Therapist Spotlight: Lindsay George
I’m a single parent, I have two amazing teenage daughters who teach me constantly about life. I love meeting new people, travelling, keeping fit and healthy. I try to run, cycle and walk most days and enjoy experimenting with food. Nutrition is so important for our mental health, isn’t it?
Hi Lindsay, can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I have a passion for adventure and trying new things. I’ve cycled around Cuba, southern India, travelled north to south through Vietnam and even learnt to sail around Greece. I enjoy new experiences and generally like to push myself out of my comfort zone every now and again – it’s good for me and helps to conquer my fears and build a stronger resilience. Also, it combines many of my passions in one go! My daughters call these my ‘crazy holidays’, though sadly, they are yet to join me on any of them.
What led you to a career in counselling and psychotherapy?
Like many people, past experiences have taught me so much about myself and life in general. As a teenager, I sadly lost my dad to cancer. Unfortunately, back then, there weren’t any professionals like me to talk to. I remember feeling very alone, confused and lost. Sadly, I developed an eating disorder in response. Despite trying to hide it from my family, it was obvious that something was wrong, yet nobody knew how to help me.
Taking a risk and telling someone how you feel takes courage, yet by doing so, you should feel supported, happier and ideally more in control of your situation.
Many years and several interesting careers later – including managing my own punk clothes shop, training as a nurse and a successful career in healthcare sales and marketing – I found myself at another stage of my life, with two small children, in an unhappy marriage and sitting opposite a Relate counsellor. It was at that point that I registered the value of emotional support which allowed me to change my life. Supporting others was a natural progression from there, so I took the leap immediately and retrained as a counsellor and psychotherapist.
You’re an integrative counsellor, can you tell us more about this approach?
Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds all the answers. Hence why I may draw on cognitive behavioural therapy or psychodynamic theory to help a person deal with anxiety or deep-rooted behavioural problems.
In addition, our physical health affects our mental health and vice-versa, therefore when I start working with an individual or couple, I have learned to listen very carefully, picking up clues that help inform me further as to what may also be adding to a person’s distress. Whether an individual or a couple, I will then carefully tailor my theoretical approach accordingly.
What can clients expect from the first session with you?
I fully appreciate how anxiety-provoking it can be talking to a stranger and/or the prospect of counselling. I hope that clients will experience me as relaxed and friendly, and can then feel comfortable in my company. Counsellors are trained to be non-judgmental. Taking a risk and telling someone how you feel takes courage, yet by doing so, you should feel supported, happier and ideally more in control of your situation.
For this reason, I offer a free 20-minute consultation for each new client, as it provides a chance to work out whether you can work with me and if so, the hope is that you will feel more at ease when you have your first proper counselling session.
You work a lot with young people, are there any key differences between counselling for adults and counselling for teens?
I work with young people, adults and couples, and yes, there are fundamental differences between each client group. Generally, the issues that are presented are often relevant to age, stage and development. Sadly, young people have lots of additional pressures on them these days. They are also much more visible due to social media, which can often make them feel under more scrutiny and create additional anxiety, which can result in feeling withdrawn and alone at times.
However, working with all age groups is immensely rewarding, especially when I see changes happening and a more positive relationship develop, not only with themselves but in relationships with their friends and families. Counselling ideally develops a better self-awareness, which if worked with, can increase confidence, self-esteem and overall resilience. I often remind my young clients that the skills they learn in their teens are so important, as they will carry them into adulthood and equip them with stronger coping mechanisms in order to deal with life’s stressors. And, as I well know, it’s never too late to learn.
To be put in a position of trust by my client and to be the one to help them when they are feeling at their most vulnerable is a privilege.
Have you any advice to give someone interested in therapy?
Being a therapist can feel intense at times, listening to other people’s problems can take its toll, so it’s vitally important that we each practice good self-care.
Live your life well and learn from your experiences and try to develop a strong sense of compassion for yourself. Learn to deal with issues when they come up because ignoring them won’t mean they go away, unfortunately, they often just get bigger. I love my job, to be put in a position of trust by my client, and to be the one to help them when they are feeling at their most vulnerable is a privilege.
Where can people find you?
I’m easy to find, just search my name Lindsay George, or you can find me on Counselling Directory, BACP – find a therapist, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or via my website, lindsaygeorge.co.uk. Thank you.