Why couple therapy is good for career longevity
Kate Thompson, Head of Strategic Development, Tavistock Relationships
Kate Thompson left a career in TV in London to train as a couple therapist with Tavistock Relationships in her forties. In her own words, she was looking to do something “more meaningful”. She is now a couple psychoanalytic psychotherapist, faculty staff member and clinical lecturer at Tavistock Relationships.
“It is the most creative job I have ever done; much more creative than TV. It’s about ideas. Balancing the theoretical and the clinical, easing distress and trying to help. Couple diagnosis is especially fascinating as you know that if you can help a couple you are probably helping a whole family.
I started with Relate while I was still working in TV and then undertook additional training with Tavistock Relationships – first the three-month Introduction Course and then the four-year MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. As part of the course you have to go into therapy yourself which is really important and instructive. As a therapist you need to know what it feels like to be the client and how exposed it can feel.
The psychoanalytical approach to couple therapy is really about finding new ways of working with people and through their problems. We apply it to many different scenarios’ people struggling with adoption, people who are depressed, parents in long-term dispute as well as couples facing a crisis in their relationship.
I love my job and I really enjoy working with like minded people. I’m based at Tavistock Relationships in London three and half days a week and have private clients who I see on the remaining two days. It can be isolating to work only on my own, so I like this combination.
I have experienced a huge amount of self-development at Tavistock Relationships and enjoy the fact that I am still learning – about other peoples’ emotional landscape but also my own.
We find ourselves working with many other organisations and people – social workers, CAHMS, the judiciary and the NHS. It’s fascinating to see how these different disciplines intersect.
It would be great to see more men working in couple therapy. There are plenty of male therapists but not so many choose to work with couples. It would be good to have more in the profession – particularly when we are co-counselling a couple.
This a good career to take up when you’re older. I was in my 40s when I started training and was probably the youngest on the course. There’s no doubt that life experience is valued in this profession so being older is certainly no barrier. I hope I’ll still be working in my 70s."
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