Having spent much of my childhood traveling between Africa and the UK, I finally settled in the UK as an adult.
After trying various other lines of work, I trained as a teacher, and spent the next twenty years in Special schools and special needs departments in mainstream school, working a lot with disturbed teenagers and students with learning difficulties. This background in applied psychology led me to develop a greater interest in the subject which I then went on to study with the Open University, where my interest in cognitive and evolutionary psychology was first sparked.
I went on to teach various different aspects of psychology in further education, and trained in Integrative psychotherapy at the Iron Mill Institute. As part of this training I became a volunteer counsellor at Help counselling which I still maintain, as it gives a good balance to my working life, alongside teaching and private practice.
Having been involved in partnership work with local government some years ago, I became interested in diagnosis and classification of mental health disorders, and how they are treated in the public domain; I have continued this interest, particularly in relation to evolutionary and cross cultural psychology. I now teach this topic also.
Most recently I have had the opportunity to follow up my passion and studied a taught Masters course in Evolutionary Psychology at Brunel university, finishing with a dissertation investigating the relationship between empathy and self awareness, which is still ongoing. I am steadily integrating this evolutionary perspective into my therapeutic work, my teaching on the foundation degree course at Weston College and writing for various journals.
I find including the aspect of evolution in explaining how our minds work adds a deeper level of understanding as we can engage with more difficult ultimate questions, such as why we tend to be very prone to anxiety, depression and how suggestible we all tend to be to cultural trends and values, and how these develop to act as triggers to our mental well being.
This aspect has also led me to be interested in Conservation Psychology in looking at how we can engage in making more long term decisions to change the way we live to be more sustainable over thousands of years rather than the next few decades.
Current positions of responsibility:
Lecturer in Counselling on the Foundation degree at Weston College, teaching Humanistic counselling theory and practice, mental health and wellbeing, and supervising student placement work and running personal development groups. I also act as visiting lecturer on the current debates in therapy module of the BSc program.
Vice chair of the British Psychological Society Psychotherapy Section, arranging Continuing Professional Development courses and conferences and contributing regularly to the section review magazine.
Member of Counsellors and Psychotherapists in Private Practice (CAPPP), a Bristol based organisation coordinating CPD and conferences for local therapists.
Volunteer counsellor for HELP Counselling, a Bristol based charity offering low cost, unlimited time counselling for young people aged 9 – 25.
Member of the Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society as European contact.