Dr Tom Matthews
You’re a clinical psychologist, what does this mean?
Being a clinical psychologist means I work with people to support them at times when something is going on which is causing them distress. Through conducting an assessment I am trying understand what is happening for a person and their family so that we can come to a joint understanding about what is going on and what might be a way to move forward for them. I work with people one-to-one as well as with couples and whole families depending on what they want. I also consider what it is like for people living in their family and community and how this is a part of why they are feeling distressed.
Where have you worked previously?
I have recently completed my Clinical Psychology training, which means I have had placements with people of different ages. When I have had the chance to pick my placements, though, I have chosen to work with young people and my final placement was in CAMHS.
What are your special interests within the work you do?
I am particularly interested in thinking about ways that young people can make what is important to them heard, and I have conducted research about participation and what is important to young people who live in foster care. I think service user involvement is really important as sometimes services can be led by adults who think they are doing the best thing, but the young people who come to the service may not agree and might think other ways of doing things would be better. I have an ongoing interest in young people who live in foster care or have been adopted, and what life is like for them.
What was it that interested you about working in GIDS?
During my previous roles I have always found it interesting to talk with young people about what it is like to be them in the society that we live in and how they are coping with being part of the community in which they live. Working in GIDS gives me chance to have lots of these conversations, and I always feel very privileged to be able to have them with people. I also think it is very important to work toward and contribute to a more equal and fair society, in which people are able to live the life that they believe is the best fit for them. Through working in GIDS I get to think about this with young people and families and I hope that our work together can be a part of our communities becoming more diverse and accepting of this.
What advice would you have to someone coming to their first appointment with you?
Not to worry too much. During the first appointment I just want to get to know you and give you a chance to get to know me. During that first appointment I will be mostly interested in hearing about your story and how you got to being sat in front of me, and what that has been like for you and your family up until now.
What is your favourite music genre?
I like lots of different types, but I tend to like pop music , RnB and soul, and singer-songwriter type music. I have been to Glastonbury a few times and I really enjoyed the variety of music you can hear there, from really relaxing music to music that makes you want to dance.