I believe that becoming a confident and competent practitioner requires a journey into radical self-love, self-acceptance, self-care and self-compassion. At the same time it requires a constant turning towards one’s own shadows – the dark roots of one’s psyche – and a meeting of oneself in this place.
To be truly trusted with another’s heart and soul one must know one’s own heart and soul – both the light and the dark. This, of course, is a lifetime’s journey, but actively travelling this path is essential if one is to stand alongside clients with an open heart and true commitment to their healing and growth.
Embracing your own shadows transforms them into allies and teachers, guiding you to be the best version of yourself, bringing your unique gifts and strengths to the work you do. It is this personal journey which continues to engage and excite me. It sustains my practice by filling each interaction with purpose, vitality and depth.
I began my journey as a practitioner when I trained as a couples’ counsellor back in 2003. I learned about the hidden connections that play out in intimate and family relationships, and the wounds that bind people into dances which unfold without their knowledge or awareness. I watched in awe as the journey between couples evolved and they were guided towards healing and a deepening and enrichment of their relationship.
I witnessed the power of speaking the truth – even when it’s terrifying and the possible outcomes are completely unknown. This work with couples eventually led to the development of the Five Fields Framework for authentic communication. This framework allows courageous conversations to take place within a clean and safe structure. This supports the most challenging thoughts and feelings to be expressed and provides space for ways forward to be constructively explored.
After several years of work as a couples’ counsellor I began to develop an interest in healing through the body and I undertook a personal journey of exploration around body work and forms of deep relaxation and healing.
I found shiatsu gave me the most profound sense of peace and connection with myself and my soul. I trained in shiatsu with the Bristol School Of Shiatsu and later went on to be a teaching assistant there. In all, I spent six years immersed in this powerful form of healing and learned to listen in depth to the language and wisdom of the body and to connect to others in this place. I came to understand that all our traumas and woundings are held deep within the body and live a hidden life there until the moment is right for them to be released and healed.
The language of the body has become integral to my work. It is unwise to ignore these powerful and unspoken messages. They can affect every interaction we have and influence the outcome of conversations without us having any conscious awareness of what has happened.
Listening to the body offers a direct access to our unconscious and can provide a pathway to healing. It was through my work as a shiatsu practitioner that I became aware of the concept of the shadow and the hidden unconscious forces that shape our lives. I saw this linked directly to the unconscious systemic forces that I studied in couple’s and family work, and the unconscious pain and trauma held within the tissues of the body.
The tools I discovered while studying shadow work gave a way to transform these unconscious drivers of the psyche. Once rescued from the darkness they reveal themselves as our unique gifts and strengths which can guide us onto a new and conscious life path filled with deep self acceptance and love.
The relational, the embodied and the transformational now form the three pillars of the work I do. So out of this philosophy comes Healing The Shadow – a way of working with individuals, couples and groups where each person can discover, understand, and ultimately heal their emotional wounds. They can work with their shadow energies to achieve greater integration, in a supportive and shame free space.
I started the Healing The Shadow® community in 2018 with my fellow practitioner Rod Boothroyd. We have now established the Two and Three Year Practitioner Trainings in Healing The Shadow for those wishing to learn the skills of working with the shadow and healing deep emotional wounds in order to become qualified Healing The Shadow practitioners.
These training courses are underpinned by my previous experience in training psychotherapists and counsellors wanting to learn how to explore the shadow energies of their clients in more depth.
Rod and I hope to bring this particular form of emotional process work to the wider world by creating a community of authentic, emotionally mature, highly skilled and professional practitioners.
I am completely committed to developing and holding a compassionate and transformative space, for my trainees and my clients alike, where people can explore and heal their shadows in a warmly supportive, shame free and emotionally mature environment.