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 several areas of psychological work. Firstly it gave me experience of the 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 how psychology is delivered in community settings, and now I now also teach this topic in counsellor training. Secondly, as this was a time when the Kyoto Protocols were agreed, it introduced me to the difficulties of sustainability planning in society, which is an interest I have followed since, which has led me into activism on climate change.
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 my 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 and depression; it also helps to understand how suggestible we all tend to be to cultural trends and values, and how these influence our mental well being.
Current areas of work and interest:
Lecturer in Counselling on the Foundation degree at University College Weston, teaching Humanistic counselling theory and practice, mental health and wellbeing, research methods, as well as supervising student placement work and running personal development groups. I also act as visiting lecturer on other modules of the BSc program.
Past 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 the Community Psychology section.
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: Applied Evolutionary Psychology Society as European contact; EHBEA member (European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association).
Coordinator of XR Bristol Rebel Elders group.