After 17 years as a teacher and academic, I’ve decided it’s time to start doing what I truly love: using my intuitive understanding and acceptance of others to support them on their journey towards a deep level of self-awareness and healing. It’s time to move out of the classroom and the lecture theatre into a closer and more personal relationship with people, through which I can bring about bigger and more important changes in their life and wellbeing.
If there’s anything I’ve learnt during my career so far, it’s that students (both adults and children) would prefer to talk to me on a deep level about their personal issues than have a more traditional and formal teacher-student relationship. I cannot count the amount of times students, of all ages, have confided in me, cried in front of me, and asked me for help, advice or understanding.
Basically, I make a good supporter and ally for people who need someone to talk to because I’m empathetic, non-judgemental and a good listener. I know what it’s like to be an outsider and see the world differently from those around you (I’ve felt that way most of my life, for various reasons). I know what it’s like to want more from life than what you’ve been told by others ought to be good enough for you. I know how hard it is to listen to the quiet, frightened little inner voice that’s telling you that you’re not being true to yourself and that something has to change; and to face the disapproval and condemnation of others when you start to walk the path that’s actually right for you. I think people trust me because of these things – because they can sense that I’ve been through a lot and have “done the work,” so I know what I’m talking about, and I’m able to understand and support them.
Also, I appreciate and admire in others the things that make them different and unique – especially when they are living in rather a conservative country where sticking to social and cultural norms and doing what’s best for those around you (rather than being true to yourself) seems to be valued above individual health and happiness. I also feel that what I bring to the table, as an open minded, progressive and highly empathetic person, is really needed in a culture where mental and spiritual wellness can be sensitive and taboo topics; a culture where people’s race, gender and sexual orientation is expected to fit traditional norms and young people would often rather leave the country than stay here and try to make some changes. Well, I’m staying. And I want to support, in every way I can, those who feel alone and misunderstood.
Maybe I have a way of looking at people which allows them to feel really seen, and which allows me to see the beauty and potential in them. To love them a little, for who they truly are (for I am full of love – for humanity in general). I think people feel this from me – and it is somehow able to, slowly but surely, change the way they look at themselves. Make them want a little more for themselves. To re-evaluate some things and broaden their view. To change their perspective. That’s the feedback people give me anyway.
I am also incredibly confident, assertive and comfortable with myself, and these are not always easy things to be! I am a walking example of what self-love and self-acceptance can look like, and I don’t care if that makes me sound “arrogant”. It is not arrogant to love and accept yourself, and I accept myself completely. I will not apologise for who I am or “water myself down” and “be less” for anyone. I speak my truth, and I hold my boundaries without apology or explanation. And I want the same for my clients. I want everyone to feel as accepting of who they are as I do. I want everyone to hold their boundaries and speak their truth as I do. Because it’s a good place to be. A place from which you can appreciate the little sparks of joy that can be found in the present moment. A place from which you can give and receive love, without fear, anxiety or shame. I want that for everyone. I believe it’s our birth right.
So that’s a bit about why I want to work closely with people, specifically within the sphere of healing arts and as a therapist. If you’re still interested you can read on and I’ll tell you a bit about my personal history and how I came to choose Somatics, Astrology and Reiki as the three holistic practices I wish to offer clients.
Now for a bit of basic information about me. I’m British, but moved to Slovakia permanently in 2016. Yes, sometimes I miss the culture I come from, and my friends and family there. But this is my home now and I am very content here. I also feel that my unique perspective as both an insider (I’ve been here a long time now and have fully acclimatised to Slovak life and culture) and an outsider – who has experienced a very different lifestyle – enables me to really help people here and make a difference in people’s lives.
I’ve lived in three countries, worked in various roles and industries (but mainly education), and have completed my university education to doctorate level. I did my undergraduate studies and Masters in the field of literature at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where I also completed a post-graduate training course in secondary school teaching (PGDE). I recently completed a PhD in education at the University of Trnava in Slovakia. I have experienced both marriage and divorce, am a single mother of two young boys and have many varied and eclectic hobbies. But the area of life that has taught me the most is undoubtedly the arena of human relationships and I have learned so much throughout my life from the richness of experience that both romantic and platonic relationships have brought to me. Relationships are the mirror through which we encounter the self, and the shadow self, and bring the two together in harmony.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fiercely independent, I like my solitude and am not at all a co-dependent person. I have spent large parts of my life living alone – both here in Slovakia and in the Scottish Highlands. But, ultimately, it is human relationships, of all kinds, that bring the most value and meaning to my life; and it’s the love and connection that I shared with others that I’ll take with me when I go.
