I had a comment from a reader, commenting that my blog doesn’t say much about me, and asking why I decided to train as a therapist. I originally got interested in eating disorders around the time I was 19. A few years later, I had thought to train as a dietician, and applied to university to do a dietetics degree. At the same time, I spent a day following a dietician in a hospital, and realised form that, that I didn’t want to be a dietician. I wanted to help people with eating disorders, but I wanted to help their heads, rather than their eating plans. I spoke to a dietician I knew who specialised in eating disorders and she said that with very few exceptions, even as a specialist in a subject you could till expect to spend more than 50% of your working time working in your non-specialist subject.
That clinched it for me, and I changed my university application to be a psychology degree, with the aim of becoming a clinical psychologist. I loved my psychology degree, and after I graduated, spent a little while working part-time as a research assistant, whilst applying to assistant psychologist posts. It was just about the time the NHS bottleneck got really bad, and despite having very good marks, and relevant experience, I wasn’t able to get an NHS position. I moved in to other roles – I needed to pay bills. I couldn’t let go of the idea though, and decided that if I couldn’t work in the NHS, perhaps I could work privately. So I did a level two counselling course. Then my life crashed massively and I couldn’t continue for a while. A couple of years later I went to a different college and did my level three. That tutor was going on to run a level four and I considered doing that, but decided I couldn’t do it ethically – I had issues with her teaching, and so I started looking around for other courses.
I chose person-centred because the closest course I could do that would let me work full-time had two courses, PC and integrative. The integrative course had too much Freud in it for me to be comfortable with as an LGBT person and I thought that I would find it too easy to retreat to a position of authority on an integrative course (having knowledge and theories to ‘retreat’ to), whereas the person-centred method is decidedly NOT about being the expert. That’s not to say that I don’t think the integrative course has value, just that I think the person-centred method is better (for me, at least!)
And here I am. I’m also about to start a phd in psychology, so I’m going to have my hands pretty full! The plan is to eventually work part-time as a psychologist in research and part-time as a psychotherapist. If I can ‘marry’ the two, even better. I like people, and feel a desire to connect, although I sometimes struggle with ‘chat’. I know that I can form good and clear relationships with people and that some people find this helpful. This is the kind of people contact that I enjoy and could do a lot more of.
I still have that interest in eating disorders, but my interest range is much broader now and covers trauma, dissociation, eating disorders, and LGBT-related issues.
So this is what shaped my decision to train as a therapist 🙂