Meet TALKWORKS therapist Izzy

Posted by Admin on 23 May, 2024

Our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) are NHS therapists who are trained to support adults across Devon (outside Plymouth) with a range of mental health difficulties; including low mood, anxiety, phobias, stress and sleep difficulties.

We sat down with Izzy, a psychological wellbeing practitioner in our Exeter city team, who talked to us about her role as a TALKWORKS therapist in Devon Partnership NHS Trust.

Why did you decide to train as a therapist?

I’ve always wanted to work in mental health and support people that struggle with mental health issues. I sought support through my local NHS Talking Therapies service when I was a teenager and was really happy with the support I received. The cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach made sense to me. I then studied Psychology and Counselling at University which made me realise that I wanted to train as a therapist and support people in through therapy, leading me to apply for a therapist role at TALKWORKS.

Can you tell us more about some of the treatment available at TALKWORKS?

At TALKWORKS we primarily offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on the relationship between our thoughts, physical symptoms and behaviours and how these all interact and impact each other. Sometimes when we’re struggling, we can pick up unhelpful behaviours or negative thinking patterns which can trap us in a vicious cycle reinforcing depression and/or anxiety. Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on what we can control in the here and now, and gives tools to break out of the vicious cycles.

We also offer a range of other treatment options including Counselling for Depression, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Prolonged Grief Disorder Therapy and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (an interactive group course).

As an NHS talking therapies service, we want to help as many people as we can. If you are struggling with low mood, anxiety, worry, sleep difficulties, or aren’t feeling quite yourself, please don’t wait until you hit ‘rock bottom’ before reaching out for support.

What is a typical day like working as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) at TALKWORKS?

What I like most about being a PWP is you generally have control of what your diary looks like. There are expectations of how many patients you should be seeing daily/weekly, but for the most of it you would book your own patients into your diary. You’d usually have around 2 assessments a day, where you’re meeting with a new patient to explore what they’re struggling with. The rest of the day would usually be; treatment sessions with patients, team meetings, attending clinical skills (where you meet with other PWPs in the team and ask clinical questions to further your learning), case management supervision (meeting with a senior member of the team to discuss the patients on your caseload). You can also request to run the TALKWORKS for Wellbeing Course which is a great course that runs weekly for 6 weeks.

What would a one-to-one session look like with you for a patient?

The first appointment is around 45 minutes, and its main aim is to give the patient a chance to talk through what they’ve been experiencing so that the therapist and patient can decide on the best treatment options moving forward. You can see more about what to expect in your first appointment in our video here.

Following on from this, if we agree to go into one-to-one treatment, we would have 6 x 30 minute treatment sessions to work through a CBT-based approach that best suits what the patient is experiencing. We would discuss the approach and the tools to use to try and break out of the vicious cycle. The patient would then have “home practice” to complete between the sessions.

What do you find most rewarding about being a TALKWORKS therapist?

The most rewarding part of being a TALKWORKS therapist is seeing patients’ symptoms improve and helping them take back control of their lives. When you’ve gone through treatment with someone and seen them grow and make changes which have benefitted them hugely. A patient might be struggling to leave the house during their initial assessment, and by the end of treatment they’re back at work, socialising and doing regular food shops. It’s really rewarding to hear the changes that you’re making in someone’s life.

How can I access support from TALKWORKS?

Getting support from TALKWORKS is really easy. As an NHS service, we’re completely free to access. You can refer yourself to TALKWORKS online, or calling our team on 0300 555 3344 (our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am – 4:45pm). Alternatively you can speak to your GP and ask them to make a referral on your behalf.

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