Derek Draper was my therapist – he saved my life

I knew he’d been a spin doctor and had to push thoughts of him hanging out with Peter Mandelson out of my mind, writes Clair Woodward. People have said I must have been mad, but I can only say that seeing Derek Draper was one of the best things I ever did for myself

Friday 05 January 2024 13:15 GMT
Derek Draper with his wife, Kate Garraway
Derek Draper with his wife, Kate Garraway

My friend Mitch says that most obituaries aren’t so much as “the person that I knew” as “the person that knew me”. This is especially true about writing about my experiences with Derek Draper, as although he was a man who made a tremendous impression on my life, and we spent a lot of pretty intense time together, I didn’t know him personally at all – he was my psychotherapist.

Kate Garraway and Derek Draper
Kate Garraway and Derek Draper (Getty)

About 20 years ago, having suffered from depression for a long time, I decided to finally go into therapy. “It’s talking to someone who cares, but isn’t involved,” explained a friend who’d been, and that is a perfect description. My first experience of therapy was with an organisation who trained therapists, and it was a great one. After an initial wariness, I didn’t have much hesitation in opening up; after all, what do you get from the experience if you hold things back?

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