How I found Astrology, Reiki and Somatics
I began to be interested in philosophy, psychology and spirituality as a teenager and have had many experiences with counselling, mentoring, guiding and advising people in various capacities throughout my life. Though I am not a trained psychologist, I have plenty of relevant experience for a therapist and coach role, including 17 years as a teacher in secondary schools and universities, where I often find myself getting a lot more fulfilment from offering support and guidance to students than from actually teaching. I have worked in counselling roles and have spent a lot of time mentoring younger teachers and trainee teachers, masters’ students etc. plus working in a voluntary position as a relationship counsellor in the UK.
Throughout my life I’ve often found myself drawn to supporting and counselling people who are struggling with their mental health, self-esteem and a general lack of fulfilment. Nothing brings me more joy than supporting someone through a journey of healing and self-realisation, and seeing for myself the way that better understanding and awareness of the self can lead to self-acceptance, self-love, better physical and psychological health and an increased feeling of joy to be alive. Having been engaged in a challenging but hugely rewarding journey of self-knowledge and acceptance, exploration of the shadow, healing and exploration of spirituality with myself over the past four decades, I now feel well equipped to support others on their own journeys.
I explain on the home page of this site the unique connection I see between the three disciplines I practice (it is represented clearly in a Venn diagram style infographic). But I’d like to explain the history of this connection here, because it’s part of the story of who I am and how I came to be here.
I have had a basic understanding of astrology since childhood, but it wasn’t until my early thirties that I began to study it seriously. My deeper interest in it came through my interest in the work of Karl Jung. In 2016 I became interested in Jung’s character types and the work of Myers and Briggs in developing the archetypes. I’d read Jung and Freud and a bunch of other psychoanalysis as a student but I felt a renewed interest in the aftermath of a failed marriage, as I had a deep need to understand what had gone wrong from a psychological perspective.
I had a feeling that the character types of Jung, Myers and Briggs would line up and correlate clearly with the predominance of certain elements (earth, air, fire, water) in somebody’s astrological natal chart. I was right. There is a strong resonance between much psychoanalysis and psychological astrology. Astrology was a lifelong interest for Jung and an important aid in his formulation of psyche and psychic process.
My interest in the connection between Jung and Astrology led me to the writings of Liz Greene, Stephen Arroyo and other psychological astrologers (astrologer and psychotherapist Glenn Perry characterises psychological astrology as “both a personality theory and a diagnostic tool”) and I began to hone my skills beyond deep self-analysis to the interpretation of other people’s psyches and shadow selves through their natal charts. I also learned to compare natal charts (synastry) and generate composite charts in order to look at relationship compatibility. For a full explanation of what Psychological Astrology is and how I use it, please see the Psychological Astrology page.
I have to confess that some esoterica is a bit too crazy for me and, having a tried a bit of pretty much everything out there, I have to say that I need a grounding in science in order for something to fully work for me. The movements of the planets and the angles at which they exert their energies on locations around the globe can be calculated mathematically. Both astronomy and astrology are ancient sciences with thousands of years of research, experience, and trial-and-error behind them and well-established systems that are hard to learn, but deliver consistent and accurate results. Psychoanalysis is a much more modern phenomenon, but the language of psychoanalysis can be a good way to “translate” the highly complex concepts and terminology within astrology into something the average person can begin to grasp.
I’ve been practising astrology now for 5 years, and doing it professionally for two years. I’m still learning; I’m learning every day. But I think I’m pretty good, and my clients seem to agree. The problem with astrology though is that it is very intellectual. It tends to encourage a very deep level of self-analysis (which can be triggering, overwhelming and simply too much for some people), deep reflection and, at times, overthinking things. It’s helpful, without a doubt, in understanding yourself and your path in life, and also massively helpful in understanding your relationships. But too much deep analysis of who we are and why we’re here can lead us down a rabbit hole of existential questions that can get a bit much if we’re not also grounded in our bodies and our spiritual practice.
So I started to think about what other disciplines I could learn and practice that could bring greater balance to me – and potentially also to others. I love yoga, massage, acupuncture and other types of body-based therapies but don’t feel that it would suit me to do any of those things as a job. I came to Reiki through my interest in different types of meditation, and energy work I’d been doing with myself (learning about grounding and shielding etc.). I felt energy work would suit me better than physical therapies as I tend to have more confidence in my intellectual and spiritual abilities than my physical skills (although I’m working on that).
I’d been pondering the concept of Body – Mind – Soul for months and trying to figure out what three disciplines I could offer clients in order to cater for all 3 elements. I knew that Astrology was about the mind and soul connection, but what could I offer that was more focused on body and soul? One evening the word Reiki just popped into my head. I didn’t even know exactly what it was at that point, but it felt like a bit of a revelation and I decided then and there to find out about it and learn it. So I did. The fact that the “Ki” in the word Reiki means the universal energy also called “Chi” felt immediately familiar to me as I already had experience with Tai Chi, Feng Shui and Qi Gong – which all utilise the same energy and work with it in different ways. Within a month I’d completed an online course and enrolled on an in-person course in the Czech Republic.
