Claire Wakelins is a therapist who resides in Holby. She previously worked as a paediatrician before burning out.
In April 2019, following his suicide attempt, paramedic Iain Dean started attending sessions with Claire as part of his rehabilitation. During one appointment, she believed that he was showing signs of improvement, but he dismissed them as signs of his antidepressants taking effect. He told her a story that he saw on the internet about a man who had survived a suicide attempt and started preaching about his newfound appreciation for life, and Iain told her that, most of the time, he did not want his life back. Claire asserted that his mental health problems stemmed from his childhood, not just from the deaths of his colleague Sam Nicholls and patient Mia Bellis. She posited that him trying to take his own life was not an answer but a question that needed answering for his life to have meaning again. She asked him if he had found himself a pebble, and he showed her it, explaining that it came from Mia's favourite beach. Claire then told him to come back once he was ready.
Several nights later, Iain parked on Claire's street and called her so they could start a session. At her house, he told her about a call he received from a young girl named Frankie who was trapped in a house fire with her abusive father, and he claimed that her situation reminded him of his childhood and his relationship with his mother Kim. Claire explained that people develop their sense of self as children, and, as a result of his upbringing, he mistook admiration for love and lacked self-belief. Iain dismissed her psychoanalysis and questioned why she was drinking a bottle of wine at 3 am, and she assured him that, as a former paediatrician, she knew exactly how the pain hit. She explained that, as he had centred his life around his job, once everything went wrong, he was destroyed. She asserted that the frightened face that he saw on the video call was him and urged him to own that fact.
After helping a woman who was giving birth to twins on a motorway, Iain called Claire and told her that he felt normal for the first time in ages, and the emptiness was starting to hit him. She pressed him to hold on to that feeling of relief and remember that it was possible to feel better again. She asked him to see her again, and he maintained that he was alright. Later that month, emotionally overwhelmed after convincing a police officer named Rox to reconsider taking her own life, Iain desperately called Claire to tell her that he found the way whilst getting through to Rox. Claire praised him for his work and explained that he was back to himself as soon as he put down the phone. She promised him that he would get better and advised him to give himself time to heal. Clutching his pebble and sobbing, he asked her if he could book another appointment with her. (CAS: Episode 1125)