I worked for over 30 years in the health and fitness industry and owned my own personal training company for 9 years. I set up my gym called Heart and Soul in Ladbroke Grove in 2011. I started a family in 2013 and decided to be a full time, stay at home mother after my husband and I had tried for 7 years with many-failed IVF attempts, to have a baby. While on my career break I retrained as a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner.
Mental health and well being has always been at the forefront of my mind - in my work and in my outlook. I started my psychotherapy training to make a difference to my community - I have lived in Ladbroke Grove for over 30 years. I had friends who lost their lives and homes in the Grenfell disaster - a tragedy that has had indescribable impacts across the UK. Called to action, my training has supported my exploration of the fragility of attitudes to race and to consider how my feelings about class have impacted me.
I would like to complete my training and then to offer my services to people who may not necessarily know or be able to engage with 'talking therapy' as a way of dealing with the impact of trauma. What we are doing - what we want to do within our community - this is bigger than us.
I am passionate about my community. I started community volunteering as a young Girl Scout - through the Brownies, Girl Guides and Ranger Guide organisations throughout my teens. I have been involved locally, in some capacity for a very long time. I currently volunteer as the team and committee secretary for a London based youth basketball organisation.
I have always lived and worked in London. My employment resume will show that I have worked for local and central government, multi-national organisations in the city, as well as further and higher education institutions in training, management and consultancy roles. However, 4 years ago I experienced an existential crisis and could not continue on my expected career path.
Fast forward to the present, and I would say that my psychotherapy training has given me access to the tools I needed to confront my identity head-on, and put me on a path to greater self-awareness. I realise that my local origins and the range of my life and work experience can form the basis for a therapeutic approach that will bring me back full circle to my community. Ultimately it is a journey I feel compelled to take; but like my trainee sisters, I face cultural and financial barriers.
For the past 10 years I have gathered a vast array of international and local experience as an advocate for the protection of female victims/survivors of violence against women or girls. I support and work alongside individuals within the BME community who have experienced compounded traumas such as domestic and/or sexual violence, stalking and harassment, trafficked victims, women working in prostitution, honour-based violence or are at risk of female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
My interest in understanding wellness and healing led me to psychotherapy and counselling. My foundation year was an incredibly transformative experience and has shifted the way in which I relate to the world. My journey to self discovery has taken me on an incredibly painful path this past year. I unravelled and familiarised myself with self-introspection as I found my resilience. My trainee sisters have been instrumental throughout this journey to date. They have encouraged me, motivated me and held my pain.
The transition into the first year of my psychotherapy training will require us to go deeper into our process, while gaining invaluable skills in relation to supporting others during their pain. Our next year will also require economic resources and we are attempting to gather these individually, however we are experiencing a variety of barriers in our pursuit.