I started out as an engineer. After 30 years in aviation, I decided to leave and change career. From working voluntarily over the years, for a wide range of causes, I had long-since known that what I really enjoyed was helping people.
In 2010, still living in London at the time, I took up work as a volunteer counsellor, studying counselling and psychotherapy in the evenings. I spent the following years working for third sector organisations in management roles, whilst continuing to work as a counsellor, befriender and group facilitator in my spare time, in areas such as addiction, substance misuse and homelessness.
In the summer of 2015, sponsored by a Cypriot charity based in Hackney, I travelled to Greece to contribute to the humanitarian effort supporting the huge influx of refugees fleeing the Middle East. After spells at other camps, I ended up at the refugee transit camp at Eidomeni on the border with Macedonia. There for the next 5 months, until the border was closed in December, I helped out with just about everything. My day job was managing the stores of donated goods, the daily distribution of food, water, and (what became a particular area of expertise) nappies.
As a manager in aviation, I had frequently suffered from stress: anxiety, insomnia, chronic back pain and gastrointestinal problems. Changing jobs in London didn’t help. I trained and worked as a Personal Trainer for a while, enjoying the work- yet problems always returned. So, when I finally took time out to become a therapist, I started researching a whole range of topics, desperate to find ways of improving my own health along the way.
The game-changer for me was discovering first CBT, then breathing, in particular the Buteyko Method and the work of Patrick McKeown. Changing my own disordered breathing pattern brought about improvements in my health that I could never have believed possible.
Today, I am thankful for the chance of being able to offer something potentially life-changing to the people I work with. There is nothing more satisfying than being a witness to that when it happens.