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Eleanor Bigden logo

Sounding good?!

 

I find it really rewarding to share immensely useful skills with people, support them in their life journey, and help them thrive. It’s a privilege to assist people go beyond “coping”, and, even in very difficult life circumstances, find renewed energy, equilibrium and perspective. I enjoy helping my clients get the most out of sessions, and develop tools to keep moving forwards long after our teamwork has finished. Bringing warmth, empathy, authenticity and respect – in a wholehearted way – is core to the way I work.
 
My aim is for you to leave sessions feeling supported and inspired to go and do what matters to you, even when it’s tough.
 

Tuning in to your needs

The way I work is to design a personalised approach that matches your specific aims, and to be responsive to each positive change as your growth unfolds. We'll work with a process that’s clearly defined by your priorities from start to finish. You’ll find me to be very attentive your preferences.

 

For everyone, exploring our vulnerabilities is tough and brave – especially as we're usually taught to cover over our insecurities and imperfections. You'll have my true respect for what you choose to share with me. I know first hand what it’s like to have been through trauma - with many knock on effects - depression, anxiety, self esteem, addiction - the full package, eh! - and to have completely healed and reached a place of true authenticity, success and joy in my life. This means you'll have my heartfelt empathy and understanding as we journey together to help you go from struggle to strength, as well as my deepest commitment to help you reach your own true freedom, inner peace, and success - whatever your start point. 

I know what it’s like to work with therapists and coaches of a wide range of styles and know – from the inside out – the importance of care, kindness and encouragement . These qualities produce much better outcomes in all of us, whatever age we are, especially when we're stepping out of our comfort zone with courage.

I value having been made aware how to truly celebrate the gifts and insights that life brings – usually right alongside major hurdles and struggles. Given that life is often very challenging indeed, I believe its important to make your “aha” moments into “hurrah” moments at the same time.

You’ll find me to be very practical – I believe in doing what actually works in real life! Sometimes of course, you may need help in doing LESS of some things, and learning how to just sit and simply BE, to enjoy the moment more or to work with your body in a more sustainable way.

I like to make sessions motivating – and enjoyable, wherever suitable. If a sense of playfulness or humour helps you make changes quicker, then who says therapy has to be heavy?! I'd like you to rest assured that our teamwork can embrace a full spectrum; from total seriousness to lightheartedness and all the variances in between, depending on your preferences, and of course, the topics at hand. 

I can turn up the qualities of either gentleness – or challenge! – whichever suits you best.  I find it comes naturally to me to flow between being supportive in a deeply compassionate, or, a very pragmatic way. This is the outcome of a lifetime of wanting to be of best help to others.

My commitment is to genuinely “practice what I teach” alongside you, and to be transparent in the way that I share valuable strategies, so you can use them yourself – and pass them on to others for their benefit too.
Eleanor's teamwork style is so uplifting and her awareness is spot on! She's taught me how to be much more creative in my approach to living and working and I now have deeper fulfilment.”

> Read more from my clients

Take advantage of a free telephone consultation

You’re welcome to an initial 30-minute telephone consultation to explore your options, ask questions, and find out what it’s like talking with me – without any pressure to commit.

> Read more and book a call

Therapy and coaching combined: get the best of both

Over the past 20 years, I’ve discovered that an especially effective approach in helping people move forward is often a combination of “therapy” and “coaching”.  Together, we can decide if we will work with more of a therapy or coaching style, depending on your, aims and preferences at different stages in your journey of growth.

By drawing on both therapy and coaching, I can match a broader scope of strategies to different areas of your life. Some people start with therapy and move towards coaching as they progress, others start with a very integrated approach right from the start. Either way, the focus is about empowering you to do the things that really matter to you, and find deeper freedom and fulfilment.

It’s very important that teamwork has the scope for you to truly get unstuck from whatever’s been holding you back – whether that’s your personal history, external circumstances (personal or societal), less helpful beliefs, habits and coping styles. I will be drawing on whatever therapy or coaching models are most likely to help you get there.

