Bereavement and Loss – Part 3 of 7

In this section I will look at how the work of Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross changed how we look at the grieving process.

Dr Kübler-Ross, who pioneered methods in the support and counselling of personal trauma, grief and grieving, proposed a model of the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance).  This is actually a model for change generally and as such can help people to understand and deal with personal reaction to trauma.  It is not limited to death and dying.

Her book, On Death and Dying (1969) was quite revolutionary at the time and was a catalyst towards changing previously held beliefs that bereavement should not be discussed and that death is a taboo subject.  This was very gratefully received by carers and by people who were dying or who had been bereaved, perhaps indicating the level of denial and suppression that had existed previously.  Dr Kübler-Ross gave people ‘permission’ to feel their feelings and to talk about them openly, perhaps for the first time.

The ‘Grief Cycle’ was never intended to be a rigid series of sequential or uniformly timed steps. It’s a model or a framework rather than a process.  A model is less specific – more of a shape or guide. People do not always experience all of the five ‘grief cycle’ stages.  Some stages might be revisited. Some stages might not be experienced at all.  Transition between stages can be more of an ebb and flow, rather than a progression.  The five stages are not linear; neither are they equal in their experience.  People’s grief, and other reactions to emotional trauma, are as individual as a fingerprint.

This model is useful because it recognises that people have to pass through their own individual journey of coming to terms with death and bereavement (and other kinds of loss), after which they usually reach an acceptance of reality, which then enables them to cope.  When we know more about what is happening and why we are experiencing these sometimes strange and frightening sensations, it often makes life easier.

Next week we will look at each stage of this cycle in a little more depth.

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues and would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you.  My contact details are:

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:


You can read the whole of this article here


Bereavement and Loss – Part 2 of 7


 In this section I will explore the feelings that we can experience following the loss of a person or thing that is close to us.  It often results in a sense of grief or bereavement.  This is a very natural response when something to which we are attached, disappears from our lives.  We often associate this feeling with the death of a loved one but it can also be experienced at other times, for example divorce, the loss of a job, or having to move away from a place that is familiar to you.   Some types of loss can be particularly difficult to cope with as they are often seen as less important in our society, for example miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a beloved animal.  People might not understand the depth of feeling that the sufferer is experiencing and will sometimes tell them to ‘pull themselves together’ and ‘move on’.

Loss can also be felt about an event which is anticipated but has not yet happened, for example children growing up and leaving home, the ageing process, or when a person or animal is given a terminal diagnosis and they and their family try to come to terms with the fact that they will probably die sooner than they had expected to.

Everyone’s experience of grief is highly personal and is based upon their unique perception of the situation (Shapiro, 1993).  Events trigger different reactions in different people and our responses to trauma and emotional shock can vary hugely.  They can also depend on our past experiences, beliefs and values.  In addition they can be influenced by the other things going on in our lives at the time which can result in us feeling particularly vulnerable or sensitive.  However there are a range of common emotions that people experience.  These include feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, loneliness, fatigue, helplessness, shock, yearning, emancipation, relief and numbness.

People can also experience a range of physical sensations such as tightness in the chest and throat, hollowness in the stomach and breathlessness.  Thought patterns can be affected too, resulting in disbelief, confusion, preoccupation, hallucinations and a sense of the presence of the lost person or object.  These might then lead to a range of behaviours including lack of sleeping, appetite disturbances, absentmindedness, social withdrawal, dreams of the deceased, avoiding reminders of the deceased, searching, calling out, sighing, restless overactivity, crying, visiting places or carrying objects that remind the survivor of the deceased and treasuring objects that belonged to the deceased (Worden, 2005; Geldard & Geldard, 2001; Bowlby 1980).

