The Face Behind Example
So some of you may know the face behind Example but for those of you that don’t know me I’ve written a post about my journey and why I started Example. So it all began when I was just a few days old. I was diagnosed with a little know congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. This meant I had four different things wrong with my heart and would need life saving surgery. I had this surgery at 18 months old which was successful and meant I was able to live a fairly normal life, bar lots of visits and check ups with the cardiologist. Also I do have to have a heart valve replacement in the near future. Then came along mental health issues when I was a child and then further mental health problems when I was about to go to university. Add in to the mix developing migraines and it’s safe to say I’ve experienced some struggles over the last 26 years or so. But what has all of this got to do with Example? Well a lot actually, having experienced health difficulties personally it’s always been a passion of mine to understand the psychological aspects of health and how this impacts individuals at a personal level and a wider society level. So I decided to study Psychology at Cardiff University and then went on to do a Masters in Health Psychology at King’s College London University. I learnt so much during my time there and I was fascinated to learn about how psychology could be applied to physical health conditions not just mental health. We had talks from inspiring practitioners working in lots of different areas such as dentistry, cardiology, chronic pain and dermatology. Learning about Health Psychology fuelled the fire within me to improve the lives of people with health conditions. Whilst studying at King’s I was lucky enough to work on a fantastic project with my supervisor looking at the impact of menopausal symptoms into workplace. This further sparked a deep interest in the area of women’s health and I went on to work as a researcher on Menopause and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder projects. I still carry out research now into premenstrual conditions and believe it is one of the most important areas our society needs to focus on as it has been underfunded for too long leaving far too many women to struggle and not receive the treatment and support they desperately need and deserve. Whilst doing my masters I felt frustrated at the fact that it seemed like Health Psychologists were only able to access this patient group at the hospital/acute stage. Whereas I wanted to target as many people as possible and help as many people as possible. Cue going back to study for a Masters in Occupational Psychology. Again I throughly enjoyed learning about the various aspects of the workplace that Psychologists are having an impact in and felt inspired at the difference practitioners were making. However, I knew that my passion lay in health and well-being in the workplace and that to make a difference I would need to work with individuals one on one and at a higher organisational and societal level to make real change. So I undertook my coaching training at the Centre for Coaching in London to be able to work with clients one on one in a person centred, solution focused way. I love using the Cognitive Behavioural and Acceptance and Commitment Coaching approaches in my work. My passion and mission in creating Example was and is to raise awareness and support those experiencing health conditions to succeed and thrive not just at work but in life too. I’m certain that by working with people one-on-one through coaching and by providing awareness raising training to workplaces we can make the workplace a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals with chronic conditions and disabilities. Although I remain passionate about my mission for Example there are days when it is tough coping with migraines and anxiety and depression and the not knowing when I will have to have a valve replacement. And some days it’s hard to open up about these things as when you work in the health and well-being and coaching sphere it can seem that admitting you yourself sometimes struggle is unprofessional and not what people want to hear. But I’m someone that believes in honesty and walking the walk as well as talking the talk which is why I wanted people to know my story and the face behind Example. So thank you for reading if you have got this far and for the continued support of Example by all my fabulous friends, clients and colleagues, it means a lot!
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