ELAINE CLAFFEY MIAHIP
I work four days a week. A typical working day involves a mixture of client sessions, zoom meetings with other trainers to collaborate on future projects, returning phone calls and liaising with other health care professionals as needed and catching up on administration.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I have moved to working online. I was initially very reluctant and sceptical, but having to switch from in-person, to working online therapeutically was surprisingly effective. The switch came in the middle of an intensive group training for crisis counsellors supporting those affected by sexual violence. This experience really opened up the world of online therapy and training for me.
What Types Of Issues Do You Work With?
Since becoming accredited in 1994 I have worked a lot with clients who have experienced trauma from very different events, for example sexual violence, accidents, damaging relationships etc. I also work with depression, anxiety, bereavement and loss. Difficult life experiences, emotions and challenging relationships, unhelpful thinking habits and intrusive thoughts/images.
How Important Is Supervision In Your Practice?
After working for 20yrs in a rape crisis centre you really appreciate the role of supervision. The facility to debrief and tease out all the subtle dynamics in the relationship with your client helps keep vicarious trauma at a minimum. For me supervision is like ‘quality control’, it highlights issues and allows a neutral eye to be cast over the therapeutic process.
Do You Have a Self-Care Routine?
I try to build in self care to my working day. A walk, or a swim on the nicer days. A 20 minute yoga practice or mucking around in the garden for a while.
Why Did You Choose Psychotherapy As A Career?
I started of my professional life in mental health nursing. I loved it, but after a few years I got frustrated with the lack of progress in psychiatry. That was in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Thankfully a lot has changed. Then it seemed like medication was the only focus for recovery. When I came across psychotherapy it opened up another lens to view and understand human emotional distress.
I think psychotherapists can help improve functionality for those experiencing even chronic mental health problems. I love the way it brings the client and their needs to the fore rather than the healthcare system and its needs being foremost. In my version of an ideal world a psychotherapist would be part of every GP’s clinic just like a practice nurse.
How Long Did It Take To Become Qualified To Practice?
After qualifying as a mental health nurse it took four years to have the basic qualification to practise.
What Do You Love Most About Your Profession?
I think it’s a very exciting time to be a psychotherapist. I love neuroscience. Understanding the neurobiological underpinnings of human behaviour is crucial to how we work most effectively.
"Helping our clients understand whats happening in their bodies has a very calming and stabilising effect."
Do You Have A Good Work/Life Balance?
Pre-pandemic I struggled with that balance. Now cutting out daily work commutes, working from home and having the freedom to organise my day to suit my strengths has put me back in charge.
If you wish to contact Elaine regarding her Psychotherapy services, please call her directly on 087 6303078.