Thanks for visiting my crowdfunding page. Sit down, pour yourself a glass of something, this'll take a min.
I'm a registered psychotherapist and music industry consultant. I’ve been voluntarily working as a psychotherapist at an NHS hospital for 2 days a week, for 19 months and this placement is due to run for a further 2 years and 2 months. I treat patients with severe and enduring mental health issues on a long-term basis (minimum of 1 year). It's complex and specialist work, which paid NHS psychologists are not trained to provide. The patients I work with are both challenging and inspirational and also very vulnerable and high-risk - often grappling with self-harm, suicidality, rage & violence. They have invariably suffered extreme and prolonged emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse, neglect and/or trauma.
I've had feedback that I'm disciplined, dedicated and (phew!) good at it, “Tamsin is an honorary psychotherapist at the Redbridge Psychotherapy Service. Her dedication is impressive and the quality of her clinical work is exceptional for her level of experience. I’m certain that she will use any further training in the best possible way to improve the wellbeing of many”, Dr. Adah Sachs.
I've been offered places at The Bowlby Centre, the Anna Freud Centre and European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (via CDS) to specialise in psychodynamic psychotherapy & complex developmental trauma (trauma that happens during childhood) over the next two years. So far, I've funded the first 4 years of training through working three jobs, student & career development loans, credit cards, overdraft & soon (really scarily soon), I'll run out of money…
Still reading? OK, good, because that's where you come in! Go you! The final 2 years are going to cost £26,705 (yes, i literally pay to work for free) - i'm hoping to crowd-fund a contribution towards that (I'm also applying for grants, bursaries and writing to medical philanthropists).
Please have a read of the below and if you can, i'd really really appreciate your support. I've no expectations and there's no minimum reach, just whatever we can scrape together would be fantastic.
WHAT DO I DO?
I am a BACP registered honorary psychodynamic psychotherapist working at an NHS hospital in East London on a voluntary basis for 2 days a week (a requirement of my training). I treat patients for a minimum of 1 year for once or twice weekly psychotherapy. I've been there 19 months and will be staying there a further 2 years and 2 months (I'm saying it again because it's a long time to work for free, right?)
My patients have a multitude of mental health issues including: dissociative disorders, personality disorders, severe agoraphobia & complex post-traumatic stress disorder. We work with survivors and perpetrators, helping people piece together the puzzle of what's happened to them, to recognise and, crucially, regulate their feelings, to witness, grieve for and heal wounds. It's intense work that is challenging both for the patient and the therapist and the good news is... it's very effective! We see lasting change on a deep and profound level with patients who have been in and out of the system for years. I'm proud of the work I and my colleagues are doing in our service and privileged to work in the NHS. I'm committed, motivated, focussed and lucky to enjoy the support & guidance of my clinical supervisor (trauma & dissociative identity disorder specialist) Dr. Adah Sachs. The service is in-demand, with low funding (only our supervisor is on the pay-roll) and our waiting list is currently around 8 months long. Our admin department was cut recently so inbetween a back-to-back caseload at the hospital, I help to run reception. If I had to leave the service (in order to earn full time to pay for training) it would be highly disruptive for patients I work with - in the words of Yalom 'it's the relationship that heals'. Severing a therapeutic relationship (a secure attachment) when patients have experienced frequent loss, separations and rejection can really set progress back.
Through my private practice, I also offer low fee slots for mental health nurses & social workers (who are not offered therapy as part of their training) and musicians and music industry who are struggling with a broad range of issues including grief and loss, career & relationship transitions, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, developmental trauma & addiction, amongst other things. I also consult for music management companies in relation to artist's mental health and am a regular contributer to Metro newspaper (as a psychotherapist). This August, I'll be volunteering at Reading Festival on behalf of Music Support, in their backstage 'safe' tents where I will be counselling artists, crew and music industry who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues and referring them on for further support should they need it.
I've been offered a place to train at the highly regarded Bowlby Centre this September. The Bowlby Centre is well-respected and provides training in attachment-based psychodynamic psychotherapy - a fascinating field relevant to all client groups, which looks at the quality and availability of client's initial relationships with their caregivers and how this impacts the client's current interpersonal relationships, understanding of themselves, the issues they face and the world around them. It is supported by recent neuroscientific discoveries and theory (see Allan Schore for more info) – in that there is evidence to show that the quality and availability of our first attachments with our caregivers impacts upon the development of the brain. When disruptions or trauma occur during childhood it can lead to mental health and relational difficulties in later life. The Bowlby Centre’s training is usually 4 years, but they have offered me a 2-year conversion course due to my prior training, experience and references (thanks Bowlby Centre!). I'm also training in MBT (great for Borderline Personality Disorder and emotional regulation) at the Anna Freud Centre and in Trauma and Dissociation (great for Dissociative Identity Disorder which used to be called multiple personality disorder) at ESTD & CDS.
