Dr. Anne’s Journey

I would be a bit of a stretch to say that my professional journey has been a straight line, however, every single step along the way helped teach me the breadth of clinical skills that I need to do this very special type of work: helping my clients deal with difficult relationships in home and at work.

My journey into mental well-being started many moons ago when I began to learn self-hypnosis at the age 14. I accepted from an early age that the mind and body worked as one and that learning how to utilise our imagination was the key to changing our thoughts and behaviours. I never questioned that the use of hypnosis was the foundation for a healthy life.


I later went on to study Psychology at the University of Edinburgh and this formed my theoretical understanding of human behaviour. But theory was never enough for me – I always wanted to know whether the theory actually had any use in the ‘real world’ and for the rest of my working life I followed a pattern of oscillating between study and practice. This led to having a wide overview of the human condition – what it means to be human in all of its complexity.


Over my 30 plus years, I have worked with a wide specturm of clients, children, grieving parents, adults with learning disabilities, and even professional footballers to name just a few. I have carried out research on topics as diverse as breastfeeding, homelessness and hopelessness, Part V of the Suicide and Self-Harm Act, and examined how NHS Services organise their provision in community hospitals and through GP booking systems. My University of St. Andrews’ doctorate considered why medical practitioners worked together, what meaning they made of their work, and even how leaders were successful within their professional networks. I taught the Philosophy of Enquiry to undergraduates and postgraduates – teaching students how to ask the questions that they really wanted to answer – how can we understand the nature of reality and knowledge, and what do these assumptions mean for us when we design our study of them.   


 I never stopped asking and learning.


Then, quite dramatically, my career took an abrupt turn. My marriage broke down and I found myself in a very difficult divorce. I discovered that I was no longer granted the luxury of the observer role, but now I was instead in the middle of the ‘action’. The darkness of this time taught me humility and the true meaning of self-responsibility. I began to wonder if there were other women out there like me, stuck in a divorce that didn’t make any sense. I took my professional experience, now sharpened on reality, and began to reach out. 


I quickly understood the issues were far more pervasive then I’d imagined; my services were desperately needed. Not only were there women who were stuck in divorces and relationships characterised by coercion and control, there was a terrifying number of Lawyers who were suffering significant levels of mental distress. I had seen similar patterns in the NHS with Consultant Medical staff, however, unlike the NHS which had embedded Occupational Health systems for support, to do something similar private Law Firms faced an additional difficulty –  justifying to their Partners the financial investment of operating as a ‘conscious organisation’. Thankfully, my PhD background from the School of Management gave me the necessary grounding and insight to develop the business case for creating workplaces that protect both the bottom line and their staff’s health. 


And so, My Freedom To Thrive was birthed in a time of personal and professional innovation and convergence. The company was so named, as an act of defiance: testimony to my refusal to submit to my circumstances and as vow to the Universe to always move towards health. It is this, that carries me in my work, and which I encourage my clients to powerfully declare for themselves. 


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