Get to know Alan in our Q & A below! What are your main hobbies? I play guitar and sing in a band. It’s a mixture, from older classic rock stuff like Led Zeppelin through to stuff like The White Stripes. I do some guitar teaching as well. I’m also into meditation. I have a […]
Alan can see you in Liverpool, or online over skype for £36 per hour.
Alan is a calm and compassionate therapist. A member of the BACP, Alan provides a non-judgemental, understanding and down-to-earth approach which he attributes to his own lived-experience of mental health issues and recovery plus 10 years experience working with individuals and groups in the criminal justice, addiction and mental health fields, before moving into private practice.
All of our therapists are CRB checked. Scroll below to read more about Alan!
Get to know Alan in our Q & A below!
What are your main hobbies?
I play guitar and sing in a band. It’s a mixture, from older classic rock stuff like Led Zeppelin through to stuff like The White Stripes. I do some guitar teaching as well.
I’m also into meditation. I have a daily meditation practice, which is one of the ways I stay well for myself. It just helps to ground me and centre me.
What kind of television, films, and music do you enjoy?
At the minute, I’m pretty obsessed with reading Irvin Yalom’s stuff. One of my ambitions is to read more novels because nearly everything I read is to do with counselling or therapy and mental health. I keep saying to myself that I need to read more novels, so it’s on my list of things to do.
I used to be massively into horror films, but not so much anymore. Maybe when you’re getting older, you change your taste in films. I like things now that make you think; just quite life affirming things that can be quite optimistic.
What do you do to stay well?
I enjoy spending time in nature, and it’s really cool where I live because we’ve got a few parks and things.
I also like exercising and weight training. I’ve got a little garage gym set up with weights. I’ve been a bit lazy lately, but I usually train three or four times a week. It’s good for the mental benefits apart from anything else.
What would you say are the main issues young people are facing today?
I think life can be quite hard for young people at the moment. There’s a lot of pressure on young people to try to get on in life; to get an education, to get a job, and decide what they want to do with their lives. I think it’s harder sometimes for young people now than it was for previous generations, and there’s a lot of pressure on people.
One of the benefits is people these days are being offered more support around their mental health. It’s no longer something that’s just pushed under the carpet and buried. Young men and women are no longer being expected to just get on with things and put up a front. I think places like The Mind Map are making it more accessible for young people to talk about how they feel.
How do you think therapy can help young people?
I think therapy gives people an opportunity to get to know themselves; to figure out who they are and who they want to be in a safe space where they don’t feel the expectations of parents or family members. They don’t feel judged or like they’re burdening their partner or parents.
They can just be real and say it as it is with somebody that is a professional and qualified, but who is also a human being who wants to listen to them and support them – just a sounding board really. Who wouldn’t benefit from having somebody just to sound off with and explore things with?
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 as well, including with young people dealing with addictions. I think addiction is often a way to escape from things. I think it might reflect on the pressures on young people and trying to escape from life that feels difficult or stressful. It’s also not just drug addiction – there’s technology addictions and even gambling.
I’m getting a lot of people coming through at the moment with gambling issues. As I’ve worked in rehabs in the past, I’m getting a lot of those clients coming through who want to try and overcome these addictions and build a life they don’t need to escape from.
What do you think your strengths are as a practitioner?
I think people tell me that I have a very calming nature. They just get a sense that I’m a genuine person who really wants to listen and can make them feel heard, understood, and like I’m on their side. It gives them a safe place to figure themselves out, figure out what they want to do, and find some support and encouragement from someone who can walk alongside them if they want to make those changes in their lives.
If a young person was nervous about starting therapy, what would you say to them?
Everyone feels nervous when they come for therapy. I do say to clients that that’s a very normal reaction. It takes a lot of courage to come and sit with a stranger and start to spill the beans on your deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings.
Most therapists have been through their own shit or their own mental health struggles and have been through therapy themselves. You have to go through therapy as part of your training, so I always say to clients that I know what it feels like because I’ve sat across in the other seat.
I would also reassure them that it’s at their pace. You don’t have to jump in straight away to the most difficult thing – just start talking and opening up. It’s my job to make them feel safe and comfy. Knowing what to expect can help too.