What attracted you to become a therapist?
I had a difficult bereavement that I really struggled with and I needed professional help to work through it. During this time I saw the benefits of therapy first hand and wanted to explore how I could turn my negative loss into something more positive to help others, so I explored different training schools and started my therapy journey.
Where did you train?
I trained in London at CCPE for my foundation year, which is in transpersonal therapy. This essentially means that the therapy leans towards spirituality but not in a religious sense, more that the mind, body and spirit are all connected. This was really helpful to me during my bereavement. I went on to do my diploma and advanced diploma at CPPD, also in London and this training was humanistic integrative.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
I practise humanistic integrative counselling, which basically means that I believe one of the most important factors in therapy is the relationship between therapist and client, and I use a multitude of techniques rather than a single approach. This is because I personally believe that one approach does not necessarily suit everyone so I use different techniques depending on the clients’ needs and personality.
How does integrative therapy help with symptoms of bereavement?
Integrative therapy helps with symptoms of loss because I can use a different number of tools and theories to allow the client to work through their emotions. For example I will look back over their past in order to ascertain family dynamics, attachments and core beliefs which would be considered psychodynamic theory. I may use CBT to help a client understand their thought and behavioural patterns to break cycles of behaviour. If a client is more spiritual then we will use transpersonal theory to look at their philosophical beliefs. I will use creativity and practical exercises as an aid for those clients who may be stuck or find it harder to express themselves verbally. Working in this way allows me to move between other theories and pick out the relevant parts that I think will work with my client so it is a multifunctional way of therapy.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see individual adults due to my training; both men and women, although my practice definitely has more women in it. My clients age ranges are vast, the youngest is 22 and the oldest in their 80s. Working out of London I meet clients from very varied backgrounds, cultures and creeds, which is fantastic as it shows that mental health is being taken seriously across a broad range of people. I specialise in loss and people tend to think that this is bereavement but it covers so much more; loss of control with anxiety, loss of happiness with depression, loss of childhood with abuse. So I do get a lot of cases with anxiety, depression, relationship issues, bereavement and trauma.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I like meeting new people and working with them. I enjoy discovering more about someone and building a relationship that enables them to reveal their true thoughts and feelings that they may not be able to share with others in their life. I especially enjoy ending with a client who has worked through their issue and goes away with a new perspective of themselves and life.
What is less pleasant?
The less pleasant part similarly to the above is the ending, as after working so closely with someone and forming a therapeutic bond, they inevitably leave and sometimes you don’t hear or know the final part of their story and you will not see them again, this can be challenging.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I have been with welldoing.org since 2018, it’s a very easy platform to use and I have found it very useful. I don’t use the booking system as I am on multiple sites so prefer to take bookings myself and speak to a client directly as often there is movement in days and times they can do.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
If it is relevant to do so then I do suggest books or apps. Some clients want to read around a topic that has come up in the work or even other people’s experiences of a similar situation. I never recommend anything that I have not read or an app that I have not used myself.
What you do for your own mental health?
I have supervision and my own therapist for my professional mental health. For more personal mental health I like to walk, read and meditate. It’s very important as a therapist to be aware of self-care and to highlight it to others. People’s lives are multi faceted, busy and stressful so taking time to have a moment and be able to reconnect with yourself is incredibly important.
You are a therapist in London and Berwick-Upon-Tweed. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?
I am currently a therapist in London but am about to move my practise up to Berwick-Upon-Tweed, which I am very excited about. I see clients in a number of modes: face-to-face, telephone and Skype which makes it easier for those who cannot travel to still have the help they may need. I have a broad client base but at the moment anxiety is the leading issue I deal with. There will usually be other issues surrounding this such as family, relationships, trauma or depression but the reason that they come in the first place will often be anxious thoughts that affect their day to day existence.
What’s your consultation room like?
Currently I work from home and have dedicated a room to my practice, which I hope I have managed to make feel safe and relaxing by using white and blue. I do like to have objects in my room so its not too sterile and my favourite is a large wooden elephant that I bought specially. I will be working from home and out of an office when I move to Northumberland so I will probably replicate what I have here; minimalistic comfort with a bit of colour.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
I wish people knew that therapy is acceptable. So many people I talk to would never see a therapist even though they may benefit greatly from doing so. There are still judgements about being weak or not being able to cope that can put people off and this is a great shame. Therapy should be thought of as simply going to the doctor or even the gym, it’s help for your mind rather than your body and in 2019 there really shouldn’t be any shame in something that can have such positive benefits. I also think that people can find it overwhelming when searching for a therapist and it might be easier to search by modality rather than things we help with. At an overwhelming time trawling through pages of photos and bios can seem daunting and with jargon some may not know, almost impossible.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learnt a huge amount about myself, probably far too much to put into here. The main things are that I have slowed everything down. I was always rushing around, looking for the next thing and not enjoying what I was actually doing. Now I take my time and am more aware of being in the present and not three months in advance (although I’m still working on that especially around Christmas!). I am more considered generally and more appreciative of loved ones.