My training in core principles of physiology and neurobiology means I can also help you get more informed and motivated to make key changes to support your body-mind-brain in a truly holistic way, reduce unnecessary suffering and assist your physiological stabilisation/healing alongside psychological healing where this is likely to make significant positive impact to you. This is particularly relevant if you're struggling with trauma, anxiety, mood swings, IBS, PMS, weight issues, insomnia, depression, ADD, ADHD, pain, POTS or auto-immune conditions. 

I will always help you apply strategies and tools in a way that's realistic about the demands you face, and is properly tuned in to the different contexts of your life. I like making this learning easy and enjoyable too, wherever that's possible and suitable.

 

At each step of the way, I'll be sure to teach you how to be an effective coach towards yourself, to make swifter, more lasting progress in any area of your life, long after our teamwork has finished.

 

Many of my clients seek coaching to be more effective at work, in leadership, and in business. Some specific skills I can help you with are:
  • performance under pressure

  • public speaking and presentation

  • focus and strength of presence

  • tricky decision making

  • win-win negotiation

  • thriving on uncertainty

  • adaptation to change

  • transformational leadership

 
Some rejoice in victories, 
others rejoice when people and strawberries grow”

— Henry David Thoreaux

So… what’s the process start to finish?

1

Free phone consultation

I offer a free initial phone consultation to anyone who’s thinking about getting started, which is an opportunity to find out if you’d like to work with me, and chat through options, without the need for any commitment. Then, if you want to book your first full session, I’ll email you a useful assessment to ensure we’re holistic in our approach, and don’t miss anything important.

> Read more and book a call

2

Assessing  your needs & goals

Some people like to see the first session as more of an exploration, and an assessment of whether we’ll definitely be a good team match. Other people have this sense already, and like to get going with practical action right away. Whichever suits you best.  Either way, we’ll explore your needs, goals and priorities, so these are clear between us. We’ll also identify the most useful approach, structure and place for you to start.

3

Book a first phase of sessions

Most people have an initial phase of sessions either weekly or fortnightly sessions to get momentum going. Research recommends booking 6 sessions to start with as a realistic number to see positive changes embed in your life.

Factors that will determine the number of sessions you’re likely to need include:

  • —how many life areas and aims you want to address

  • —the depth or level of complexity of issues you’d like to explore

  • —your openness to experiment with fresh  ways of thinking and doing things  

  • —your level of commitment to practice new strategies and skills

We’ll keep “fine tuning” the way we work together to help maximise your forward movement in and between every session...

4

Book more sessions if  helpful

In most instances, people often decide to book for another "batch" of sessions with me, in order to keep building on the gains they've already made. This could be to achieve success in other areas of their life, or to go deeper with their initial aims. Either way, my own aim is always for you to build the confidence and resourcefulness to continue to go from strength to strength on the rest of your life journey - and to be your own "inner wise advisor" long after our sessions have finished 

Stretching the gap between sessions can create a good opportunity to practice integrating therapy and coaching strategies into your daily life, while getting assistance to deal with bumps in the road in a more and more skilful - and savvy! - way.


Bring regular sessions to a positive finish

Many people choose to bring regular sessions to a defined end as they’ve got what they came for and feel confident enough to take things forwards by themselves. 

To help you feel confident about ending sessions, I’ll help you create a clear plan for how to continue to move forwards by yourself. This will include a realistic look at potential pitfalls and how to most effectively get around them – or climb out if you have a slip up, which, of course we all do at times!

“Skills top up” as and when you want

You’re welcome to book “top up sessions” to boost your confidence, skills and mood any time this would be helpful – e.g. before an interview or important presentation. Most people find they only need one or two sessions to refresh and update their CBT skills once in a while (eg before an important date or meeting).

You’ll always have the option of another block of sessions to help you succeed at the next level. It’s rewarding when people get back in touch with me, to let me know about positive ripple-out effects, and to book some more advanced sessions, as they’re in a different place on their life journey and want to thrive in this too. Even if it’s been years, I find there’s always a strong bond that helps us quickly dive in to fresh water, with great results!


