My background is in photography (BA) and I also have an MA in design. However, my passion has always been what makes us tick. So, in 2008, I returned to what I really love. After training in EFT, Hypnotherapy and EmoTrance, I then completed an MA in Counselling & Psychotherapy and did my thesis on trauma and dissociation (1st class honours).
I am a member of the Association of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Ireland and the International Association for Trauma Professionals. I am also a certified EFT practitioner (trained with EFT founder Gary Craig, EFT Cert-I), clinical hypnotherapist (Advanced Diploma) and licensed Energy in Motion practitioner. I am also an accredited member of the Guild of Energists.
I keep up with the latest research both for my own enjoyment and to fulfill my continuing professional development requirements (50 hours per year). I completed a course in Shame, Self-Loathing & Complex Trauma Treatment: Somatic Interventions with Janina Fisher in 2016, and this year, 2017, I also completed a course in Family Trauma Training with the excellent Robert Rhoton. I have also completed seminars and courses by Bessel van der Kolk, Bonnie Badenoch, Jess Angland, Peter Levine, David Grand, Daniel Siegel, Eric Gentry and Tara Brach, to name but a few.
I am fascinated by how trauma and dissociation are inherently linked. It is why Irish psychiatrist Ivor Browne calls trauma; unexperienced experience, dissociation being the mechanism that keeps our experiences unexperienced. I firmly believe that the notion of trauma should be normalised as every single one of us has been hurt at some time in our life. The stigma of mental health issues, which are nearly always trauma-based, needs to be resolved by cultivating understanding, compassion and educating people to be trauma-informed. In my opinion, unresolved trauma is the root cause of so many seemingly unrelated issues in today's world: abuse, addiction, violence and many physical and mental health issues.
I believe being able to tolerate difficult emotions and physical sensations is essential to healing from trauma. When we find it too difficult and unsafe to stay with our pain, we leave our body, or dissociate, what Tara Brach humourously calls: leaving the premises. We need to learn how to stay in our body to heal and not dissociate in the many different ways we all 'check out', and for that to happen, safety is essential. We can't talk ourselves into feeling safe, we either feel safe or we don't. Our bodies are our litmus test in that respect, they can't and won't lie.
If we're not in our body, and many of us are 'leaving' our bodies over and over again because what they contain is too overwhelming, we can't listen to their messages and release the stress they hold for us. So, stress builds up and up and up, until our barrels become full and begin overflowing with symptoms. Symptoms are usually our first sign that something is amiss. They are the bread crumb trail that lead us to the root cause(s). There are some good questions we can ask so we get some clarity about what's really going on with us.
The most priceless skill we can learn is how to regulate our autonomic nervous systems so we can regain our ability to relax and feel comfortable in our own skins. I believe a dysregulated nervous system, stemming from unresolved traumatic stress, is the number one public health issue in our world today.