I am a writer, researcher and speaker, with a deep curiosity about what makes
us who we are.
I am especially interested in emotional trauma and how it shapes both mind and body. In particular, I explore how trauma shapes our relationships with ourselves and others. I am equally interested in how we can heal and reshape our wounded selves and relationships.
I study the dynamics of trauma and healing by interweaving academic scholarship with my own lived experience.
My academic roots are in evolutionary anthropology, and I have a doctorate from the University of Oxford. My research took me to a wilderness region of Tanzania to live with a traditional cattle-herding people. For the last 15 years I’ve been immersed in the worlds of depth psychology, attachment theory, and trauma studies.
My book, Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma, was born from interweaving these different perspectives. It was published in 2015. I am currently working on some articles, and have also started another book.
Understanding and Healing Emotional Trauma is a uniquely multi-layered and interdisciplinary book which explores our current understanding of the forces involved in both the creation and healing of emotional trauma, in an engaging, accessible and vibrant way.
Emotional trauma, which can be triggered by many types of experiences, is characterised by its impact. When experiences leave us with a deeply held
implicit conviction that we are at risk, our minds and bodies construct a set of unconscious defences which change our life-paths. Paradoxically, these
defences create new, self-perpetuating layers of trauma and pain.
In order to elucidate these dynamics, and to understand what is required for healing, I talk to some of the leading clinicians and researchers of today:
• Psychotherapists: Donald Kalsched, Bruce Lloyd, Tina Stromsted and
• Neurobiologists: Ellert Nijenhuis, Allan Schore and Daniel Siegel
• Evolutionary researchers: Jim Chisholm, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and Randy Nesse
This book took eight years to write, in part because I was committed to introducing the ideas of the interviewees in a way that has substance, but which is also accessible to a wide audience. My aims were to demystify and humanise the dynamics involved in creation of trauma, provide a mirror that would help people to recognise the consequences of their wounds, and offer a scaffold that could help to hold people as they do the inner work of healing.