Throughout training I am required to attend twice weekly therapy (at £100 per week), weekly supervision (at £70), plus course fees. This training will significantly improve my practice but if I cannot secure funding, I will have to drop out of the course and I may no longer be able to afford to work voluntarily in the NHS.
HELP ME, OBI WAN KENOBI... etc
WHY - WHO WILL IT HELP? WHAT WILL IT ACHIEVE?
This support enables me to carry on working in Redbridge Psychological Services two days a week, so it directly facilitates working with patients who are high risk, vulnerable, often violent towards themselves or others. At the end of this training I'll be a highly qualified and experienced attachment-based psychodynamic psychotherapist, ready to work in a variety of NHS psychodynamic and private practice providing high quality, free care for the most vulnerable of society. I hope to also work for the Clinic for Dissociative Studies (who are at the forefront of treatment and research into traumatic dissociation and dissociative identity disorder - which often occurs in severe cases of child abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, paedophile rings, severe neglect & trauma etc) and also for private clients including the music & creative industries via my private practice. I will be working with people seeking support for attachment and relational issues, complex trauma, developmental issues, personality disorders, dissociative identity disorder and I'll be trained to assess patient’s for dissociative identity disorder via the SCID-D assessment method.
THE 'SCIENCE BIT' - (what it's cost so far)
(covered by a career development loan, credit cards, overdraft, working three jobs & family investment)
£13,300 Regent’s University for MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2014-2016)
£1,500 Birkbeck – Counselling Certificate (2013-2014), needed this to get on to the MA
£4,800 in personal therapy for 2 years (a requirement of the course, I have now had 5 years of therapy in total)
£440 Institute of Psychoanalysis – introductory lectures (2014)
£540 The Bowlby Centre – Attachment Theory in Clinical Practice course (Oct-Dec 2016)
£100 The Bowlby Centre Conference (March 2017) Breaking the cycle of Attachment Trauma – student discount
£100 interview fee for the Bowlby Centre training to start Sept 2017
£1,785 Regent’s University Supervision 2016-2017
£295 (Part 1 of 2) Foundation Course in Understanding & Working with Traumatic Dissociation (I was awarded a £100 bursary from the original £395 fee)
£162 BACP registration (allowing me to practice)
£72 yearly insurance, allowing me to practice in the NHS & in private practice
+ travel, books, living costs etc
+ various costs for registering my business including: website building & design, accountant fees, on & offline advertising, room hire etc
FINAL TWO YEARS' TRAINING COST
£9000 the Bowlby Centre 2 year conversion course (£4500 per annum)
£9000 two years of twice weekly low income £50 per session psychodynamic psychotherapy @ 45 weeks per year (a requirement of training at the Bowlby Centre)
£6300 once weekly @ £70 per session supervision (a requirement of training at the Bowlby Centre)
£395 (Part 2 of 2) Understanding and Working with Traumatic Dissociation Post-Foundation Course (if I am accepted for another £100 bursary this will be reduced to £295)
£450 (Part 2 of 2) Anna Freud MBT training Part 2 – Practitioner Certificate Course
£1560 two years of travel to my NHS placement
+ books, living etc
TOTAL = £26,705
WHY CAN'T I PAY FOR IT MYSELF?
I am trying my hardest (believe me!), but unfortunately, the Bowlby Centre do not offer grants, hardship funds or scholarships (i've asked). Grants available to university students are not applicable to my training there (nor do they apply for the additional courses @ Anna Freud Centre or ESTD) and - gah - earlier this year the venue I was booking closed, out of the blue. I didn't have a lucrative career prior to training, I'm not married to someone who can support me and my family isn't wealthy. I don't have savings, just overdrafts & cards and it's all maxed out. I couldnt plan for this as when you start training, it's not made clear (feedback from peers, too) that you won't qualify for UKCP after the MA.
I work a 5 days + 2 evenings per week (often 6) = 2 days in the NHS, 2 in private practice, 1-2 as a music industry consultant + 2 evenings as an Ofsted registered nanny (friends will remember that this heavy workload contributed to glandular fever & reactive arthritus last year - that was fun!). From September I will be in college on Mon & Tues nights until 9.30/9.45pm. Any spare time will be spent researching my MA dissertation (topic is the experience and psychological impact of touring on musicians). The NHS placement and studying is great experience, but it also reduces my capacity to earn. By the end of the placement this will total close to 4 years part time / 2 years of full time free work for the NHS, working with patients which other services often deem too severe, high risk and/or complex to treat by other services.
So that's why i need your help...hope it makes sense. If you made it to the end, well done! (and thank you.)