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Mental Health

Therapist Spotlight

Jul 09 2024

Inside the mind of The Mind Whisperer: An interview with Vanessa Nnadi

Headshot of Vanessa Nnadi

Vanessa Nnadi, aka The Mind Whisperer, is a mental health professional at specialising in counselling, mindset, and mental well-being coaching. She helps people overcome mental barriers and embrace resilience and intentional living through personalised sessions approached with patience and compassion.

With over 7 years of experience and numerous degrees and certifications in mental health, Vanessa brings a unique blend of expertise to her practice. Her practice offers a free space for individuals to share and receive support without judgement or stigmatisation.

Mrs Nnadi, who also runs The Safe Crib International, is a renowned speaker sought after for her refreshing and practical perspectives on nurturing healthy mindsets and emotional resilience. In her free time, she’s a fan of reality TV shows.

How did you join, and how has your experience been so far? 

Dedoyin Ajayi, one of the co-founders, messaged me on LinkedIn, complimenting my profile and my work in mental health. Then, she invited me to come on board as one of the app’s therapists. I accepted and went through an interview and onboarding process, and here we are now. My experience working with has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve had an awesome experience tending to diverse clients.

What do you think sets apart from other mental health platforms?

What sets apart from other mental health platforms is the focus on delivering quality sessions and prompt response times to clients’ therapy requests.

Why did you become a therapist?

I became a therapist because I enjoy helping others—I believe that’s my life’s purpose. I also have a strong passion for mental health. Being a therapist is a fulfilling career choice because it provides an avenue to impact the lives of others positively.

Throughout your career, what are the most common issues you’ve encountered?

  • Work-life imbalance
  • Burnout

But I’ve made huge progress: I’ve learned to pace myself, invest in self-care, and prioritise my mental well-being. I also plan periodic shutdowns to totally tune off from work and relax.

What do you think are the biggest challenges faced by therapists?

  • Resistance from patients: Clients resist therapy for several reasons, including fear, denial, and mistrust.
  • Burnout and stress: Therapists may be prone to burnout due to the emotional demands of their work and the need to maintain strong emotional boundaries. The high demands and workload of the profession can also lead to burnout.
  • Cultural and diversity issues: Therapists have to be familiar with various therapeutic techniques and cultures to tailor sessions to each client’s specific needs, which can be really challenging due to language and cultural barriers.
  • Stigma and stereotypes: There are still deep-seated stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health conditions that make it difficult for clients to seek and accept treatment.

What’s the best part of being a therapist? What do you find most rewarding about your work? 

The most rewarding part of being a therapist is seeing my clients gain insights and skills to help them through their situations, overcome their challenges, and leave better than they were when we first met.

What are some common signs of depression that people often overlook?

While depression presents itself with various kinds of signs and can appear in many forms, I’ve found the following to be most common signs:

  • Increased irritability or “irrational” anger
  • Drastic changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Physical symptoms like  headaches, digestive issues, or constant fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Increased sleep or insomnia
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs

What are some surprising physical symptoms of anxiety people might not be aware of?

Common symptoms of anxiety might include:

  • Frequent urination or diarrhoea
  • Jaw pain or teeth grinding
  • Hives or skin rashes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Muscle tension or stiffness
  • Palpitations
  • Hyperventilation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Migraines

What if a client is resistant to therapy? How do you handle a situation like that?

Resistance to therapy is usually due to fear of being vulnerable to a stranger. As a therapist, it’s my duty to build trust with my clients and ease them into the therapeutic process, so I adjust my approach and techniques to better align with their needs and preferences. But if the resistance persists, I may need to refer the client to a different therapist or the type of therapy that may better fit them.

What are the most interesting myths you’ve heard about therapy and mental health?

  • Therapy is only for people with serious mental illnesses.

Therapy is for everyone, and seeking help can be beneficial for anyone who is struggling with emotional or mental distress. ✅ 

  • Therapy is a sign of weakness.

Seeking help from a mental health professional is actually a brave step. It’s a sign of strength to admit that you need help and are willing to take measures to improve your mental health. ✅ 

  • Therapy is only for rich people.

Many mental health/therapy services—like—offer affordable rates and low-cost options for those who need them. ✅

  • You should be ashamed to disclose that you go to therapy.

Therapy is confidential, and there’s nothing shameful about taking care of your mental health. ✅

  • Only “crazy” people need therapy.

Anyone can benefit from therapy, whether you have a “serious” issue or not. You can go to therapy to work through various life challenges, like relationship issues, stress, grief, anxiety, and depression. You can also go to therapy just to have someone to talk to about whatever’s on your mind, or to gain objective insights on a question you have—anything, really. ✅

If you weren’t a therapist, what other career path would you have pursued?

If I weren’t a therapist, I would be a medical doctor or mental health nurse.

What are some red flags in a relationship that people often overlook?

  • Controlling behaviour
  • Lack of communication
  • Disrespectful behaviour
  • Constant negativity
  • Lack of interest in your life, passions, goals, and dreams
  • Narcissism
  • Unwillingness to compromise
  • Avoidance of responsibility
  • Flirtatious behaviour with others

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in therapy?

  1. Develop strong empathy and compassion skills: Working as a therapist requires a high degree of empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence. Be prepared to listen to clients’ problems and concerns and help them feel comfortable in discussing sensitive and personal issues.
  1. Choose the right degree program: There are different therapy specialities–e.g., marriage and family therapy, clinical social work, counselling psychology, and psychotherapy. Each program has its requirements and curriculum, so find the program that best aligns with your career goals.
  2. Gain experience through internships or clinical placements: Most therapy programs require a certain number of hours of practice or clinical hours to graduate. Look for internships and clinical placements that’ll allow you to work directly with clients and build your portfolio.
  1. Network with other professionals: Get to know other professionals in the field, including other therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals. Attend events, join professional organizations, and stay up to date with industry trends and best practices.
  1. Develop a strong self-care routine: Therapy can be incredibly emotionally challenging, so it’s necessary to have solid self-care practices in place to prevent burnout. Prioritize your mental health and well-being so you can serve your clients better.

Want to book a therapy session with Vanessa Nnadi or any of our top therapists? Download the app to get started today.

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