I was aware from a very young age that I was having a dysfunctional childhood. I knew I needed some outlet, and we’d had some family therapy in my teens. But in my adult life I’ve ended up trying many different types of therapy. And as a result I have gone from someone who was very self-conscious, neurotic and unhappy to someone who is centred and calm. I’ve become a whole person.
My first experience was with a Gestalt therapist - in those pre-internet days I think I found her through the Yellow Pages! It was a huge relief to discover someone neutral who I could speak truthfully to. I felt like it was the start of something, but I only ended up seeing her for about four months as I wanted to try something different, that might suit me better.
My next therapist was a really nice guy, but actually quite useless. He was a Jungian, so it was all about listening. But I wanted a practical solution, and - in my late 30s and close to a breakdown - I was lucky enough to find an integrative psychotherapist who included Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It was really good for me, and gave me the tools to start to break my deeply-held patterns. It was the beginning of me pulling myself out of a difficult situation.
After three years, I tried a different type of therapy again, because the therapist who had helped so much left London. Now I see a transpersonal therapist, though she is described as integrative. I’ve been seeing her for four years and I still believe having therapy is just about the most valuable thing you can invest in for you life.
But it is important that you find the right one, someone you feel good with. And to do that you might have to try quite a few people and different types of therapy.
Hud Saunders is the author of The Beasts of Belmont Park