From a young age, I have been passionate about the fields of Psychology, Health, and well-being. After finishing my first degree in Psychology when I was 23 years old, I went on to work in the area of Human Resource Management. I enjoyed my work, however, after a while, I started to feel that this area of work was not my true calling.
So I decided to take a break and I took the decision to leave my job and take off on a trip around the world. Eventually, after a year and a half of wonderful traveling, I decided not to return to the UK where I am from, but to start a new life and move to the beautiful Mediterranean town of Sitges, in the Barcelona area of Spain.
The sun, sea, and a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle helped me to appreciate a way new less stressful way of life. I decided rather than go back to working in Human Resources, that I would reignite some of my earlier life training and working as a Massage Therapist with Reiki and Aromatherapy. However, in 2006 more or less out of the blue, I started to become sick. I had had some chronic back problems for a few years, due to a minor car accident. But suddenly the pain got worse, it spread across my whole body and it gradually became unbearable. I finally was forced to stop working.
I went on to visit many doctors and eventually I had to accept that I was not finding any real solutions to my health issues. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia as the "cause" for my chronic pain. Eventually, my body started to severely weaken and I fell into a state of exhaustion and depression. It was at this point that I was diagnosed with the "sister" condition of Fibromyalgia.....Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Little side note: To this day, these conditions are not really well understood. They are considered to be related to the nervous system, they sometimes are connected to autoimmune illnesses and have been associated with trauma ( via ACES study) along with other possible influences; e.g. epigenetics, environmental. (My blog is dedicated to exploring the relationship between trauma and chronic conditions).
WHEN EVERYTHING CHANGED
The Chronic Fatigue brought me new challenges and I found myself in a very bad place where I was unable to walk, have a social life or feel that I was having any real quality of life. Feeling let down by conventional medicine ( which I should point out I am not against, but I feel it is not adept to treat/heal all illness) I knew I needed to turn my own health around. This was an opportunity to pull upon all of my studies in psychology and wellbeing and truly apply them to myself. After my diagnosis, I experimented with supplementation, read furiously the science and other theories, I followed gut healing diets and I worked with various healing professionals.
But there was one thing that stood out above all else on my journey. Along the way, I had taken up yoga and mindfulness and something inside of me said not to keep running away from my physical and emotional discomfort and pain but to journey inside and explore what was there. One day something clicked in me that this issue was not just a physical illness but an issue that went much deeper, one that affected the mind, body, and spirit. It was this realisation that took me on the deepest stage of my healing journey and continues to be key to how I work today both on myself and with all of my clients.
I knew I needed to understand this area more, so I chose to study Health Psychology with a specialism in Psychoneuroimmunology, often termed as the Mind-Body Connection. I then trained as a Clinical Integrative Psychotherapist and then in 2008, I went on to study Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard University. Since then I have dedicated years to learning the latest in the field from Neuroscience, Attachment Theory and Trauma Theory to ancient and spiritual healing teachings and their impact on our overall wellbeing. Aside from my training in talk therapies, I am trained as a Somatic Psychotherapist working with trauma based therapies such as Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; these work with what shows up in the body as well as the mind. Working with me is about working on the whole person. (see Somatic Psychotherapy).
I have had a passion my whole adult life for psychology and wellbeing, but it was my personal experience of illness and my own ongoing healing journey that really led me to want and feel able to consciously help others on their path to wellbeing too. I truly love my work!
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
I will be forever grateful that I found Denise and had the life changing opportunity to experience therapy with her. She is not just extremely well-qualified, highly professional, multi-skilled and experienced, but she is also profoundly empathic, honest and humble.
Right after the first session, I realised that this way of working was just right for me and I can recommend it to anyone who has difficulties talking about the past/ personal problems or who has difficulties finding the source of whichever symptoms it is you are experiencing.