Professionally, I have been a social worker, a counsellor, a sex educator, and manager of a mental health support service and a sexual abuse psychotherapy service. I am also a private psychotherapist and supervisor. My husband and I have raised two sons and are the proud grandparents of four little boys – and of course the dog!
Social work in the seventies, when I trained and first worked, was rich and fulfilling. It brought together practical help and therapeutic interventions, for a wide number of different needs. However, as this changed in the eighties, I moved towards the therapeutic and became a social worker/counsellor at the Brook Advisory Centre. As the AIDS epidemic took hold in Edinburgh I found myself in demand as someone who could help others talk about sexuality and sexual health, elements vital in slowing the spread of what was then a lethal disease.
In the nineties I trained as a Core Process Psychotherapist with the Karuna Institute, a form of psychotherapy that brings together Buddhism and western psychotherapy. My experiences at the Brook had shown me that there was a need to find a way of working that actively included spiritual practice, both to support myself and to deepen my capacity to be with suffering.
From 2000, I took on the role of managing a new psychotherapy service of adult survivors of sexual abuse at Health in Mind. During that time I saw – with devastating clarity – the suffering of so many people, and how it damaged mental health for the lifetimes of victims. I wondered at the amazing capacity of people to survive, as well as being horrified at the depths of inhumanity and cruelty behind the closed doors of respectable homes. To help me work effectively I undertook further training with Ellert Nijenhuis one of the founders of trauma work with dissociative disorders.
Around the same time I joined the Whole Works as a psychotherapist. I loved being at a Center where other disciplines could complement each other and within beautiful space where clients and therapists felt sufficiently held in order to facilitate their work.
I retired in 2016, but have a foothold still, being invited to join Sue Lieberman and Susie Atkins in the Advisory Group –supporting the work of The Whole Works in the Edinburgh community.