Meet the Therapist: Sonia Minards
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I became a therapist after 20+ years working as a senior professional in large organisations. This may seem like a strange career shift from the outside, but ever since studying psychology at school I’ve had a passion for trying to understand why we think, act, and feel how we do.
Whilst I decided to initially tread a different path and head into the world of business I realised over time that the parts of my job that I loved the most were seeing people develop, inspiring others to work together, to overcome self-doubt, and achieve their own potential. And while I relished the fast-paced and challenging workplace environment I became increasingly aware of the disconnect many people – including myself - experienced between their authentic selves and their work personae.
I realised that I wanted to help others connect with who they really are, as well as being able to support people through both personal and professional adversity. These are just some of the gifts that therapy had given to me, and I wanted to be able to help others experience that.
Where did you train?
At the Psychosynthesis Trust in London
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
Psychosynthesis counselling is an integrative approach which not only looks at the causes of the issues clients are facing, but also focuses on how to move forwards from a crisis with renewed meaning and purpose.
This is embedded in the explorative and empathic way that I work with clients. My approach is relational, meaning that together we spend time exploring why they react in certain ways, how and why patterns have formed, and how they can move forwards in a way that is more fulfilling.
How does psychosynthesis counselling help with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm?
One of the things that I love about the psychosynthesis model is that it works with our mind, body, and feelings. I work with these three aspects to understand how stress, anxiety, or overwhelm may be impacting a clients life – what are their thoughts, what happens in their body, and what feelings are present when they’re experiencing these symptoms. This helps to build awareness and is often the starting point of the process for clients to know themselves better, and to be able to identify when these symptoms are arising by looking at the clues in their mind, body or feelings. From here we can then begin to understand when these patterns may have begun, and begin to work with embedding new patterns to respond to situations differently going forwards, to move forwards into a more meaningful, integrated, and healthy way of being.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with individuals (adults over 18), couples, and organisations.
Many of my clients may look like they are coping from the outside, but the reality is they are often struggling. This may be because of a specific life event or transition, or they may be experiencing feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, depression, stress, often as a result of struggling to balance a demanding work schedule with a harmonious home life. I work with supporting clients who are tackling emotional, relational, or psychological difficulties, and the impact both at home and at work.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I feel so privileged to travel alongside my clients on their journey. Listening, emphasising, and supporting them through periods of change, challenge, and transition is an honour. Seeing someone transform through this deep work is truly amazing.
What is less pleasant?
I definitely underestimated the amount of admin that’s needed, and my ability to procrastinate in doing this admin!
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I am still new to welldoing.org, but I love the range of support tools and the information and articles available for clients.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
The books that I suggest really depends on each client. I haven’t recommended apps in the past, but I’ve been very impressed with Calm, especially their sleep meditations and stories, so I can imagine recommending that in the future.
What you do for your own mental health?
Physical activity has always been a big part of my self-care, as well as getting into nature. Luckily my very energetic dog means that I get a daily dose of both as I chase after her in the woods desperately trying to distract her from the squirrels.
You are a therapist in Central and North London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
London-based clients often have very demanding work lives and live life at a pace which large cities seem to demand. As a result people are often struggling to balance work and home, and how to manage both the pressures and rewards of such busy lives.
What’s your consultation room like?
I am currently working online from my home therapy room, but as and when it’s safe to do so I will return to face-to-face in my lovely home office and the beautiful rooms I rent in central London.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That there can be many joyful moments in therapy, and that the relationship between the therapist and client is the key to building a nurturing and trusting environment where transformation is possible.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
That at times of stress and overwhelm I will still revert to my habit of trying to work out everything in my mind, and that sometimes what I most need is to step out of my thoughts and connect to my feelings and body.