I’ve been working with people, their bodies, and their challenges for 23 years. It’s not the path I thought I’d take when I was younger and working up the corporate ladder in strategic financial marketing and chasing promotions. But thank god I realised one day that it was never going to be the life for me. The fitness job that was my hobby became my full time job and a wonderful, twisty, fulfilling path lay ahead from there.
Fitness teaching became personal training, became sports coaching, became rehab training. At the heart of it all was connecting with people, helping them moved and supporting them through the challenges they were dealing with – be that challenges they chose to take on, or dealing with the ones that life threw at them.
During all this I was also a successful athlete, winning medals and international titles in triathlon and duathlon.
2008 turned out to be a turning point in my life. I’d just defended and won my European title, I was coaching the Scottish Triathlon squad, and I had a busy business ‘doing well’. But my body broke down, and with it so too did my mental health. I'd been 'chasing' again and my clever body stopped me and said ‘enough!’!
As part of my physical rehab, I had a 1:1 pilates session and I went to a yoga class. In both these, something profound shifted in me. I felt my body. I connected with my body. I often say that I felt like I’d had a slap in the face. I was slightly disorientated, because I was feeling something I’d never felt before. I was being gentle with my body and it was responding by releasing tension. I felt a mental ease and I had a place of safety and settlement in those sessions.
I went on to train in therapeutic pilates, As I began to move myself with greater alignment and efficiency, I felt the effect go much deeper and broader that just how I felt physically. Working with my own body, how I moved and how I related to it, helped me to heal over a decade of eating disorders; living with an on-going cycle of bulimia, compulsive exercise and restrictive eating. I realised I was holding on to patterns of protection and safeguarding which were limiting me in so many ways. I'd been chasing feelings of success and achievement because my own self worth and inner self esteem was so low. With great teachers I was gradually unwound these long held (yet difficult to live with) patterns through movement practices and supported with talking therapy when needed. I built myself up from the inside out and learned listen to, understand and respond to my body’s needs and signals. I am now completely and fully recovered from these eating disorders. I am also happy in my skin and with who and how I am.
The process was personally liberating and professionally enlightening. I had learned how our body and mind are inextricably intertwined. I came to realise that how we move has an effect on how we feel and think about ourself and the world around us, and vice versa.
These last 10 years of my work have evolved to explore both movement based practices and psychotherapeutic / therapeutic coaching practices, finding my integration of the two and helping clients with their own personal challenges within themselves.
My practice is based on values of compassion, respect, non-judgement, integrity and trust. I work with each person in the context of their whole self and meeting them where they were at. I work privately from my home therapy room, and I am also part of the team at TRC Edinburgh working with adolescents and young adults who are experiencing eating disorders. I lecture at Edinburgh university and consult on eating disorder protocol within sport and exercise facilities.
When I'm not working I can regularly be found trotting round the Pentlands hill in my trail shoes, weaving through the mountain bike trails at Glentress or getting my snowboard out on white stuff. I adore reading, drawing, being in pyjamas and harping on at my husband that we ‘must get a dog’.
I have been influenced by the work of many educators - most notably by Katy Bowman, Eric Franklin, Babette Rothschild, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Bessel Van Der Kolk, Peter Levine, Liz Koch, Moshe Feldenkrais.
I have attended various workshops on sport and fitness techniques, injury prevention, strength and conditioning, behaviour strategies, neuroscience, sport and fitness psychology, trauma recovery, somatics, feldenkrais, franklin method, developmental movement and developmental psychology, attachment theory, psychotherapeutic movement and basic body awareness therapy.