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Student Experiences: Lesley Kollikho

Offering extensive knowledge and training in the field of Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy, our courses are bursting with information from some of the finest minds in the industry. This month, we caught up with past student Lesley Kollikho to find out what Terapia means to her…

When did you join Terapia and what made you apply for the course?

I had known since my teenage years that I wanted to work in psychology, and after completing my degree, I toyed with various psychological careers. I trained as an early year’s teacher as I wanted to gain experience with children as by then I was leaning more towards working in psychology with young people. 

What drew me to Terapia was the creative nature of the training. I loved the idea of incorporating play and art into therapy as I knew how limiting language could often be, especially with children and young people. I also wanted to learn about different modalities, so I was drawn to the integrative element. 

How did you find the application process?

It seems like such a long time ago now! In all honesty, I remember not fully understanding what the training would entail. I remember having my interview with Bozena and before I knew it, starting the training. 

I remember the application process being smooth, but I think it is difficult to be truly prepared when embarking on something such as psychotherapy training. 

Did you have any previous experience working with children or was this a new area you wished to explore?

By the time I join Terapia, and throughout my training, I worked extensively with children and their families in the capacity of being an early year’s teacher. I worked in schools and nurseries so had a lot of experience beforehand. 

How did you find completing the course in a part-time format? 

In all honesty, towards the end of the course, it did not quite seem part time as there were so many different elements that it ended up taking quite a significant portion of my week. That being said, I did manage to continue working full time (bar one afternoon a week) as I did the course in the evenings. Although it was difficult, I did receive support from Terapia, supervisors and my peers. It’s a very intense training, and rightly so, and you have to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time towards completing it. 

What was the most rewarding part of your studies at Terapia?

There wasn’t one thing! Top of the list was meeting so many wonderful people, many of whom I am still in contact with today. I adored the variety of the course, I remember feeling elated and inspired after every (well, most), of the training weekends. I leant such an incredible amount about myself and the human condition, and I truly adore my work as a therapist and wouldn’t want to do anything else.  

What was the most challenging part of your studies at Terapia? 

Juggling all the different elements was challenging at times, but the most difficult part was the internal work that one has to do when training to be a therapist. Although challenging, developing self-awareness is one of the most important things I have done in my life, and it has improved it in immeasurable ways. I would advise that you get a great therapist and if you can, stick with them throughout the training. They are not only a source of challenge and growth but a secure and holding base which is so necessary whilst training. 

Where have your studies led you to currently?

Since gaining my qualification in psychotherapy, I worked in an eating disorder psychiatric unit for five years. Although difficult and challenging work, I was able to experience being part of a multidisciplinary team, gain significant clinical hours and experience and have begun to specialise in eating disorders. I left the service in January 2022, and now work solely in private practice where I have a small client base. I am also part of a group practice called ‘The Blue Door’.  I supervise at Terapia as well as privately, and I also give talks and webinars about a variety of mental health topics.  

I also run my own online network call ‘Tips for therapists’ where I have an online Instagram community geared towards therapist development and flourishing in the profession. I also write a blog detailing my experiences as a modern psychotherapist working in London.  

What does the future hold for your career / studies?

I will continue to develop my expertise in working psychotherapeutically with eating disorders, and training other therapists to do so. Traditionally it is an illness dominated with treatment via CBT, and I believe there needs to be an overall approach to how it is managed and treated. 

I enjoy being a supervisor so I will continue my development in that area, too. 

Lastly, I adore my online ‘Tips for therapists’ network and have some exciting projects in the pipeline, which I can’t talk about just yet! I am able to interact with such a wonderful variety of mental health professionals and my thinking has expanded as a result. I enjoy writing my blog and have several writing related projects coming up this year. 

Would you recommend Terapia as an educational institution?

I have and will continue to recommend Terapia as an excellent place of learning and training. Since completing my training and working with many therapists, I have a deeper appreciation of how thorough, creative and professional the training is.  

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