My name is Geraldine Winter, owner of LifeChangers in Hampshire, UK. I am qualified in many therapies through
The School of Natural Health Sciences,

The above ‘quotation by Confucius’, has certainly proved to be right for me. When deciding on the name of my business, I opted to concentrate on the one main thing that having therapy ensures – it really does ‘change lives’, and therefore, nearly 15 years ago, LifeChangers was born.

Having previously worked in education and training, which although I enjoyed, I wanted more of a challenge; more of a closer interaction with people, helping them obtain the results they wanted. I first became drawn to counselling and psychotherapy, followed by hypnotherapy, and set up my business in the late 1990’s. I wanted to add to my previous training and qualifications and to expand my knowledge base, so it was whilst sifting through the many training schools listed on the internet that I first became aware of The School of Natural Health Sciences.

The number of courses offered as well as the choice of tutored or self-study, both conducted through ‘distance learning’, meant there was a wealth of choice. The courses I found to be professional, practical, logical and easy to follow. In addition, because I was by now seeing a lot of clients, I wanted the flexibility of being able to fit further studies around this. It was also important to me that the courses I chose were accredited, and all of the courses offered by SNHS are accredited by the International College of Holistic Medicine(ICHM). I wanted knowledgeable, friendly and approachable staff and all these I found at The School of Natural Health Sciences.

Over the years I have continued to add to my qualifications and Continuing Professional Development with courses from The School. These have included Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy/Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Drug and Alcohol counselling and Life Coaching. I take a “whole person” approach in all my work with clients, and I have found that over the years people are becoming much more informed about their problems and indeed their treatment and want to play a full part in their own recovery.

People are moving away from the idea that, “All your ills can be cured with pills”, and that it is purely “just a case of finding the right pill” – but sadly that magic pill does not exist. Many are looking toward taking a more natural approach; some adopt a DIY method, and that is fine, as far as it goes, however, it is preferable for people to use the services of a properly trained and informed ‘practitioner or therapist’. Just because something is marked as “natural” it does not automatically follow that it is 100% safe!

For example something as relaxing as an Aromatherapy massage may sound perfectly harmless, and indeed it is, but for someone who is say, planning to do a spot of sunbathing later that day after their massage, then they should avoid having any of the following essential oils added to the massage carrier oil; Bergamot, Angelica Root, cold pressed Lemon oil or Bitter Orange, because these are all mildly photosensitising to the skin.

‘LifeChangers’ is now a thriving business with clients coming from all walks of life. In the last year or so I have also begun to ‘mentor’ those who want to expand their complementary business practices. This includes those who are graduates of the School of Natural Health Sciences as well as others.

Being in business on your own is very different from being an employee; of course initially there is the thrill of the freedom from a boss telling you what to do – (and being able to take a tea break whenever you want to!) However, these pale into insignificance when the bills come in and there is no regular pay cheque at the end of the month because the buck really does stop with you!

Being in business on your own can feel a little lonely on occasions and this is where many find that the services of a mentor or coach can be invaluable. I coach and/or mentor people of all ages and from many different occupations who are looking to change a part of their lives. Sometimes it is a career change; sometimes they are looking to set up their own business, both those in the complementary healthcare field and others; people who are feeling in limbo after a divorce, redundancy or bereavement and need help moving on with their lives perhaps in a completely different direction than before.

I have had clients who want to start their business slowly, perhaps just working part time at it whilst still in employment elsewhere. “Mobile therapies” such as Aromatherapy, Massage and Reflexology lend themselves to this very well. It gives people time to work on their therapy; see how they enjoy it and at the same time there is no pressure to give up their full time employment. It is very important that as a ‘mobile therapist’ one has the correct insurance in place in just the same way as a full time therapist would, and all this can be arranged through leading insurance companies recommended by the School and their Accrediting body the International College of Holistic Medicine (ICHM).

I choose to work holistically in my practice, and as an holistic practitioner I always accept others for what and who they are. I look at the client as a whole, not just “the bit they want fixing.” I take the time to get to know the client; to enable them to describe in their own way what is wrong, as well as what is right with their lives; what factors are affecting their well-being and health? Life can be very complex, we know, and at LifeChangers we look for the best, simplest methods to evoke the change the client wants.

If you want to ‘have fun at work’ then you have to work at doing something that you love. Is working in complementary and alternative medicine an easy option? No. Is it satisfying and worthwhile? Yes. Am I glad I do it? Yes I am. If you want further information about Coaching for Change, contact LifeChangers at

Author's Bio: 

Geraldine Winter has the following holistic therapy qualifications from The School of Natural Health Sciences (SNHS Ltd): SNHS Dip. (Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy), SNHS Dip. (Life Coaching), SNHS Dip. (CBT), SNHS Dip. (Indian Head Massage), SNHS Dip. (Acupressure), SNHS Dip. (Reflexology), SNHS Dip. (Colour Therapy), SNHS Dip.(Meridian Psychotherapy), SNHS Dip.(Aromatherapy), SNHS Dip.(Meridian Psychotherapy) and SNHS Dip. (Psychotherapy & Counselling).
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