Hi there, I'm Christine and for as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by people and their stories.
I am insatiably curious about what makes us do the things we do - why some of us thrive and why some of us don't. Why some of us can move forward in life and why some of us get stuck.
Initially my curiosity came from trying to understand why I was so stuck!
After I graduated from my Psychology degree in 1991, I started getting panic attacks out of the blue and then persistent feelings of anxiety from the moment I woke up.
I was really embarrassed as I always considered myself 'strong' and 'together'.
I hardly told anyone. The anxiety then led to depression which I fought on and off for years.
I never felt satisfied with my life - I always felt as if I was on the outside looking in at it.
I left my home in Wales, UK in 1993 and travelled around the world for the most part as a teacher, searching for something that I thought would make my life better - that would give me direction and purpose and make me feel alive.
If I could just find the right THING, the right place to live, the right job, I would be ok.
I was constantly trying to work out my direction in life and what would make me feel fulfilled, but I just couldn't find it
I ended up studying a master's degree in Psychology in an attempt to try and make more sense of my life - but even after that I still had the nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right, that there was something missing.
The turning point in my life came when I found myself in a very anxiety provoking relationship.
I had no idea why I was so anxious and fearful in this particular relationship - I just always felt on edge and hyper-vigilant. I ended up totally losing my sense of self, which resulted in quite a long period of depression.
This pushed me to really start trying to figure out what was going on with me.
I came across a book on schema therapy and it made so much sense to me and gave me so much clarity around the way I felt.
I suddenly had names for the the things that I had been experiencing throughout my life and began to understand why I was struggling with certain things.
This led me to read more and more about the brain and the patterns we develop in childhood that plague us throughout our adult life.
I realised just how many of the decisions I made in my life were because of my approval seeking schema. The anxiety in the relationship - abandonment schema. I also realised I had a strong insufficient limits and control schema, the reason why I found it so hard to stick to decisions I made.
Oh my god I had so many schemas!
I started getting counselling for myself - I had to get a bit of humility going for that - having a Master's in Psychology!
But I realised through counselling that I was really disconnected from my own needs and feelings. It's so hard for us to see what's going on with ourselves - very easy to see it in others!
Long story short - I finally started working through what was keeping me stuck and began to feel more and more happy and contented. I finally found what I wanted to do with my life.
I wanted to help people who were also struggling to find their way to a better, more fulfilled life. I wanted to know as much as I could about the brain and how it can change.
Understanding my schemas combined with all the research I did on neuroplasticity changed my life and I wanted to use this knowledge and my own experience to help other people change theirs.
In 2010 I did a Masters in Counselling and ended up getting a job in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Thailand.
What an eye opener that was!
The rehab was quite high end and we had clients from all over the world - a whole range of different types of people, professions and nationalities.
Seeing people every day, all day, doing group therapy and one to one sessions, you really get to see what people struggle with. And you also get to see people change.
I started using the principles of schema therapy with the clients and the results were amazing.
Just having clarity around why they were struggling with various issues and why they were using substances to cope, was TOTALLY life changing for them.
They no longer saw themselves as ‘flawed’ ‘weak-willed’ or ‘diseased’ and more important than anything else - they started to feel hope.
They came to understand that their brains had become wired in a certain way that made it difficult to change.
And when they had a practical systematic way of reducing these schemas, they felt empowered and finally started to feel some control over their lives.
So that's the short version of how I got where I am today.
I am now living in a beautiful city called Dumaguete, in the Philippines, where I live with my partner Robie.
I run a thriving online therapy practice and enjoy pouring over the latest information from neuroscience, trauma and attachment research so I can give my clients the most up-to-date strategies to rewire their brains and ultimately transform their lives.
One of the biggest tragedies of our society today is that people just don't get the information that would really help them to change. So many people are on different types of medication, which although might give some temporary relief - does nothing to deal with the source of their problems.
My mission through this site is to bring the most up to date scientific research and techniques to as many people as possible.
We now know SO much about issues like anxiety, depression, addiction and trauma - how to treat them and how to prevent them but the information is slow to get into the mainstream
I am also involved in running an animal rescue centre so I spend a lot of my free time trying to find homes for the neglected poor little street animals here.
Here's a couple of the rescues that are living with me at the moment.
I am absolutely passionate about the work that I do and consider it a privilege to witness people courageously push through fear and self doubt to change their lives for the better. I love my life now and have no fear of depression or anxiety coming back.
This is what Schema Therapy can do for you.
Personal Trainer / Sydney, Australia
I had tried various different types of therapy to deal with my drug addiction, depression and anger issues over the years. Though they were helpful, they never gave me a true understanding and self awareness that I got from undertaking schema therapy. Prior to schema therapy I would get stuck in my emotions for days/weeks, which would lead me to make horrible decisions that kept me in a vicious cycle for years. I can truly say now that I am out of that cycle and that I’m happy, healthy and free thanks to Christine’s guidance and schema therapy."
Marine Engineer, Wales UK
When I first met Christine, contacting her through her website that I had found online after a frantic drug and alcohol fuelled Google search, I was close to collapse. Not in a literal sense but it couldn’t have been much longer before I did something that would really change my life in an irreversible and negative way, something like a serious accident, or losing my job, or contracting something that you really don’t want to contract through promiscuous sex, or even jail.
Even though I was working and holding down a good job, my behaviour around drinking was totally impulsive, and I didn’t know why. I had been binge drinking all of my life, without paying too much attention to it, as most British males do, but I was finding that I couldn’t stop myself having that first drink, and that first drink would take me places I shouldn’t be and really didn’t want to go. And then I would try to stop for a few weeks and then the impulse would act itself out, and I would be back to square minus one again.
I had read all sorts of self-help books, which would motivate me to change my life, but weeks or even days later I would indulge the same behaviour that was causing me so much angst and regret.
Christine helped me to see why I was doing what I was doing, identifying what was going on, my brain processes, schema patterns and later then peeling back other areas of my life that I wasn’t happy with. It wasn’t easy, most of the time it was painful but her kind patience, gentle encouragement and support was instrumental through many difficult times and revelations. Through our online meetings and through the writing that she encouraged me to do in between I slowly started to understand a bit more about the brain, my schemas and myself. I came to discover that it wasn't alcohol that was the problem. It was me.
Its been just over two years since I contacted her, and these past two years have been the most insightful I have experienced. My life really has turned around in ways I had never thought I had imagined, and brought me back to places I thought I would never be again. The way I was living was never sustainable, and I don’t think that it would have brought me any closer to that most elusive of goals, happiness. It was just a few weeks ago that I understood what the term “well-being” actually meant, through a slow and sometimes uncomfortable process of finding out what makes me happy, even who I am. I fear that without Christine, our chats and her methods I would never have discovered that, and my life could have been, more likely would have been, a waste. For that I truly am eternally grateful. Of course, there is still some way to go, but through understanding the causes, I am slowly trying to bring about the conditions that will bring about genuine fulfilment in my life.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this - if you have any questions about Schemas, you can drop me an email at [email protected]