Meet Emma

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 Somerset countryside. I realised I wanted to become a therapist when I was 21, when I was learning counselling skills as part of postgraduate teacher training. I was in awe of 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 in Gloucestershire, aid work on training and microfinance projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, a director in my family’s business, and a facilitator working with other family businesses living and managing through challenging transitions (like succession, bereavement, and illness), 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 senior accredited 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/ecopsychology), 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 started practising Buddhism and meditation which shapes 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 in a Buddhist order 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, in turn, how the context we're in shapes my/our understanding of Buddhist and other awakening practices.

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 and I am an active member of the ecopsychology community. I have 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 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.

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, and on this site you can read more about books and articles I've written.

Since my late thirties, I've been drawn to re-visiting my own birth and exploring pre and perinatal psychology, as well as working with clients curious about exploring their birth stories and how they might shape their present day experience. In 2015 I completed 'The Birth Journey', a two-year training with Matthew Appleton and Jenni Meyer at Conscious Embodiment. I have recently completing the taught part of my training as an Integrative Baby Therapist on their two-year Integrative Baby Training, deepening my understanding of the fascinating area of pre and peri-natal somatic life and our earliest influences. I have also undertaken 'birth surround' work with Cherionna Menzam-Sills. and am currently participating on her 'Our Journey Here' course. I have also recently very much appreciated further training with Merete Holm Brantbjerg and Kolbjorn Vardal - co founders of Relational Trauma Therapy - in working therapeutically with 'hypo response' (rather than the better known 'hyper response') and hypo arousal in our bodies. This work, and my continuing training in pre and peri-natal work is deepening my understanding and practice of trauma-informed work in parallel with paying attention to health and our resourcefulness. 

When I’m not exploring life with clients, trainees and supervisees, I love being in the elements, tending our allotment, travelling, exploring ancestry, meditating, and living with my partner in North Bristol.