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Meet Emma

Hello there.... I am based in Bristol in the west of England. My people and I are from here in Bristol and across the bridge in Wales, and other parts of the British Isles. My ancestors are also from Norway and South Asia. I mention that because ancestors have been a lively part of my life since childhood, with our relationships continuing to shape my life and work.


Since my teens I’ve been fascinated by the connections between our thoughts, emotions, bodies, faith, and being out in the elements - I count myself as fortunate to have grown up roaming the Somerset countryside and I’m fortunate to still live close to this land.


I realised I wanted to become a therapist when I was 21, learning counselling skills as part of my teacher training certificate. I remember being in awe of the listening and presence of the trainers, sensing the possibility of change growing from the therapeutic relationship, and a seed was sown...


After postgraduate studies in social science and a varied and interesting working life as a university lecturer at the universities in Bristol and in Gloucestershire, an aid work in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, a director in my family’s business, and a facilitator working with other small family businesses living through tricky transitions (like succession, bereavement, illness), I realised in my late 20s that I felt ready to start training as a therapist - the seed started growing roots.


I qualified as an Integrative Counsellor in 2004, following a three-year qualifying training and launched my private practice. Following my interest in somatic and energetic work, in 2008 I started training in Embodied-Relational therapy, a form of Relational Body Psychotherapy and have also trained in Wild Therapy (a form of ecopsychology), bereavement work with CRUSE Bereavement Care, as well as in providing supervision for other therapists. I'm also a former trainer with the Embodied-Relational therapy and Wild Therapy training teams.


Since my late thirties, I've been drawn to re-visiting my own birth and exploring pre and perinatal psychology - our earliest somatic experiences - as well as working with clients curious about exploring their birth stories and how they shape their present day experience, particularly at points of transition and in life's thresholds. In 2015 I completed 'The Birth Journey', a two-year training with Matthew Appleton and Jenni Meyer at Conscious Embodiment Trainings. I am also a graduate of their two-year Integrative Baby Training and am qualified as an Integrative Baby therapist. I have also been fortunate to have undertaken 'birth surround' work with Cherionna Menzam-Sills. and have undertaken her 9 month long: 'Our Journey Here' training course. My fascination continues in how our earliest experiences and the significance of the portals of life and death shape our experiences.


Bringing together my early life interest in social and ecological justice with therapy, 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 now annual 'Edge of the Wild' UK ecopsychology gathering. I've written three books, and co-edited a fourth: '#MeToo - counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse' a collection published by PCCS Books, all featured on this website. I have written several book chapters, as well as papers and articles, am a regular writer for US-based Somatic Psychotherapy Today, One Earth Sangha, and, closer to home, a member of Bristol Climate Writers. You can read more about the recent book chapter, 'Holding hope, letting go' written for the book, 'Holding the hope', also published by PCCS books. 

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.


Looping back to my early adulthood, I started practising Buddhism and started meditating at 24. Well, 'properly' meditating - if there’s such a thing - having first taught myself to meditate from a book when I was 14. These practices continue to shape my understanding of life, embodiment, and the nature of being – generally raising more juicy questions than answering any of them. I've found sitting still, with an alert, curious, awareness (or, at least, the aim of that state of mind) useful in being present with clients, supervisees and trainees and in being alive.


For 11 years I was ordained as a Buddhist and I have subsequently taken the precepts in the Soto Zen tradition. Since 2016 I've been practising under the tutelage of Colorado-based Zen teacher, author and activist David Loy, in parallel with a deepening interest in ecodharma practice. I'm curious how the dharma (the teachings and practices of the Buddha) inform my/our responses to the 6th extinction crisis, climate emergency, and the other interrelated crises and oppressions and liberations, and, in turn, how the context we're in shapes my/our understanding of Buddhist and other awakening and contemplative practices of various faith traditions.

​Life more recently…

In the past few years I much appreciated training with Merete Holm Brantbjerg and Kolbjorn Vardal (co founders of Relational Trauma Therapy) in working therapeutically with hypo response and hypo arousal in our bodies, deepening my understanding and practice of trauma-aware work, hand in hand with paying attention to health and our resourcefulness in everyday life, from all sorts of sources and how, in turn, we resource others and the wider world. 

More recently I have been learning with Daniel Foor and the good folks at Ancestral Medicine which is fascinating and life-changing, integrating a life long love of history, years of genealogy and healing ancestral lineages.

​Thanks for reading and wishing you well.

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