Tracy Foster is a counsellor in Bournemouth, BH1

What attracted you to become a therapist? 

I’ve always been told I was a good listener and I like helping people, so when I was able to make new career choices once my children were older I jumped at the chance.

Where did you train?   

I trained in Bournemouth, Dorset.

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practice? 

I am what is called an integrative humanistic counsellor, meaning there are three therapeutic approaches that take account of the individual person in an holistic way (i.e.: their whole life and the impact issues and problems can have on it). 

I am also a cognitive behaviour therapist – I use this therapeutic approach to enable people to learn greater self-awareness. I have recently qualified as a hypnotherapist too. My personal development means I can offer more choice to the people I see. Everyone is individual and unique and sees things in very different ways. I enjoy the holistic approach as it gives people a greater insight into themselves, therefore the ability to bring about real change (or acceptance). I continue with personal development such as hypnotherapy and mindfulness techniques as it adds greater depth to the support I can offer clients.

What sort of people do you usually see?  

I see adults, adolescents and young adults for a variety of issues.

What do you like about being a therapist?  

My reward is seeing someone move forward positively in their life and hear that they can cope with everything from everyday worries to more traumatic issues in better ways that work for them.

What is less pleasant?  

It can sometimes feel like a lonely job, as everything is confidential, so banter about your work day can’t happen as there is only yourself.

How long you’ve been with and what you think of us? 

I have been for a few months now. I particularly like that the site is easy to use for people seeking therapy and at a glance it is non-complicated.

Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?  

Yes, I can work with suggestions for people to help with anxiety and panic or over-thinking. Mindfulness apps I suggest, and also books if there is a particular speciality that might be good for their own self-help and understanding for themselves or others.

What you do for your own mental health? 

I ensure I build self-care into every day. It's important as a therapist's working hours can sometimes be erratic when bearing in mind the availability we can potentially offer due to clients' own schedules. Equally, it is important to not become overwhelmed with other people’s issues, so clinical supervision and making time for yourself socially and with family is good, as well as doing things I enjoy.

You are a therapist in Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas. What can you share with us about seeing clients in those areas?

Bournemouth, in particular, is a popular university town. I am pleased to work with young people that may have moved out of home for the first time, learning independent living, and working with any anxiety that becoming responsible for self brings, be it workload, socialising, relationships etc.

What’s your consultation room like?  

I rent my counselling room through a local charity. It is very cosy and feels like a comfortable and welcoming living room, with soft lighting, comfortable chairs and - being in a seaside town - pictures displaying the sea, beach, and shells.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

That you don’t have to be in complete crisis or totally traumatised by an event to seek therapy. Therapy is great for good mental health wellbeing. No problem is “silly” or “too small” - thinking others might be worse off than yourself is just minimising your own feelings - and you are worth it! It’s confidential, therapeutic and you can learn so much about yourself to bring about positive changes. 

Sometimes it’s just good to talk to someone who is impartial and not emotionally attached so you feel you can be honest.

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?  

Too much to mention! What it has done has increased my self-confidence and self-worth and give mean a self-belief system that if I challenge myself or take a risk, it doesn’t mean instant failure – it means open to more choice and opportunity.