“Reach for the moon… & even if you miss… you’ll fall amongst the stars! ”
Audio - Personal Bio
My Personal Bio…
When I started my studies in psychology I never thought it would change my life so dramatically and significantly… never the less it did… in an empowering, insightful and industrious way.
I spent a lot of my childhood in an anxious state constantly seeking the approval of my father. Attempts at expressing my emotional and psychological needs, those deemed normal for a child, were met unpredictably with detachment, contempt and physical violence. As a result I developed a maladaptive sense of the world and how to relate to others. My understanding of interrelating was learnt from this damaging experience and as I grew older my anxiety turned to anger, destructively affecting all my relationships… with family, friends and colleagues. However at the time I was unaware of this process.
To help manage the emotional pain of resentment, rejection and emptiness I started to use drugs.
Using substances catapulted me into a sense of freedom and further rebellion and before I knew it I was addicted. I had developed a serious habit that was going to destroy me even more than the feelings I was using it to run away from. One night I had a near death experience and as a result I sought advice. As I started to learn about the affects of substances on the brain, no matter how euphoric it made me feel, I knew I didn’t want to carry on down this road. But what I didn’t realise was that as an addictive habit it was not going to be easy to break.
I made a decision to become abstinent from drugs; I trained as a driving instructor, studied media at college and professional broadcasting at university. However with the intrinsic desire to abstain from drugs I relapsed twice but at the time couldn’t understand why.
A year later after searching into my spiritual existence and being intrigued by my own behaviour as well as that of others, I started studying towards a BSc Honours in Psychology. “EUREKA”… the answers were slowly being unlocked and the understanding I had been looking for faithfully, and what felt like most of my life, was being handed to me in what I interpreted as a gift. I have been abstinent and sober from drugs ever since.
So empowered by this experience I became a volunteer substance misuse worker in an addiction service. Within three months I secured a fulltime paid role as an aftercare worker and within 8 months I was promoted to team leader all the while being financially supported by my employers to complete studies towards a Masters in Addiction Psychology & Counselling.
I have since worked for the NHS as a Dual Diagnosis Practitioner training other clinicians, including psychiatrist, nurses, psychologists and social workers, in how to work effectively and thereby increase treatment outcomes with patients suffering dual-diagnosis issues. I also worked directly as a therapist with patients who experienced serious, complex issues as a result of their excessive substance use and severe mental illness.
The contract ran for a few years and after leaving the NHS I was given an amazing opportunity to work within a privately run 5* residential treatment centre in Thailand as an addiction therapist to very wealthy clients from all over the globe.
I returned to the UK to my incredibly missed family and friends, and took a leap in faith and fortitude by venturing out into my own private practice as a therapist, motivational speaker & trainer. My new enterprise, as you now know, is simply called ‘HABITS’.
I feel exceptionally blessed but have truly come to realise along my protracted, arduous and exuberant journey, that what we choose to think, what we choose to feel and what we choose to do in life is in our hands. Habits are born – through repetition… but habits are also broken – through replacement. I replaced my anguished mind and consequential behaviour with a desire to learn and understand myself followed by the act of doing that which would create the change.
I owe it all to Faith and to those people who saw the potential in me… supported me… nurtured me… and never gave up on me.
Audio - Professional Bio
My Professional Bio…
As a BACP Registered Addictions Therapist, specialising in Schema Therapy and dual-diagnosis, my experience of working in the addiction and mental health field spans over 13 years. Whilst I work integratively, using a combination of therapeutic approaches and relapse prevention techniques, I firmly believe the client is the centre of the therapeutic journey. I consider it a privilege to be invited into their lives and to share in their highlights as well as their darkest experiences.
Living in a modern western society such as ours has its rewards. However with the various social, health, economic and spiritual pressures it can be equally daunting and stressful. Whilst some have the capacity to locate resources to cope with these stressors in a more healthier way, others have difficulty responding and adapting effectively and therefore rely on more unhealthier coping strategies that eventually become habitual and cause harm… mild to moderate harm for most, but for the unfortunate few, severe or fatal.