After the courses I started practicing on friends and people gave me positive feedback right away. It was immediately apparent to me that Reiki was a wonderful tool for helping people get out of their heads and into their bodies, and also a great tool for opening people’s minds up to an acknowledgement of the spiritual and energetic elements of their existence. If you feel a real effect from a Reiki session, you’re likely to become a little bit more interested in other spiritual and esoteric things (that don’t make much “logical sense”) and that is usually the first step on a very positive path towards greater self-awareness and fulfilment.
Once I had Astrology and Reiki down as my two disciplines, I felt a bit more confident about the viability of a business and I made pages on Facebook and Instagram called “Eclipse Reiki & Astrology” (eclipse, because I first started the original page on the day of a solar eclipse in summer 2021). But I was still missing something. I like triads. Things go together best in threes – though I’m not talking about relationships here so you can get that out of your head ;) – and, after all, the phrase Body, Mind and Soul (which I’d had stuck in my head for 2 years) was a triad. I still needed a third discipline.
I had heard of Somatic practices before and clearly I already held a strong belief in the connection between the body and the mind (or body-mind as it is often referred in Somatics) because of other interests and beliefs of mine. Over the past two years, as we have slowly returned to “normality” (or a “new normal”) after the pandemic, I have noticed quite a few people around me suffering from similar issues that appear to have a root in the mind but end up manifesting in physical symptoms. I’m talking about anxiety, stress, panic disorder, depression, burnout, dissociation etc. leading to physical symptoms and health issues. I’ve seen it multiple times, for example, in my high school and university students, who sometimes end up in hospital when their bodies become overwhelmed by unprocessed trauma and anxiety – for example in the form of sudden and unexplainable heart conditions, extreme insomnia and fatigue leading to collapse, severe digestive issues and even the appearance of an autoimmune disorder.
I made a decision to research this connection between what are essentially mental health issues and physical disease and dysfunction. I read Gabor Maté’s book, “When the Body Says No” and I started following Somatic Experiencing and The Embody Lab on Instagram and educated myself on polyvagal theory. I found the whole topic so engrossing that I must have read 20 academic papers in two days. And I absolutely, 100%, fell head over heels in love with the whole concept of Somatics. It immediately made SO much sense to me. And I thought, why aren’t psychologists doing this?! Why aren’t neurologists doing this?! Why haven’t we always been doing this?! It’s nuts. And it is absolutely the missing piece I’ve been looking for.
The next step was the training. I wanted to train directly with Somatic Experiencing and The Embody Lab in the United States because their faculty staff for the course include the actual founders of the type of Somatic Therapy I wanted to study. Their courses aren’t cheap, and there’s a huge amount to learn (most people on the courses are already doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists) but I didn’t want to learn from anyone else.
I also chose a course that was focused specifically on the connection between somatics and attachment theory. I became interested in attachment theory when I first became a mother, in 2011. I raised my children according to the principles of attachment parenting (practising on-demand and exclusive breastfeeding until the child decides for themselves to wean, babywearing, co-sleeping etc.) in order to promote a strong emotional and physical bond between me and my children that would support their sense of safety and confidence in themselves. I developed a further interest in attachment theory in 2018, around the same time that I began to take a deeper interest in the work of Carl Jung (as mentioned previously). I realised immediately that I have a secure attachment style (hence why I’m so good at offering people love and acceptance without any anxiety that they will hurt or reject me, and why I get so much joy out of relationship and connection), whereas most of my failed romantic relationships had been with people with an insecure-avoidant attachment style. I learned a lot from exploring the different attachment styles and how to support people according to where they fall on the secure – insecure spectrum.
The more I learn about somatics, about psychology, psychoanalysis and psychological astrology, about attachment theory, polyvagal theory and the anatomy of the nervous system, about energy and Reiki and meditation (and a bunch of other stuff that’s way more crazy) – the more it just ties everything together for me. Somatic therapy is not a spiritual practice per se, but the deep emphasis on the ways in the which emotions influence the body (through the state of the nervous system) is a very holistic approach; and you don’t have to go far from that to get to a point where you’re also considering the soul to be a part of the picture and acknowledging that more spiritual practices like yoga, meditation and Reiki can create the exact same state of calm and regulation in the nervous system that somatic therapy aims to do. It’s all the same stuff – just different names and different tools and approaches.
And that’s how I ended up here, putting it all together, and calling it Body Mind Soul. I hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to me and I hope this approach brings to my clients a sense of integration, balance and a deeper appreciation of their beautiful, complex and multi-faceted selves.