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Amanda Stuart


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Who am I really? A client describes life at the crossroads

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In the year since Amanda’s book was published I took an incredible step forward in my journey of healing – I wrote a letter to my parents about my childhood experience. This was a huge step for me as I had been subconsciously avoiding the exercise for some years. Initially, I did not think that writing the letter would have much of an effect on me but I was wrong. It was a truly powerful and profound exercise. Writing the letter was among the most difficult, emotional, interesting and positive experiences I have had on my journey of healing thus far. I cried throughout the entire writing process and even experienced bouts of physical pain during some parts. But the real surprise came once I read the letter out loud to Amanda and my fiancé. At the conclusion of my reading, I felt exhausted but liberated – as if a whole weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt imbued with a sense of love and energy that I hadn’t experienced before. I realise now that what I was feeling was happiness – and it was wonderful! In the weeks following my reading, I felt myself and my perception of life change. I wanted to learn to sing and dance. I wanted to do creative things. I began to think about writing articles on topics of interest to me. I am also now planning to start a blog about part of my journey. (more…)

Australia Day 2014 – reflections on being a Pom

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I had no idea, when I left England for Australia with my first husband and one year old daughter, that I would be called a Pom! The pom label is tied up with the complete loss of identity I experienced when I first arrived in Australia at the age of 22; to explain this I need to say a little about my family.

I was born just as World War 2 was ending. My parents were an ill-assorted pair. My father was educated at Eton and Cambridge, and then joined the British army – a gentle man, who liked life to be ordered and disciplined. My mother lived a glamorous life in London in her twenties, working as assistant fashion editor for Harpers Bazaar and later as secretary to the Russian Ballet company. She met my father just before the second world war began and they married soon after. “We all did crazy things during the war” she told me. She hated being an army wife and was anything but disciplined. She had 4 children but admitted she wasn’t suited to motherhood: “I have a wish bone, instead of a back bone”, she often said.

It was a chaotic childhood in many ways but there was a richness about our life as well – both my parents loved the theatre, music, opera and books. We lived in a beautiful part of the country – described by Blake as “England’s green and pleasant land”. I grew up hearing Rule Britannia, and singing hymns like “I vow to thee my country”. We had picnics on the river at Henley on Thames and went to the Polo at Windsor Great Park, where my mother perved on the Duke of Edinburgh (or Phillip, as she called him), when he was changing his shirt. I learnt French and Italian and made frequent trips to Europe. I was very much an English girl. (more…)

Holiday Musings

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(From June 2013)

I’m on holiday in France for a month, far away from my normal life and all the things I do, day by day, week by week.

The holiday was planned to include a visit to my brother and his wife, who is very ill with cancer. A tough few days. Great to spend a little time with them but there is so little anyone can do to help in their situation. I can only support, and as I’m in the country, phone regularly in their time zone. I know that helps. My brother is sole carer and is away from his own home (Ireland), so that his wife could be closer to her mother.

When I’m far from home I always think about what I want to do differently when I return – it’s a good time for reflection and evaluation: what is good about my life and what do I want to change?

This holiday we decided (more…)

How to change your life – for a happier you!

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Change is something that has interested me for a long time. As human beings it is really hard to change. We develop patterns of behaving, reacting and feeling and once established, these patterns are hard to alter.

I believe one of the reasons for this difficulty, is that what is known and familiar is comfortable even if we don’t want to be that way because it’s not good for our own growth and happiness.

What I have often observed when working with clients is that changing patterns of behaviour leads to anxiety – the question is often “If I’m not the same as I am now, what will I be like? What will people think of the new me? Will they like me?”

Once anxiety kicks in, it’s tempting to revert to the old, known way of being. (more…)

Starting my blog – March 2013

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What do I want to write about in my blog?

I plan to write articles about the issues I believe are relevant to people, whoever they are, to address life difficulties and to live the best life they can. I might simply write brief comments on occasion.

I wrote my book ‘The Longest Journey: finding the true self’, published in 2012, because through my counselling practice I became aware that so many people struggle with difficult feelings and suppressed emotions, and I wanted to highlight the need in our society for people to get help. I think everyone needs help at certain stages in life. It doesn’t mean they are mentally ill. I wanted to illustrate the way people can change their lives; we do not need to live miserable lives.

There are some issues I feel strongly about, (more…)