Who is SJ?

Finding someone to talk to about deep, dark and difficult feelings can feel daunting, especially if you’ve had bad experiences. Below, I’ve chronicled my 22 year journey through counselling, crisis support, nursing, fostering and pastoral care to Unshaming Therapy. I hope my transparency can help you make the decision that’s right for you.

2002

My journey started in 2002 when, during my gap year, I trained as a CRISIS PREGNANCY COUNSELLOR. This had a profound impact on me. I learnt about the grieving cycle and active listening, and experienced first hand how heart-breaking a person’s story can be. I realised how important it is to view others in a respectful, non-judgemental way because they are the ones living their lives. I credit this period of my life with curing any black-and-white superiority I may have had. I learnt to respect the choices of others without judging it as “right” or “wrong”. (I even found myself delivering a baby under emergency conditions… just to add that unexpected credential to my CV!) 

2002

Later that year, I began my NURSING TRAINING. I learnt about holistic care, patient consent and nursed a wide range of physical and mental conditions including dementia, Alzheimer’s and psychosis, along with providing support for life-altering experiences such as palliative care, bereavement, loss of mobility, irreversible disabilities and disfigurements, and suicide attempts. 

I developed my ability to make anyone feel comfortable and accepted no matter how intimate or embarrassing the situation may be for them. My thoughts were always on my patient’s experience, and making sure they felt as safe and supported as possible.

During this time, I also worked as an agency health care assistant for adults with learning difficulties (which I loved!) 

2005

Upon qualifying, I went straight into CARDIAC INTENSIVE CARE as a STAFF NURSE. It was less task-focused and more patient-focused than ward nursing, which suited my personality perfectly. I was responsible for actively investigating and responding to a patient’s needs and crisis, which I found mentally challenging and rewarding. I enjoyed making myself adaptable to my patient’s needs, even if they couldn’t communicate it verbally (my patients were often under long-term sedation). I learnt to recognise and interpret what their body was telling me they needed (a skill I now realise reflected in the therapy I later chose to practice!)

I also learnt, throughout my nursing career, the impact that physical health conditions have on relational and emotional health. This created the perfect foundation for my later studies into the impact of trauma and mental health on physical health in reverse. 

2009

In 2009 I became a COMMUNITY GROUP LEADER in my local (large) church, a role I continued for eleven years. This involved providing support to a wide variety of people as they navigated difficult situations such as relationship conflict, major life decisions, addictions, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem, guilt, lack of purpose, divorce, miscarriage, post-natal depression, overwhelm, loneliness and chronic illness. As well as leadership development, business development, career changes, and the joyful exploration and development of their own faith and spirituality. 

I became particularly close to a beautiful woman who had experienced an abusive childhood. She suffered with multiple addictions and education challenges. I co-parented her autistic daughter for 11 years, providing weekly night and day respite care, weekly coaching calls, meal plans, discipline structures, routine charts, along with 24 hour phone support to deescalate her daughter’s violent episodes (which I could always do in a matter of seconds by making the little girl feel heard and respected, even if there needed to be boundaries and consequences introduced). 

2018

In 2018, prompted by interest in my own emotional and spiritual health. I began an intensive 5 year period of SELF-GUIDED STUDY; reading books, articles and psychology research papers. 

I absorbed everything I could find on trauma, attachment, personality disorders, abuse (particularly covert and coercive control), complex PTSD, shame, and human development; along with multiple therapy resources including CBT, schematic theory and regulation techniques. 

I had a particular interest in RELIGIOUS TRAUMA SYNDROME and the effect of high-control, shame-based religion on emotional health. I spent many, many hours exploring and deconstructing my own learned shame and fear-based doctrines. (*A free app called ‘Bible Hub’ was particularly helpful for this by allowing me to explore the original Hebrew and Greek and discovering alternative interpretations for myself.) 

2019

I launched the ‘HAPPINESS HOSPITAL‘ to document my discoveries (on request from several friends who were fascinated and resonated with my journey). I began having deep and wonderful conversations with people all over the world about their experiences of anxiety, depression, shame, family estrangement and religious trauma.

2020

I created a 20+ hour online TRAINING COURSE on emotional and spiritual health. This was a proud moment for me, to witness how far I’d come. I felt proud that I had stuck with the pain of my own personal development despite great opposition, aggression and relational loss, proud of the person this had enabled me to become, and grateful to be able to offer the support I had struggled to find.

2021

I trained as a SUICIDE PREVENTION VOLUNTEER for a national helpline. The training was amazing! I had already worked hard to become an impartial, non-judgemental, listening ear but this training took it to a whole new level. I learnt how to sit with people in great distress without feeling any need to rush, placate or fix them. I learnt to ask good questions to direct a person to their own conclusions and desires, without imposing mine. I learnt to keep the focus on another person regardless of how much I think I have the solution to their “problem”. 

