I started adult life with a physics degree and environmental science PhD, then turned to analysing the human mind because a) mine was giving me trouble (cough, understatement, cough) and b) it’s far more complex, interesting, challenging and rewarding.
Twenty-ish years of personal development, training in teaching, communication, coaching, counselling, and Experience of Life later (I love that the Dutch actually have a phrase for this: ervarings deskundige), I support highly intelligent, highly sensitive, intense people, to become the best they can be: physically, emotionally, mentally, situationally.
My work’s informed by attachment theory, trauma theory, coaching, counselling, person-centred (Humanistic) and development-oriented (Buddhist) approaches.
I’m particularly interested in trauma and its effects because highly sensitive, intelligent, intense people (sometimes called ‘gifted’) have often experienced more trauma in their lives, and experience it more deeply than non-intense, less sensitive, less intelligent folk.
The effects of trauma – whether the trauma was low key or intense, one-off or chronic – can include dysthymia (feeling numb), alexythymia (not being able to label your emotions), addiction, depression, anxiety, chronic tension, psycho-somatic conditions, and the rest.
Trauma can be low-key or intense, one-off or chronic. Witnessing your parents’ separation is trauma. Losing a family member or close friend is trauma. Being bullied at school is trauma.
Being highly intelligent, sensitive and intense in a world of people who aren’t highly intelligent/sensitive/intense is in itself traumatising in a chronic, low key but persistent way.
Sensitive/intelligent/intense folk generally have a harder time getting over trauma because their very sensitive, intense, intelligent nature means they feel it and are affected by it way more strongly than you might expect.
Sensitivity is often heightened by the very experience of living through trauma – especially chronic, inescapable trauma (neglect/abuse by your caregivers, on a smaller or larger level of impact).
Intelligence is heightened by being forced to solve problem after problem in order to survive trauma too. And intelligence is also a refuge – somewhere you can flee, do amazingly well, and feel confident when the rest of your social and emotional world is too painful, or just damn weird, to handle. Your intelligence goes up and up while other parts of you get left in the dark.
If that’s not enough already, intelligent people also try to solve emotional problems with their exceptionally clever heads rather than with their bodies. Since the body is where the emotions are held and experienced, this approach is almost doomed to fail, if not worsen your condition.
Positive feedback can mess things up.
Luckily, there’s a way out.
You update your mental models of who you are and how you process stuff.
You understand yourself (if you don’t, who the heck else is going to??)
You reach, feel, and process your emotions physically, where they actually are in your body.
You build your network of support – the people who can help you rebuild your emotional brain to a functional state, a state in which you feel really alive.
You create positive feedback that helps, support, nurtures and nourishes you. Step by step.
This is not a one-person-can-save-you solution. You need a team. Maybe not a huge team, but a team nonetheless.
Some of your team are already in your life: good friends, relations, teachers. People who are possibly fairly-well balanced themselves.
Some of your team you need to find: specialists, advisors, trainers. These can be people in real life or in books, videos, and other resources.
Someone (ideally you, eventually if not right now) needs to oversee and manage the process. A good therapist can fill this role and support you in learning self-management too.
Do I fit in your team?
If you want to consult with someone to develop an overview of your situation, to help you figure yourself out, and to identify some of the best routes for you to get to better health, I can do something for you.
If you want an educator to help you learn about your brain, emotions, how you handle life, especially as it pertains to sensitive, intelligent and intense people’s experiences, I can do something for you.
If you want a facilitator for releasing your stored and blocked emotions, and to help you both know what you feel, and to feel what you feel. This is my specialty.
On the one hand, I take a systematic approach to figuring you out: logically, rationally, explainably. I use tension release methods as well as coaching and counselling style dialogue to get to the heart and root of your issues.
On the other hand, I work intuitively. I know stuff I shouldn’t know from what you’ve told me. I get downloads of information into my mind before our session even begins. I hear the right words to say at the right time for you – even if they make no sense to me at all. I know when there’s something underneath that needs to come out, and figure out how we can access it, give it expression, and release it. Call it woo, call it spiritual, call it ‘I haven’t got a clue but it sounds darn useful if you ask me’ – it works.
Together, the logical and the intuitive kick your ass. Kindly, but determinedly towards a better you. A you-er you. A you that knows what you know, feels what you feel, is who you are, and does what you do. Better than you knew, felt, were and did before.
Want me on your team? Work with me.
Training & qualifications
Personal study (psychology, counselling, coaching, and related fields) & development
Buddhist practice: study and practice with the Triratna Buddhist Community in ethics, meditation, and Buddhist wisdom, 1999 onwards.
Diploma in Coaching and Counselling, Academie voor Coaching en Counselling, 2016-17 (in progress)
Certificate in Counselling Skills, Iron Mill Institute, 2014.
Certificate & Diploma in Fundraising Management, Institute of Fundraising, 2011-2012.
PhD Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, 2011.
The Work That Reconnects facilitator training based on workshops by Joanna Macy for connecting humans and our world, our environment, 2007.
Reiki 1st and 2nd degrees attunements, UK Reiki Federation, 2005.
Postgraduate Certificate in Education – Secondary (High School) Mathematics Teaching, Cambridge University, 2003.
BA (Hons) & MSci Natural Sciences, Cambridge University, 2001.
Viniyoga Foundation Course, 2000.