Growing up: I have always been interested in people. My earliest memories are of noticing how the people around me approached their lives and relationships.
Not everyone has the best start in life and some of us are dealt a poor hand, either early on or later in life. As I grew up, I was interested in what helps us when things are tough and how we can live our best possible lives. Volunteering from childhood for several charities and public sector organisations has helped me learn from people who are living with a range of life challenges.
By my early teens I decided that I wanted to study psychology to combine my fascination with people, with my thirst for knowledge from scientific research and theory. I wanted to understand people better; what influences our individual differences, and the ways people successfully manage the challenges of life. I was drawn to study what can effectively help when someone’s life is difficult in some way. I am interested in the many ways we can live successful fulfilling lives.
By my early 20s, psychology degree in hand, I set off working in the NHS, initially in an old psychiatric institution. Next, I completed my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and soon after I finished my training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). I’m passionate about CAT for several reasons. CAT involves working together, and it focusses on understanding (and where necessary changing) the relationship people have not only with themselves, but also the world and people around them. Importantly there is evidence of the effectiveness of CAT and it is considered a safe therapy.
In the NHS, I have worked mainly with adults who are experiencing mental health conditions such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, obsessive complusive disorder (OCD), difficulties associated with psychosis and emotional sensitivity. People often describe their experiences using words such as “breakdown”, “stressed”, “my nerves”, “anger”, “I feel out of control”, “lack of confidence and self-esteem”, “hopeless” and “despairing”. Whatever words that you use to describe the difficult things that are going on for you, it is a good step to look for what might help things be different for you.
Current day: I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with over 25 years’ experience in the NHS (over 15 of those years working as a Consultant). I have also run my own business for over 20 years providing staff training throughout the UK, clinical supervision for staff with a variety of professional backgrounds and working with individuals who come for help with a range of difficulties. I bring experience, care, compassion and energy to my work.
I have held several leadership roles including managing NHS services and I have developed expertise in mental health and work through managing some vocational services. For most of my career, I have benefitted from working closely with a range of colleagues with different expertise (such as co-producing parts of NHS services with people with lived experience of mental health conditions). I also teach at universities and my research experience includes supervising doctorate research. I have published a range of articles, papers and book chapters including related to my work innovating specific psychological approaches (contact me for more information about publications). I am also an experienced coach and mentor.
As a clinical psychologist and executive coach, I am passionate about working with people in the way that they find most helpful. I believe positive change is possible and that these changes can be real and long lasting.
Outside work I enjoy spending time with those that I love, doing a range of activities (such as running, dancing, cycling, kayaking and walking), chilling with a good book and exploring new places.