Something a bit more personal about me
It is hard to know what you might need or want to know about me. This paragraph will not interest you very much, if you feel that you just want some facts about my qualifications. If you want to know more about the person behind these qualifications and work experiences than read on.
I was not always a therapist. And I have not always aspired to be one. My life-experience led me down this route and especially my experience of anxiety. I am no stranger to anxiety. A fair share of my life experiences caused me anxiety. Here are a couple that were particularly significant in my life.
When I moved to Scotland for good in my mid-twenties I had a pretty ropy time. Only after I moved did I become aware how much my sense of security and self-worth had been tied up with things like my language, my friends, my culture and my identification with what I was doing, i.e. being a student.
None of that was there any longer and life threw some big things at me. I was homeless for a month and my then partner was in love with one of my best friends. for half a year I had no job. My qualifications had not prepared me for this.
Hm, a pretty life-changing experience and one I definitely did not sail through unscathed. In fact I was in a right mess. Only my spiritual practice, which included Mindfulness helped me to stay reasonably functional. Three times that year I moved house. My partner left me for said friend. I became suicidal and decided that I needed help. There was a fantastic psychotherapist who helped me negotiate through this incredibly difficult time.
A couple of years later, I thought I had it all sorted out. I worked, I had a nice flat and I felt I was part of a community. Then I got chronically ill. I was unable to continue to work. My work colleagues, who I considered to be friends turned on me. My other ‘friends’ also disappeared. I had lost my health, my friends, my job and my sense of identity. It was a terrible time. But again my spiritual practice, especially my Mindfulness practice, made the difference.
I also encountered some amazing strangers and my now husband. They gave me the attention and support that I needed to come to terms with my changed situation. This helped me to come to terms with my fate – living with a chronic illness. It also gave me the mindset and inner strength to be more positive and whole than I have ever been before.
Things happen for a reason. In both of these situations I needed to face reality and shed my old skin. I needed to re-orientate and understand more deeply what the purpose of my life really was. For three years I was unable to work and not able to do a lot of things that are normal for most. Then I started to train as a therapist. It was clear to me that I wanted to be of service in this world. Helping people to heal their emotional and psychological wounds seems a most effective way of being of service for others and the world.
My Work Experience
Now follow the qualifications I have due to my work experience.
I worked for 5 years as a bereavement counsellor for Cruse Bereavement Care Glasgow which gave me a lot of insight into the complexity of loss and bereavement. This led me to work for 2 years as a counsellor in the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow. There I helped people to come to terms with being terminally.
I spent 3 years volunteering for the Tom Allan Centre in Glasgow. This gave me a lot of experience working with a large variety of issues like stress, anxiety, depression, anger, self-harm and relationship problems.
I also worked 7 years for Victim Support Glasgow. It made me appreciate how differently we all respond to life’s events. To me it highlighted that we can be deeply affected by seemingly small incidents. Not just big things can derail us. When things happen unexpectedly they can severely undermine our confidence and ability to cope.
More about my work experience
After Victim Support I worked for 4 years as an alcohol counsellor for the Glasgow Council on Alcohol. This work confirmed my suspicion that addiction more often than not is a form of self-medication. It is a way of masking or dealing with underlying issues. Many people develop addictive or compulsive behaviours in order to cope with past events. Events like abuse, bullying, losses, trauma, and issues like depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. This led me to train in trauma therapy. My experience over the years had shown me that normal talking therapies often do not really help to heal the source of the problems people have.
During my time with the Glasgow Council on Alcohol I also worked with groups. The courses I ran were designed to help with the underlying issues that cause people to drink. These courses addressed issues like stress, anxiety, anger, and lack of confidence.
Since 2014 I have been self-employed as a psychotherapist specialised in anxiety, depression and trauma. Apart from doing one-to-one work I run around half a dozen Mindfulness courses in the local community every year. Underpinning and supporting all of my work is extensive training in a great variety of methods as well as over 25 years of Mindfulness practice.
Qualifications I accumulated over the years as a therapist.
- Certified Mindfulness Teacher 2021 (Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield)
- Certificate in Deep Brain Reorientation 2018
- Certificate in Becoming Safely Embodied 2016
- Certificate in Advance CRM and Core Self 2015
- Certificate in CBT Toolkit 2014
- Certificate in the Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) 2013
- Certificate in Brainspotting (Phase 1 & 2) 2013
- Accredited Alcohol Counsellor 2012
- Certificate in Psychotherapy and Positive Psychology 2011
- Certificate in Coaching 2011
- Diploma in Person Centred Therapy (PCT) 2005
- Certificate in Bereavement Counselling 2003
- Counselling Skills 2002
Qualifications that have enhanced my work further.
- Power of Awareness (Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield) 2018
- Introduction to Family Constellation 2017
- Working with Guilt and Shame (Deirdre Fay) 2016
- Becoming Safely Embodied (Deirdre Fay) 2016
- Self Empowerment 2014
- Working with clients who have experienced Trauma 2014
- Trauma Release Exercises & Somatic Experiencing (Introduction) 2013
- ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) 2013
- Motivational Interviewing 2012
- Group Therapy Skills 2012
- Mental Health First Aid 2011
- Working with Survivors of Sexual Abuse 2010
- Support after Sudden and Violent Death 2009
- Focusing 2008
- Managing Change 2007
- Problem Solving 2007
- Working with Anger 2004
- MA in Critical & Cultural Theory 1995
If non of this conveys much meaning to you and you want to get more of a feel for who I am and what I do, I suggest that you read some of my blogs.