What attracted you to become a therapist?
I had been a massage therapist for many years, and had always been interested in the connection between mind and body and how this could be worked with therapeutically. I had the idea that I wanted to combine bodywork with counselling or talking therapy, and was delighted to discover that there was this thing called body psychotherapy where some practitioners were doing just this.
Where did you train?
I did a year of biodynamic massage training at the London School of Biodynamic Psychotherapy, and then went on to train at the Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre.
What sort of people do you usually see?
People quite often come to see me when they’ve been in a more traditional form of psychotherapy and have become stuck, or found it didn’t really meet their needs. Often people come with some awareness of how their emotions affect their bodies, but others come with the opposite; they are aware that they don’t have a sense of their bodies and want to explore this. As body psychotherapy works with people’s non-verbal experiences, I find it often draws clients with early trauma or attachment issues which can lead to powerful and productive work.
What do you like about being a therapist?
I love how engaged I get to be on a daily basis with people, and in ways that are moving, exciting, and humbling. The flexibility suits me, and I love that I can work from home.
What is less pleasant?
Sometimes sitting with great pain can be overwhelming. What I come back to is what a privilege it is to be invited into someone’s pain in the way that therapists are. That helps.
How long you’ve been with welldoing.org and what you think of us?
I’ve been with welldoing.org since November 2017. I am greatly appreciative that I have a register of therapists I can join as a trainee while I prepare to register with UKCP. It feels good to be part of an online community, particularly with therapists from other disciplines, and I’ve enjoyed reading (and once writing) the articles on the blog.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I occasionally suggest books to clients, but my use of apps is very limited so don’t feel I have a lot to suggest on that front. Clients sometimes mention television programmes they watch, and we have done some interesting work around the characters or narrative elements in the show.
What you do for your own mental health?
My main self-care activities are to exercise regularly, be out in nature with my dogs, and make sure I’m well fed. I also continue to have my own body psychotherapy that has been and continues to be immensely helpful.
You are a therapist in Islington, London. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?
I’ve been surprised that most of my clients don’t come from my area. I’m well-connected on public transport, and there aren’t a huge number of body psychotherapists in London, so I think this means people often travel quite far to see me.
What’s your consultation room like?
It’s a light, airy room at the back of my house that leads into the garden. It’s got two chairs, a massage table, a mattress for doing work with clients lying down, and a cupboard full of objects and art materials for doing constellation and creative media work.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That you don’t have to be suffering or in crisis to benefit from therapy. My sense is that people mostly look at therapy as a way to get them out of unhappiness, not as a way of supporting them to lead happier, fuller lives.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
A very big question. To summarise: a greater, fuller, happier sense of myself in the world, greater emotional and bodily fluency, and a new found self-compassion.