If you are currently experiencing any of these issues and would like to talk, please feel free to get in touch.  There will be no obligation to make a booking, it’s just an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have and to see if what I offer might be a good fit for you.  My contact details are:

07980 669303

If you would like to take a look at my website, you can find it at:


You can read the whole of this article here

What is ‘META-Health’ and how can it help me get well? (Part 5)

So, having looked at the process of META-Health, and a personal example from my own life, how can this help you in your healing journey?

My first step in working with a client is to ask for their ‘timeline’.  This is basically a chronological account of all the Significant Emotional Events in their life.  I personally like people to write this covering all the way from birth onwards as it can help me to detect repeating patterns and get a sense of the person, but in any case the timeline should go back to at least 3 years before symptoms appear.  I also need to know the person’s medical diagnosis, if they have one, and a list of any medications they’re taking, or have taken, for the issue.  It is also useful to know if they’ve tried other interventions and how helpful – or not – these were.

Once I know which tissue is affected I can work out which brain relay this relates to.  From this I can tell which stage they are at in the healing process:

It is then possible to work back to find the initial conflict (2).

Writing the timeline in itself can be very healing.  As one client said to me, it was amazing to put her life story down on paper and see it all in one place for the first time.  This was a kind of affirmation for her that she had, in fact, dealt with a lot in her life and that she was actually stronger than she had realised.  It can also be a very cathartic process to put down, in black and white, things that you might have been bottling up inside, or trying to push to the back of your mind.  This process helps you to look at things and to acknowledge them so that you can then start to process them in order to let go and to move on.

I often get the feeling that, in our society, we are encouraged to ‘move on’ before we’re ready.  As I said earlier, trauma is subjective, so other people might not appreciate the impact that an event has had on a person.  They might, with the best of intentions, want to encourage the person to ‘put it all behind them’ or to ‘think positively’ but this is not possible until the person has finished processing what happened.  Or perhaps it’s our own inner voice that is encouraging us to push everything under the carpet and carry on as if nothing has happened.  However, if we don’t listen to our inner needs, they will just start to get louder in order to be heard!

META-Health teaches great self compassion and understanding.  We can truly begin to see that we are doing the best we can with the resources available to us in a given situation.  Also, our bodies don’t make mistakes.  If we’re experiencing symptoms or discomfort, it’s just our body trying to let us know that something isn’t right, but if we listen and make some changes – meet the needs that are currently unmet – then the body will find its way back to balance and wellbeing again.

So, having identified the trauma, or ‘UDIN’, what next?  As part of a consultation I will look at all the layers of a the client’s life: physical, emotional, social and spiritual.  I will also consider their characteristics: do they tend to be primarily a visual, auditory or kinaesthetic person, for example.  Taking these things into consideration I then put together a suggested plan of action, to discuss with the client, to help them create the healthier, happier life they dream of.

This plan can draw on a range of different therapies depending on what is most appropriate for the person in their particular situation.  I personally offer a variety of energy therapies including Reiki / Energy Healing, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT / sometimes referred to as ‘tapping’) along with some nutrition, lifestyle and relaxation techniques and tips.  I am very happy to offer these as part of a client’s action plan and for them to continue to work with me if they choose.

In addition I have a wide network of colleagues offering other complementary holistic therapies that we can draw upon to create a full and rounded wellbeing package.

The steps to be taken and the time required to create a new and healthier life will depend on the person, their condition, the circumstances in which they find themselves and their level of commitment, however it doesn’t need to be ‘hard work’ and the journey is in itself something to enjoy and to learn from.  It is worth remembering that it has taken time for your body to get into dis-ease and it will take time to get back to wellbeing but at each step along the way you will see an improvement.  This process can also result in lasting change and a whole new perspective, helping you to better deal with any issues that you face in the future.

If you’d like to talk with me about anything I’ve mentioned above, please get in touch:

07980 669303

Alternatively you can see more about what I do on my website:


(This post was taken from my article on META-Health.  You can read the full text here)

What is ‘META-Health’ and how can it help me get well? (Part 3)

In the last post I talked about the trauma I’d experienced at the announcement of my parents’ plan to get divorced.  This was my UDIN (Unexpected trauma that was Dramatic, Isolating and for which I had No coping strategy – point 2 in the diagram above).

