I have been practising psychotherapy since 2008. I was formerly a general practitioner, with a particular interest in working with people with addictions and homeless people. I worked in a specialist GP practice for homeless people for several years. I found that I was most interested in people’s individual stories, in what had led them to the situations they were experiencing, how they had survived and in what was making it difficult for them to make the changes they wanted. I undertook training in integrative psychotherapy at the Sherwood Institute in Nottingham.
My integrative training included ideas from various psychotherapeutic schools; object relations theory, attachment theory, transactional analysis, person-centred therapy and Gestalt among them. In training we were encouraged to develop our own models, acknowledging that these would evolve with us as our experience grew. Lately I have become interested in the power of compassion for ourselves, and have learned more about trauma therapy and trauma-informed work. We would be unlikely to talk about theory very much in sessions, but you are welcome to ask me about any of these disciplines if you would find it helpful to do so.
Making the change from GP to psychotherapist was interesting and challenging. I had to relearn a lot of things; not least the new sort of relationships I had with my clients. I had to stop seeing myself as a professional trying to find answers, and become someone who helped by sitting alongside and allowing others to make their own sense of things. Having the time to do this; time spent listening, observing, feeling and thinking; for as long as it takes, is one of the aspects of psychotherapy which I most enjoy.
I stopped practising medicine in 2013. I am no longer a registered doctor and cannot advise you on medical matters. However, some people have found it helpful to know that I have some knowledge of various chronic health conditions.
Informed by my experience of both medicine and psychotherapy, I contributed a chapter on the therapeutic relationship in helping professions (including nurses, social workers and doctors) in The therapeutic relationship handbook: theory and practice, edited by Divine Charura and Stephen Paul, published in 2014 by Open University Press.
Recently, I have written a chapter for a book about psychotherapy with homeless people. My chapter is about our experience of setting up a psychotherapy project at Harrogate Homeless Project and our work there. This book is being edited by Peter Cockersell and is in publication. I will post more details once it’s out.