MY SUCCESS STORY
After studying at London and Cambridge universities and having a great career in management and training with BT and Cadbury Schweppes, I embarked on parenthood thinking it would be easier than paid work. How wrong I was!
My first baby did not sleep or eat and was seemingly active 24/7. I was made redundant when pregnant, had just moved to a new area and knew no-one. Isolation and the long march of sleeplessness set in. My mum died. I became pregnant again and my relationship began to fall apart.We separated. Several other people I was close to died, and grief was a big issue for me. I acquired a chronic health condition. Life was bad.
With two children on board, I struggled along with the help of child-minders and au pairs, having found a local public sector job with flexitime. But apart from everything else, the parenting was a real struggle. As an only child I had naively assumed that my children would love each other. But after I separated from his dad, my young son hated his sister and there were daily, constant battles between them. I was constantly exhausted. Life was still bad.
I found a parenting class that promised to help and hired a babysitter. It was scary, I was the only single parent and felt (you’ve guessed it) – bad. But the methods I tried out did, to my surprise, work. The battles got less, we got closer and it gradually dawned on me that the parenting techniques were exactly the same skills as I was using at work and teaching managers to use in order to manage their staff better. My son turned out to have a touch of ADHD. Then I realised I had ADHD. You can live with it and manage it. In some ways it’s a good thing. I realised I had an anger problem when my son started to copy my anger behaviour. I dealt with it (not as easy as it sounds) and we both deal with anger better now.
Years passed, I designed and ran lots of courses in my job and wanted to be home more with my children especially in the holidays. I took a deep breath and went freelance offering courses and coaching for parents. Course after course went well and I was asked to design another one. Over twelve years I worked with parents from a wide range of backgrounds in North London, from well-off married couples to single parents on benefits. There was a lot of common ground in the issues they all faced as parents.
I found (and still find) it hugely rewarding to see people sort out their problems and start to feel better about themselves. This is what drives me to do this work. It’s even better when I see them in the street and get updates on how the family is doing. It’s great to see people go from strength to strength. Often solving one problem liberates them to forge ahead. Once you start working on yourself, you get to like it.
Occasionally I got myself counselling and psychotherapy which sometimes helped a bit with certain issues, but just as often didn’t. I understood myself slightly better but could not change the behaviours that were sabotaging me. I felt frustrated when the only help available seemed to take for ever and cost a lot whether it worked or not. I sometimes felt exploited by ‘professionals’ who clearly had never handled problems like mine and were out of their depth but still took the money, a lot of money, for a long time. This is why with my clients I review progress every 6 weeks and ask the client to decide whether they wish to continue. After 6 sessions you should be starting to feel better. And this is why I will donate the fee to charity if you don’t feel you have progressed. It’s also why I meet clients for free first to see if we can work together.
This dissatisfaction is what took me to the approach I now use, which (take a deep breath and google them) combines Schema Therapy with
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Behaviour Change Coaching techniques at the level of the emotions. This works to heal long-standing problems which give you phobias, anxieties, addictions, compulsions, procrastination and other self-sabotaging behaviours. It’s as logical and scientific as people-work can get. It’s not a magic bullet and it takes a lot of work from you, but it is effective for change. Look at the Professional Acknowledgments section if you want to find out more. Or just contact me.
Qualifications and courses
- BA Psychology, Distinction.
- Certificate in Psychological Test Administration
- Post-graduate certificate in Education (teaching qualification)
- Certificate in Teaching Children with Learning Difficulties
- Certificate in Group Facilitation with Adults
- Diploma in Coaching
- Skills to Foster course
Parentpower acknowledges the huge amount it has learned from psychologists, sociologists, biologists and campaigning and research organisations. Of particular importance and in no particular order are:
|Sigmund and Anna Freud
Jeffrey Young & Janet Klosko
Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
Harriet E Lerner
Carol J. Adams
Judith Rich Harris
Jennifer Hayeshi Danns
The Anti-Porn Men’s Project
London Feminist Network
Campaign Against Pornography