The Circle Line

Philippa

"We all have tough times
it's part of being human."

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It was Christmas 1997 and The Spice Girls were number 1 when a close member of my family was admitted to the psychiatric ward at our local hospital. I was a frightened teenager and didn’t understand any of it, and very little was explained to me.

This was my first exposure to the world of mental health.

I went on to do a degree in psychology, then a career in law, business, then marketing, but finally returned to my passion – to training professionally as a psychotherapist.

I now see little more important than helping people work on their mental wellbeing. I believe it’s fundamental: all change starts with us as individuals.

FINDING A THERAPIST; FINDING YOURSELF

It was during a tough time of my own that I sought out a professional to talk to. From there, I was hooked.

I started reading voraciously and learning more and more about psychology: devouring books on relationships, divorce, self-esteem, Freud and neuroscience, and the impact of childhood.

I’ve worked with several therapists during my life, but in choosing the therapist who helped me turn the sharpest corners, I let my emotions guide me. I didn’t go for an ‘expert’, or any old random therapist; I chose the person I wanted based on my very vague sense of what I needed … and chose the person who triggered an emotion in me.

I had my share of reluctance at first – fear, scepticism, and sometimes felt as if there was no way forward, or that everything was taking too long.

But I was determined to know and work through what was going on deep-down for me – everything I was learning about myself and my past was a revelation – and I was so interested and getting so much from it that I started training to be a psychotherapist myself.

LIVING LIFE & CREATING RELATIONSHIPS

Our tricky early years deeply affect us all.

I learnt how the brain is malleable. Experience, particularly our emotional experience, forms our “wiring” – and can be changed. Through my training I’ve learnt the importance of our childhood years, when we adapt and find ways to cope in our family and situation that stick with us long after we “grow up”. It gave me such hope. Because what can be learnt can be unlearnt.

Awareness of ourselves is the start of creating the life and relationships we want. The journey can take a few years and may be painful and daunting at times – but so worth it.

Now I’m not sure I would rewrite any of my own personal life story. My professional training allows me to understand our unique responses to the world, and to use my new knowledge and skills to help others; my life experience gives this the colour.

WE CREATE OUR OWN STORY

Back in 1997, when I first encountered this thing called mental health, it was virtually unheard of, let alone spoken of. Therapy, self-care, healing weren’t even a “thing” back then.

But things are changing now. And I started The Circle Line to keep changing them.

I think it’s time for a different conversation; I want to take therapy wide into the world as something to help others who want to be ok, who want to change their lives too. That’s why I set up The Circle Line; it’s why we exist.

I believe we can heal ourselves. I believe we decide. For we create our own life story.

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