I have several years of private and professional experience in addiction and mental health. Delivering therapeutic programmes, training sessions and motivational workshops, I have worked for organisations in both the public and private sectors here in the UK and overseas. These include: SW London & St. George’s NHS MH Trust, Asia Health Co. & KCA.
I am thankful that my private and professional experience affords me passion, affinity and ability to work directly with people from diverse cultures and varied backgrounds. I am an ardent believer that recovery from addiction and mental illness through the effective management of a healthier life-style is available for all who seek it… my aim is to support and assist every one who seeks it through HABITS.
Audio - Therapeutic Approach
My Therapeutic Approach…
My work has included delivering treatment to individuals and groups who have suffered mild forms of mental health including stress, low level anxiety & depression to more severe forms including bi-polar affective disorder, personality disorders and schizophrenia. In terms of addiction and compulsive behaviours I have helped individuals overcome eating disorders and deliberate self-harm as well as destructive use of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and prescription medication such as tranquilisers (i.e. diazepam and other benzodiazepines) and pain relievers (i.e. oxycodone, dihydrocodeine).
In the course of my studies in psychology, I discovered that addiction is a habit (albeit a severe one) the same as all behaviours that we do on a constant, consistent, & consciously unaware basis. In other words habitual behaviours (and thoughts) become so natural to us, we do them without giving it a second thought; it also includes those related to mental health issues. The ‘habit forming’ process is fundamental to our identity… is the definitive foundation of learning… and a necessity for us as humans. However when these habits become unhelpful and destructive it becomes necessary to address them with the aim of changing them to develop more healthy ones.
In discovering that habits are in simple terms the repetition of action and entrenched patterns of thought, it is my goal and ambition to share this developmental process in a simple, pragmatic & formulated way, with all those I have the privilege of sharing a relationship with, both in my professional and personal life.
My ultimate aim is to further my research into the understanding of the interplay between addiction and schemas; both of which are habit-forming processes.
As an integrative therapist, I call upon a variety of therapeutic disciplines relevant and appropriate to the presenting needs of the individual. This is based on initial and continuous assessment of the client with the subsequent therapeutic approach tailor-made and agreed upon between me and each individual. Every human being has mental health each at varying degrees; the aim is to enhance mental health that encourages personal competence, self-confidence and creative potential.
I am trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Person-Centred Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, 12-Step Facilitation Therapy and Systemic Therapy (Family therapy). In the last three years I have added and applied Schema Therapy, Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness to the list of my therapeutic approaches.
Having worked in the field for over 13 years, I have flexibility in my approach. I am able to work with individuals or groups at most stages or degree of their addiction and/or mental health issue, utilising a formal or informal approach dependent on their existing presentation and historical report.
Audio - About HABITS
As a social enterprise HABITS delivers addiction and mental health treatment to the needs of the local and wider community.
HABITS offers its services to those directly and indirectly affected with an emphasis on treating those who fall within the most disadvantaged and hard-to-engage population.
Addiction has no prejudice and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety affects at least 1 in 4 of the UK population. In London alone, out of the 2 million of the 8 milllion residents affected by mental health issues… an astounding 1.6 million are from the BAME (Black, Asian & Minority Ethnics) group.
Whilst HABITS focuses on personal recovery, we utilise both preventative & curative approaches in the delivery of our services. Our overall objective is supporting people to make sustainable life changes through the development of enduring healthy habits.
We do this via 1:1 therapy, group therapy, motivational workshops & training. We also offer addiction and mental health training to practitioners & professionals either working specifically in this field or in organisations that deliver other service provisions to community groups that maybe affected by addiction and/or mental health.
HABITS firmly believes there is no habit impossible to change if one has the desire & the capacity to make that change.
HABITS of London C.I.C | Registered in England & Wales | Company No: 10114035