About My Uniqueness
“Nobody escapes being wounded. We all are wounded people.
How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?”
– Henri Nouwen
Let me show you how I have transformed my woundedness
to be of service to you.
Hi, I’m Santou – a name which means stairway to heaven or a bridge that helps people transition.
Thanks for navigating to this page to learn more about my personal and professional experiences that makes me an expert in this field.
Grief from any kind of loss can be quite complex – not least because loss and grief affects not only you but those in your family, your community and your workplace as well.
If you don’t find effective support that takes into account your unique needs, your culture, your way of processing grief and hope, and many other factors, you may not adjust well to living fully and could lead to desperation.
I work with your experience of loss & grief on a deeper level to help with these intense feelings of despair, anger or suicidal thoughts that have not diminished.
My Personal Background
Having lived across different continents in four countries, this experience has shaped who I am in developing awareness of cultural sensitivities and philosophies. I come from an Eastern collective culture and am well acquainted with the pressures of ancestry rituals, extended family and community network relationships impacting on positive and negative family dynamics.
Having also lived in Western cultures for many years, I understand and am sensitive to how differences in values within both Western and Eastern cultures can create conflict sometimes between generations, particularly around the bedside at the end of life or after death.
Why choose me to help you?
My own experiences of traumatic losses and bereavement have included ancestral genocide, my forced emigration due to war, and grieving for the death of loved ones. As a result, I lost my sense of connection to my ancestors and with it, my sense of identity. It took me many years to process the tragedy and pain of it all, and I experienced shame from not ‘recovering’ as quickly as others expected me to.
Although I will forever grieve these tragedies, I have also learned not to let them debilitate me anymore – to thrive instead of just survive through life – in honour of my ancestors.
Processing my own losses and grief, over many years in personal therapy, was a liberating experience. Engaging in spiritual and religious practices as well as the expressive arts (music, writing, dancing, acting, visual art) also helped me to heal and cope effectively with loss and grief so that I could re-connect with life and joy again. I am now able to adapt more quickly to losses.
My life experiences, including my first job as an end-of-life companion (doula) at an early age, as well as subsequently supporting and losing my father and friend to cancer, naturally led me to want to professionally support others who were also experiencing difficulties with their tragedies, emotional pain, concerns about life and questioning belief in an afterlife.
My first job as a professional companion was to an in-home, end-of-life care patient and her young child. Witnessing her untimely yet gracious dying process was a pivotal experience for me. I could see how my facilitating and encouraging open conversations in the dying process helped reduce verbal and emotional conflict and smoothed the way for the post-death grieving for them to be somewhat less painful.
Since that experience, I undertook training to become a Christian Priest and as a Healthcare Chaplain to develop specialist skills using a family-focused approach to journey with terminally-ill patients and their families struggling with cancer, dementia and motor neuron disease. I have supported patients and clients in their personal reflections, their family or medical practitioner conversations during transitional times of loss, health losses, the dying process and post-death bereavement.
I saw the need for vital training in psychotherapy, with a particular focus on trauma and attachment, in my mission to support particularly the vulnerable who were exhibiting severe reactions to the complex issues of trauma of loss and grieving, which many people tend to minimise.
Over the years, supporting people therapeutically and spiritually with traumatic living losses, life-limiting illnesses as well as post-death bereavement to effectively move them on their journey from despair to emotional re-connection has been an enriching and meaningful experience.
I now work exclusively as a psychotherapist, coach, grief educator / trainer and spiritual caregiver across the global community for the dying and grieving. In my practice, I use my unique combination of skills, perspectives, multi-cultural sensibility and sensitivities, and a strong sense of hope to help you find ways to adjust and adapt to your new reality, using my S.T.E.E.R™ approach. See testimonial reviews here.
I am keen to help the grieving (re-) appreciate life and their worth to others because our lives are precious and inter-connected.
Together, we will find the appropriate tools and resources that works for you to live fully.
To arrange a free 30-minute advisory call dial +44 (0)7707 138 114
Download your free guide today...
