1997 - Founded the ‘Coming To Life Project'
Over the years of my own recovery, and then training, I had gathered a huge amount of scientific research, observation, and experience about what did, and especially what didn't, help with healing from the physical, psychological, emotional, and relational legacy of a dysfunctional upbringing.
However, in the 1990's mainstream psychiatry, psychology, and therapy did not, and often still doesn't, understand the impact that such an upbringing has on a person's brain, biology, identity, and life.
Survivors were constantly told that there was something wrong with them, that they were bad or defective, rather than the reality being that, during a vulnerable and vital time, their development had been disrupted and they were now living with the negative repercussions of this.
Survivors were often left alone to recover as best they could, whilst simultaneously being stigmatized, and I realised that a Centre was needed where I could share what I had learned with people.
This Centre would be a hub where survivors could safely gather and explore together what they had found to be missing from the mainstream world of recovery.
This meant a rounded and full approach that saw the person as a whole being whose physical, emotional, and psychological challenges were inextricably bound together with their living conditions, relationship with society, and place in the world.
Secondly, and just as crucially, expanding their consciousness to actualize more of their own innate human potential, including non-religious spirituality, than was previously thought possible.
Through word of mouth, more and more people were hearing about my approach and contacting me, and so in 1997 the 'Coming To Life Project' was born.
As it was important that the Project stay independent in order to be seen by survivors as a healing refuge, the early years were funded by my re-mortgaging of my home - which eventually happened twice, before the Project was standing on its own financial feet, although it has always remained a not-for-profit organization.
The Project became a lifeline for people falling through the cracks, or under the radar, of health and social systems here in the UK. It wasn't so much that professionals didn't care, after all, they had chosen to go into helping professions, but rather that they were caught up in systems that were cash strapped, had an outdated understanding about childhood trauma, significant shortfalls in treatment and were also large and unwieldy which meant change was often slow.
Meanwhile, survivors remained living in the shadows of life.
As the Project developed, people from other countries also began to make contact as they too desperately searched for help in a world that couldn't, or wouldn't, accept what the growing body of science was showing - that they were damaged, but not deranged.
To this day I continue to work at a scaled-down capacity within the Project as a consultant and assist people as they progress on their own deep healing and recovery journey.