For those that don’t know, I’m Hannah and I’m a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. I’ve been working in Mental health for nearly 10 years now.

I often get asked why I do what I do, how I became a therapist, what it’s like and what makes me good at it. So I thought I’d talk a bit about that today.

Firstly, why I do what I do – this for me is actually quite an easy one. My job really is a privilege that I feel lucky to do. Every day clients trust me and open up in a way they haven’t before, and I get to help them to live a happier and more stress-free future. Being a part of someone making that change is wonderful.

Secondly – how I became a therapist. I actually came into this profession via a rather unusual route. I didn’t study Psychology at University or anything like it. When I first went to university, I studied Classical music. I know, just a bit different from my job now! When I left university, I did admin including in social services, social housing, and then a community drug service. I realised that helping people was what I loved, and what I was good at.

In 2008 I began my training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. This is a low level of therapy that supports clients with self help. In 2013 I went back to university again to complete my post graduate degree in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Thirdly – what it is like. Working in any job in the caring profession will have course have its ups and downs. You hear about all the horrific things that have happened to people which can be difficult, but you also get to see how resilient people are and see that they are still fighting. The life changes you achieve with clients are wonderful to be part of, but of course this won’t be every client, not everyone is ready to make changes.

For me personally, being a therapist hasn’t just been about helping my clients. I’m very much a practice what I preach person. That does not mean I have it all sussed, I am still human, but I certainly try and live by the principles I teach. This means I’ve had to make some difficult changes and learn some tough lessons myself over the years. I know it isn’t easy, but I also know it is worth it.

The last one – what makes me good at it. The biggest part of this is I genuinely care. You’d think that would be a given in my profession, but it’s not. I want every single one of my clients to get better, I’m on the journey with them, working hard to help them get to their goals. Their goal is my goal.

Of course my therapy training makes me good at my job. But also the way I deliver this therapy makes a difference. I’m a jargon free therapist, and I work creatively using things like analogies to help explain ideas. I can offer compassion, I can offer straight talking, and I can adjust the balance of these to suit my client. I also believe that I learn as much from my clients as they do from me, each client I see teaches me something that makes me better for the next client.

I’m lucky to do a job I love. Of course I’m still human, so if I won the lottery, I’d likely not work full time. But I can’t imagine not helping others, its just who I am professionally and personally.