What you’ll get when working with me therapeutically
- Reduction in low mood/’depression’, flashbacks, risk of divorce, family estrangement or suicidal thoughts
- Improved relationships and the ability to articulate your needs
- Getting unstuck in order to help you integrate the grief and function effectively going forward
- Healing from bad/toxic theology and religious trauma, and growing spiritually
- Emotional strength, resilience and the courage to rebuild your life and live fully again
- Smiling, laughing or experiencing glimmers of joy again without feeling guilty
- Developing self-compassion and expanding in your compassion for others
- Remembering the passing/memory of your departed with more love and lightness than pain
Rates for the benefits of professional support
The rates will vary depending on the different types of services I offer (i.e. individual sessions are 60 minutes, family sessions are 90 minutes, training is customized to your needs).
Please get in touch to discuss the best service for you based on the type of grief or your training needs.
* focused support for at least 16 weekly sessions is proven to help sustain transformation.
Reach out for your FREE clarity call- get a bonus resource after booking
How I work as a counsellor/therapist
Your experience and the impact of loss and grief will be shaped by a number of things:
- the kind of attachment you had with the loss or the deceased
- family role
- culture or race
- your gender
- your age
- religious/spiritual beliefs
- your values
- the realities of physical health / abilities
- socio-economic issues
- personal or cultural history / politics
This systemic (whole view) approach considers the interweaving of all these parts in your grief story as well as your internal viewpoint about loss and grief. I use a stance of curiosity, rather than analysis, to ask thought-provoking questions at appropriate times to help you adjust your emotional state and perceptions about grief.
My approach to working with individuals, couples and families is based on systemic therapy. I help people to identify the underlying causes of unhelpful repetitive thoughts and behaviour, explore their interactions with others, improve communication and achieve better outcomes.
Being creatively expressive can be transformational in trauma / grief recovery. As a trained singer/musician, actress and writer, I provide an invitation and the opportunity for you to express your loss and grief in these and other creative ways too.
I have found that many people find these expressive outlets helpful in finding personal meaning and hope to reduce their suffering.
For a free 20-minute informal chat, call +44 (0)7707 138 113
My Professional Experience
My knowledge and working experience in the fields of psychology, counselling/therapy, end-of-life and bereavement care, coaching, as well as theology and the arts extends over 25 years.
- NHS Primary Care, acute hospitals and hospice, as a Chaplain and Team Improvement Coach
- NHS Secondary Care, Children’s and Adult Mental Health Services, Associate Therapist
- Community Charities, Barnardos and DreamArts, Lead Therapist
- Education, school counselling service, Lead bereavement counsellor
- Churches, including working with young people and their families
- over 25 years working as a group facilitator
I am committed to equality of opportunity across the diversity of the human experience: I help individuals to use aspects of their sense of identity in order to help them find personally and culturally relevant ways to ease their distress.
Specialist Qualifications and Training
- Certified Compassionate Bereavement Care Provider in traumatic grief
- CAMS-care trained practitioner (Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality)
- Certificate Bereavement Counselling
- Certificate in Complicated Grief Treatment
- Diploma in End-of-Life Therapy
- Diploma in Mental Health and Young People
- Diploma in Systemic Practice with Families and Couples
- Certificates in Facilitating Group Therapy
- Diploma and Certificate in Online Counselling
- Diploma in NLP coaching (Master Practitioner)
- Certificate in Healthcare Improvement Coaching
- Certificate in Motivational Interviewing
- Diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing
- Bachelor of Arts in Historical Cultural Studies with Psychology
- Master of Divinity in Theology with Pastoral Counselling
Additional Professional Organisation Memberships:
- NSMHF (National Spirituality & Mental Health Forum)
- BACiP (British Association of Christians in Psychology
- CHCC (College of Healthcare Chaplains)
For more, please see below.
I adhere to and follow the code of ethics / framework of ACTO, NRPC, UKBHC and AC.
If you would like to discuss how I could help you, please click here to contact me or call +44 (0)7707 138 114.
All services delivered online via a choice of:
- IM Text Chat