The option to extend teamwork

After an initial course of sessions, some people find it valuable to regularly maintain a clear space for their own needs amidst demanding roles, from team leadership to being a parent or carer. This can be at any frequency that works for you.

Some people decide to go for regular, but less frequent, coaching or mentoring sessions to help them truly excel, or keep going from strength to strength, especially when there’s a major change in their life or career pathway, or they’ve taken on big challenge that’s ongoing.

 

You’re of course welcome to choose longer-term therapy. Some people find that a longer term therapeutic relationship offers them the stability that they need, from which to address and truly heal complex issues, to keep developing new blueprints for healthier relationships with themselves and others, or to get support for ongoing upheavals or impending loss such as the major illness of a loved one.

When I work longer term with people, we would still regularly reflect on our teamwork to ensure it’s very responsive to changes. Creating a consistently high value service in every session is very important to me.

 
I’d love to just keep on coming to see you, Eleanor, because sessions have been so fantastic and engaging. Thanks to you, I now feel really stable and much more secure, as I now have the tools to be my own therapist, coach, and “best mate”.

> Read more from my clients

 

Is my experience a good match
for you?

I have over 22 years' experience of providing and fine tuning integrative, holistic and evidence-based therapy and coaching, and 15 years' experience of working as a trainer and supervisor to other therapists. My key areas of experience are in helping people to:

 

  • build confidence, assertiveness, authenticity and self esteem

  • overcome worry, OCD, depression, panic, health anxiety, GAD 

  • handle stress, anger and life or relationship anxieties healthily

  • heal from trauma, loss, bereavement and PTSD

  • achieve freedom from addictive patterns and unhelpful habits

  • build greater self awareness, self care and inner peace

  • handle emotional and physical pain wisely and compassionately

  •  transform body image, eating and weight issues

  • overcome self criticism, perfectionism and unrelenting standards

  • build courage, strength and resilience in the midst of challenges

  • communicate more effectively and confidently, 1-1 and in a group

  • handle conflict and resolve disagreement effectively

  • deepen trust, connection and sexual intimacy

  • overcome avoidance and turn goals into reality

  • resolve inner conflicts or struggles with self identity

  • enhance motivation and focus

  • maintain long term success

Whatever you wish to talk about I can help you cultivate a deeper respect towards the uniqueness of your life journey, and to look for its unfolding wisdom and creativity.
I experienced some very big realizations through my sessions with Eleanor. She worked with me to find some very powerful practical techniques, specific to me, which I could use on a daily basis. I have benefited hugely”

> Read more from my clients

My specialist training

My formal qualifications and accreditations include:

  • BSc (hons) in Occupational Therapy (1998) - special interest areas: trauma; skills coaching, pain management; counselling & CBT; an integrative approach to physical & mental health 

  • Advanced certificate in CBT (2002) 

  • Post Graduate Diploma (MA level) in CBT (2005)

  • Accreditation with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, (2005 - ongoing)

  • Diploma in Belief Therapy for Addictions (2007)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Adults in the Life Long Learning Sector (2009)

  • Post Graduate Core Training in EMDR for trauma, PTSD, panic and phobias (2017-18) 

  • Accreditation with EMDR Association UK (2019)

I have been registered with the Health & Care Professions Council as a practicing Occupational Therapist for 20 years, with clinical experience in NHS mental health since 1996. This anchors me in:

  • expertise for anxiety, depression, stress and trauma related issues

  • a practical, solution-focussed approach to problem solving

  • helping people address their personal identity, roles and occupations in daily life

  • the health of every system in your body (we’re not “brains in a jar"!)

  • helping people positively contribute to their wider sphere - their families, friendships, teams, community and environment

  • an encouraging, coaching approach to activate and motivate people even in extremely difficult circumstances

Continuous professional and personal development is both a hobby and passion for me! I'm very (very!) enthusiastic about learning helpful things and passing on as much as possible to benefit others.  I have 22 years of on-going training and CPD in an extensive range of specific mental health and wellbeing issues. My current study focus is healing shock trauma, complex trauma, grief, loneliness and burn out. I am also working towards becoming a "Certified ADD and ADHD Professional". This is giving me great tips for helping all my clients achieve better focus, attention, motivation!

