"Hearts open when we realise we are not alone."
~ C a t h e r i n e K e l l
A snapshot of my story ...
Since 2006, emotional wellbeing and mental health have been at the centre of my life.
I came to these approaches whilst in enormous physical and emotional pain and from a very dark place following a ‘hip replacement gone wrong’ which left me with major arterial internal bleeding and fighting for my life ... physically of course, and subsequently mentally too as the months of physical recovery and pain rolled into many years.
Cultivating self-compassion helped me find a way through.
Now, it helps me stay in touch with who I really am. It gives me the comfort, nurture and kindness I need, the courage to follow my inner voice and my intuition, the motivation to get things done, and the strength-of-voice to stand up for myself.
Of course, I still feel and experience difficulty and challenges - that's part of the shared human experience.
Yet, now I have the resources to recognise what is, and nurture myself to a place where I can move forwards. The self-compassion tools and practices I teach increase my generosity and kindness, improve my focus and truly underpin my emotional and mental wellbeing.
I was told after my surgical injury ...
... that I would always suffer chronic pain (often relentlessly acute) and fatigue, that I might never manage to walk properly again, that my body might not manage to bear children. I had to get to know this new me. Who was I now? Through extensive self-led learning I began to relate to myself in a new way and grew to befriend who I was, despite the u-turn my life had taken. I was completely floored by the negativity of my prognosis but slowly I learned to be with how I was feeling and I allowed myself to grieve.
As my mental health improved, so did my emotional health and so did my physicality (learning to walk normally again certainly took its toll, and years of effort) and I have since had two amazing children. I remain mindful of just what it took for me to accept my body and my state of health, and to really live in this world again. I remain mindful of all it took for my body to bring my children into the world. I remain mindful of how I relate to myself each day as I navigate my health, pain and physical limitations - most of which are now invisible to others (which can sometimes help, and sometimes not help!).
I carry it. And I nurture my heart, so that it can hold me in the warm embrace of compassion, good days and difficult days alike.
So the initial self-led learning that supported me in my recovery led to me training to teach, mentor and guide others in their journey of cultivating mindfulness-based self-compassion. I have studied hard to do the work I do, to get all the necessary qualifications and registrations (more on those below). Yet what exams and qualifications alone can't give someone is the heart to do the work. That 'in the veins' pulse to help improve the life of another. The compassion and heartfelt space-holding for another human being who is beside you in the midst of their suffering. And I believe my journey gives me the authenticity to bring compassion-based approaches meaningfully and wholeheartedly to others. I embody what I teach, and I bring kindness, sincerity, empathy, warmth, and of course compassion to every interaction.
I am with you
I haven't had an easy path, and I've certainly known intense struggle and suffering. My personal climb back from feeling I barely existed to living fully has taught me so much, and so does our common humanity.
When we look inwards, when we connect with who we truly are, and with who each other truly are, we find the balm of togetherness and the healing powers of connection that can springboard us towards a better-feeling place.
Couple that with the teaching of proven tools and practices to build our resources ... and the unfolding of all aspects of good health can begin.
I hope I can help you on your journey.
With warmth, Catherine
Testimonials reproduced on this site are all verifiable but have been anonymised to maintain confidentiality in the public domain.
"Catherine is a very empathetic and nurturing person, who has an aptitude for developing skills in others."
"Her commitment and dedication ... are second-to-none, and to top it all off, she's genuinely one of the nicest people I've ever met."
"I can't tell you how much it means to know you are there ... you are a gift. Thank you."
Qualifications and Education
Catherine has had a personal mindfulness and meditation practice since 2006. She teaches empirically-supported mindfulness-based self-compassion and trained through the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion in their intensive MSC programme developed by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer. Catherine has an MA Degree with Honours and in addition to her training as a Mindfulness Teacher, she holds Professional Certification in Clinical and Therapeutic Mindfulness for applied use in 1-to-1 session work.
She is also an alumni of Compassion Cultivation Training with the Compassion Institute and various compassion, mindfulness, meditation and lovingkindness professional development programs with Tara Brach and Sharon Salzberg. Catherine is also a Trained Teacher with the Mindfulness in Schools Project, and has passionately brought her skillset to scores of teenagers and school staff as a teacher of kindfulness, gratitude practices and the MiSP evidence-based 10-week mindfulness curriculum developed specifically for pupils and staff in schools.
Previously, Catherine worked as a child therapist specialising in referral-based paediatric clinical hypnotherapy (Dip.Hyp Paediatrics (Distinction), Dip.Cl.Hyp (Distinction), Cl.NLP, CNHC Reg., SICH HPD, MNCH(Reg.) with a particular interest in anxiety, panic attacks and sleep, helping children and adolescents from the age of around 7 to 18. Catherine also provided in-depth parenting support and empowerment services for whole families either in office from a local health centre, or via home visits. Catherine led specialist therapeutic support and learning sessions for mothers based around cultivating mindful self-compassion and strengthening the parent-child connection in parenting. Catherine is a Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, holds a Diploma In Positive Parenting and is a graduate of the 'Parenting by Connection Professionals Programme' with Hand in Hand Parenting.
All these learnings continue to influence her ongoing work of the heart, and she retains a strong special interest in compassionately nurturing women's transition into motherhood and into different seasons of motherhood.
Catherine draws all her rich experience into every interaction, helping people cultivate inner strength and resilience, learn to respond to difficult moments in their lives with kindness, care and understanding, handle difficult emotions with greater ease, and transform challenging relationships. She is passionate about guiding people in developing the capacity to be with themselves in a kinder and more supportive way.
She is an accomplished speaker and provider of workshops and talks. She has contributed as a mindfulness and self-compassion expert to many podcasts and a number of mental health books.
Catherine lives in Fife in Scotland, with her husband and two children.
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Work with me 1-to-1
Find out more about embarking on a journey of compassionate transformation in 1-to-1 private online sessions with me, available worldwide. I provide individual and tailored mindful self-compassion teaching, mentoring and support.
Work with me in a group
Find out more about working with me in a group. I teach the 8-week empirically-supported mindful self-compassion (MSC) group course, and am also developing some new online group offerings.