What it takes to be a Psychotherapist

This week Ed and I had been talking about our working days and comparing the differences. This ended with him suggesting that we do this weeks podcast as a ‘day in the life’, so we have started with me as the Psychotherapist, next session we should do a day in the life of Ed.

So, what does my day look like? Well, I normally spontaneously wake around 5am and normally I am up and at it unless it is a weekend or a day off. I might wake and then decide to go back to sleep if I do not need to get up. Early rising is a habit that goes back to living in ashrams and communities when I was younger, the habit just stuck. One of us would be up early to run the 6am yoga and meditation session followed by breakfast. This means that on days when I work in the hospital I am in by 6.30 and normally see my first patient at 7am.

Because I see people from all around the world, using online media, I have to be aware of differing time zones. If I am off to Dunedin in New Zealand they can be 12 hours ahead. So I may be sitting in the dark at 9 or 10pm in the UK talking to someone sitting on their deck drinking a squeezed orange in the morning sun. New York is seven hours behind so that I am having lunch as they are getting out of bed and Qatar is currently two hours ahead, three in our winter, whereas further round the Gulf it can be another hour ahead. As staff in the Gulf begin their working day at 7am local time I may need to be online by 4am uk time just as they are arriving at work. That can make for a long day if I then have to be in New Zealand for 10pm uk time.

I have been covering England, Scotland, Wales, Southern Ireland, Brussels, New Zealand, Australia, Odessa, USA, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Iraq and Iran. Half of my working life is now spent on online.

In the day that we looked at I did an early until late with a few meditation breaks in between. I was up at 4 am, meditation, had a shower and then saw four people online in the Middle East. Meditation, breakfast then three people face to face in the UK. Next off to New York for an hour, a seminar in the Middle East followed by a home visit to a disabled client. Tea, Meditation, then on line to Middle East and one face to face, meditation and the day was done.

Not all my days are that long or that intense, many are lighter and easier. Psychotherapy is rather like the emergency room. If someone showed up in The emergency room (ER) needing to be stitched up they would never be told, ‘okay, come back next week and we will sort you out’. It is the same with emotional and psychological issues. When someone needs to be seen they need to be seen now. Often people with emotional issues go onto a long waiting list, and very often they will also be medicated to suppress their symptoms. In my work and my life, whenever possible, I will attempt to see someone when they need to be seen rather than let them languish on a waiting list. People tell me that I mad and that I work too hard. I survived my problems in life because other people were prepared to go that extra mile for me and not simply write me off. I try and repay their kindness to me by helping others…

…if we all look after each other we will all be okay.

Take care, be happy and look after each other…

Sean x

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