?  

Not yet but I have just downloaded it!

Have your clients tried it?  

Yes with good feedback, especially those with anxiety issues/sleeping difficulties.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?

Yes.  ‘How to be An Adult’ by David Richho is one of my favourite books on psychological and spiritual development and I recommend it a lot. I think psychoeducation is an important part of successful therapy and when I work with couples there are several books I might recommend for e.g. on improving communication skills and taking back projections.

What you do for your own mental health?

I meditate for 20-30 minutes every morning and try to incorporate aspects of mindfulness and gratitude practices into my day. I eat well, play tennis regularly and make time for my own interests and hobbies. I love music and nature and for me they are two of the best healers.  

You offer therapy in Willesden Green. What can you tell us about the areas you practice in? 

Relationships are the main focus of my work. At the moment a large proportion of my work is with young women who have been through a difficult relationship break up or are having difficulty ‘staying’ in a current relationship.  Working through loss and abandonment issues is I think a key aspect of therapy. 

What’s your consultation room like?

I hope my consultation rooms feels like a safe oasis of calm. I always have fresh flowers and one or two plants. It is spacious with chairs that clients can lean back in.

I have pictures, crystals, and a candle so my room does also reflect my personality and the way I work.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

That it is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and build a more honest relationship with yourself. That it can transform you into a more ‘spacious’ and resilient person.

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

I have had different therapists at different times of my life from 28 to my current 54 years of age. Now I am older and a qualified therapist I find therapy helpful in supporting me as I support my clients and it is always a good reminder of what it feels like to be a client. When I was younger I needed to fully feel my grief and sadness at losing my mother, rather than binge and purge through an eating disorder. I was very lonely in my 20s and I often wonder what it would have been like to have had therapy then rather than struggle on my own until I discovered therapy at age 28 when I went to university as a mature student.  In my late 30s and early 40s I needed to work through my co-dependency issues.  We are always in the process of becoming whatever age or stage of life we are. The learning and growing never stops especially when you believe as I do that the psychological and spiritual are constantly requiring us to spiral upwards and downwards.