Meet the Therapist: Sarah Kirrane
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I found an old school report from when I was 13, where I had written that when I was older I wanted to be a counsellor so that I could help and advise people. Of course many years on, I know now that giving advice is not what counselling is. But my interest started at a young age and for no apparent reason.
Fast forward to my early twenties and a time where I needed support myself from counsellors on more than one occasion. During a particularly difficult period in my life, I had one session with a wonderful counsellor. I will never forget how relieved and how much lighter I felt just to have been able to tell about what had been happening and to share my true thoughts and feelings. I had been holding so much in and finally, I had the opportunity to let it all out! That was the day I knew that I wanted to become a counsellor and support others the way I had been supported.
Where did you train?
City Lit College in Holborn, London.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am an integrative counsellor which means that I am trained to work with different therapeutic modalities including the person-centred approach, the psychodynamic approach and cognitive behavioural therapy. This enables us to explore issues happening in your life today as well as past and childhood experiences, both of which can influence our behaviour and how we relate to others in the present day.
I wanted to be able to work with different models to enable clients to explore all aspects of their lives.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I have worked with clients of different ages ranging from five to 75. Currently I only work with individual adults aged 18 and over.
I am experienced in supporting clients who have been bereaved. I have also worked with clients struggling with stress at work, anxiety and who are dealing with the diagnosis of chronic health conditions. I am also interested in the effects that social media is having on our mental health.
I welcome clients to contact me no matter what their concerns are. If I feel that they are in need of more specialist support then I will endeavour to signpost them to somewhere more appropriate for their needs.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I know how hard it can be to share a painful thought, memory or feeling. Often my clients tell me that it's the first time they are sharing something. I come away from those sessions feeling honoured to be working with these clients.
What is less pleasant?
I find the admin tricky at times and I know I won’t be the first Counsellor to admit this!
How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?
I haven’t been with you for very long but I have gained some lovely clients and have found the booking system easy to use and efficient.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Dr John Wilson: The Plain Guide to Grief
Charlie Mackesy: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
What you do for your own mental health?
I am a member of a gym and practise yoga on a regular basis. I also find that swimming helps me to feel completely present and is a great release for me.
I make sure to surround myself with those I love and who I know love me.
More recently I am mindful to look up at the sky and the trees and to be out in nature as much as I can be. It’s the small things that can really help to keep us grounded.
I make time for myself and I listen to my body. I will put my feet up if that’s what it is telling me to do and I no longer feel guilty for doing so.
You are a therapist in Pinner. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I am based in Pinner and currently work online. I do not have a consultation room yet but hope to be working face-to-face in the Harrow area in the not too distant future.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Therapy isn’t easy. But the things in life worth doing never are.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learned that I was so caught up in trying to please others and to be liked, that I wasn’t able to be present and enjoy life fully. I also learned that I was not very good at being honest about my feelings for fear of causing upset and that this was impacting upon my relationships. Becoming aware of these things has helped me to work on worrying less about what others are thinking and to focus on my own needs – sometimes by reminding myself that it isn’t all about me! I can communicate my needs and my feelings more clearly and have become more able to create healthy boundaries without worrying about upsetting others.