A therapist who set out to make counselling and hypnotherapy more accessible to everyday people is celebrating two milestones, after less than a year in business.

Annie Taylor, of West Rainton, set up Flickering Mind Holistic Therapies in December after growing tired of the ‘restrictions’ she faced working for private practices.

A qualified provider of counselling, hypnotherapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and even canine and equine assisted therapy, Annie found herself unable to utilise most of her skillsets, as her day job meant she solely had to focus on one kind of support, despite often being asked by patients to provide further care.

This inspired Annie to set up her own practice from West Rainton’s Jubilee Hall, and within nine months, the entrepreneurial therapist has already achieved two major milestones.

Initially setting out to provide support in the North East, she has now helped over 100 people across the UK access support and has struck a partnership to provide counselling and support to students relocating to the region.

The support, which will be delivered in partnership with WHO, will help students embed into their communities better and provide advice and support to help maintain their mental health.

Speaking about her journey so far, Annie said: “As a therapist, no matter where you go, or whatever area of the field you’re in, you’re often told ‘this is what you’re funded to do’ and it left me feeling as though I just wasn’t fulfilling my potential.

“I knew I could bring other things to the table in my work but the funding prevented me doing it. That’s why I decided to set up on my own to provide holistic therapy, bringing all of my experience together to provide support to as many people as possible.”

Alongside her usual practice at Jubilee Hall, Annie also hosts a clinic every Friday at the Shanti Bee Wellbeing Centre in Byker where she delivers counselling and hypnotherapy to local residents, many of whom would usually be hard to reach.

Annie adds: “Rosie runs the Shanti Bee Wellbeing studio doing yoga classes and meditation, but they also have therapists who come in on different days to offer other kinds of therapy. She had nobody on a Friday and was looking for someone, so I thought why not, and gave it a go!

“Delivering the sessions from Shanti Bee meant we could lower our prices and deliver support for as little as £20, which usually is unheard of, so it’s really helped us provide support to many people who would never usually consider it.

“I’ve always been a believer that private therapy shouldn’t be a privilege and just for those who are well off, and our Friday clinics at Byker are an example of how we’re helping break down those barriers.”

Prior to launching the business, Annie received support from the North East BIC, which provides support to people across the region seeking to set up their own business.

“The BIC were amazing,” she said. “I was very anxious at first, and when you’re setting up a professional clinic like this, a private practice, it’s terrifying.

“When you’re employed and working in the field of helping mental health, there’s always someone above you, but now it’s up to me to deal with regulations and everything else that comes with running a business. It helped that I could work with the BIC and bounce everything off them and they had all the answers. It was a literal safety net.”

Janice Marsh, Business Adviser at the BIC, said: “Annie is an absolute superstar. Not only is she breaking down barriers in her industry by setting up on her own, but she is also breaking down the barriers to everyday people receiving vital health support.

“It’s been a real pleasure supporting her on her journey and we’d like to wish her all the best for the future as she continues to grow the business.”