Why am I a counsellor?
I always had a strong interest in “what makes us tick” I think because in my teens an episode of bullying at school caused me to experience severe anxiety which lasted for several years. In those days there was little understanding about stress and how to manage it. I took a degree in psychology which I loved but it didn’t give me any real answers. Gradually, by researching and by trial and error, I began to understand exactly what makes the difference between emotional health and emotional ill-health. Now I feel ready and excited to help other people discover this for themselves. There is nothing more satisfying for me than seeing someone completely transform their life and the knock-on effect it has on people around them.
My working life and my counselling credentials
I have run several small businesses (as disparate as software localisation, driving tuition and catering) before becoming a small business coach. I then moved into community development work and further education, teaching a range of subjects including IT and business and then personal development. I felt it was time to get back to psychology in a bigger way, took the plunge and embarked on a Master’s Degree in Human Givens psychotherapy. I set up my own private practice here in Douglas, Cork city in 2012.
My Master’s degree involved me setting up and running a project with a group of fibromyalgia sufferers. (Fibromyalgia is a devastating condition – symptoms range from extreme fatigue to constant pain and disturbed sleep.) I taught the skills of mindfulness and breathing, pacing, drawing on our internal and external resources and setting new and realistic goals. Results proved that the mindfulness course did indeed really help their mood and sleep. I am delighted to be still running Mindfulness workshops for both the Cork Fibromyalgia Group and the Cork branch of the Irish ME Trust and also see clients with stress related illnesses on a one to one basis.
I am proud to be a founder member of MindfullyWell, a network of counsellors and psychotherapists in Ireland and Northern Ireland and also to be one half (together with Karl Hyden) of the Hyden-Winfield Consultancy which provides education, training and consultancy to people and organisations in Ireland in the area of mental toughness. We work with people who are interested in overcoming significant emotional, physical or life challenges, including unemployed adults, young people returning to work or education and those experiencing ill health or disability.
Specialisation in trauma recovery
My particular interest in trauma recovery (and in the idea of “thriving” or post-traumatic growth) has led to a new departure for myself and my business – into the world of online training and counselling for individuals recovering from trauma and for professionals who work in this area. This will all come together over the course of 2017 but in the meantime check out my “work in progress” Trauma Pathways website for more information!
On a personal note
I am most proud of all to be a mother of two “children” in their twenties. In my spare time I love to travel and to spend as much time as possible outdoors, preferably in the sun! I have recently discovered the joys of “house-swapping” which has led to several trips to the US, especially New Hampshire. I was born and brought up in the UK Midlands and moved to Ireland twenty years ago.
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