Reuben Turkie is a UK-based Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Reuben talks to The Industry Leaders about how he transitioned from photography to his current position and how his work can provide some incredibly challenging situations.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
After graduating with a BA in Photographic and Digital Arts in 2003, I moved from my hometown London to Bristol, where I ran a successful photographic business for eight years. The 2008 recession meant I had to reconsider, and I spent 5 years working in IT whilst training to become a therapist. I realised that I wanted to serve a higher purpose and help people who needed to find better mental health.
What kind of work does your role involve?
RT Counselling's approach is a person-centred one. Meaning that it is predominantly non-directive as I work from each of my clients' individual set of circumstances.
I am an integrative therapist, maintaining the core values of empathy, unconditional positive regard for my clients, and congruence (being authentic). I also use other modes of therapy. These include Person Centred; Cognitive Behavioural (CBT); Psychodynamic; Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and other creative practice and models, including art therapy, connecting with nature, timeline work or visualisation.
My work as a Hypnotherapist is more solution-focused and therefore tends to offer more short-term work.
What gets you excited about your industry?
My passion lies in the reward I feel at seeing my clients flourish into more grounded and emotionally stable people. Often people come to my practice who are deeply traumatised, depressed or anxious. I help them leave with a new, more positive outlook on life. This is the core reason why we work with compassion for clients in the therapy world every day.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Dad once told me that it is okay to not be liked by everyone. I was only a teenager at the time, and this has stuck with me.
If we strive to be the most popular person in the room, we can be burdened with disappointment when we begin to wonder if we are achieving this unrealistic goal. This can spiral into low self-esteem and begin to make us question our positioning in the outside world. Finding humility allows us to be content with who we are and not worry about what impression we give or how others perceive us.
What, or who inspires you?
Eckhart Tolle for being a guru and spiritual influencer who manages to throw in humour like Yoda! Also, Yoga with Adrienne for giving me guidance and solace through the lockdown.
The stories and epiphanies clients share with me every day also inspire me, as do my wife, children, family and loved ones.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
It is a requirement as a therapist that you maintain continued professional development. I read a lot of industry-related books and online articles from a wide array of training resources, some provided by other therapists. Other examples include the Counselling Tutor and the National Counselling Society, one of the regulatory bodies I am a member of.
My supervisor is an invaluable mentor too, and I attend a monthly peer supervision group. Striving for improvement and high standards is key to what we do in mental health work. There are other networking and support groups such as CAPPPCHAT (Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Private Practice).
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
Whilst I was on placement before I qualified, I worked with a perpetrator and survivor of abuse. He had suffered multiple incidents of sexual abuse as a child and served two prison sentences for his role in abusing women.
Finding forgiveness and redemption was a challenge for both of us. As a counsellor, you show unconditional positive regard and hearing his stories meant this was a challenge at times. We spent over a year working together, and despite his traumatic past, he had an incredible sense of humour and awareness of his guilt and shame.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Donate a proportion to charities. Buy my family our dream home here in the Cotswolds and a place abroad - perhaps in Australia where my Mum, her partner and my little sister live. I'd probably buy one in Europe too.
I'd also like to buy a VW campervan and a vintage sportscar - probably an E-Type Jaguar. After that, I'd dedicate my life to being altruistic and volunteering to help others in between swimming in my pool!
How do you switch off after a day at work?
Cooking for the family is a great way to de-stress for me. I also love to have a soak in a hot bath and practice mindfulness. Once our kids are settled, my wife and I will snuggle on the sofa in front of a gripping thriller.
I also DJ, mainly EDM, but I keep my ears open to all genres of music. This is a great way to get completely absorbed in the music and have a solo silent disco, especially with a beer or wine. I also run, swim, meditate, do Thai chi and yoga, but these tend to be in the morning.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
To continue to reduce suicide, which is sadly most prevalent in young men. Allowing all victims of abuse to speak freely and become survivors, not unheard victims. For society as a whole to become open and unreserved in expressing our feelings, emotions and needs to find good mental health.
Removing the taboo around this is imperative for our future globally. It will lead to a more positive and sustainable existence for us all. Reaching absolute equality irrespective of class, sex, race, gender or sexuality.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
That is tricky - there are so many!
Book: Bricks That Build The Houses, Kate Tempest
Podcast: Grounded with Louis Theroux, and How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates.
How should people connect with you?
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