I have always been interested in what makes us tick and why some of us can really struggle with our mental health and wellbeing so in 1997 I started my journey by completing a psychology and women's studies degree. I was fascinated and decided then that this was the path for me.
I completed my Mental Health Nurse training at St Georges Hospital and Kingston Upon Thames University. I initially worked in Secondary Care Day Services which support people in crisis and help to stabilise people so that they can function with less distress. Although medication is very important in helping people's mental wellbeing I knew I wanted to be able to work psychologically with people.
In 2003 I decided to move from London to live by the sea and worked in a wonderful Day Hospital that introduced me to working with clients using basic CBT strategies. In this setting I also learnt to run therapeutic groups.
In addition to this I worked in supported living environments and with the crisis team, helping people that were very unwell to become more stable with the use of medication and one to one support. This enabled me to have a good understanding of people suffering severe and enduring mental illness. This work was in what is called Secondary Care Services and so sits at the more severe end of mental illness.
At the Day Hospital the aim was to not only support people but enable people to understand their mental health and equip them with some ways to manage their difficulties.
As my interest in CBT grew and I could see for myself the benefits, I decided to complete my CBT training in an IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) and become a CBT Therapist. So in 2008 I moved away from Secondary care into Primary care where the focus is to offer short term psychological interventions to people suffering with depression and or anxiety disorders. I have now been working as a qualified CBT Therapist for 9 years. I really enjoy my work and it never ceases to amaze me how much courage people have in coming for therapy and how motivated they are to change. It is very rewarding to see how effective CBT is and how it can enable people to make significant changes to their lives and mood.
In addition to working with people individually I also run groups for managing depression and anxiety and low self esteem. This is another area I am passionate about as groups can be very powerful in that they normalise people's problems and are incredibly supportive. I also provide supervision to group facilitators.
In 2016 I became interested in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT). In my career it is very apparent to me that loneliness and isolation and not feeling connected to others has a huge impact on how people feel. IPT is all about interpersonal relationships, exploring these, reaching out and connecting with others which in turn has a massive impact on people's mental wellbeing. Of course there is more to IPT than this but I really like this approach.
Where I am now
I love my work, I find it very rewarding. I feel privileged to work with people, helping them to improve their wellbeing, to understand themselves better and hopefully enabling them to learn tools to alleviate distress and live happier healthier lives. I believe that warmth, kindness, compassion, openness, the willingness to relate and be alongside someone are important qualities in building a good therapeutic relationship. Therapy is not about trying to fit someone into a box, and its not about telling someone what to do, its about understanding the problems together and working out together what is the best way forward so that you can get back to enjoying life and being the person you want to be.