Swan Consultancy: Psychologist wants people to seek help in times of need
As a teenager Dr Sarah Swan says she was always the friend that people would call to talk to about their problems.
Now she has been a qualified clinical psychologist since 2000 and has more than 20 years experience of working with people with a range of difficulties.
She said: “I studied behavioural sciences at degree level and found the psychology subjects most interesting and from there decided I wanted a career in clinical psychology.
“I didn’t realise at the time how difficult it is to get into, as there is a large number of people competing for the doctorate training course.
“But after gaining some relevant experience I was successful in getting a place.
“Many people don’t realise, but the terms ‘psychologist’, ‘therapist’ and ‘counsellor’ are not protected titles, so anyone can call themselves these things.
“It was very important to me that I qualified in one of the properly regulated talking therapy professions: clinical psychology.
“And I have loved it ever since.”
Sarah works with adults with a range of presenting issues. Often people come to see her when they are feeling depressed, anxious or suffering from low self-esteem or the impact of trauma.
She said: “We can help people to learn strategies to cope with these issues. We also help people to understand why and how these difficulties have emerged and can support people to work through these underlying issues.”
The Swan Consultancy team is trained in a number of different therapeutic approaches, e.g. CBT & EMDR, which means they can work flexibly according to the person’s needs.
Sarah speaks to each person who gets in touch to see what they are looking for and then matches them to the most suitable psychologist who can best meet their needs.
She said: “It can be really difficult to find someone to talk to and I am passionate about helping people find the right kind of help, with someone who is suitably qualified and experienced.
“I feel so privileged that people tell me their stories and allow me to see their vulnerability. And it is so rewarding to see people improve in how they feel, letting go of issues from the past that may have been impacting on them for many years.”
She also supports businesses with employee wellbeing.
“As a clinical psychologist, I am trained in understanding how systems work, so I can help leaders to understand the issues within their organisation that are impacting on productivity and wellbeing and offer bespoke interventions to improve this.”
Sarah has used consulting rooms at Cowdray in Midhurst and at London Road Physio in Hindhead. She is currently still only offering consultations via Zoom as she is looking into new consulting premises in the Midhurst and Haslemere area.
When it comes to the pandemic, she said: “I think people have coped remarkably well with the pandemic. But it has, for some, highlighted or exacerbated some aspects of their life that are difficult.”
Sarah’s advice to anyone that is struggling is to talk to someone you can trust. “Whether it is your partner, a friend, GP, or someone like myself,” she said. “ Fortunately, mental health is being talked about more and more now, so the stigma is reducing. But people can often think they are the only one who is struggling or that they should be able to cope.
“Mental health is just like physical health: we all go through periods where our health can suffer and it is important to seek help to improve how you feel.
“I see people who self-fund, have insurance cover or are funded by their employer. But there are also good NHS services that offer time-limited counselling and therapy, to which you can self-refer or go via your GP.”
For more information, visit swanconsultancy.co.uk