Spotlight on: Laura Bremner, Occupational Therapist & Wellbeing Coach

Spotlight on: Laura Bremner, Occupational Therapist & Wellbeing Coach

24 days agoPosted in Egg Partners

Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?

Hey! I'm a Mental Health Occupational Therapist, EMDR Therapist (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) and Coach! It's a bit of a mouthful, and a long email signature... but essentially that all boils down to is a therapist who wants to support you to get a break! A break from feeling like you are drowning in your own life - overloaded, overwhelmed and over compensating. As an Occupational Therapist I'm interested in what you want to be doing - what would be a meaningful life to you and what is getting in the way of you creating that. It's therapy with a plan! I have 17 years clinical experience and I love what I do! I use a range of approaches from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy amongst others, right through to more specialist interventions like EMDR. I have always found that each person I work with needs that flexibility, and rarely therapy is a one size fits all job.

How have you got to where you are today?

I graduated with a joint honours degree in Occupational Therapy with Psychology, and added in a counselling qualification on route. I went into the NHS and worked my way around the mental health services, and knew I had found my passion. I then moved to social services and community based care and then moved across to Canada to work and teach there in the Occupational Therapy programs and develop a service in a residential home. I returned back to Scotland and back to social services before laterly moving to work in further education and develop an Occupational Therapy service within student support. Regardless of where I have been - I have always loved coming alongside people, hearing their unique stories and experiences and what they want out of life.

Laura Bremner Mental Health Occupational Therapist in Edinburgh

Why did lockdown make you change your career path?

During lockdown I became acutely aware of the online noise - particularly in the wellness space. I was being bombarded with homeschooling tips (usually involving a tuff tray and some multi colored rice) and exercise regimes I could do from my living room, and home decor tips involving strategically placed ornaments and plumped up cushions and then a 'coach' would pop up with a well meaning meme about managing my 'mindset' or manifesting my 5k months - I just wanted to scream. One day it was 'you do you Queen' and the next it was 'do X and feel Y'. Talking to other women around me, and reflecting on my own experience - it felt like we were all chasing the 'answer' to feel more in control, or calmer, or just a tad less unhinged, but every 'solution' seemed to make it worse. I kept describing it as 'marshmallow advice' - sounded and looked sweet but very little substance or stability to build on!

I knew I needed to OT myself - to use all the care and skills I supported others with to create their version of contentment - on myself - and that led to a whole heap of small, and significant changes - in my career, my home life and my relationships. I started talking to others and sharing this crazy idea that it would be amazing to work with women before they were 'unwell enough' for statutory services. To work with women who were 'just getting on with it' and wouldn't consider stopping for help. To work with them before they hit burnout, before they can no longer go to work or care for their families, or before their marriages broke down - to be able to use these skills that I had honed over the years in clinical practice - and the next thing I knew (a bottle of wine was involved) - I had launched a facebook business page and created a makeshift logo - well that was it... LB Therapy was launched!

That was almost 3 years ago now, and I ran LB Therapy alongside my role in the education sector - gradually developing courses, group programs and delivering 1:1 therapy. Over time a supportive, compassionate, and driven community of women started to form and a membership program was launched. Gradually I had a service that allowed me to provide long lasting support to women who wanted to learn the strategies to keep themselves heading in the right direction, have the 1:1 therapy for their own processing and healing, and then join this amazing community of other women who had been through the same process and just 'got it'. We have a sense of belonging and understanding that many of the women I work with have craved for a long time.

I guess in summary - lockdown made me stop and reevaluate my own life, and I could see others around me doing the same. I knew Occupational Therapy had a unique perspective to add to the wellness space. A space that was quickly being filled by others that I perceived as adding more pressure to women, rather than reducing it, so I figured rather than complain about that- I had to live it for myself, then offer it to others!

Empowering Women's Support with Laura Bremner at LB Therapy

What's been your scariest career move so far?

LB Therapy has grown organically alongside my 'real' job, as I used to call it. I gradually reduced my hours as LB Therapy grew, and just at the beginning of April this year I decided it was time to take the leap and commit to running LB Therapy full-time. This is by far my scariest career move - for obvious reasons - like no longer having a steady income and I never had any intention of being a business owner - that was not in my career plan! Actually the real fear in this latest 'leap of faith' is it is the first time in my life I have fully backed myself. Trusted myself, and what I believe my purpose is, and gone for it. That feels scary in an exciting way, and I am proud of myself.

What's your advice to working mums and women 'juggling' it all?

Don't juggle it all. Easier said than done I know!

What has really helped me is getting super clear on my values, not the ones that we all rattle off - come on, own up - who's got the 'live, laugh, love' sign somewhere in their house! I mean get real clarity on YOUR values. That then becomes a road map.

I am very easily distracted by the next 'shiny thing' - so I rely on my values map to help me to make decisions about what I say yes or no to. I know what will trip me up with this - my red flags - like people pleasing, or others expectations, or the need for a dopamine hit - so I keep coming back to that map and question which value will this meet? Is there a red flag taking over?

I have two children, 8 and 4, and life is busy! Most people reading this will have a busy life - but I bet they don't like sitting twiddling their thumbs either! We want to be busy with the stuff that lights us up, brings up a sense of purpose, allows us a sense of belonging and peace - so the real challenge is not how to juggle it all, but to work out what you want to juggle, and how to put the others down.

How has egg helped your business?

The egg community is amazing! A wonderful egg found me online and we had sessions together following her experience of PostNatal Depression - we finished sessions and she left a recommendation in the egg community for LB Therapy - by sharing her experience it encouraged so many others to come forward for help and I remember being blown away by the power of resonating with shared experiences and feelings. Many other women got in touch after that and I was able to work with those who I felt were the right fit for my skill set, and pass others on to other therapists, psychologists, counsellors, who I felt would suit that particular person better. That was 2 years ago now, and it transformed my business. I am still very fortunate to be recommended on egg often and to have the use of the business directory.

May is mental health awareness month. What's your top wellbeing tip for women?

My top tip is don't read top tips! I feel very privileged to have spoken to 1000's of people over the years, often in their most vulnerable moments, and what always surprises me is how unique we all are in finding our own version of recovery, coming to our own resolutions and finding the path that is right for us. What therapy provides is a space that is held for you, somewhere that beliefs can be challenged and we can get curious together about what could change and how that could feel. It allows you to slow down, and think, using the therapist's skills and experience to clear out anything getting in the way of that so you can trust yourself again. You are the expert in you, and that's all that matters.

Empowering Women's Support with Laura Bremner at LB TherapyLB Therapy: Sustainable Solutions for Mental Wellness

Sign up to Laura's 'breaking the cycle' workshop on Thursday 22nd May from 2-4pm.

And, you can connect with Laura directly too.

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