Hello! My name is Maria, I am a psychotherapist, turned addiction specialist, turned author, turned coach. I am also the daughter of a polish refugee and an irishman, a mother of two children and a friend to many.
Me . . .
Me . . .
My grandparents were victims of several things, one being the holocaust, this led them to refugee status, in Tanzania they had my mother, and they moved to the UK when she was 5. To think about the hardships they would have faced, the struggles they have overcome, and their ability to never say never, has always inspired me, and pushed me to have a courageous and strong work and life ethic. Coming from people who are ‘different’, has given me the experience of being “othered”, and taught me that society often doesn’t realise that some of us don’t get the same opportunities and resources. But with strength and vigour, many of us are more than capable of accomplishments larger than expectations projected upon us, so we can go forward and change scripts which were projected upon us.
My father was a very success businessman, who subsequently suffered a severe mental health breakdown which led to paranoid schizophrenia, which meant that our family lost everything. My fathers story however true and tragic taught me that often shame and false pride can prevent people from exploring the deeper recesses of their minds, which can render them toxic in the future. This led me to be interested in how people can live out a script unconsciously, and sometimes these can be tragic like my fathers. I was fascinated in how people can change script and evolve not according to earlier programming. I have applied this to my own life. I was supposed to be a stereotypical housewife with the gender expectation projected upon me about subservience being the appropriate way. This did not happen and instead I educated myself. Firstly at the open university in psychology, and then doing a masters degrees and post graduate diplomas in psychotherapy, clinical supervision and consultancy.
Although breaking negative cycles determined by a life script is generally positive, it still has its challenges and often negative outcomes, one of these was the breakdown of my marriage. The real victims of this were of course the children, as they always are. However, what I see now as they have grown up, are adults who are not stereotypically scripted by either family or society. They are individuals with their own minds, making their own unique mark on the world. Here, I think I have contributed to championing their unique I am-ness. Though difficult times, comes triumphs.
Having a successful career as a single mother is challenge many will be able to relate to. I am thankful to have had an incredibly successful career as a practitioner, and have often taken risks which have turned into results. From this I learnt the rights to my own voice. My opinions are not just my opinions, they are valid in their interconnection to my observations, analytical mind, life and work.
Longevity in my career has been handled in an avant-garde way. I am very much a solo achiever, and have not reached out for any accolades which is something that I am still working on. My introverted ways perhaps led me to not self seek the validations that others do. However, this did not stop the process or progress of my work.
I am proud of many parts of my career, one being that I was one of the first to pioneer a personal therapeutic community online, which was published by international therapeutic communities. When I first started this online community, it was highly discouraged by many professionals. This taught me that it's potentially not always necessary to listen and assume they are the voice of reason. Which further solidifies my stance as a bit of a rebel, not a follower of the way things have always been done. As long as no one is hurt in the process.
Another area of my career which I am proud of is the creation of my first published book: ‘Script and Addiction Powerlessness’. Unsurprisingly ‘Script and Addiction’ was not supported by the Psychotherapy field but was by Cambridge Scholars. This was because integration between the fields has never really been done. Pleasantly, along that journey I met Mike Deleaney, an addiction specialist and pioneer, and Martin Preston, who has a similar background and entrepreneurial skills. The integration of these areas is now housed in a fantastic Treatment Centre called Delamere in Cuddington. Here, they call the people they help ‘guests’, not clients, or patients. Symbolic of the fact that we are all on this journey of life together, all facing different struggles and challenges, rather than an us and them mentality.
I am my own ethnographer, going out into the human field and researching how we live. This is by being on the ground floor of the human experience. No matter what situation or what walk of life. This makes for the rich tapestry of super-analysis, intuition and evolving which is a gift that keeps on growing. I guess overall, I say where there is a will there is a way. If you can’t get round things jump over them or if you have to, bulldoze through them. Never let anyone tell you that something you observe that’s important to talk about, or you want to accomplish, should ever be squashed by grandiose ego or invalidated opinion’s that are often based on ignorance. This is not to say that I am not a realist, I do dream but I am not just a dreamer.