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  • Writer's pictureDr Jo Johnson

Hello from summer 2023

I’ll have been a qualified Clinical Psychologist for eight years this year. It feels like I should have a lot of answers by now. Of course, I’ve learned a huge amount from my teachers, colleagues, supervisors - and, most of all, my clients.

But the further I get into this career, the more I realise how much I still have to learn - like Newton’s image of the child picking up pebbles at the edge of the vast sea shore.

I came into this career with a feeling of hope and optimism - if only I could complete this (highly competitive, doctoral-level) training, I’ll gather the answers I need to somehow be invincible and resilient, and help others be that too.

I didn’t realise I might get hurt at work - even while doing ‘all the right things’. Be careful, be thoughtful, be gentle, but also be assertive, raise concerns with management, have the right answers yourself. Take care of everybody, take care of yourself. Be in therapy. I still got hurt.

I’m not special - in providing therapy to NHS doctors, it’s a story I’ve now heard many times - occurring in much more heroic contexts than mine.

One frustration with talking therapies can be that conversation stays at a rational level, and that not enough attention is paid to the physical reality of how traumatic experiences affect the body.

I completed Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy training last year (much more on that soon).

It felt like I’d been given a missing piece of the puzzle.

With EMDR, I could see change happening in real time. Moments of realisation, the body visibly relaxing as truths ‘clicked’ into place.

“It’s over now.”

“It wasn’t my fault.”

“I can move past this.”

I have felt it myself, and you can too. I don’t have all the answers, but I know that healing is possible. I consider this journey a great privilege.

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