Whilst we’re all behind screens more than ever during lockdown, I thought it might be helpful to introduce myself. My name is Erene, and I’m an Integrative Psychotherapist. I have worked with adult clients for ten years so far, including setting up two community-based services between 2014 and 2018. I am also a writer, and speaker, which includes teaching at times.
WORKING IN THE COMMUNITY
I’m based in Leeds which is a culturally diverse city in the north of England. There is a sense of community here which is helped by our incredible third sector, and the independent business market. Also, northern folks are very friendly! I have collaborated with all sorts of professionals, and businesses throughout my career which has enabled me to practice what I preach in bringing psychotherapy outside of formal services.
I strongly believe that Psychotherapists have a social responsibility, as well as a responsibility for clients. This means we have the duty, and ability to go into our communities to make psychotherapy more accessible. If we go out, people are enabled to come in. We also need to demystify the process as there are many myths about what happens in psychotherapy, and who it is for.
SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH
My specialist area as a Psychotherapist is working with people who have experienced sexual violence. I also work with many other mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and relationship difficulties. Therapy Leeds is LGBT+ affirmative, meaning everyone is welcome into my practice.
Sexual violence is a human rights issue which speaks to the activist in me, and working with trauma from an embodied perspective is fascinating. Humans are innately resourceful in surviving.
I often get asked ‘How on earth do you do your job?’, and my answer is ‘I get to meet a lot of interesting, and wonderful people’. With Survivors of sexual violence, it’s always about finding the person amongst the trauma, and what an honour it is to meet them when it happens. Even more moving is when a Survivor meets themselves, and are able to connect with a person they feel aligned with as the basis for living their life. Of course the work that goes into this is hard, but in psychotherapy at least you’re not doing it on your own anymore.
Everyone’s version of recovery from abuse, or processing trauma, is different. For many it’s about finding ways to stop the past interrupting the present whether this is working on flashbacks, learning how to feel safe in themselves and around others, or to be able to consistently manage a full day’s work such as employment or parenting.
SUPPORTING SURVIVOR’S RIGHTS
Related to my specialist area of sexual violence is my work on an independent project, which aims to influence the current revision of the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines on pre-trial therapy.
In a nutshell: if you are in the criminal justice process, and receive talking therapy during this time, you are not able to talk about your experiences of sexual violence with your Psychotherapist/Counsellor. This is because your account of what happened is your evidence in your case, which the CPS state must be protected at all costs. This is, of course, hugely problematic in many ways.
For more information on this project so far, you’re welcome to take a look at this blog: https://www.inspiringwomenchangemakers.co.uk/2020/01/23/challenging-pre-trial-therapy-guidelines/
HOW WE COULD WORK TOGETHER
Therapy Leeds offers psychotherapy, counselling, writing, speaking, and consultancy services. If you have any questions, or want to explore working together please contact me – it would be great to hear from you.