Dr Gemma Applegarth
I am a Psychologist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, wellbeing coach and Mindfulness teacher based in the Buckinghamshire area. I completed my training in mindfulness with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre after graduating with a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology from the University of Wales. I am also a freelance writer and journalist, specialising in wellbeing, sports and psychology.
While studying for my doctorate I began to practice mindfulness to aid wellbeing. Initially it was something I did just for me. As I practiced I was able to recognise the impact it could have on difficult thoughts and feelings as well as allowing me to highlight and enjoy the positive. Now I teach mindfulness within the NHS and a variety of settings.
I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP).
As a child I was encouraged by athletic parents to take part in sports and enjoyed football, tennis, running and skating. As I grew older I began to realise I wasn't naturally talented at these activities. Thoughts of embarrassing my teenage self soon took over and I gave up. As an adult I woke up one day and realised that I was obese, unfit and at risk of health difficulties. Reluctantly I took up sport again for the sake of my health. This time I joined a beginners running club. Many of the same negative thoughts came to the surface. In fact I had a loop tape playing in my mind 'whats the point, give up, not fast enough'. Mindfulness has given me a chance to unhook myself from the power of these thoughts. With time and practice it has allowed me to confidently take part in activities and to manage the difficult thoughts. As I have progressed from beginner to accomplished club runner mindfulness has played a role in developing an enjoyment of my sport, in enabling me to get out of bed on the cold wet mornings and it has given me a tool to free myself of panic and difficult emotions even when a run isn't going my way.
I was sailing and climbing mountains literally before I could walk. I qualified as a sailing instructor in my teens and worked for a while in an outdoor center on Oulton Broad. I came late to roped rock climbing and enjoy being mediocre at it while continuing with wider mountain adventures.
After a corporate career I went freelance as a management consultant for ten years which got me interested in psychology, then became restless and did a degree in it. I worked in the NHS for several years while pursuing various postgraduate MH qualifications but never quite found my niche. All the time, since well before my psychology degree, I had an increasing involvement with mindfulness. Realising that my preferred focus lay in mental wellness rather than mental illness, I became interested in combining mindfulness with sport and took my practice in a more formal direction, culminating in my training to teach MSPE.
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