Humans are naturally inquisitive so being in therapy can often throw up some anxiety about our therapist; who really are they anyway? How do they cope when things get tough? What brought them to this point in their life?

The therapeutic relationship is one like no other. One where the focus is on us, the client. We explore ourselves, how we connect with others and the world around us, we look at our past and our hopes for the future and often our inquiries of our therapist go unanswered in favour of why it’s important for us to ask the question.

Here we will introduce you to some of our team so you can get to know a little more about them without it impacting your sessions where their focus is, rightly, on you. We asked our therapists 10 questions and we will publish their answers in a series of blog posts.

So, grab a cuppa (and a biscuit or two) and settle into our first ever Therapy Quarters interview with… Karen Harrison, our clinical director.

What made you decide to become a therapist?

I had struggled myself with anxiety and depression for a number of years in my young adult life. I had a few experiences when I had tried to find a therapist that I could work with, but it was difficult to find someone I felt comfortable with and who ‘got me’. I had not felt like I had ever done anything good in my life, or ‘found’ myself really. I just thought I would give it a try and see, and if it wasn’t for me, I would try something else. That was over twenty years ago now.

What modality do you work in and what made you choose that path?

I work in a way which mirrors lots of the qualities and principles of the Person-Centred model. I believe connection and relationship in therapy is vital to the process working for the client. I work at the clients’ pace, I do not consider myself an expert on the client, I often say “ how can I be an expert on you, I have only just met you”, I value and respect autonomy and the clients’ right to be self-governing and trust that the connection and conditions I provide can sometimes be enough for the client to grow to a place they choose, and they feel better in.

However, for some clients, I believe the person-centred approach is not enough, and with the aim of meeting all client’s needs, I also trained in CBT, EMDR and Solution Focussed Therapy amongst other approaches. “One size doesn’t always fit everyone” approach and I may adjust my way of working to meet each individual client’s needs.

What is the best compliment you have ever received?

I’m really not sure, I value all genuine compliments.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

I love music, acoustic, relaxing mediation music, heavy rock, rock and roll and I am a huge Elvis and Springsteen Fan, but if I could only listen to one song, it would be Eva Cassidy, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. I lost my mum last year and as we listened to the song at her funeral, we released butterflies, it was just a beautiful moment that makes me feel wonderful.

Name two ways you regulate your own emotions.

I play the guitar which helps me to relax and feel in control of my emotions, and I love to discover new places by walking whenever I can, especially in the Lake District.

What does mental ill-health mean to you and why can it be hard to overcome?

I understand everyone has mental health just as they have physical health, and sometimes I can feel unwell with my mental health just as I can with my physical health. I find that accepting and understanding mental ill-health in this way, helps me to acknowledge and look after that part of me. I used to hide any issues connected to my own mental ill-health until I learnt that it’s a huge part of me and my existence which can be impacted by life and its challenges sometimes. I don’t’ hide ill health when I have a cold or virus, so I needn’t hide it when I may be feeling low or having trouble worrying, it’s okay. It was always hard to overcome when I tried to hide it and was alone. When people did not understand I remember I felt ashamed. Isolation and struggling alone can make it harder to overcome for me.

What five words best describe you?

Funny, Sensitive, Determined, Thoughtful and ADHD/Hardworking.

What is the first symptom you notice when you feel sad?

Alone, empty: a feeling similar to hunger.

If you could travel back in time to visit your younger self 10 years ago, what advice would you give yourself?

Be KIND to yourself.

What is one item you can’t live without?

My Health.

You can find out some more about our therapists and the support they offer by visiting our website:

Stay tuned for the next one of our “interview with…” series. If there are any questions you’d like to ask a therapist but have never had the courage to then send me an email via the “make an enquiry” tab and I’ll see what I can do 😊