My name is Maria, I am Portuguese, and I am a certified Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, a Life Coach and a Nonviolent Communication (NVC) practitioner and teacher.
Before graduating in CBH, I was a PhD Geologist, and I worked as a researcher in Earth Sciences at the University of Porto. I have two grown-up kids and I live in Stroud with my partner.
Although I really enjoyed my work and have amazing kids, I was always haunted by the spectre of depression. For more than twenty years the dark way of thinking would assault me more frequently and deeply than I would wish.
First suicide attempt at 27 … several weeks at the psychiatric hospital. My daughter was a year old. There was no talk about postpartum depression and my relationship with her father did not help. The second attempt at 41 – this time I just wanted to rest for a few days, but it went wrong, and I ended up in the hospital again.
In between, many hours, many years of suffering and despair. The idea of suicide constantly surfaced, the desperation for not finding solutions, not seeing the future, and just wanting to give up. And the weight, the huge weight on top of me, pulling me down, as if I were carrying all my “stupid past” on my shoulders. Looking back and just seeing mistakes, judging myself and my circumstances always negatively. Feeling that my life is ridiculous, stupid, unnecessary, and a burden.
I believed that peace was impossible. Guilt, shame, loneliness – total loneliness in a very dark place – inside.
I thank my children and my mother for their/my existence. They, and the certainty that I would do them terrible harm, kept me here, alive. My love for them kept me afloat. My love for them gave me life – and fortunately, a life that is now full of peace and joy.
Of course, my relationships were suffering as I was suffering. The big question is “was depression affecting my relationships or was my relationship affecting my depression?”
The truth? When I changed the world changed with me.
When finally, I decided to get real help, my life changed. The support I needed all my life was there for me. Knowledge, empathy and some simple techniques gave me the power to transform my the way I live.
It helped me find the lasting peace that I always desired. A peace and joy I didn’t think were possible.
It was then that I embarked on a long journey of learning about trauma, attachment, relationships and the neuropsychological processes behind our behaviours and thoughts.
I wanted to give to others the same kind of support I received and help others who are dealing with the same problems I experienced. And during my training, I saw, with my own eyes, how empathy, compassion and imagination can change people’s lives for the better.
After qualifying as a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist (UKCHH) and a Trauma Attachment Coach, I founded MdS Therapeutic Coaching in Stroud.
My approach to therapy follows the Human Givens Method to emotional heath and integrates the key principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy complemented with Hypnotherapy and Trauma Informed Coaching. With my couples I follow the Gottman Institute scientific approach to couples therapy, Non-violent Communication teachings and the scientific knowledge about the masculine and feminine brain.
I’ve seen couples accepting and celebrating each other, their unique needs, and ways of dealing with different points of view. I’ve seen parents relaxing about their role. I’ve seen families practicing forgiveness and compassion. I’ve seen friends sharing their differences in peace.
I have seen people learning and applying NVC, living balanced lives, believing in themselves and their ability to solve problems and achieve their goals. I’ve seen people dealing with traumatic memories and phobias to relax and return to a less limited and balanced life.
I became and my clients became OBSERVERS. Free from judgements, evaluations and demands. Free from the past and confident in the future.
There is no greater satisfaction than receiving messages from our clients, months or years later, telling how therapy has changed their lives.
Because whenever I guide someone to adopt their own healing path and transform their life, I am not only helping one person: I am helping their children and their grandchildren: and this spreads for generations.
Qualifications and Professional Registration
I studied at The Gottman Institute, Human Givens College and the United Kingdom College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.
I carry full professional indemnity and public liability insurance, advanced DBS and I am registered with the following professional organisations:
The Professional Hypnotherapy Practitioner Association
International Association for Rewind Trauma Technique
Complementary and Natural Health Care Council