Shortly after the announcement, Mum took us to her parents’ house for the weekend to give my Dad space to pack up and move out.  I remember ‘running’ around on my crutches and being a bit ‘hyper’ because the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, were pumping round my body as I went from the ‘freeze’ state of shock and into the ‘fight or flight’ state of the stress phase (3).

We then returned home and over the next few weeks life settled down into its new routine.  I began to realise that, actually, life was a lot calmer without my Dad around.  Also, contrary to the belief of my primitive brain, I had not been ‘cast out from my tribe’.  Instead I discovered that my Mum and I had a lot in common and were very close whereas my brother – now the only boy in the household and quite a different personality type – was becoming a bit of an outsider.  This realisation was a ‘shift’ for me (4).  (It wasn’t quite a resolution as there were still issues going on that continued to trigger my fears (around contact with my Dad) but it was enough to send me into the second phase (5, 6 & 7) ).

If you’ve been following this series of blogs, you might have already begun to suspect what kind of symptoms I then experienced.  Earlier I talked about my fears being related to survival and so this was a brain stem issue.  This relay relates to various tissues including those responsible for digestion.  I mentioned that ” my whole insides rebelled ” and ” I felt that all the stuffing had been knocked out of me”.  Also the news of my parents’ divorce came as a complete shock and I couldn’t digest it.  All this meant that the organ tissue which held the shock was my intestines and when I went in to regeneration this is where I experienced dis-ease.  I began to suffer from IBS and food intolerances as the tissues started to heal.

During the stress phase these tissues had added extra cells in order to better digest the trauma.  Now that there had been a shift these extra cells were no longer needed and so the body started to break them down and eliminate them, causing my symptoms of pain, nausea, cramping and diarrhoea.

In my next post, I’ll look at what happened next and how I was able to start the journey back to better health and wellbeing.

If you’d like to talk with me about anything I’ve mentioned above, please get in touch:

07980 669303

Alternatively you can see more about what I do on my website:


(This post was taken from my article on META-Health.  You can read the full text here)

Giving Healing Some Horse Power – part 5

The importance of Rest

So often we are looking for a magic wand: that pill or procedure that can make us well, but in doing this we are relying on others to heal us when the only real and lasting healing comes from within.

Our bodies have a blueprint of how they should work and also a variety of systems that are always aiming for balance and working towards the healthy model.  However our lives are often busy and our stress levels can mean that we loose that balance, leading to disease.


When we take time to be still we can reconnect with our inner wisdom, allowing the body’s systems to work as they were designed to do.  This is why including times of rest into our schedule is so important.  It switches the body from the ‘fight or flight’ cycle of the sympathetic nervous system into the ‘rest and repair’ cycle of the parasympathetic nervous system.

You can see this in animals.  They spend time sleeping or dozing during the day – think of your dog, cat or horse who can often be found taking a nap!  Athletes know this too and plan regular rest days into their training schedules.


The importance of Play 

I’ve been fortunate recently to be spending some time with a couple of fabulous geldings.  One, a Welsh Section D, is 23 years old and his best mate, a Warmblood, is 17 – but you’d never know it!  Put them out together and they run around and play like a pair of 2 year olds.  It’s wonderful to watch them having fun together, racing around, rearing and bucking.

Contrast this with a lovely chestnut gelding who lives at the same yard.  He’s 22 years old and seems to be a bit of a loner, always standing still in one spot, just watching.  There are obviously lots of contributing factors to this: his age, his health (he has arthritis), his build and confirmation, but it’s interesting to see how much older he appears (even though he’s actually younger than the Section D).  The other 2 boys also have joint issues, but they experience less pain and stiffness.  Their play is helping to keep them both fit and young at heart.