I learnt to respect their pain and their choices, and provide comfort and companionship in those decisions, even if that decision was to end their own life. 

I learnt that what people need most of all— it can literally save their life— is someone to listen and validate without judgment, projection or suggesting solutions. (I also realised just how rare this is to find, even amongst my fellow volunteers! It made me even more passionate about being this person for others.)

2022

 I trained as a FOSTER CARER and began a long-term placement looking after a pre-teen with severe cognitive, social, emotional, educational and developmental delay, as well as ADHD and suspected antisocial personality disorder. The on-going training extensively covered the effects of trauma and abuse on child development and brain function, psychology, neuro-diversity, substance abuse and stigma. I learnt first-hand how to navigate the challenges of parenting an extremely complex child, and saw a dramatic improvement with her in a matter of weeks. 

2022

I rediscovered David Bedrick, the psychologist who created UnShaming (years earlier I’d read a psychology article he’d written about shame that I’d printed, stuck in my journal, and referred back to regularly!)

I began consuming all the training material I could get my hands on, alongside my other studies. I found his approach to mental health revolutionary, and his utterly respectful attitude towards everyone and everything, so incredibly inspiring. I’d never seen anything like it (and I’d seen and listened to a lot of therapists and trauma-informed teachers). 

2023

I completed a self-paced DIPLOMA IN PSYCHOLOGY & ADVANCED CBT. I really enjoyed consolidating the various strands of my independent study, and understand even more about the background and development of modern-day psychology. It confirmed that I wanted to practice Unshaming as a therapy. 

I took on several free clients for weekly or fortnightly sessions to see if I had what it takes to journey with someone through their deep, dark and difficult emotions like this. The results blew me away! We were averaging a session-per-issue, even for deep-rooted issues that hadn’t responded to other therapies or treatments! I was regularly hearing that this was the best therapy they’d ever had, and how much better they were feeling. I could see it in their faces too! 

2024

At the beginning of January 2024, I finally opened my doors to the public as an INDEPENDENT EMOTIONAL RECONNECTION COACH and the response was overwhelming! I was inundated with bookings and feedback continued to be mind-blowing and dramatic. Word of mouth from my new clients spread fast, and within days I had several bookings from people I didn’t even know. 

Many people were saying the same thing; how previous therapy hadn’t worked, or even made them worse. How desperate they were to change, or understand, how they felt, and find someone to listen and validate, instead of diagnose and try to “fix” them. Many were nervous to open up for fear of a repeat experience, but the glowing testimonials about how different this therapy was, gave them courage to try again… and they were so glad they did! 

Areas of Experience:

I’m not saying I have answers or can “fix” any of these, but these are the areas I personally have experience of sitting with, and supporting others through; making space for their emotions and finding the “next steps” that feel right for them.

Depression
Anxiety
Disability 
Disfigurement
Loss of mobility
Neuro-diversity 
Grief and loss
Dementia
Alzheimer’s 
Developmental delay
Trauma 
Abuse recovery
Relational conflict
Family estrangement
Low self-esteem
Learning difficulties 
Loss of purpose
Panic attacks
Addiction
Crisis pregnancy
Rape
Miscarriage
Post-natal depression
Overwhelm 

Complex PTSD
Cancer 
Palliative care
Bereavement 
Death
Heart attack
Loneliness 
ADHD
Eating disorders 
Stroke
Incontinence 
Workplace bullying 
Divorce
Life-altering injury 
Chronic illness
Aging 
Suicide
Redundancy 
Career changes 
Leadership development 
Weight issues
Digestive dysfunction 
Auto-immune disease 
Skin conditions

Religious trauma
Single parenting 
Sexuality 
Sexual identity 
Sexual dysfunction 
Infertility 
Infidelity
Fostering 
Adoption (from all sides)
Unemployment
Debt management
Business failure
Asylum-seeking
After-effects of war
Indecision
Procrastination
Dissociation 
Bipolar 
EUPD
Cults 
Psychosis
Racism 
Injustice 
Assault 

What is a Session like?

I’ll walk through exactly how one client went from experiencing months of debilitating depression, to calm, confident clarity in just one session. (I know it sounds like a gimmick or a trick, but it is actually just the result of radical validation, next-level emotional intelligence and Unshaming what is often labelled “wrong” or “dysfunctional”.
I’d love to show you exactly how this works in practice!


You’ll also be sent instructions on how to join the FREE Shame Clinic so check your spam folder if you don’t receive this!

Got Questions?

Fill in your details below and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.