Biography - A Bit More About My Route to Psychotherapy
By Victoria, Aug 4 2016 09:21PM
I usually enter information here about what I offer and things of interest with regards to my practice. I decided this time to give a bit more information about the pathway I took into working as a Psychotherapist...
Prior to training as a Psychotherapist I worked mainly in schools and with small groups of children. Whilst completing my GAP year in the special needs department at Fullbrook Secondary School, Surrey in 1999 I found myself interested in children's behaviour and their emotional needs. This to seemed to impact directly on their capacity to meet their potential in school.
I was interested in particular about the children who struggled to focus on their education - what made the difference between those that could engage and flourish and those that recoiled or fought against school?
Although I admired the work of the teachers and what an amazing job they did, I was particularly interested in the role of the Educational Psychologist who worked individually with pupils. I can still remember the day that I thought 'That's what I want to do!'.
I was also inspired by the Special Needs Coordinator and Team at Fullbrook School who took such interest in the children. On one occasion in particular I remember seeing my manager make a difficultly behaved child some tea. I noticed that in those five minutes just before school started, this child was the calmest and most contented I had seen them - what was so magic about that tea? I realise, it was the magic of nurture, of kindness, faith and belief that children's lives can be changed for the better if they have interactions that make them feel noticed, cared for and special.
That day ignited something in me about how I wanted to work with young people. I had a wish to help get to the root of what was going amiss for those children who found life so difficult, so that things could be improved for the long-term.
My manager had shown me something which I later learned would be more accessible to me working with children and teenagers as a Psychotherapist. This acknowledgement was deepened when I met another very special person when working with a group of children and teenagers diagnosed with Autism - Anita M. Hughes. Anita, a Psychologist based in Guildford runs 'The Friendly Group' and it was here, working alongside Anita that I became deeply interested in story telling, treasure baskets, the creative arts and mostly the power of the relationship and again - how children's lives could be changed for the better when they feel deeply understood and held in mind. This time, it wasn't just the adults interactions with the young people, but rather their relationships with each other.
From this point I went on to gain qualifications in psychology and psychotherapy. It's fair to say I spent most of my 20's studying. It was a huge commitment, but it took me on a journey where I met many inspirational young people.
I continued to gain as much experience as I could with young people - alongside my education I worked in a variety of schools for children and teenagers with learning difficulties. I helped run different groups and undertook shadowing opportunities with Psychologists and other specialists working with young people. During these experiences I gained further insights into those with severe emotional difficulties and I began to see how creative expression helped young people communicate the things that had so far been stuck and unspeakable.
During my time studying Educational Psychology I conducted a research project into Fragile X Syndrome, which became one of my areas of interest and a specialist subject. I am always happy to talk about this to anyone who is keen to find out more.
As I trained in psychotherapy I undertook experience in psychiatric settings and worked alongside Psychiatrists and Psychologists. Over the years I have worked with children and young people of all ages with all kinds of difficulties - those that may be physical, emotional, social, behavioural. Psychotherapy training pulled together the many strands of my experience and enhanced the ideas, tools and hopes I have when working with young people and their families.
Hope is something very important to me and underlines my ethos, professionally and personally.
Often I work with parents who understandably feel very hopeless because they may have preserved with something very challenging in their family for a long time, or they may have tried out many different things, but nothing that has stuck long-term. I like to think of my service as offering hope and sometimes being helped to get to a place where hope again feels possible can be enough to help things get back on track.
To talk to me about any of this or about anything else at all please contact me here