My journey started in 1999 when I started my Occupational Therapy training. We were trained in both physical and mental health rehabilitation and, though I quickly chose to specialise in mental health, that appreciation of the mind/body connection, and the importance of activity, continued to run deep within my work and my life. After qualifying in 2002 I worked in a range of mental health settings, in both the UK and New Zealand.
In 2009 I retrained in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and, since then, have worked with countless people who have experienced trauma, a range of anxiety disorders, depression, low self-esteem, and chronic pain. I continue to work in the NHS as a specialist clinicial supervisor for CBT therapists.
In 2015 I trained in EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy), a therapy whose profound power to work through trauma, anxiety and self-belief by targeting both body and mind opened my eyes to its power to help runners.
I am accredited in both CBT and EMDR and follow the ethical conduct and professional guidelines of the BABCP and EMDR UK, ensuring I offer the highest standard of work to all my clients.
To expand my skill set further I trained as an NLP Practitioner (neuro linguistic programming) an NLP Sports Practitioner, Time Line Therapist, as well as a Certified Mindset Coach.
As a therapist I am experienced in treating:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Complex Trauma
- Low self-esteem
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Anxiety
- Health Anxiety
- Stress related difficulties
As a runner, I understand what it takes to train and compete, and ride the rollercoaster of highs and lows that goes alongside.
Growing up, I regularly rode horses and helped out at our local stables, swam, and competed as a track athlete for my school, though never further than 200m due to my asthma! Life moved on and sport took a side-step but I never lost the joy of feeling fit and healthy.
In 2006 I started to run again and completed my first half marathon in 2007 whilst living and working in New Zealand.
Since then I haven’t stopped! It was running ultras distances and 24 hour events when I fully recognised just how many of the mindset and mental health tools I’ve used with my clients I was using myself!
I also noticed that not everyone had those tools and, though physically fit and able, many of my peers would hit up against mindset barriers which prevented them from achieving their full potential. I was also aware that, though running is fantastic for our mental health, some runners continued to struggle with depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, as well as low self-esteem and confidence.
From here, Psychology to Succeed and The Runner’s Therapist began to grow…
Formally established in 2017, Psychology to Succeed is my CBT, EMDR and mindset coaching clinic for anyone struggling with their mental health or performance difficulties. The Runner’s Therapist is a specialist branch of this, dedicated to the mental wellbeing and performance of runners.
Over the years I’ve had to privilege to work with a growing number of people, athletes included, helping them to develop self-belief and confidence, overcome their mental health difficulties and recover from the impact injury and traumatic events have had on their lives.
One client even nominated me for the 2019 Ely Sporting Hero award for the work we’d completed. What an honour!
HAVING MY OWN EMDR…
My own experiences of sport have not being smooth sailing. My fear of swimming prevented me from transitioning from running to triathlon. The truth of the matter was that swimming front crawl terrified me, not least the thought of doing it in open water.
Underpinning this fear was an experience I had at school where I was swimming and, after taking in some water, had an asthma attack.
Thanks to my inhaler, teachers, and friends I was physically fine and no medical intervention was needed, so I thought nothing more about it. Except my mind and body never forgot. I stopped swimming and, as an adult, used to simply say I couldn’t.
It was during my training as an EMDR therapist when I decided to finally tackle the issue. Through processing the original traumatic incident alongside a CBT-based exposure programme I was able to get back in the pool. I took lessons and trained hard to get ready for the half-iron distance triathlon I’d entered whilst still terrified of swimming!
And you know what? I did it!
My technique wasn’t great and I was slow but I believed in myself, I wasn’t scared and I finished the event with a big proud smile!
By practicing what I preach I’ve faced every challenge my sport has thrown at me as an opportunity for growth and a smile. This is what I want to share with you, let there be no barrier to what you want to achieve.