Five minutes with Suzanne Hyde, Director of Clinical Services at St Marylebone HCC

This month we’re meeting Suzanne Hyde, Director of Clinical Services at St Marylebone HCC.

Each month, we spend five minutes with one of the impressive professionals that call Harley Street home. This month we’re meeting Suzanne Hyde, Director of Clinical Services at St Marylebone HCC, a psychotherapy service in the crypt of St Marylebone Parish Church.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work at St Marylebone. I head up a team of 40 or so psychotherapists, who offer 1-1 psychotherapy to people, once a week, for up to two years. Clients pay what they can afford so nobody is turned away due to impoverished circumstances. I recruit, manage and support the team as they carry out this vital work. Every person coming to HCC undergoes an initial consultation to see whether psychotherapy is appropriate for their needs. We also have a mental health group and offer a specialised service to people between the ages of 18-25, ensuring a swift appointment and early treatment. We also undertake psychological assessments for the Church of England, and this year, we have completed over 100 of these already. We also offer a discreet psychological service to a few hospitals in the area.

Describe your average day: As you can imagine, with so many clients and therapists, much of my time is taken up responding to queries, clinical concerns and checking reports, to make sure they are of a high standard. More recently, I have stood back a little from the ‘hands on’ clinical work – i.e. undertaking the initial consultations, so that I can have a more outward facing role. Recently, I was invited to a consultation at Westminster City Hall on suicide prevention, where we discussed an inter-faith co-ordinated response, with deputy Health Minister, Jeff Lake. I have been meeting with various organisations locally to see how HCC can be of support or help to them.

How did you get to where you are today?: I actually started my proper working life, just down the road on the corner of Bryanston Square, at The Industrial Society which was a campaigning and training organisation [now the Work Foundation]. I worked as a journalist and eventually became Head of Communications. However, after the birth of my third child, I wanted to have a more flexible career, and as I had done some coaching as part of my work at the Society, I decided to pursue a career change. I did my first psychotherapy course at Regents College, and then eventually trained as a Jungian Analyst at the Society of Analytical Psychology in Swiss Cottage. After working in Private Practice for some 18 years, and my children having grown up, I felt I had energy and resources to work again in an organisation. I chanced upon the advert for this job, and as I had a degree in theology, and knew of the Centre, it seemed to provide the perfect opportunity to use my psychotherapy and my management skills. It has been an amazing six years here.

How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?  During covid we had to close the centre, but in one day we managed to transfer our whole operation on to Zoom and were probably  busier in lockdown than most organisations. Since Covid, the demand on our bursary fund has increased as people are struggling with the cost of living and job losses. We also have seen a gradual increase in applications for psychotherapy.

What do you like most about being based on Harley Street?

It is an area of such contrasts, and we feel in a wonderful position to offer a place of calm and solace amidst the busyness. Our consulting rooms have been newly refurbished to make them more covid-proof and the garden outside the church also provides a place for people to sit and contemplate. It’s also a wonderful place to meet people for lunch and dinner!

What are your thoughts on the future of the Harley Street Area?

I think it is great to have this collaboration, spearheaded by the Harley Street Bid, where we can all get together and support each other to capitalise on opportunities and share expertise. It really does have a community feel in the middle of London.

How does the Harley Street BID support your business?

Hopefully through our connection with the Harley Street BID we can have a presence in Marylebone and share the services that we offer. It would be wonderful if the Harley Street BID could support us in continuing to provide low-cost, affordable therapy for those who couldn’t access it otherwise.

How could a visitor to the area spend their time here?

There is so much to do around here – my favourite is probably the Wallace Collection and also the lovely eateries to be found all around. Having a lunch time walk in Regents Park is wonderful and the café there serves lovely food.

Any particular recommendations or hidden gems?

We sometimes feel that we at HCC are a hidden gem as so few people know of our existence – but apart from us, I love Daylesford Organic shop and restaurant on Blandford Street.

If you could describe the Harley Street area in three words, what would they be? 

Vibrant, diverse and fascinating.