Any questions ?
I was recently asked to complete a questionnaire about my hypnotherapy practice. It made me think hard about my answers, and I hope they might interest you too.
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I come from a family of doctors who were deeply committed to caring for other people and helping them to get better. I was never cut out to be a doctor, but from a very early age I felt drawn to the question of what it meant to live your life fully as yourself, and how that could best be achieved.
Where did you train?
As a therapist, I trained at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation and then at the Clifton Practice School of Hypnotherapy. Although I have not trained formally as a Jungian analyst, I have been strongly influenced by Jungian ideas, through my own analytical work and membership of Jungian groups. Before I became a therapist, though, I took a degree in English Literature and qualified and practiced as a lawyer. These have also given me skills that I draw on daily in my practice as well.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I see anyone who wants to change something in their lives. Quite often these will be people in middle years who have reached some sort of crossroads and realise that they have to grow again if they are to lead complete and fulfilled lives in the decades ahead.
What do you like about being a therapist?
The reward of seeing a client literally transform before your eyes is immeasurable and a huge privilege. Recently, seeing a deeply depressed client laugh for the first time in months, and a client return two weeks after giving up smoking and looking 10 years younger.
What is less pleasant?
It can be challenging to sit with a client in distress and to wonder if you can do enough to help.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I often discuss books and films with my clients and sometimes suggest that they may find something that resonates with them. Recently I have enjoyed quite profound discussions about Paddington. I have a wall of books in my consulting room which often sparks conversations.
What you do for your own mental health?
I practice yoga and am passionate about origami, which is wonderfully therapeutic and relaxing.
You see clients who are musicians. What can you share with us about seeing clients in that area ?
I have a career as a classical musician myself and have long been concerned with the question of how to overcome performance nerves so as to give of your best. It is a lifelong challenge but it is hugely rewarding to work with musicians and feel that I am helping them to realise themselves as artists. Famously, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto was written after a hypnotherapist had released a creative block for the composer. Much of my discussion with musicians looks at the notion of perfection and how limiting and sterile that can be as a concept.
What’s your consultation room like?
I practice from home in an upstairs room that is quiet and full of light with trees swaying outside the window. In the winter, the moon rises slowly over the Surrey hills.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
That confronting yourself is challenging, but it is nothing to be scared of.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
There are some things in my life that will never change and that I must learn to accept. There are other things that I can change if I want to, and finally there are things that I must change if I am to live responsibly with those around me.