Meet the Therapist: Shauneen Mackin
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I struggled with my own mental health as a teenager and other members of my family experience mental health difficulties in numerous ways. I wanted to help other people who might be finding events in their lives difficult to deal with or understand and offer a safe space for them to talk and share their experiences.
Where did you train?
I trained at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I am an integrative practitioner which means I use different techniques to help my clients work on problems like anxiety, depression, grief and loss, relationships etc.
I believe that we are all unique and as part of that we need therapy to be the same. The integrative way of working means I can use psychoeducation to help clients understand why and how their difficulty may be impacting them, bring awareness to the thoughts and feelings you have in certain situations, and mindfulness and relaxation to come back into the body and settle the nervous system.
How does therapy help with anxiety symptoms?
When we are highly anxious we are generally thinking about past events or worrying about future events. When anxiety strikes our mind is often hijacked to the point where we cant think clearly, it can be hard to focus and may result in anxiety or panic attacks.
Learning a little more and understanding why this is happening means we can learn to settle our mind and body enough to come into the present moment, through breath work and connecting to our senses, what can I see, smell, hear and touch.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I am currently working with clients from 16 and upwards. Many clients come for anxiety, depression, and relationship difficulties.
I also work with clients suffering from bereavement and loss, I completed a separate training for bereavement and loss in 2016.
Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?
Many clients are having difficulty readjusting to life with Covid and noticing changes they want to make or have made as a direct result of Covid.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love seeing clients grow through the therapy process and how they come back to themselves, maybe finding a sense of peace and ease with who they are.
What is less pleasant?
It can be difficult when clients express suicidal thoughts and have the intent to harm themselves, this is never pleasant or easy to hear. It is important for me to with clients in these moments and take the appropriate steps to ensure my client’s safety.
How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?
I have been with Welldoing for less than a year and have found it an excellent way of reaching clients. The site is easy to navigate.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
Yes, if I think a client will get something out of a book, podcast, or app I will suggest they have a look. I have photocopied parts of books for my clients in the past if I felt it might help them understand what they are going through a little better.
What you do for your own mental health?
For my own mental health, I practice yoga and workout five mornings a week. I enjoy walking as well.
I also attend my own personal therapy and supervision to ensure that my own mental health is in check but also means I am working safely with my clients.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish people knew that therapy does not mean there is something wrong with you, it means you have insight, strength, courage, and curiosity to investigate yourself on a new level and to go on a journey of change and growth. You are giving yourself a gift by putting yourself and your mental health first.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learned so much about myself in therapy but the biggest thing I learned and am learning is to stay curious about myself and remain gentle with myself. I learned that it is OK to not feel good all the time and that I am a constant work in progress.