A WOKING therapist, who suffered a wide range of mental health problems while working as a model and appearing on reality TV, is offering free therapy sessions.

Kenzii Mclaren, who grew up in Byfleet, said that from the age of 13 she went through a variety of problems, including anorexia, bulimia and anxiety and later struggled with drug addiction and depression.

She had to be admitted to hospital for treatment five times.

Kenzii said she now realises that she was seeking happiness by modelling and trying to become an influencer on Instagram.

“When I was growing up I was valued for my exterior because I was so shy and I was looking for that,” she said.

When she was in her early 20s Kenzii sought help, mostly through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and was able to begin to recover.

“Part of it was figuring out who I really was. I didn’t get on with talking therapy but CBT focuses on the present and what solutions you can find now,” she said.

“I have quite an analytical mind and CBT has been shown to be effective for people with eating disorders.”

She said the reality TV show she was on was shown only online and the whole experience was very negative.

The modelling was worse, and she was told at the start that she had to lose weight, even through her body mass index was at the lowest healthy level.

“There are parts of the modelling I miss such as filming in Panama for three months, but it wasn’t the best thing for my mental health.”

Kenzii worked through therapy and three years ago moved to Woking where she lives with her partner. She also got a job working in sales.

“In the past four years I have been in the best place I have ever been,” she said.

Her mother, Kim, is a counsellor and suggested she would make a good therapist because people would be able to relate to her struggles.

Kenzii started training after she was furloughed and is now a qualified CBT therapist, nutritionist and life coach.

“Throughout the last month I have been providing free therapy and nutritional advice to family friends who have needed support during these difficult times,” she said.

Kenzii is now offering free therapy sessions for over-18s.

“It’s much easier to get help if you are under 18. But then there is a long waiting list on the NHS or private therapy, which can be expensive.”

Kenzii said she is especially keen to help people who are suffering mental health problems as well as all the problems associated with coronavirus.

“I know what it is like to feel hopeless and I can’t imagine what it is like going through these issues alone during a pandemic,” she said.

If you think you could benefit from Kenzii’s help, email [email protected].