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Look Inside the Therapy Room with Chrissie Henson
As part of Cerebral Palsy Awareness month, I am talking with Chrissie Henson.
Chrissie is a person-centred therapist and author who lives with cerebral palsy (CP). Chrissie lives in Leicestershire and is a keen advocate for disabled people’s independence and autonomy.
[Chrissie is kneeling on the decking on the edge of a lake holding the front paws of her small dog. Chrissie is wearing glasses, a maroon coat with blue trousers and brown shoes]
Hi, Chrissie. Thanks for talking with me today. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a self-employed therapist. Counselling with Chrissie is 5 years old this month! I live in a village in Leicestershire with Fiz, my therapy dog, who enjoys seeing the clients and often sits with them in our therapy room.
I enjoy good conversation and enjoy singing. I also have a big birthday coming up.
I have lived with cerebral palsy all my life. It has made me incredibly determined to achieve my goals.
Could you explain what a person-centred therapist is, and why you chose that career?
Person-centred means the client is at the centre of everything. The client decides what they want to talk about and how much work they do on themselves in between sessions and how long they attend. We are the experts in our own lives and so have the power to change things for ourselves. Sometimes we just get stuck and need a little professional support. In the past, I have benefited from therapy, and I want to support others with issues that cause physical and mental discomfort.
[Chrissie is sitting down holding a copy of her new book. A friend is standing behind her]
Do you think that events like the pandemic have had a big effect on mental well-being?
The short answer is yes. A lot of people suffered from their normal routines being taken away and not seeing the people they love and other support networks. Personally, I did not mind lock down too much as it meant more friends were available to chat with, and it felt like my non-disabled friends were experiencing a little of what my life is like. Also, I was working online with clients after I worked out what Zoom was!
Chrissie, you are also an author. Could you tell me a little about your latest book and your hopes for the reader?
My book is called Look Inside the Therapy Room. It shares my story of living with cerebral palsy (CP) and the barriers I overcame to have the careers I wanted, whilst facing workplace ableism. I answer the questions asked by new clients and those looking to start therapy. My aim is to break the taboo around therapy for everybody. Throughout the book, I have included some extra pages called Pause for Thought where the reader is encouraged to stop and reflect and record their thoughts.
My hopes for the reader are that the book shows them what happens in therapy and reduces worry or concern. I want to reach people that might need my help. Not only as a therapist but also as a mentor for others and to show what is possible
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead
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