© Cathy Rowan - 2013 

MY BACKGROUND

I trained as an occupational therapist in the early 1970s and specialised in the field of community-based rehabilitation for people who had suffered an acquired brain injury (ABI). The core of my work was about helping people create a new and meaningful lifestyle, for themselves and their families, after a life-changing event such as a car accident or stroke. In the 1990s I undertook a 4 year Gestalt therapy training to increase my professional resources. I worked both within a dedicated ABI team in the NHS and I also had my own private practice as a case manager setting up bespoke care packages for people who were left disabled by an ABI. Then in December 1999 I was injured in a road traffic accident and was left with a severe chronic pain condition which meant I was unable to work, to drive or to enjoy life as I had before. My life was very restricted and was spent micro-managing my day-to-day existence so that I did not get overwhelmed by the pain and fatigue. I used all my existing professional knowledge to try to recover as far as was possible. I kept researching to see if I could find a way that would enable my body to heal, even though I was told by some of the top experts in this country, at the time, that my condition was permanent. Ten years later in 2009, I unexpectedly stumbled across a new way of applying something to my life that I did, in fact, already know about and use – this was the practice of mindfulness and meditation. For me, a CD by Jon Kabat-Zinn of guided mindfulness practices, proved to be an epiphany. From this I found myself on a journey of discovering some new and exciting developments being made in the USA about trauma, the new neuroscience discoveries concerning the brains ability to change (neuroplasticity) and to reflect our experiencing of others (through mirror neurones) and what might be the explanation that, until thus far, had eluded the medical world as to the cause of non-resolving injuries such as mine and other chronic health problems. My research enabled me to identify what help and treatment my body needed; finally I was able to understand what was wrong with my body and why it had not been able to heal. Further I was also able to get a clear sense of direction of what I could do to support my body heal. At its core has been mindfulness and from this base I have found a range of approaches, including Focusing and Somatic Experiencing. These have, through patient perseverance, enabled me to finally find a way to assist my body in a process of restoring wellbeing and starting to live in my life again instead of just surviving and managing my chronic pain condition. I am now sufficiently recovered to be able to set up my own wellbeing practice, Breathe and Be Ltd. My approach is a bringing together all my professional and personal knowledge about how to cultivate, within one’s self, wellbeing and thriving through sharing the discoveries I have made along my own healing pathway. I have done three courses in teaching mindfulness with different organisations, Reiki Levels training, and am currently in the midst of my Focusing Practitioner training. I am about to start training in Somatic Experiencing and my own personal research interests continue into areas such as compassion, attuned  relationships and safeness as core to the learning and healing processes that the mind-body- brain can undertake and so establish permanent positive change in our wellbeing and our lives generally.

“I live in Malvern, Worcestershire with my

husband, Steve. I work with clients both

face-to-face and also by Skype or phone.”

learn to calm and soothe...living life one breath at a time

breathe and be - learning to live one breath at a time...

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About Cathy Rowan

“When you change your brain you change your life... practice changes to your brain” Rick Hanson  PhD in clinical psychology
Cathy Rowan Cathy Rowan