Being a CBT therapist can be one of the most rewarding jobs out there – and it is also a job that many people have a curiosity about. How does it feel to help people for a living? Is it stressful hearing about other peoples difficulties every day?
We find that these are often questions that our clients ask of us, and so to provide some answers Jane Gowland, Lead Cognitive behavioural Therapist in Bristol opens the doors to our Psychotherapy Clinic to share how we help our clients and what it is like to be a Therapist….
To arrange treatment with Jane you can contact us here.
1) What Made You Want To Be A Cognitive Behavioural Therapist?
I started my career in mental health as an Assistant Psychologist, before I specialised in CBT. I liked the idea that CBT Therapy uses a ‘making sense’ approach, that helps people get an understanding of how their problems developed, what the problems actually are, and most importantly where they want to get to.
CBT has a very strong evidence base, and once of the reasons I came into mental health was to see people improve their lives and to help them achieve the things that are important to them. For me, the research behind CBT meant made me realise that it might be one of the most effective therapies I could train in.
2) How Long Did It Take You To Train As A CBT Therapist?
Training in psychological therapies is never really complete, and working with a range of client’s helps me continually grow and develop my practice. I initially qualified as a CBT Therapist at Plymouth University, but before this I already had quite a lot of experience in working using a range of different approaches within psychology departments in the NHS. After qualifying, I was able to apply to the BABCP, who register CBT therapists, for initial accreditation for my first year’s practice.
In order to have full accreditation I had to continue to keep therapy logs and be closely supervised to demonstrate my ability to work within the CBT framework in a way that was safe and highly effective for my clients. I have been fully accredited for three years now, and as well as using CBT with clients I also now supervise and train other staff.
3) What Does A Typical Day At Work Look Like?
Often, no two days are the same. First thing in the morning I will check emails, calls and messages from my clients. Most of the time our admin team are available to reply to routine queries about appointments very quickly, but sometimes clients need to contact me directly to check things we have discussed in therapy sessions or for a bit of extra help in using some of the psychological tools we have covered. Where possible I try to reply to these at the start of the day so that people have quick responses.
Next I’ll check to see which clients I am due to see that day. Usually I will see between 4 and 6 clients in a typical day. Often these will be clients that I have met before, but most days I will have at least one new client – which is also the case since we made it possible for new clients to register with Dynamic You and book their first session online without even having to speak with our admin team.
Before each session I usually take a few minutes to read over my client notes from previous sessions to remind myself of key areas we have discussed, and the formulation of client’s problems. (You can read more about CBT formulations on our Cognitive Behavioural Therapy page).
After I have met with each client I will take time to book any further sessions into the calendar and write brief notes of key areas we have discussed. Usually I will have a gap of time between clients to help me ‘switch off’ and refresh my mind before getting ready to see my next client.
4) How Do You Cope With Hearing About Difficult Problems At work?
Working with compassion and empathy is key to what we do, and helps provide clients with the knowledge that their problems are important and understood. However, there is an important difference between empathising with my clients and sympathising with them. Although I try to understand what people are going through, I do this from the outside, to help them make sense of their problems in a logical way that supports them to make changes and reduce the problems. This can be hard to do when someone is feeling high levels of emotion.
When we feel sympathy for someone it usually means we are actually feeling some of what the other person is feeling too, which is a very different thing than empathising, and would make being a good therapist quite hard to do!
We also regularly have clinical supervision meetings in the team. These are highly confidential meetings and allow me to discuss client work that I’m doing in a structured way with other therapists in the team. This brings two benefits – firstly that it means our clients have the assurance of receiving the very best expertise of our team combined, and also that it helps prevent me burning out. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinical supervision is a key part in providing safe, beneficial and satisfying therapy outcomes and helps clients and therapists deal with difficult things effectively.
5) What Made You Want To Be A Cognitive Behavioural Therapist In Bristol Particularly?
Bristol has such a wide range of different people living in it. One thing that makes being a CBT Therapist in Bristol different to our other city clinic locations is that Bristol has a mix of people that live both in the city, but also in rural locations on the outskirts.
It’s not unusual for me to see someone who works on a farm, followed by someone who works in a large corporation followed by a student. It’s this type of variety and difference that helps keep clinic days fresh, and also means that I always have a wide range of clinical experience. This is one of the reasons I love working in our Bristol clinic – I do however also work from 4 other Dynamic You Clinics.
6) What Advice Would You Give To People Thinking About Whether They Should Have CBT?
My biggest advice is – if you are having emotional or psychological problems, get help as soon as possible. Whether you visit a private clinic (like ours), see your GP, or access good quality self-help materials there are lots of ways you can change how you feel. There is so much research and knowledge on most mental health problems that it’s unlikely that starting treatment will not help you in some way. Don’t suffer in silence!
Find out more about Jane Gowland or contact us now to arrange Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Bristol with Jane or any of our expert psychotherapy team.