How and/or why did you become a therapist?
This was a series of things really – I had been doing some voluntary work in a social reading group and I’d previously done an introduction to counselling, so the interest was there. This social reading group re-ignited my interest because I was reminded about how much good talking to each other can help, and talking about the things we are finding difficult. The problems can be big or small, but impact on us can be huge. I decided at that point to train to Masters degree level, but this is not for the faint hearted! I wanted to go into this in much more detail because I was convinced that I could help people; being able to acknowledge how we feel is one of the most healing things we can do. Being heard and understood cannot be underestimated. Also, it’s constantly interesting and fascinating.
What are the most rewarding aspects of being a therapist?
I think being able to see a change in people. Some people come to therapy wanting everyone else around them to change, which doesn’t really work! But people who come with an open mind, being willing to think about themselves and be honest with themselves can change more than they ever think they are capable of. It’s really nice to see a client leave with a smile when they have come to therapy in great distress.
What’s unique or special in your background or approach to interpersonal relationships?
I’ve worked with people all my life, in various professional roles. I was always interested is supporting people to be their best, even when it wasn’t in my job description. I think being able to bring a lot of life experience is crucial. Troubles in relationships happen when people feel misunderstood, ignored, or they’ve built up a map of the other person’s reactions. If someone says that they know what another person will do, this isn’t always helpful, as they’ve built up the ‘future’ in their head already. We then experience our own emotions according to that imagined future, and we find ourselves playing our scenarios in our head that haven’t even happened – but our emotions and our brain don’t know the difference. The future can always be changed.
What are your favorite or most interesting interpersonal relationship tips/advice?
Try and really listen to the other person. Also, don’t assume they can read your mind!
What are some things about therapy that you want to increase public awareness about?
It’s an investment, like anything else. People will happily pay for two or three yoga classes every week, but therapy is still thought as something that is too expensive, or not really necessary. It’s an investment in your mental and emotional health. As a nation, this is getting worse by the year. We are more connected online than ever but more emotionally alone. It’s not all about Freud!
What are some of the biggest mistakes a therapist or patient can make?
Not listening properly – on both sides.
I am experienced in working with these things as a fully qualified psychotherapist and counsellor. I can offer you counselling as a short term service (up to 6 weeks), or psychotherapy as a longer term commitment, up to 2 years or longer, depending upon your needs. Both of these give you a regular weekly space to explore your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgemental and supportive way. Psychotherapy especially encourages you to talk in depth about your difficulties and to think about how these relate to past experiences. Being listened to and understood can go a long way to help you deal with your issues.
Counselling and psychotherapy can give you the tools for acceptance and change.
I have worked for a number of years in a respected voluntary sector agency, with the NHS in a specialist psychotherapy service, and also in a Higher Education setting. I also work in private practice.