A day in the life of . . . a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

On World Mental Health Day, Christopher Hutchins explains what a typical day is like for a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist at DHC Talking Therapies

I initially worked in academia – primarily researching sensory differences in people with autism and people with neurotypical development. Although I loved my work, I was not satisfied. Changing careers allowed me to see a marked difference in people’s lives on a day-to-day basis. Each client is individual and I love taking the time with each client to think about their own experience and how we can use psychological strategies and techniques to enhance their wellbeing.

I have worked at DHC Talking Therapies since April 2018.  We initially provided counselling to the population of Dorking but the service has grown and our psychological therapists are now based in a variety of community and primary care sites throughout Surrey.  We are very proud of our short waiting times, great health outcomes and positive feedback from clients.

A typical day involves working with clients on a one-to-one basis, conducting assessments, developing treatment plans and engaging in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This therapy is aimed at helping people with depression and anxiety disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder and specific phobias.

I also attend and provide one-to-one and group supervision on a weekly basis and will shortly be running Cognitive Behaviour Therapy groups for people who are experiencing long-term health conditions, such as diabetes, COPD and cardiac problems, and depression and/or anxiety. More recently, I have also started to become more involved with local groups for people with long term conditions. This has been focused on the emotional, and psychological aspects of living with a long term health condition. Managing these conditions, and the ways in which they change your life can take quite a toll.

I am particularly interested in mental health and co-morbidity (the occurrence of more than one disorder at the same time). Many people with long-term physical health conditions also have mental health problems. These can lead to significantly poorer health outcomes and a reduced quality of life.  Last year I completed further training in supporting people with co-morbid long-term health conditions (cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, COPD, coronary heart disease, diabetes, IBS, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain) and depression and/or anxiety. I have been using this training to further augment therapy with clients who experience multiple physical and mental health difficulties.

My greatest professional achievement so far has been completing my CBT training. Following that, I have found that further developing my practice, keeping my skills sharp and up-to-date and working with current trainees really gives me a sense of achievement. I’m planning on attending further training in to Body Dysmorphic Disorder in February, and the BABCP conference next summer.

I find my career incredibly fulfilling. It is immensely satisfying helping colleagues develop and enhance their practice, as well as working with clients to help them make sense of their distress so that they understand it and improve their day-to-day lives.

As the field of CBT evolves and new areas of application are found, I intend to complete further training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy but for now, my aim is to continue to practice effective CBT and help those in need.

As a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, I know how important it is to relax and it is hard to beat curling up with a good sci-fi book at the end of the day. My partner and I love the outdoors. We like to walk and explore the surroundings. I have also been getting more active on my bike, so the possibility of 2019’s London to Brighton bike ride could be my next challenge.

If you feel you could benefit from Talking Therapies please contact us today.

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