Beauty for ashes

My Story

Beauty for Ashes was birthed from my own journey of healing which I would like to share with my readers. For many years I carried wounds and painful thoughts from the past that weighed down my heart, hopes, and dreams until I found myself merely existing.  Like so many people, I was encouraged by society to be fearless, to be strong and driven; as well as keeping my brokenness carried from childhood locked away from view. I survived with an array of social masks with defences and coping strategies, however this slowly eroded my ability to function.

With the help of some skilled Counsellors over time, I slowly uncovered deep layers of toxic shame brought about by childhood trauma and neglect which had caused complex post traumatic stress symptoms. I began to see how I was meeting the demands of my adult life with the surival techniques learned as a child and saw clearly the survival roles I had taken on and how these were being recreated in current relationships.  I slowly came to realise that I had no power over my family's dysfunction, it was never my job to do so and that the only person I could change was myself. 

What was particularly helpful was having a Counsellor begin to change the narrative from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” Having someone come alongside me with compassion helped me to change my shame based belief systems.  Having Counsellors who modelled healthy human functioning enabled me to develop self compassion which was key as I peeled back deeper layers of pain.  It was through the safety of the therapeutic alliance that I learned to re-parent myself, where I learned how to regulate my emotions and how to find healthier coping strategies and lay down familiar defence mechanisms. I also learned the power of deep breathing and meditation to strengthen 'front brain' responses and so reduce the stress responses when triggered in the moment.  All these elements plus my faith in God gave me the strength to push through the many obstacles on my journey of recovery and what opened the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.



“To find the beauty, I needed to first be willing to journey through the grief and sorrow that I had tried so hard to block out of my mind.”

The slow uncovering of my past took time and patience.  I discovered the precious value of a safe counselling relationship- to have someone validate my story.  The Counsellor moved at a pace I was comfortable with, collaborating with me along the way; ensuring our work together kept me within my window of tolerance of emotions

I have shared this short extract of my own journey in the hope that it provides a framework in understanding more about who I am and importantly how both my personal experience has helped to shape my work as a Counsellor.  I can say with confidence that you can work through even the most painful difficulties and that there is indeed beauty to be found behind every mark of pain.


‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.’


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"In the depths of suffering, I discovered that beauty was found through my willingness to be vulnerable and allow the buried pain to be expressed."