Becoming a Psychotherapist
Nick Brown-Haysom.
Health, Fitness & Wellbeing
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Becoming a Psychotherapist
I Love What I Do... Nick Brown-Haysom

Two and a half  years ago East Coast Bays born and bred Nick Brown-Haysom left his role as Managing Director at Spur (formerly NZ Sponsorship Agency), one of New Zealand’s leading sponsorship and event agencies. He had previously been head of sport at TV3 and in corporate sponsorship roles. The interesting thing about Nick is he now completing his training to become a psychotherapist. Having always been fascinated by the human condition, especially responses to the pressured times in which we live, Nick decided to retrain with the aim of completing his working life in a profession that contributed to more than just the bottom line. He is now accepting clients in his training placement at Hinemoa House in Birkenhead. Fascinated by his change in direction, Channel’s Aidan Bennett caught up with Nick during June for a chat.

AIDAN BENNETT: Tell us about your background and first career. Brought up on the Shore, Rangi boy, then went into marketing… ?
Yes I was an East Coast Bays boy attending Rangitoto College and playing a lot sport on the Shore before graduating in commerce and working in my first corporate job in Wellington. It was at an oil company who use to sponsor a considerable amount of top level sport and when the Sponsorship Manager role came up I jumped at it. From there I went to a sports marketing role and then Head of Sport at TV3 before starting New Zealand Sponsorship Agency, now Spur, in 2001. I was always into sports and to work in the area was a bit of a dream. Spur evolved into a much more creative business and it was that side of it that began to inspire me, working with the creators of experiences rather than the corporate clients.

AB: What triggered such a drastic change in direction? Did you bump your head?
I have always been a reflective type of person, interested in how as humans we respond to things in our environment. I started to become particularly fascinated when I realised some of these responses and patterns came from things out of our awareness and these things can contribute to people feeling out of control.
Much like when I started my business it was a spontaneous, fairly quick decision; once the penny dropped I could dedicate myself to this area and finish my career helping others to understand and overcome these challenges I could not not do it.
AB: So what exactly does a psychotherapist do?
We all repeat patterns of suffering or unhelpful behaviour that we don't necessarily understand, and perhaps wish to change. I sit with clients, normally weekly or twice weekly to help them discover some relief from these patterns, increased choices and a more capable, content and authentic way of being in the world.
Some of the areas psychotherapy is proven to help people with are depression, anxiety, anger, isolation, loneliness, confusion, obsession, addiction, overwhelm, grief, sexual problems, stress and relationship difficulties, which are increasingly common responses to the complex world in which we live. I am curious as to why things are not going as well as they could be and due to my learning and initial work in practice, optimistic about how we can work together so they may change

AB: What sort of training did you have to do?
The training at AUT is thorough. A high academic standard is set for learning the theory of psychotherapy to a masters level as well as a considerable practical element. I have now completed more than 200 hours of clinical work with real clients. Participating in your own psychotherapy is also an enlightening part of the training. I have experienced first hand the genuine personal benefits of attending therapy.

AB: Do you feel you have certain natural qualities and skills that mean you are suited to your new profession?
I think psychotherapists are curious about what makes humans tick and do so in a way that is empathic and particular to the individual person you are working with. Being naturally supportive, friendly and kind are also traits that I aspire to.  

AB: Missing the world of sponsorship and branding?
I will be diplomatic here… Let's say the timing was good. The corporate, business and sports worlds come with their own set of pressures on personal and family life and I increasingly noticed those around me suffering psychologically. These modern day stresses have become a particular area of interest in my psychotherapy work. I do miss many of the people though, particularly my colleagues at Spur.

AB: Any advice to our readers with regards to ensuring they don’t end up on your doorstep?
Good question! I encourage accessing any mental health or relationship services should things become difficult to change on your own.  

AB: What are you going to do in your next life?
This is my next life Aidan. I feel very lucky to have discovered something I feel enthusiastic and energised to do for the next 20 or so years.

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By Aidan Bennett
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Channel Magazine: Issue 78 July 2017

Shore People articles by Aidan Bennett