Meet the Therapist: Saundra Rhoden
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I developed an interest after I had my own experience of receiving therapy. It raised my awareness, as I started to connect the dots of how I experienced myself in this world. It inspired me to want to learn more, and support others to process difficult thoughts and feelings.
Where did you train?
I trained at the Gestalt Centre in London where I gained my Diploma in Counselling. I have also attained a Diploma in Practitioner Skills For Eating Disorders with the National Centre for Eating Disorders UK. My current training is with Tavistock Relationships in London, providing psychosexual therapy to individuals and couples.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
My primary training is Gestalt, but I have since integrated psychodynamic and strengths-based approaches. I was drawn to the direct and adaptable approach of Gestalt, which enables us to meet people where they are, to support relationship building. I maintain the core belief that we are all born with the innate capacity to have healthy relationships with ourselves and others. However, life situations, which occur during childhood and/or adulthood, can leave people with unhelpful ways of coping that keeps them stuck and interrupts their ability to move forward.
How does Gestalt help with symptoms of anxiety and depression?
I have patience and understanding with clients: there is no need to rush the process. It is about listening, without judgement or a specific agenda. I acknowledge that feelings of anxiety and depression are complex and multifaceted. I hold space for clients to talk, to feel and to express in whatever way they feel able. It allows for engaging creative expression, for example exploring dreams and fantasies or expressing feelings through movement or art.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with individuals and couples aged 18+ regardless of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion/spiritual practice, or cultural background. I have a professional background in adult social work, which has enhanced my understanding and empathy for people from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds. For this reason, I am currently learning British Sign Language (BSL) so that I can provide services to the hearing impaired.
What do you like about being a therapist?
Knowing that I am giving someone an opportunity to be, or develop the confidence to be their authentic self.
What is less pleasant?
It can be an isolating profession, but I have a close network and attend events that keeps me connected to the community.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been registered with welldoing.org since June 2019, and I am also part of the Facebook community. I find it to be an informative and user-friendly site for therapists and clients. I use the booking system which is a helpful way to keep track of my appointments and convenient for clients who prefer to pay online.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I often suggest that clients use apps. As a proponent of mindfulness and meditation, I think that mindfulness apps help with developing a regular practice. I sometimes recommend books which can help with consolidating understanding or give more insight.
What you do for your own mental health?
I love being in nature, so going for long walks in the park is my way to recharge. I enjoy moving mediation such as yoga or Qi Gong to unwind. I also find reading and listening to music relaxing and enjoyable.
You are a therapist in SE1. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I am currently based in Central London: my practice is situated in Waterloo, in the borough of Southwark. I particularly enjoy working in a vibrant and diverse community where I see clients from all walks of life. It is a multicultural area, and there is so much to do and see in Southwark.
What’s your consultation room like?
There are excellent public transport links, which makes it easy to get to. Despite this, my room is a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of London life. It is a modern, comfortable and welcoming space.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That admitting you need help is not a sign of desperation or weakness. It can be a rewarding experience if you allow yourself the space and time to work through difficult feelings.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt that my past does not define who I am, as I am continuing to evolve and learn new things about myself.