33 Questions with Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Lecturer Peter

When I made my list of people I wanted to interview, a theme became apparent very quickly. Most of them were my friends, most were female, and most were around 23 or 24. As amazing and interesting as my friends are, I knew if I wanted to get a vast array of experiences and nuggets of wisdom, I would have to broaden my research pool, to all ages, and both genders. So when my brother said he was coming to stay the night, I thought fab, here we have someone that’s not 23 or a female. He’s 45 and indeed male.

Peter is my brother-from-another-mother. We see each other several times a year and he’s someone I admire very much. He has an impressive list of degrees (including Neuroscience, Mental Health Nursing and Psychological Interventions for Mental Illness)and works as a Principle Psychological Therapist (or a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist) and a lecturer in CBT at a University. He is also studying for a Masters in CBT.

Married with one son and two step children, he spends his spare time with family, going to car-boot sales, and scouring eBay for good deals and anything worth jazzing up.

1. How’s your day? What have you been up to? 
I have a bit of a sore throat so I’m feeling slightly under the weather. I always get a bit panicky about sore throats, I always think they’re going to lead to something worse.
I’m having a good day, I took my son to get his haircut and drove to my Dad’s house, where we’re spending the night. – Bit of a downer as my wife’s car has blown her gasket which is about the worst possible thing that can happen to a car.

2. What does your typical day look like?
Get up at a bout 6:30, quick breakfast, then a one hour commute to work. I work as a lecturer in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy so I’m either teaching or marking or preparing teaching. Sometimes I see clients with all manner of different difficulties and then a one hour drive back home.

3. Do you have a special morning or evening routine? 
Cup of coffee about 10am from a particular place on campus that does a really good cup of coffee.

4. How do you unwind at the end of the day?

If somebody else hasn’t already I’ll take the dog out for a walk, I quite like doing that with my wife cos it’s a good chance to chew over the day. I’m a lazy cook during the week and I am a slave to crap television.

5. Something you like about your work?

That I get to think about different things every day.

6. One of the biggest challenges of your work?

There aren’t always enough hours in the day to get everything done and that’s very much to do with working in the NHS at the moment.

7. Who is your biggest inspiration? 

One of my past therapy supervisors.

8. What is it about that person that inspires you?

I think their generosity with their time and their accepting and forgiving attitudes.
One thing I learnt from them, particularly in my line of work is “it’s alright not to write too much down”.

9. Dream career or careers? 

I’m very proud of what I do however I would quite like to be an apprentice cabinet maker.

10. What are you currently doing to work towards that dream?

I tinker in my garage but that is as much as I can say I do towards that.

11. How was this idea born?
I spent some time in Australia and my mum had a shed with a saw bench and it was a good way of getting to know her a little bit better without having to talk to her too much.

 12. Any advice for people wanting to go into mental healthcare?
Don’t rush, take your time. Anybody that tells you age and experience don’t mean anything are talking shit.

13. Any general life advice to younger people?
Don’t drive so fast.

14. Favourite bit of life advice/quote/something you live by? 
Something I say to my students with respect to learning, it’s a Samuel Beckett quote something along the lines of:
“Try. Fail. Try again.Fail better.”

15. What would you tell your 15 year old self?

Probably to play the field a little bit more and not to move in with your first serious girlfriend.

16. When are you happiest? 
Probably in bed on a Saturday morning at about 8 clock when I realise I don’t have to go to work.

17. One of the happiest days of your life…
In the back of a van driving to a farm in Ashford when I was 20.

18. Something you took from your University experience?

Slow and steady wins the race.

19. Three best things about living where you live?

Near the sea, near the downs, and near half a dozen takeaways.

20. Any bad habits that you’re currently trying to work on? 
Eat too much.

21. Best advice/guidance your parents gave you?

A fool and his money are easily parted.

22. Your perfect day? 
Lazy morning, toast in bed with my wife, wander into town with family, have a nice cooked brunch, look around book shops and charity shops, back home watch a film, into the kitchen cook a nice tea with a bottle of Prosecco, after tea hit the sofa watch a film together and go to bed.

23. Three things you couldn’t live without?

Family, eBay, my watch – I’ve had it for a very long time, I love my watch.

24. Three things you’d change about the world?

Nuclear weapons, global warming and the fuck up that is Syria.

25. Favourite book?
For total immersion Wolf Hall really was something else.

26.  Favourite Films / TV shows?

Fantastic Mr Fox the Wes Anderson version. Where Eagles Dare. Currently enjoying The Night Of, West World is promising.

27. Favourite holiday?

28. Three things you’d like to say you did before you die?
Complete my current dissertation that would be quite epic within itself, a bit short term perhaps…I’d love to see Mount Everest and…I would like to see my children happy

29. What did you learn yesterday?
That I don’t like basil.

30. What did you want to be when you were little?

I wanted to be a doctor.

31. Person you’d most like to meet, dead or alive?


32. A country you’d still love to travel to:


33. Religion or spiritual practice?


34. Biggest pet peeves about other people?

Driving too fast and littering.

33. One piece of advice you want your son to remember for life?

It’s probably never going to be as bad as you think it is.

Several years ago he found these little animals in a drawer in our house, – once belonging to our Grandmother – he also found this chain and with a pair of pliers made this. I’ve never worn it for fear of losing an animal. I love it. It’s a little bit of my Nanna and a little of his craftsmanship. 



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