An abiding curiosity about what causes and what cures human suffering, has been the central theme directing and informing my life.
Fresh out of school I trained as a hotelier in Europe and during that period, realised I was carrying trauma that I found hard to articulate or understand. So young and far from home, I grappled with the experience that despite my 'normal' upbringing, I felt profoundly vulnerable and unprepared for life.
Back in Australia, at 20 I suffered a sudden and perplexing breakdown. I found myself unable to function and felt confused, alone and lost.
At a time I should have been launching myself into my young adult life, I felt instead crippled emotionally, physically and relationally. Searching for something that would make sense of my experience, I abandoned my hospitality career and embarked on a conscious journey of self development. I read endless books, engaged in a wide range of healing modalities, went through many therapeutic processes and undertook a series of trainings - all with a heartfelt drive to understand what causes human suffering and what can be done to alleviate it.
Pursuing my childhood passion for dancing, acting and singing, I was accepted into a university training in performing and expressive arts. I used this intensive academic and experiential training as a further deepening of my self development process, honing my skills in embodiment, creative expression, movement, improvisation, communication, voice work and group process - skills now fundamental to my therapeutic work.
Around the same time, I began a committed practice of Buddhism & mindfulness - spending time in monastic communities both in Australia and the US. I particularly studied the teachings of the late Zen master Shunryu Suzuki; and those of the late great global mindfulness guru Thich Nhat Hanh - in whose teachings I immersed myself for more than a decade of mindfulness training.
As part of my self development process, I explored a wide range of careers - including performing artist, radio broadcaster, freelance writer and social change communications consultant. I engaged in creative projects: such as creating a radio documentary for ABC Radio National that was nominated for the United Nations (Australia) Media Peace Prize; contributing to a book by Thich Nhat Hanh; and producing an ARIA nominated album of music.
Through it all, I followed my gut instinct - knowing only that I needed to amass a richness of life experience and evolve my human capacities, creative abilities and relational skills - capacities, abilities and skills that would turn out to be vital to being an effective therapist.
Over those decades, a series of significant personal traumas put my commitment to understanding and healing suffering, to the test. With each experience of life's blows, it only further embedded my drive to find a healing modality that was clinically sound and provided meaningful, measurable and transformational help for people experiencing psychological pain.
My first experience of somatic psychotherapy was as a client. By the second session I had a profound light bulb moment and knew that I had found a way of understanding myself and others, that made radical and profound sense. I had finally found my vocation.
My formal training in contemporary somatic psychotherapy was the seminal moment in more than 30 years of personal and professional development. Through its cutting edge, rigorous, life changing program, it provided me with the clinical framework at last, to integrate my own life experiences and to make use of the mental, emotional, physical, relational and spiritual capacities I had been developing my entire life.
I believe being a therapist is not a job, but a calling. Rather than my choosing psychotherapy, it feels far more as though psychotherapy chose me.
It is a privilege and honour to bring my lifetime of personal and professional development, to support others in their own quest for healing and growth.