I am currently working in private practise in Surrey and also as a sessional worker for an addictions treatment programme. During my career I have also worked as an addictions therapist in community services, an Immigration Removal Centre and a male prison and developed and delivered emotional well-being groups as well as training for counsellors. I have always offered concessions for people on low incomes but welcome the idea of becoming involved in providing low cost and free therapy in a more organised way as part of a network, developing ideas around accessible provision of psychological services nationally.
I was lucky enough to begin my professional career working for an NHS service that provided an excellent and inclusive service to people with drug and alcohol problems and often other serious mental health conditions. These people had often survived severe trauma and early abuse and were marginalised by society. I felt proud to work as part of a team that strongly believed in the work we were undertaking, offering hope and support where it was so badly needed. Sadly our service became the victim of funding cuts and the wealth of expertise in the team was lost. I believe that many community mental health services are now highly focused on producing figures to justify their existence and ‘payment by results’ means that many are excluded from the support they need. The continuation of cuts to services and austerity measures by the government has resulted in ever increasing division between the privileged few and the majority of people. I think that by organising ourselves into groups that can help and support one another in our local communities we can fight back and empower ourselves.
I am particularly interested in developing therapy groups in my local area and I look forward to being part of a network that supports inclusivity, regardless of income.