Holistic Centre for Body, Mind & Spirit

June 2013

Case study – Marie

All of the case studies you will read here are the experiences of real Anam Cara clients. They have asked for their real names not to be used to protect their privacy but all of them wanted others to know that problems can be overcome, whatever they are.


A short while ago, a couple of stressful changes in my life – selling my house, and my daughter going off to university – seemed to have triggered some horrendous headaches. These painful headaches were in a very specific place at the side of my head on one side. I went to the doctor and did everything I was advised – took a month’s worth of anti-inflammatory medication, took two weeks off work and started wearing a toothguard. The diagnosis was a jaw dysfunction that causes inflammation above the ear and therefore headaches.

The pain eased slightly but I was still conscious that something wasn’t right.

At the same time, I felt that I had been slowly grinding to a halt in all aspects of my life – my job, my marriage, my parenting. I sensed that there was something else behind all this so I decided to give Sonia a call. I had met her along with my daughter three or four years previously and remembered how good she was, how closely she listened and how accurately she understood our situation.

In the days leading up to seeing her, I tried to work it all out for myself. I thought that as well as the current life challenges I was facing, maybe I hadn’t finished dealing with other past events either. My Mum had died two years previously and my Dad six years before that. I’d had counselling at the time and thought I was ok. Maybe I wasn’t. I remembered reading an article in a local magazine by Sonia which emphasised the connection of body and mind, a message reinforced by everything I read on the Anam Cara website. All of this reinforced my gut feeling that there was another way to tackle this beyond conventional medicine and that I should go back to Anam Cara.

The initial consultation with Sonia was everything I’d hoped it would be. I talked but so did Sonia, gently challenging me and helping me explore what I was thinking, feeling and saying. When I left, I really wanted to come back.

Sonia was very honest and said that she had an idea of what the best approach to this problem was, but there were a number of ways we could tackle it. If something didn’t work, we’d look at it again and explore new options. She didn’t promise a quick fix and I got the impression that there was a real professional toolkit behind her observations and treatment decisions. Sonia was a blend of professionalism and understanding. She is astute and has clearly faced up to some of life’s challenges herself.

I went back to Sonia within the week and also had three sessions of Bowen treatment. I was apprehensive at first, even though it had all been explained to me, and it was strange to begin with but the Bowen practitioner was very professional and soon put me at my ease. She also did a very thorough assessment of her own before we began, showing extraordinary attention to detail. It was a very calming experience. After three treatments, the headaches disappeared – and they haven’t been back since.

It was also as if I’d been given a renewed sense of balance. Bowen taught me a lot of what it feels like to be released. It’s changed my posture, the way I walk, the way I sit, even the way I drive.

In my sessions with Sonia, we explored how I expressed my feelings, how I was dealing with my sadness and grief, how I operate within my family and how I felt I’d left so many things unsaid. It was interesting when Sonia pointed out to me that when I spoke about my parents and my grief, I would often unconsciously reach up and touch my head where the headaches used to be. The sessions with Sonia worked perfectly with the Bowen, and I really felt like I was finally able to release my grief, which had been locked in for so long.

The result has been an unpicking of previous patterns of behaviour (which I’d learnt from my parents, and so on down the generations). Now, I notice more how I express my feelings and how I operate within my family – and I’ve learnt to fight my corner and let myself speak. I have just as much right to speak my thoughts and feelings as anyone else.