Get to know Alan better, one of our BACP accredited counsellors here at The Mind Map.
Alan Crawford is an accredited member of the BACP. His 10 years working as a counsellor is aided by the fact he’s been there himself, having been treated for addiction and depression.
An expert in men’s mental health he runs men’s groups and regularly talks about masculinity and mental health on podcasts.
He treats an array of issues including anxiety, depression, OCD and self esteem.
Alan is part of our team seeing students at The University of Liverpool.
What are your hobbies?
I play guitar and sing in a band.
We play a variety of rock stuff like Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes.
What kind of television, films, and music do you enjoy?
I’m obsessed with reading Irvin Yalom’s stuff but I’d like to read more novels.
Nearly everything I read is to do with counselling and mental health!
I like films that are optimistic and make you think.
What do you do to stay well?
I enjoy spending time in nature. Where I live we’ve got a few parks which is cool.
Weight training, I usually train three or four times a week.
What would you say are the main issues people are facing today?
Life is quite hard for people at the moment.
There’s a lot of pressure nowadays, but at the same time there is more support on offer.
Mental Health is longer something that’s pushed under the carpet, you don’t need to put up a front now.
The Mind Map is one of the places making it more accessible for people to talk about how they feel.
How do you think therapy can help?
I think therapy gives people an opportunity to get to know themselves.
You can figure out who you are and who you want to be.
It’s a safe space with no expectations, with somebody who is professional but caring too.
What would you say are your personal approaches? What kind of therapist are you?
My original training is Person-Centred therapy. I’m also really into existential therapy.
I have a lot of experience in addiction therapy too,
Addiction is often a way to escape from things, it reflects on the pressures on young people.
It’s not just drugs, there’s so many different types of addiction.
What do you think your strengths are as a practitioner?
People tell me that I have a very calming nature, they get a sense that I’m a genuine person.
I can make them feel heard and understood and I can walk alongside them as they make changes in their lives.
If someone was nervous about starting therapy, what would you say to them?
Everyone feels nervous when they come for therapy, that’s a very normal reaction.
It takes a lot of courage to sit with a stranger, and get vulnerable.
Most therapists have been through their own mental health struggles though, and have been through therapy themselves.
You have to go through therapy as part of your training, so we do know what it feels like!
I would also reassure them that everything is at their own pace.
You just start talking and opening up and it’s my job to make them feel safe and comfortable to do that.