It reminds me of the saying:


In our busy lives we can get caught up in rushing around between work and home commitments and weeks can go by before we realise that we haven’t made any time for fun.  I strongly believe that it’s important to find what ‘makes your heart sing’ and to regularly ring fence times for this.

For me it’s spending time in Nature, gardening, reading and being with friends and animals.

What brings you joy and how can you include more of this in your life?

If you would like to explore ways to experience this balance and healing rest, please contact me:


phone:            07980 669303

You can also see more on my website:


Taken from Giving Healing Some Horse Power.  You can read the full text here.

Giving Healing Some Horse Power – part 4


Working with horses has taught me that relationship itself can bring healing.

As I mentioned in part 2, trauma can be very isolating.  Our system goes into the ‘freeze response’ and we dissociate from the trauma, pushing it away into our subconscious.  This disconnects us from those painful emotions, which can serve us for a while – after all it is an instinctual survival strategy – but it also means that we are less in touch with ourselves which makes it harder to fully relate to those around us.


In contrast, when we can open up to ourselves and to connecting with others, it can be a very healing experience.

I’ve done this myself – I had previously shut down some parts of my being due to painful experiences in the past and it was through reconnecting with animals that I learnt to let go of the hurt and to gradually accept myself for who I am.  I’m still a work in progress, but it’s the horses that keep me moving forward on the journey.  They are very present and sensitive beings and quickly indicate if I’m slipping back into my masks and pretence.  However if I allow my feelings to come to the surface, their non-judgemental presence enables me to experience the emotion, process it and let it go.  This then brings understanding, acceptance and self-forgiveness so that I am no longer stuck and can move on.


After all, e-motions are just energy in motion.  We are not meant to hold on to them.  They can give us valuable information about how the thoughts we have about events in our lives are impacting on us, but if the energy becomes stuck or blocked it creates dis-ease.

My work with horses has shown me how to hold a space where people are free to express and explore their issues and to look within to find the answers that work for them – the answers were there all along, they just needed to reconnect with that inner wisdom.  As the horses have taught me, it’s more about listening and Be-ing, than Do-ing.  (More about this in part 5.)

If you would like a safe space to explore your issues and discover ways to connect with your inner wisdom and healing then please contact me:


phone:             07980 669303

You can also see more on my website: 


Taken from Giving Healing Some Horse Power.  You can read the full text here.

Giving Healing Some Horse Power – part 3

Listening and Observing

When seeking to establish the connection that I wrote about in parts 1 & 2, listening and observing are essential skills.  As humans we have come to rely heavily on spoken language in our relationships with others, but words are often inadequate or misleading when talking about emotions.


With horses words aren’t an option and so I’ve had to become more skilled at reading body language and facial expression.  As discussed in the two previous posts, connection is a great help with this, as is spending time just watching the horses and people I meet and becoming more familiar with the cues available and the meanings behind them.  There are general interpretations that can be applied to every horse or every human, but there will also be nuances that relate solely to the individual.

(If you’d like to know more about body language and facial expression in horses see Video 6 of the series available through my online shop.)


Trust, Empathy and Rapport

These three are vital for any wellbeing session.  Without them the client will not feel:

  • safe
  • connected
  • understood
  • heard

This will limit their ability to:

  • be open
  • be objective
  • create solutions
  • experience self acceptance

And without these, true and lasting healing is not possible.


Horses have taught me the importance of letting go of my own agenda and trusting my client’s inner wisdom about what they need and what is right for them.  I only need to hold the space and they will find the way.

As I mentioned before, horses are great mirrors to what is happening with our emotions.  This has helped me to get more in touch with my inner self and so I, in turn, know that showing empathy to my clients will enable them to explore their own situation in more depth.

Establishing this rapport is what enables the client to feel safe and so opens the way to lasting change.

If you are looking for a listening ear and a way to create a healthier and more fulfilling life then please contact me:


phone:            07980 669303

You can also see more on my website:

Taken from Giving Healing Some Horse Power.  You can read the full text here.