Therapy Blog

Q&A Session with Therapist Julia Halpin

Posted on Friday, March 10th, 2023 by Cristina Vrech

Meet Julia Halpin, a UKCP Family and Systemic Psychotherapist with over 35 years of experience working within the NHS. With a background in mental health nursing, Julia has a deep understanding of the stressors that can impact individuals and families. Her interest in working collaboratively with families grew from witnessing changes individuals made in their lives that influenced their relationships with family and friends. This drew her interest in working with families due to her belief that supporting one another can bring about positive change and enhance family relationships.

Julia Halpin, family & systemic psychotherapist

What are the benefits of Family Therapy?

Julia’s approach to therapy is grounded in exploring solutions with families, building on their unique strengths and resources. She believes that Family Therapy offers families the space to better understand their relationships and patterns of interaction, developing new interaction patterns and more positive relationships.

What are the pros and cons of offering Online Therapy? 

When it comes to Online Therapy, Julia recognises the benefits of accessibility and convenience for families with travel difficulties or who live in different locations and/or are in long-distance relationships. However, she also acknowledges the challenges of limited camera space for larger families and the difficulty of picking up on non-verbal cues through Zoom.

What is the most challenging part of your Psychotherapist role? 

As a Systemic Psychotherapist, Julia’s biggest challenge is keeping all family members’ perspectives in mind and avoiding taking sides. She emphasises the importance of appreciating each family member’s viewpoint, helping them develop different perspectives to understand each other better.

What approach would you use with a family where one person is neurodivergent? 

When working with a family where one person is presenting with neurodiversity, Julia’s approach is to help the family understand how neurodiversity affects communication, patterns of interaction, routines, and sensory sensitivities. This promotes greater understanding and improves family relationships.

In your experience of working with self-harm, do you feel this starts at an early age or it can develop at any stage in a person’s life? 

Julia has experience working with self-harm, for those individuals experiencing self-harm, there is a more significant number within the teenage and young adulthood years, although it is not confined to this age group. The proportion of people who self-harm has been increasing over the years across all age groups, with a greater increase in young people.

What approach would you use going into an initial session for Divorce Counselling within a family? 

For divorce counselling, Julia’s initial approach is to negotiate with the couple about having open and honest conversations about their relationship, discussing themes such as the ending of their relationship, children, living circumstances, finances, and what their “new” relationship might look like.

What is your approach to working with bereavement within a family unit? 

In working with bereavement, Julia finds that a family approach can be helpful in exploring complex thoughts and emotions within a safe and supportive framework. By working through the grieving process together, families can develop better communication and cohesiveness, enabling family members to feel more supported.

Do you have a specific specialism that interests you more than others?

While Julia doesn’t have a specific specialism, she is interested in working with families affected by neurodiversity and mental health challenges. Her collaborative approach emphasises working together to discover what works in achieving realistic goals, drawing on the unique strengths and resources of each family.

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