Vertical Me Model
Everyone is a Story. Looking at my own story to date, it is clear how my journey towards a career focused on wellbeing and lifestyle developed. Throughout the course of my professional working life I have developed skills that not only support but have also substantially forged the path I am currently on. That route was significantly influenced by my own personal life and health experiences; much of which led to my interest in using complementary, proactive health modalities and ultimately in me qualifying with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. The story of a proactive approach to health; the creation of 'Vertical Health', my therapeutic approach as the 'Vertical Me Model' and 'Wellbeing Momentum' is mine.
Like many therapists, my interest in Nutrition came about as a consequence of my own health experiences with a fruitful outcome creating a personal desire to help others achieve the same.
10 years ago, in the early days of practicing Nutritional Therapy, I worked with a very clinical style. I would focus on imparting my nutritional knowledge to clients and recommending natural solutions to assist in symptom reduction through personalised dietary and supplementation programmes.
I was content that symptom reduction and enhanced healing was achievable and occasionally programmes were more successful than even I had expected them to be.
However, occasionally, I felt myself stumbling, failing to optimise results for clients despite creating a very focused and personalised plan that ‘theoretically should’ have got results. At these times, I noticed that my focus would shift towards helping people to address thought patterns and beliefs, or make lifestyle and behavioural changes in order to accommodate the nutritional programmes we agreed together. Consequently, I became interested in learning and applying new tools around emotions, behavioural adjustment, motivation and commitment to change.
Stress and Biochemistry
As time moved on I was noticing a subtle shift in my awareness and method of working with clients; stress and/or overwhelm had a significant effect on many clients physical health and its impact on their biochemistry was real and measurable. By working together to consider their long held beliefs and values we were identifying less tangible but still impactful influences on their emotional wellbeing and this, in turn was altering their experience of stress, overwhelm and physical wellbeing.
I was already aware of the physical and chemical effects of stress and incorporated this into the lifestyle changes in personalised plans but my approach was evolving and the results we were achieving were positive and encouraging. I was developing a more intuitive and holistic therapeutic approach which incorporated Nutrition as a tool rather than a single therapeutic focus.
Around that time a number of my own personal life experiences also highlighted the influence of emotions, beliefs, thoughts and behaviour patterns on physical health. I was beginning to notice similarities between patient experiences and how the emotional effects of these experiences seemed to have similar effects on their health outcomes.
For example, clients who felt stuck in some way or who felt prevented from moving forward with their day to day lives experiencing such things as joint pain and stiffness and foot or hip problems. Individuals with difficulties moving on from traumatic past experiences displayed muscle cramps, pain or digestive issues. Clients having experienced significant loss or who felt little joy in their lives experiencing heart conditions or at least the signs of these beginning. It was fascinating to observe and as I read more around the subject it fuelled my interest in understanding the effect of emotion on human body chemistry and physique and how that chemistry creates a feedback loop to further affect emotions, thoughts and behaviours.
Consequently my continuing professional development has now begun to turn towards the study of psychological processes, their effect on hormone fluctuations and and their interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune functions of the body. I am also studying psychotherapeutic methods with a view to being able to apply these as part of my therapeutic approach.
My continuous professional study has enhanced my knowledge of how our physical and emotional experiences create physical and biochemical effects throughout the body and it is my belief that these effects create a momentum towards wellbeing and health or otherwise.
I believe that we each have unique personal 'Wellbeing Momentum' that is influenced by unique environmental factors (past and present) that positively and negatively affect our overall wellbeing and success. Everyone is a unique story that continues to unfold and I see my role as one of super-listener; to really hear each client's story in order to identify the factors that may be affecting their ability to achieve wellbeing. Where my expertise allows, I can assist in supporting clients in adapting their environmental inputs, behaviours and lifestyle including adapting nutritional inputs. However, my experience of working with other practitioners over the years also enables me to identify when other modalities may be helpful in achieving client goals and I see this as an integral and important part of my therapeutic approach.
The Vertical Me Model has evolved as a direct response to all of the above and my thinking behind it is explained in the steps below.
Wellbeing Momentum Development
The Vertical Me Model builds up through 5 areas of influence on our overall wellbeing and success; Power Sources, Emotional Resilience, Thoughts and Behaviours, Internal Chemistry and Physique. To optimise your wellbeing we work in partnership to identify the unique factors affecting your momentum so as to smooth the cycle where it is currently being interrupted. Any break or bottleneck in the cycle has the potential to affect overall success.
It is possible for clients to move in and out of working with me towards their own Vertical Me Wellbeing Momentum at different stages in their path. They can also choose to work with other practitioners who may be more appropriately matched to guide them at different points on their journey. My aim with all clients is to 'Make it Happen'.