Since my teens I have been fascinated by the connections between our thoughts, emotions, bodies, faith, and nature. As a child, when I wasn’t being a ‘book worm’ I was lost and found in nature, lucky enough to be growing up in the countryside. I realised I wanted to become a therapist when I was 21, when I was learning counselling skills as part of my teacher training degree. I was awed by the deep listening and embodied presence of the trainers, sensing the possibility of change emerging from the therapeutic relationship - a seed was sown!
After postgraduate studies in social science and a varied and interesting working life as a university lecturer at Bristol and Gloucestershire, on small aid and microfinance projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, a director in my family’s business, and a facilitator working with other family businesses going through challenging transitions, I realised in my late 20s that I felt ready to start training as a therapist - the seed started to grow roots.
I qualified as an Integrative Counsellor in 2004, following a three-year qualifying training. This training entailed a commitment to personal therapy, a rich programme of both theoretical and experiential learning, working as a trainee counsellor with clients, and therapy supervision. I have been a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) since 2001, firstly as a trainee and now as an accredited member. I am also a member of the National Counselling Society.
I subsequently trained in Embodied-Relational therapy, a form of Relational Body Psychotherapy and have also trained in Wild Therapy (a form of nature-connection work), bereavement work with CRUSE Bereavement Care, as well as in providing supervision for other therapists. I'm a former trainer with the Embodied-Relational therapy and Wild Therapy training teams. I'm definitely a lifelong learner and value continuing professional development very much - you can read more about my qualifications.
In my early 20s I came across Buddhism and meditation which have been very significant in shaping my understanding of life, embodiment, and the nature of being – raising more questions, of course, rather than necessarily answering them! For 11 years I was ordained as a Buddhist and have subsequently taken the precepts in the Soto Zen tradition. Since 2016 I've been practising under the tutelage of the Zen teacher, author and activist David Loy.
From 2010 - 2014 I was steering group member of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) and editor of its Transformations in house journal. In 2012 I was part of the team co-founding the annual 'Edge of the Wild' UK ecopsychology gathering and I am an active member of the ecopsychology community. I have written three books, with co-edited a fourth: '#MeToo - counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse' a collection published by PCCS Books in May 2020, all featured on this website. I have written several papers and articles, am a regular writer for US-based Somatic Psychotherapy Today and, closer to home, a member of Bristol Climate Writers.
Learning and teaching has been a lifelong strand in my work, from training as a teacher after my first degree, to designing and teaching a variety of different courses over the years, from an MBA for family in business, through to Buddhist study, meditation retreats and Wild therapy workshops - my more recent teaching. I give public talks on themes relating to Wild therapy, ecopsychology, as well as the themes of each of my books.
Writing has been another lifelong strand. If it's of interest, you can read more about books and articles I've written.
Throughout my forties, I have been drawn to re-visiting my own birth and exploring pre and perinatal psychology, as well as working with clients exploring their birth stories. In 2015 I completed The Birth Journey, a training with Matthew Appleton and Jenni Meyer at Conscious Embodiment and I am currently training as an Integrated baby therapist on their two-year Integrated Baby Training, deepening my understanding of the fascinating area of pre and peri-natal life and our earliest influences. I am a member of the Association of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH).
When I’m not exploring life with clients, trainees and supervisees, I love being in the elements, tending to our allotment, travelling, exploring ancestry, and living with my partner and our rescue guinea pigs in North Bristol.