When I started out doing Massage, I seemed to end up with a lot of clients with trauma histories, who trusted me enough to disclose their stories. Often I was the first person they had told, and many told me that I was easier to talk to than their Counsellor or Psychologist. I figured, if this was happening, I should obtain some additional training to ensure that I had the skills to handle the situations responsibly. I was naturally drawn more to the gentler massage techniques, because I was incredibly sensitive and could feel more through my hands when I wasn’t exerting too much pressure.
Once I discovered the link between the fascia and the nervous system and trauma – I was hooked! I had found a way to combine my different interests and skills and put them to use in a way that nobody else seemed to be. I had seen the gaps in what was available when I was trying to heal my own trauma, and wanted to see if I could fill those gaps. By framing my work within the structure of massage (Myofascial Release Technique), I saw a way to make it more accessible, by allowing people to access their health insurance. A way to contain and legitimise the more “woo-woo” aspects of what I did.
In addition, to my education and training, weaving through and informing everything that I did professionally, has been my own personal healing journey. I wanted everything I had been through to have a beneficial purpose. I wanted to give my life meaning. I wanted to do something good. I also wanted to create a way of healing trauma that wasn’t so painful and heavy. We have as many happy tears, heart openings, gratitude and laughter in clinic, as we do the heavier moments. In fact, the most common feeling that I see people experience on my table is bliss – so I feel I’ve done OK on achieving that goal. #whosaidhealinghastobehard?
My life has included a variety of physical, mental and emotional traumas. So, I feel fairly safe in saying that I can relate to a lot of my clients’ experiences, and won’t minimise them. [If you want details – I almost died in-utero, due to a car accident; I was bullied in my formative years (pretty sure there is some inter-generational trauma in my family too); I hovered between life and death from a head injury after being hit by a bus, aged 9; I experienced sexual assaults in my late teens; toxic workplace stress in adulthood; abusive relationships; and finally the tragic death of my beautiful husband. That last one finally stopped me in my tracks and cracked me open, and I’m eternally grateful that somebody pointed me in the direction of the Spiritualist Church who trained me up as a Healer.]
I have psycho-analysed myself since the age of 12 and seen many different practitioners over the years in a bid to heal on various levels (including Naturopaths, Osteopaths, NET Chiropractors, Energy Healers, Coaches/Mentors, Psychotherapists and Counsellors). I was into any course of study or book which would give me better insight into myself and others, where trauma came from and how it could be healed. I use it all to inform the work that I do, to provide insights into what might benefit my clients and also to refer on to more appropriate (or additional) resources.
Many people tried to dissuade me from working with trauma (particularly sexual trauma), because of my own history, but I always felt like I had something to offer – because of my experiences and not despite them. Why let all that insight go to waste? But there were also some key people along the way who quietly told me that what I was doing had value, that what I wanted to do was needed, and that I should keep going. Thankfully, they were the ones I listened to.
I acknowledge that my work might not be appropriate for everyone, and I do my best to try and identify anyone that might be the case for. I’m certainly not the be-all-and-end-all of trauma recovery (nor do I want to be!). Trauma is far too complex and individual to have only one answer. But there are a lot of people that I CAN help with my particular skills, and that’s who I am here for. I am happy to work in the cracks and the little-known spaces that others may overlook. To offer something additional to your other work.
I started with a Health Science Diploma in Massage in 2001-2003. (2 years of full-time study. It was later migrated to a Remedial Massage Diploma as terminology and training changed).
I concurrently studied all 7 levels of Bowen Therapy that were available at the time through the Bowtech Academy. They also changed their training structure and I declined to spend more money to have my qualifications officially recognised by health funds.
Over the years I attended many workshops and series on a variety of healing topics – understanding the Chakras, Crystal Healing, Energy Work, Touch For Health, Life Lessons work.
The Bach Flower Institute – Levels 1 and 2.
2003: Trained as a Healer at the Maylands Christian Spiritualist Church and worked in their healing room for a couple of years.
2005-07: Partial completion of an Analytical Coaching certificate at The Churchill Clinic (Psychotherapy training school in Perth), before the school closed down due to the Global Financial Crisis. In addition, engaging in 50 hours of personal Psychotherapy was a requirement of this course.
Several years of Heart Mastery / Mystery School training with the Cosmosis Mentoring Academy. I found a lot of value from these years of spiritual development mentoring, and in the Cosmosis Process itself – which works at the Emotional level, rather than mental. During this time, I abstained from coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs or gossip, was constantly engaged in course work and attended a number of Retreats (including one for sexual abuse survivors which was both personally life-changing and gave me many insights into the many ways that this type of abuse shows up, and which approaches to healing could be most useful).
2012: Cert IV in Life Coaching and Mentoring – Global Coaching Academy.
2014-2018: I completed 3 lots of training with MJB Seminars to learn their Equilibration Technique. Then I discovered The Spiral (Advanced Clearing Technique), which worked on similar principles (Emotional Clearing) but was a better fit for me. I completed Practitioner Training and several Advanced Practitioner trainings. I would recommend caution for people with Trauma histories before engaging in these techniques. Make sure that the Practitioner you choose has adequate training to support you safely, and is an ethical/values match. A lot of the techniques borrowed from Coaching and NLP can be quite manipulative. I no longer use these techniques myself, but certainly found them beneficial at the time.
Membership with ANTA requires 20 hours of CEU training yearly and Senior First Aid training every 2-3 years. Besides additional specific training in Cranio Sacral Technique and Myofascial Release Technique, I choose whatever massage training seems most relevant to the clients I see. I also enrol in courses at NICABM (National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioural Medicine) on topics relating to trauma, anxiety, nervous system regulation, etc. so that I can be more trauma-informed.
Most recently I trained in McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release Technique, and am still completing case studies.