‘I had the dream of what I wanted and gave myself permission to do it’

Dr Marianne Trent (pictured), discusses her work with Associate Editor for Culture, Chrissie Fitch.

Dr Marianne Trent is Experienced Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Good Thinking Psychological Services.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, your background and your current work? 

I’m a Clinical Psychologist, author and entrepreneur… but I often say I’m a human and parent first and the rest comes after. I trained on the Coventry & Warwick Doctorate and graduated in 2011. I may be in the minority but honestly, I loved training and I have such fond memories of it. Post-qualification, I worked in a CAMHS service for almost four years and then moved across to adult mental health – primarily because it was 25 miles closer to home and was a pay rise, but I ended up loving the work! 

I started working privately in a very part-time capacity in 2019 and lockdown allowed me to expand this work including the development of passive income stream products such as my book, The Grief Collective, my psychoeducation kit for professionals working with trauma or depression presentations and my online stabilisation course for clients with developmental trauma and/or depression and anxiety. I have also been getting involved with the media in print, on screen and on the radio too. This has all built pretty quickly; on a Friday in April 2021 I worked my final day in the NHS and on the following Monday I started working just for myself! I am also currently working on another book, called The Clinical Psychologist Collective. 

How has the switch from working for the NHS to self-employment been for you? 

Honestly, I have to say that I have loved it! I can’t believe that I get to do all this stuff everyday now. I get to structure my week, so I only see clients three mornings a week and the rest of the time I schedule in business development, marketing and media work. I feel like I need to pinch myself some days because I had the dream of what I wanted to do and once I gave myself permission to do it, I’ve not looked back and I’ve loved the journey! My Virtual Assistant Hannah and I make a great team. She has really supported me to make the leap to solo private practice, it feels like she is always on my side so I’m never alone. The same can be said for my accountant Amanda too. I speak to them both all the time and wouldn’t be parted from either of them.

What areas and therapies do you specialise in?

I use an integrative approach which includes a blend of Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR), and a sprinkling of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Systemic interventions. These days I only really see people over the age of 16 and I see them for a variety of reasons including trauma, grief, depression and anxiety. More recently I have also started coaching fellow professionals who want to develop passive income streams and/or get more visible too. I thrive off the variety and find that working in this way helps me to save my best for my one-to-one clients. 

I find your use of innovative channels, such as for the #4minute clinic, very interesting. What instigated this? 

Ahh, thanks, that’s kind of you to say. I’m really proud of my #4minuteclinic. It happens five days a week live on my social platforms at around 9am. It’s always got a mental health theme, but usually has a compassionate slant and a down to earth real-world feel. It’s basically just me chatting live on camera for four minutes; I usually don’t really know what I’m going to say until about two minutes before I start! 

In a nutshell, the aim of the clinic is to help people move from a problem and listen to worked examples of mini solutions, all within just four minutes. It first started daily at that time because it suited my needs – I wanted to do some element of video each day. I’m usually back from the school run at 9am each day and now my first clients aren’t booked until 9:15am so I have a 15-minute window to get my shoes off, get into my joggers, brush my hair, get on camera and go live! I’ve had some lovely feedback from people and what I have learned is that many people don’t ‘like’ or comment on videos but when they are ready, they will reach out and let you know that they watch and that they appreciate what you are doing. I personally love that I am able to provide this completely free service to people to normalise mental health, and also to demonstrate that Clinical Psychologists are friendly and approachable and to encourage people to reach out to either NHS or private services with less trepidation. 

I came across your work via social media, particularly your free 5 Day Feel Better Challenge, which has benefitted me both professionally and personally. What made you do this and what other projects have stemmed from this? Can you tell me a little bit about them? 

Oh, yes! The free 5 day Feel Better challenges are another of my adored babies! I’m so pleased it has been helpful. In the past I had been on a free 5-day challenge for a marketing business and I thought it would be a lovely thing to bring to the mental health sphere. I have so far run four of them and it’s proving to be an excellent way to help people learn effective, evidence-based strategies to be able to start soothing themselves effectively, increase their self-compassion and instil a sense of calm and hope, all for free! When I am planning the dates into my diary I check them out with Hannah too and I always think she’ll roll her eyes and inwardly groan because they take a great deal of work for both of us but she always responds with excitement because she loves the challenges too. I think initially people can be quite daunted about the idea of hanging out with a Clinical Psychologist for a whole week, but they quickly learn it’s very warm, low-threat and mainly involves me chatting about Limonata and about foxes leaving biscuits under my car. One of my most common pieces of feedback is along the lines of: ‘I feel that I am okay to be ‘me’ because I can see how okay Marianne is with being her!’ I think that’s praise indeed. 

Is there anything about you not many people know? 

When I was an undergrad, my housemates and I lived in the house where Tom Jones grew up; it’s definitely been a pretty fun talking point! When I think back to those times it’s hard to believe we all recently turned 40. I think once it’s safe to be all together again there are going to be so many belated big birthday, wedding and new baby celebrations for people all over the globe. It’s important to celebrate the important things and commiserate the painful ones too. Maybe we’ll book another trip back to Wales and do our reunion catch up in style! 

Dr Marianne Trent is a Clinical Psychologist, author of The Grief Collective: Stories of Life, Loss & Learning to Heal and creator of The Our Tricky Brain Psychoeducation kit. To tune into her #4minuteclinic live sessions check out LinkedInYouTube or Facebook. For more information about her work including passive streams coaching and training head to www.goodthinkingpsychology.co.uk. E: [email protected]; T: @GoodThinkingPs1 

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