Barry Smale

  • Psychotherapist

My professional qualifications, accreditations and memberships:

  • MSc
  • MBACP (Accredited)
  • UKRC
  • MCIM

My professional experience:

Since starting work as a therapist in 2000, as well as with Nightingale Hospital, I have worked in GP surgeries, charity services, clinics, outreach work, services to business and private practice. The wide variety of client base I deal with led me to train in a mix of therapies that worked with different types of people and conditions. The acute clients I deal with led me to investigate and focus on therapies that helped people stabilise and get back to health quickly. During the work I have done with acute problems of addiction, eating disorders and bi-polar disorder I often encountered trauma and difficulties with coming out of high or low states. This led me to trauma therapies techniques like biofeedback, and how to help people get better at managing their own state. As a result I started a number of groups in the hospital to pass on this information to clients and help them make practical use of it. This resulted in work with Professor Gordon Turnbull, who specialises in Complex Trauma, and led to the development of the Dedicated Stress and Trauma Service.

Before training as a psychotherapist I worked in business for around 20 years in a variety of management and directorship roles. I currently lecture at London South Bank University and teach Chi Kung and Mindfulness.

My personal statement:

During my career I have been fortunate to work in a wide variety of settings and with all kinds of clients. It has led me to focus less on one style of therapy and more on the common things that help people get well. I have trained in a number of approaches (including Psychodynamic, CBT, EMDR, various sensorimotor) and, as a result of the variety of help clients have needed, have learned how these approaches can be used and combined to help people be well. My approach is to identify what is getting in the way of people getting on with life as they want to and use my clinical skill and judgement to use the right approach to help them change these things.

My career as a therapist has coincided with a time of great development in understanding of genetics and neuroscience. The leaps forward in these areas have helped us understand more about things that underlay many psychological problems. It has meant practices like mindfulness and biofeedback are now understood in terms of the real effects they have on people and when they are useful (and when they aren’t). I have been lucky enough to work with pioneering people like Professor Gordon Turnbull and Phil Mollon who have helped me to learn to apply this understanding to people’s problems. It is great to work for an organisation that understands how everything from Chi Kung through biofeedback to more traditional psychotherapy can help people overcome their difficulties.

Additional information about my research, publications and interests:

As well as being a psychotherapist and lecturer I have also been practising Chi Kung for many years. I was authorised to teach by my teacher Sifu Wong Kiew Kit a number of years ago. I now teach this at the hospital and various workshops around the country.