A while ago, I was talking to my grandma about the therapy I’d been having, and the positive impact it’d had on my life. She listened with interest and then aptly pointed out that; “Only rich folk did that in my day. The rest of us just used family. It’s always good to share a problem.”
Being from a large family, (she’s one of four siblings). Not to mention parents, grandparents, aunts, cousins etc.. who all lived within five minutes of each other, it’s not hard to vision a very busy household! There was always someone around to share a cup of tea with and talk about what was troubling them. The women took care of each other’s kid’s without a fuss, didn’t judge if someone had “one too many” at a party, or ruined the Sunday roast! Everyone understood that life was hard and sometimes help was not only needed, but there was no shame in accepting it.
She told me about an incident after having her first child, (my dad) and finding it very difficult.
“I’ll never forget the day I went round me mam’s house, handing him to Sheila (her sister) and bursting into tears. I told em that I hadn’t slept in days and felt like a terrible mother. They simply gave me a brew wi two sugars, put me to bed and told me not to worry about a thing. We’d talk it through later.”
In 2018 these type of living arrangements and support systems are rare. Speaking from personal experience, my family are spread out all over the country. When we do catch up, there are so many more important things to discuss, rather than, “how are you feeling at the moment?”
Yet, my grandma’s point about ‘needing someone to talk to’ really struck a chord with me, and it links back into my passion for therapy. As a society, I think we need someone to care.
On 9th October, the day before ‘World Mental Health day,’ I attended the launch of Harley Therapy
If I’m being completely honest, I went for the following three reasons:
- June Sarpong was hosting, who I have A LOT of respect and admiration for. Her campaigning for mental health, feminism, and diversity inspire me endlessly. So the opportunity to meet her was very exciting indeed.
- I was hoping to meet some other mental health advocates who share my passion for openness, honesty, and self-care. I was therefore delighted to meet Mike Douglas. Great guy, with a heart of pure gold. Do check him out on Twitter.
- I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before in my writing, (like a hundred thousand times), but I’m from a working-class background, and proud to be so… and as much as I would love, ‘money is no option when it comes to health care’ to be a reality, it isn’t.
Just before my nervous breakdown in 2012, when I was at my most vulnerable, I went to see a psychiatrist on Harley Street. I reasoned that at £120 a pop, these people must be the best? Plus EVERYBODY’s heard of Harley Street, right? So I took the money out of my savings and handed it over willingly. By the end of session two, after which the therapist in question had called me Sophie twice, (my name is Claire), I knew that I wouldn’t be going back. I left feeling cheated and alone.
So I’ll admit, that I went to this event hoping to meet a Harley Street therapist and questioning not only their prices, but their morals!
The host of the evening was Dr Sheri Jacobson, the founder of Harley Therapy, and after a brief reception, she interviewed June on stage. After listening to what they both had to say about therapy and mental health in general, my interests were peaked. Both their honesty and raw emotion was compelling.
A few wines later, (courage from the Dutch and all that), I attempted to talk to Sheri about Harley Therapy and her reasons for starting it. (Not the best idea)! So we rescheduled a professional interview at a later date.
I must admit, that I had my preconceptions about both Harley Therapy as a business and Sheri as an individual, (both of which couldn’t have been more wrong).
Preconception one – Sheri was most likely the rich wife of some mogul, who was funding the whole thing.
Preconception two – Harley Therapy was probably elitist and would exclude those who couldn’t afford the premium rates.
I’m not too proud to admit that I’m deeply ashamed of both these judgments.
Within minutes of talking to Sheri on the phone, I felt as though I was chatting to a kindred spirit. Sheri is a self-made woman, who started her career in investment banking. Yet, she gave it all up to become a volunteer therapist, whilst earning a living bartending in the evenings.
Harley Therapy has clearly been a dream for a long time. In short, she wanted to create a database of credited and affordable therapists that EVERYONE, no matter their needs could use.
What you need to know about Harley Therapy
- HT is a directory for therapists (think yellow pages) – making it easier to find a therapist based on the needs of the individual. Whether that be the condition, personality type, or technological requirements.
- The use of ‘Harley’ in the name does not automatically mean that they’re expensive! (As per my error). Rates start as low as £35 a session, with the overall average being £62.
- The majority of current directory based therapy websites operate on a ‘pay to list’ basis. Whereby, a therapist pays a fee to be listed. Harley Therapy does NOT adopt this model. There isn’t a fee. Furthermore, all therapists are assessed, pre-approved and monitored on a continued basis by the team. This includes feedback and a rating. In short, all of the therapists have to meet an expected standard of care.
- Due to this approach, Harley Therapy is currently operating at a loss, which Sheri was very open about. However, she made it clear that “purpose over profit” is the heart of the company.
At the start of any mental health journey, choosing a therapist can be a daunting experience. There are so many options to consider.
I rarely make such a bold statement, without adopting a ‘sit on the fence,’ approach. But if you’re at the start of your own therapy journey I would encourage, no implore you to check out HARLEY THERAPY. They’re the real deal.
You can also find Dr Sheri Jacobson on Instagram HERE.
**This is NOT a sponsored post.**