Meet the Therapist: Sophie Parker
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I’ve had a successful career in PR and although I enjoyed it, I always felt something was missing - it was career but not a vocation. Becoming a therapist has helped to cultivate a sense of purpose in my life. Not only has it added another string to my bow, it also satisfies a life-long fascination with the mind that I’ve had since a child!
Where did you train?
The Quest Institute based at Regents University, London. I was lucky enough to train under the tutelage of Trevor Silvester, the founder of cognitive hypnotherapy.
Can you tell us a bit about the type of therapy you practise?
I practise cognitive hypnotherapy. It’s a modern approach that draws from cognitive theory, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and NLP. I was attracted to it because I believe the unconscious plays a key role in governing how we think, feel and behave. I also liked the fact that it’s an evidence-based therapy – it’s been proven to be more effective for the treatment of anxiety and depression, compared to other talking therapies like CBT.
The key benefit for clients working with a cognitive hypnotherapist, is the therapist will flex how they work. They will blend techniques and tools from a variety of disciplines to tailor an approach for every client they see. It’s basically an one-stop shop for therapy.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I don’t like to put people in boxes, however, my current client base could be my friends – young professionals in their early to late 30s; people who have reached a crossroads in their life and are ready for change – and or all suffering from the afflictions of modern life: burnout, anxiety and stress, but also a lot of people suffering from low self-esteem and confidence issues.
The people I work with all come from a variety of backgrounds, but since I started my practice I have tended to work with a cohort of women from the creative and tech industries, and a few entrepreneurs and freelancers who are working for themselves.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I find it rewarding to be in a position to help people.
What is less pleasant?
It always pains me to discover how long my clients have been carrying around the mental weight of their issue before they come to see me.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’m a newbie. I literally joined in the last fortnight. I’m a real advocate of viewing your mental health and wellbeing with the same importance as your body – so anything that can make booking a therapist as easy as a manicurist can only be a good thing! I've joined the welldoing.org therapist community on Facebook and I’m really looking forward to being part of the community, connecting, sharing and learning from other therapists.
I've also been using the free Calm app and I feel instant relaxation as soon as I open it. I’ve been using it in the morning to ensure I start the day with the right mindset.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I do yes, but really it depends on the client and what they need to support them on their journey. I recognise that some clients will find it useful, and for others it’s urgh another thing they need to do, so an unnecessary stress.
What you do for your own mental health?
No matter how busy it is, I always make a conscious effort to give myself some down time – whether it’s going for a walk, a yoga class or just putting my feet up in front of the telly. I give myself the space to just relax and catch my breath.
You are a therapist in Ealing. What can you tell us about working in this area?
It isn’t known for being the Queen of the Suburbs for nothing. Ealing is surrounded by lots of greenery – alongside a great number of parks, there’s a nature reserve and even a farm and zoo in the area. It’s the perfect place to live if you like nature, but want to be close to the city, and or have children or a dog!
What’s your consultation room like?
I work from two different spaces in Ealing. My room in St Mary’s is a dedicated space for complementary therapies. It has a very homely vibe. The other is in The Soma Room, a massage clinic. It’s a little haven in Ealing Broadway with decor that makes you instantly relax. Although different in style both rooms offer quiet, private and comfortable spaces to work from. I feel very lucky to have found them.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
It’s not just for people who have serious mental health issues.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
We are all capable of change, and have the potential to grow.