Why so passionate about forgiveness?
As you will see, my work is moving more into the forgiveness arena. I was asked recently why I’m so passionate about the subject-I got to thinking about the key points in my life journey, and into peace that have shaped this passion-I share them here with you hope this helps to explain why:
1. For 28 years I have been asking the question-how do people heal and recover from their experiences? This question began for me in 1992, when I experienced two bereavements of close family members in the space of a year, and I embarked on my own bereavement journey.
2. From 1997-2003, I worked with people healing and recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. This taught me about the significance of understanding someone’s story, in order to understand their present life decisions. To understand the ‘why’, helps to uncover the key to sustainable change. I also learnt about the importance of supporting people to find their purpose and unique contribution in life, and engendering a sense of belonging to the community.
3. In 2001, I qualified as a Creative Psychotherapist, and my first position was in Kosovo working with a small organisation dedicated to helping the children heal from their experiences through music and creativity. What I saw and experienced there, changed me. I became fascinated with how people recover after violence, and why some people chose the path of violence and others a path of peace in response to their experiences.
4.From 2001-2008, I worked as a creative Psychotherapist with children, young people and adults in numerous settings. I learnt more about how people heal and transform their lives, and the importance of creativity enabling expression, and community in helping this to happen.
5. In 2008, i studied for an MA in international conflict resolution. I had 72 lectures. One of them was on reconciliation, none of them were about psychology, or forgiveness. I became intrigued as to why psychology was absent in this arena-the silence on this subject was deafening.
6. In 2008, in order to begin filling the gap, and I began studying everyday people who had experienced some of the worst of what life had to offer: rape, torture, murder of loved ones etc, and yet, remarkably, had chosen a path of peace over violence. I began looking for clues as to the ‘journey’ they undertook, and this is what led me to understand more fully, what we understand as ‘the forgiveness process’.
7. From 2011-2018, most of my work has been in countries affected by revolution, war and armed conflict. I worked as a Psychosocial Specialist within humanitarian landmine clearance teams. My role was to support the community in their recovery from violence, and at the same time prevent future violence. One thing I learnt from working in other cultures is the power and need for a nurturing community in people’s healing processes.
8. It’s 2018, and I’m back in the UK. My work now is about creating spaces for dialogue between people at odds with eachother, who see the ‘other’ as the ‘enemy’, and where the connection is weak or severed. Secondly, I am working to skill-up people in how to effectively manage conflict in a non- violent way. Thirdly, I am offering talks, workshops and groups to raise awareness about forgiveness, and offer support to those undergoing a forgiveness process.
If you have a sense you would like to collaborate in this work, please drop me an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you!