Why I became a Counsellor and Life Coach

My journey into the world of life coaching was, like all good journeys, birthed through struggle. For many years I couldn’t escape a sense of not being enough. Eventually sought help.

Receiving counselling changed me profoundly. As a client, I experienced the power of being listened to by a skilled, wise, and kind man. I felt heard and understood, and I slowly learned to offer myself the same compassion.

I wanted to learn more – and to give more. And so, my study and practice began. I trained to be a counsellor and then later to be a life coach. I’m still learning – through every client, through supervision and study. 

My Approach to Counselling and Coaching

I don’t believe in the fairy tale of ‘happily ever after’. Life is both amazing and terrible. We have the capacity to experience great joyful bliss and deep cavernous sorrow – and every shade of feeling between these polarities.

Like you, I still face challenging circumstances, thoughts and feelings, every day.

That stuff doesn’t just go away.

But what’s changed for me is that I no longer let these things stop me from moving towards the things and people that matter most to me. The struggle doesn’t go away but we can change our relationship with the struggle.

Sometimes we need to be listened to, sometimes we need to learn new skills, and sometimes we need to learn to grow in self compassion and trust our own intuition.

My approach to coaching is informed by my training in ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and by Martha Beck’s coaching programme.

ACT teaches us to how to stop trying to eliminate or avoid difficult feelings – and rather how to be present with whatever life brings up – whilst still doing the things that matter most to us. We can learn to use our values as a compass as we make decisions about how to be and what to do.

The Formal Stuff

Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling (Person Centred and Existential Therapy).
Thames Valley University, London. 2008-2010

Certificate in the Integration of Cognitive Behavioural Skills.
The Grove, London. 2011.

Introduction to ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).
Praxis Online. March 2020.

ACT for Depression and Anxiety Disorders.
Psyche Wire Online. April 2020. 

Life Coach Training Programme.
Martha Beck Inc. Online and telephone. 2016. 

DBT Skills 
Psyche Wire

Registered Member BACP British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapist. 380820

The Informal Stuff

I’m all about the outdoors – being outside in nature is my happy place.

I’m a sociable loner. I love humans, but I need to withdraw to recharge my ‘Shona powers’ fairly regularly!

I love, love, love long distance hiking. Each year for the last 4 years I’ve gone on a solo adventure. In 2019 – I solo hiked 2,650 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S.

My other adventures are mostly at home in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.

I’m 50% active woodland creature; 40% cat curled up by the fire; 10% mountain hare.

Simple things bring me joy – writing thoughtful blogs, doodling landscapes, listening to bird song and feeling the sun on my bare skin.

“I’ve found courage to fulfil some dreams I never thought I’d achieve. I feel like a new version of myself, stronger, resilient and sure.

Lucy Hurley, St Albans

“I new ideas, points of view, techniques, and science based facts which help slowly to change my thoughts. I’ve more control over myself and am so much more confident, I am working towards my goals and values in life because I now know I am worthy.

Sally, Highlands

In this film I talk about why I walked the Cape Wrath Trail and what it was like to be mostly alone with my thoughts for 16 days. 

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S H A R E   M E