Looking back at my schoolboy days living in Northwest London, I was lucky to have loving parents and a good education, but I didn’t realise how stressful the whole school environment was for me at the time. Firstly, I struggled with the educational demands, often feeling ‘not good enough’ compared to other more brighter pupils in my class. Secondly, bullying was common, even though the school tried their best to intervene. The need to defend myself felt key to my own survival, as conflict in the playground grew on a daily basis. My environment was a feeding ground for my anxiety & stress.
From an early age, I found my Mum’s lovely after school baking to be an unconscious way to self-soothe my emotions. I became an emotional comfort binge eater. I began to gain weight to the point where I was a chubby child, to say the least. This affected my self-esteem, my body image and my activity levels, and I was in a constant turmoil of self-shame. I didn’t share my emotions with anyone, including my parents or my teachers, and I simply did not know how to ask for help. Life for me felt complex, and I kept all of my hurt, emotions, and pain hidden. My behaviour around food continued to suppress my feelings, and I became withdrawn from school activities.
Through my mid teenager years, 16 through to mid 20’s, my relationship with food improved when I started college. I became more interested in my academic work and social activities, and my need to self-soothe through emotional eating lessened. I slowly began to make more healthy choices around food and basic nutrition, yet an insecure body image still remained a figural issue for me. Even though I had lost weight, it was something that I couldn’t let go of, but I didn’t know why?
When I first experienced personal therapy, I clearly recall the initial feelings of fear and vulnerability which presented themselves. However, with sensitive and trusting support from my therapist, it was also the most momentous period of positive change for me. I began to learn more about myself, my habits, patterns, thinking styles and beliefs. My determination to remain focused on my goals helped and supported me to grow and develop, and I became more accepting of who I was. The combination of therapeutic support, moderate exercise and eating for health, rather than for emotional reasons, helped me to accept myself, both inside and out.
I'm aware how the first steps of reaching out for help and talking with a therapist can be challenging, and I have the highest respect for anyone who chooses to face their issues, especially around food. To flourish and blossom, as opposed to just surviving, is what we are striving for. Most of us do struggle at times in life, so having the willingness to seek professional help is an opportunity to transform and enhance our lives, as well as to break repetitive patterns around any type of eating issue. My role and vision is to guide, assist and support you through your personal journey.
My training includes an extensive experience of working with clients within a wide range of personal issues, including eating disorders & habits, depression, anxiety and stress, low self-esteem, relationship issues, bereavement and loss, trauma and abuse. I specialise in eating disorders, and ways of coping with stressful situations, and I have also worked for the past 8 years within community-based psychotherapy & counselling organisations, during which time I extensively worked as a Dual Diagnosis lead within a Substance Misuse Mental Health Team working in the HMP Prison Service.
I trained at Wealden Psychology College Institute in Crowborough, and qualified as an Integrative Therapist. The training course was accredited by the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), of which I am currently a Fully Registered Member.
The psychotherapy and counselling styles, techniques and approaches that I use are:
Transactional Analysis and Gestalt
CBT and Development Attachment Theory
Creativity, Sand Tray, Images, Artwork & Objects
Each theory offers me an insight and knowledge into human development and psychology, depending on what each Client shares within the therapy room. This helps me to draw upon a number of therapeutic styles, concepts and techniques which I use to help and support a treatment plan to best suit the Clients’ individual needs, and to assist them to look for ways of overcoming their eating issues.