I have been training in a wide variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches since 1996 - in particular, I enjoy sharing a lot of insights and skills from:

  • 15 years of Mindfulness training and practice 

  • 10 years of training, coaching and supervision in the model of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • 10 years of training, study and supervision in Compassion Focussed Therapy

My clients find that combining these above approaches is especially helpful in getting unstuck from difficult thoughts, feelings and habits, and moving towards significantly greater fulfilment, inner peace and strength.

I have over 12 years’ training and supervision in methods that specifically foster deeper, more authentic and insightful ways of relating to people, and taking a much friendlier stance to the many different parts of ourselves. Great frameworks I look forward to coaching you in include:

  • NVC / Compassionate Communication 

  • Voice Dialogue / Internal Family Systems work

  • Functional Analytic Psychotherapy's "Awareness Courage Love" model 

I value modelling true honesty, compassion, empathy and genuineness directly in my teamwork process with clients. This sure does make sessions enlightening and enlivening! 

If, as part of our work, you'd like to heal or find more freedom and joy in your relationship with your sensuality, sexuality, spirituality, cultural roots, the wonder of nature and the bigger “web of life”, I can draw on two years of training in Conscious Sexuality and Tantra, an active ongoing interest in celebrating gender and sexual plurality, over four years’ training in Ecotherapy and Shamanic Healing, and a life long thirst for studying cultural wisdom and faith beliefs from all over the world. I positively welcome people of all cultural, gender, sexual and consensual relationship diversities.

In 2009 I gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching Adults in Lifelong Learning trainer, so I can truly help you learn new skills. I have trained students and therapists in Occupational Therapy and contemporary approaches to CBT at Advanced Diploma level. I trust this gives you peace of mind that I’m likely to be able to help you move forwards, even if your current challenges seem overwhelming to you.

‎I have training in creative approaches that can be a good complement to talking therapy, to make sessions more engaging and memorable, if this fits with your personal interest. These include Art, Drama and Movement therapy and Voice Dialogue. Unofficially, my other “specialist” training has been through extensive voluntary work alongside art, horticulture and  drama therapists from the fast-to-learn age of 13 – sometimes as much as four nights after school as I enjoyed it so much!

For the last two years, I've been very focussed on intensive, specialist trauma training in order to optimise my past 20 years' experience in helping people overcome issues stemming from traumatic life experiences in their childhood and adulthood. I wanted to bring it right up to date with the latest research and wonderfully innovative progress in trauma healing. My clients are consistently reporting EMDR and attachment-based EMDR to be to particularly helpful in releasing painful memories, beliefs, fears, triggers, flashbacks, panic and nightmares.

 

I can integrate EMDR alongside therapy and coaching wherever this is likely to be benefit you in letting go of pain, anxiety or the negative impact of traumatic experience. EMDR is recommended by the World Health Organisation, alongside Trauma Focussed CBT as the most effective approaches for trauma, post-traumatic stress, and for PTSD.

Success is no accident. It is hard work, learning, studying, perseverance, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do"

— Pelé

To me, its exciting to learn new things about being healthy and living life well. I dedicate time for my own supervision, mentoring, and research every week, as well as training courses throughout the year to expand my awareness of what I can offer my clients.
 
I draw on the following evidence based CBT models to specifically match different needs:
  • Strengths based CBT for resilience

  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

  • Interpersonal CBT

  • Compassion Focused Therapy

  • Mindfulness Based CBT

  • Trauma-Focussed CBT

 

  • Behavioural Activation

  • Schema Therapy

  • Problem specific CBT models

  • A Transdiagnostic approach to CBT

  • Functional Analytic Psychotherapy

Our teamwork has unexpectedly playful and often hilarious! That in itself has been an enormous help in learning to enjoy life so much more as I now know I can allow myself to ease up on being so serious and preoccupied!!”

> Read more from my clients