Interview for Therapist in Barcelona.com
Meet the Therapist Profile
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I’ve always been interested in the human condition which drew me first into the acting world. However a few years ago I became interested in Mindful Meditation as a way to deal with my own stress levels. This quickly grew into a real desire to understand the mind and what we can do on a practical level to change how we view ourselves and our world. Whilst training to be an MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) teacher it became very clear to me that this could be applied to so many types of people, from children to adults and for a wide-ranging list of issues from anxiety to anger management, depression to performance stress. We’re not taught how to deal with stressful life situations, strong emotions or our negative thinking patterns. For me MBSR was a revelation.
Where did you train?
I initially trained in MBSR at the Mindful Academy and then went on to train with the Mindfulness in Schools Project in the UK.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I’ve worked with people who are suffering from severe stress and anxiety, depression and trauma. I’ve also worked in families with children who are suffering from anxiety, with actors, presenters and performers.
What do you like about being a therapist?
It is themost inspiring work, a real privilege to see people slowly but surely let go of the thinking, beliefs and judgements that hold them back. They do the work, you are just there to facilitate, to encourage and to sometimes question. They learn to trust their inner voice, honour their emotions and develop self-compassion. It’s a joy to share people’s a-ha moments, celebrate their break-throughs and know that as long as they keep practising this work will hold them and help them through whatever life has to throw at them.
What is less pleasant?
I find that difficult to answer as really whatever comes up – comes up. No judgement. Watching people become upset is also a moment of opportunity. Working always with the present moment experience as MBSR does, means you want these moments to happen so you can work through what is going on right now with them.
What brought you to Barcelona and what's one thing you love about it?
I arrived in Barcelona some 20 years ago and fell in love with this wonderful vibrant city. I loved its ‘can do’ attitude. Still do!
How long have you been with the Therapist in Barcelona directory and what do you think of it?
I’ve only been in the directory a short time but I think it is a great idea (well done!). Making it easy for people to find help can only be a good thing.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients? Please list some.
I think it’s really important clients hear more than just my voice on any given subject covered by the course, so I’m always suggesting talks, books and apps. Tara Brach has some great talks you can find on youtube and on her website, I began my exploration into Mindful Meditation thanks to the Headspace app, and I’m never far from a Thich Nhat Hanh book.
What’s your consultation room like?
I don’t work in one specific place and have offered the MBSR course in Barcelona, Sitges, on line and at my retreat centre in France. Although you aim to have a space where you are not disturbed in reality if that happens it’s all good- a great chance to practice acceptance. :)
What do you do for your own mental health?
I meditate every day for 30-40 minutes, I escape to the countryside as much as I can. Being in nature is so important for our mental well-being.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
There is no shame in getting help and talking to a therapist. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you. We weren’t taught how to be with ourselves, deal with emotions, we were never schooled in self-compassion, nor did we ever have anyone suggest to us our thoughts weren’t true. We just believed everything we told ourselves about ourselves, about others and life situations- and that can be unbelievably stressful. The truth is it just doesn’t have to be that way, you can take an active part in your own mental well-being.
What have you learnt about yourself in therapy?
That there is always more to learn, that you can and should question your beliefs regularly, and that every moment is a new opportunity. People are absolutely fascinating and they can and will always surprise you.
What do you think makes you a good therapist?
I listen deeply and without judgment and I can hold the space for whatever may arise. I’ve also got a sense of humour, which I think is an underappreciated attribute. We take ourselves so very seriously and it helps to make people feel comfortable and more open if they see that you can be honest and open yourself.
Is there anything else you would like clients or other practitioners to know about you or your services?
I try to be as flexible as possible to facilitate someone doing the course. 8 weeks can be tricky to fit into a busy schedule, so one-to-one (rather than group work) can be better for some. I also offer the course via Skype, making it easier to fit into people’s schedules. And finally every summer I facilitate at our lovely French Farmhouse retreat centre where you can enjoy peace, quiet, nature and do the MBSR course. It can be very powerful in the condensed format, away from “regular”life. A real chance to disconnect and just be.