I have a wide range of experience working with people from all walks of life and varying age groups, who have suffered difficulties such as anxiety, depression and trauma, often due to their life experiences either past or present.
My experience consists of over thirty eight years' working with adults, children, families, and organisations, across all the statutory services i.e. Social Care (Children's Services), NHS (Paediatrics & CAMHS), Education (Schools and Universities) and over the last 9 years in Private Practice. I started my basic training as a Therapist in 1997, gaining a student placement in Child and Adolescent Mental Health in 1999, and have been practicing as a qualified Gestalt Therapist since 2001. Over the years I have undertaken various posts from University Counsellor, School Counsellor, CAMHS Therapist for looked after children, Team lead of a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in a Children's Secure Unit, as well as working in the community with public sector Children’s Homes and Fostering and Adoption Agencies. In 2011 I went on to Head up a Psychological Therapies Team in a private sector SEMH School and their Children's Homes; here I further developed my passion for a whole service approach to emotion-regulation, developing the whole organisation into an emotion–regulating collective. This was achieved through training, reflective practice and leading multi-agency meetings from a therapeutic perspective, which had a profound impact on the young people’s ability to regulate emotion and develop psychologically. This was recognised by Service Users, Social Care and Hampshire Police, especially due to the reduction in risk taking behaviours. You can read more about this under the organisations heading.
I have published in various journals, written a chapter for a CAMHS book, been a speaker at a BACP event and deliver training to schools, fostering agencies, children's homes and supported living for adults. I also work in private practice delivering services to both the public and private sectors in a variety of roles from Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer to Coaching, Organisational Development and Consultancy.
A little known fact: Running along side my career I played top level indoor volleyball, represented England and coached at a national league level and from the age of 9 years to 20 years I worked with horses and taught horse-riding. These days, at 55 years of age, I am more into organic gardening and I dabble in photography as you will see on this website. All these experiences have enhanced my practice as a therapist and organisational practitioner, in particular non-verbal communication, attunement, presence (an embodied sense of the world) and teamwork from the perspective of rhythm, flow and team presence.
You are very welcome to make contact and find out more. It can be a scary next step and I want you to know that I welcome people who learn, think, process or have experienced life differently from the so called norm, through no fault of their own, who haven't quite yet embraced or aren't fully aware of their uniqueness, skills and abilities and their right to be on this earth exactly as they are!
I have specialised in the development of an attachment and trauma informed framework, called a whole service approach to emotion-regulation, for organisations who work with very distressed and vulnerable people and I am commissioned to deliver services by both the public and private sectors.
Home & Away is a relational analogy and represents the dance between Self (Home) and Other (Away). I first developed the name Home & Away through many years working with Children in Care and the organisations that cared for them. It represented their difficulties with relationships due to interpersonal trauma, experiencing others as both frightened and frightening. It also symbolises the difficult process of being 'between' Home & Away especially for vulnerable children and adults who live away from home, in residential environments, or are displaced due to war, conflict and discrimination, and anyone who struggles between home and school, home and work, home and working away, or live in abusive relationships, all of which can create conflicting emotions leaving the nervous system/attachment system in an agitated state.
For many people anxiety decreases when they are at home, this is a place where they can relax, and if they have had few traumatic events in life they will feel just as safe away from home. But for those that have suffered trauma, being both Home & Away can induce extreme anxiety. This is not worry anxiety, this anxiety is in the nervous system/attachment system which can feel separate and alien to the self - this is trauma - people in this situation find themselves with an unresolvable problem, never feeling quite at home with themselves, others or their environment.
The world of work has developed organisational practices similar to the situation described above, generating frightened and frightening environments - creating emergencies where there aren't any. This is mostly due to over regulation of services, inducing fear, with focus on left brain communication, evidence and function. Over regulation is leaving people feeling fearful and strangled and as a result they are losing their creative capacity, innovation, energy and sense of satisfaction. Stress, burn out, depression and anxiety are on the increase like never before - impacting sickness levels.
What can help to change this is a relational approach and the development of a secure base (safe home). Relationships, generally, help people to calm and this calm energy, sense of team and community, increases resilience, wellbeing, sense of satisfaction and as a natural result, good outcomes. For services that work with very distressed people this is particularly important. When professional's anxieties lower then so does the people's in their care. Thus reducing risk taking behaviours and safeguarding concerns, developing the whole brain organisation and individual.