Therapist leaves NHS to launch private clinic and help meet mental health demand
A THERAPIST with more than 25 years’ experience in the medical sector launched her own private clinic to help meet demand for mental health support.
Clair Domeney opened North Wales Cognitive Behavioural Therapy just months ago and has already experienced a surge in patients experiencing issues such as panic disorder, anxiety, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), chronic depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder) and specific phobias.
The mum-of-two also meets with victims of domestic abuse at her new base on Conwy Riverside Business Park, and works with people to create bespoke, tailored models and solutions to help them overcome whatever issue they are facing.
Clair moved to the area 12 years ago after spending much of her time as a graduate mental health worker – now known as a PWP (Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner) – in Yorkshire.
She was shocked to learn there was no equivalent role over the border and is determined to be there for the many people struggling in their everyday lives, having been given start-up support by the team at Business Wales.
One of only eight therapists in North Wales accredited by the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), she believes there is also a need to attract future generations to the sector.
“There are huge waiting lists for a whole host of mental health issues, and in many cases a GP will advise patients to get in touch with a cognitive behavioural therapist because we will work with them to overcome their problems with techniques that are based on decades of research,” said Clair.
“In my role as a graduate mental health worker we would identify and help to tackle these issues in primary care but in Wales this service isn’t available so people will look to a fully qualified BABCP private clinician with experience – sadly there aren’t many of us around.”
She added: “There are a lot of counsellors and other therapists who advertise CBT but it’s important patients choose carefully and are aware of their accreditation and qualifications because there are different levels to what we do and given the increased focus on mental health and wellbeing in light of the Covid-19 pandemic – and the current social and economic climate – seeing the right person is crucial.”
Having achieved a degree in Psychology, Clair went on to work for the NHS in mental health, gaining qualifications in Postgraduate Primary Mental Health Care and CBT.
After moving to Wales, she completed a Nursing degree and worked as a registered nurse for over a decade.
During lockdown – and following a bout of illness – she decided to return to her “passion” of helping people suffering domestic abuse, anxiety and depression, but was forced to travel to the University of Bolton to complete a two-year postgraduate course in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapies, as it was the closest institution delivering the qualification.
“I had always wanted to go back to CBT and learn more, because we can make a big difference to people’s lives using proven techniques, empathy, kindness and even humour,” she said.
“The response I’ve had since launching the business is testament to that, I’ve been inundated with new patients, and it shows how many out there are struggling and need assistance.”
Clair added: “Unfortunately I’m not an emergency service so can’t be available 24/7 but CBT sessions can be pivotal in helping people to recover by working collaboratively with them.
“I look forward to building strong links with local GP clinics and community partners, creating a support network for mental health in North Wales.
In addition, I am aware of many employees struggling with well-being and in the future hope to offer group sessions to support local business.”
NOTES: British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) is the lead organisation for CBT in the UK and Ireland. A professional organisation, it promotes, improves and upholds standards of CBT practice, supervision and training, supporting members to develop professionally and link with the CBT community.