I am Imi. I am a Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, and author of the book Emotional Intensity and Sensitivity (Hodder & Stoughton).
I have spent my professional life of over a decade in pursuit of answers to one question: ‘How to best serve people who are emotionally intense?’
Though my background is in clinical psychotherapy, my work has evolved throughout the years. The way I work with you is holistic, combining East and Western philosophies with other psychological and spiritual healing modalities.
My work was recognised by the Endeavour Award, an international scholarship presented by the Australian Government. In 2018, I was granted the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) for my commitment and contributions to social change.
More about my professional background:
For more than a decade, I specialised in working with people diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder. My aspiration emerged in 2006, when I witnessed people who are unable to manage their emotions being misunderstood, marginalised or described as having ‘personality defects’. Hearing pejorative labels such as ‘manipulative’ or ‘attention seeking’, and seeing people who do not fit neatly into diagnostic criteria slip through the cracks of the system deeply frustrated me. My experience in the public health system has inspired me to break away to forge a different path, where I hope to initiate a paradigm shift, away from the model of pathologies.
I started my career as a clinical Social Worker and later received accreditations as a Clinical Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Schema Therapist (ISST), Mentalisation-based Therapy Advance Practitioner (BPC), and Mindfulness Teacher (in MBSR, MBCT). After gaining the Master of Mental Health (School of Medicine, University of Queensland) in Australia, I wanted to broaden my knowledge and skills through exploring various therapeutic avenues, such as Schema Therapy, EMDR, Sandtray and Symbol Work, holistic health coaching, personality typologies like the Enneagram, MBTI, and mindfulness-based therapies.
Instead of taking suggestions straight from these theories, I weed out the jargons and or overly complicated elements, to include only what I know to be effective and resonate best with you. After all, underneath all the techniques, it is our relationship and the genuine feelings between us that makes therapy work. I cannot hide behind theories and you will know it if I do.
My experience is grounded within various roles in the mental health sector. I was a practitioner of an NHS Community Mental Health Team in London, UK, a Personality Disorder Specialist Team, a mental health centre for Mind (UK Mental Health charity), and the Samaritans Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre. I have also sat on the Board of Directors for Emergence, a personality disorder service-user led organisation. I also founded Eggshell Collective, a BPD support group that had run successfully in Central London for three years.
Leaving my job in the National Health Service and ending the academic path to pursue my passion have allowed me to work in a holistic, creative and authentic way. Every day, I devote all my enthusiasm and resources to Eggshell Therapy. I am grateful that I get to sit alongside many creative and intelligent individuals, fulfilling my mission to liberate them from the bind of negative patterns, and to live full and authentic lives.
I value clarity and openness, and I am a great believer in sharing knowledge with you, as well as actively engaging with your existential and day-to-day questions.
I look forward to being with you!
PROFESSIONAL AND ACADEMIC AWARDS
Endeavour Award (International), 2010 – Australian Government
Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), 2018 - Royal Society of Arts, London
Dean’s commendation for High Achievements in Master of Mental Health, University of Queensland, 2011
Dean’s List Recipient 2009, School of Social Work, CUHK
HSBC Social Science Scholarship, 2008, 2009
Social Work Departmental Prize, CUHK, 2008, 2009
Class Scholarship, CUHK, 2008, 2009
Interviews, features, MEDIA Consultations and mentions
- The Daily Mail, UK: An Interview about the book Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity, Feb 2018
- Psychologies UK: Sensitivity is my Superpower, Nov 2017
- The Telegraph UK: Borderline Personality Disorder: 'I couldn't deal with the rollercoaster in my head', Feb 2015
- Marie Claire UK: 'How to Toughen Up', Issue March 2016
- Empath’s Alchemy Podcast: If It Ain’t Broke…, May 2019
- Rewire.org: Are You Catching Other People’s Feelings?, Nov 2018
- Happiful Magazine: Emptiness and Borderline Personality Disorder, April 2017
- The Ambient; On smart light and how colour affects our mood, Feb 2018
- Refinery29: How Do You Know Which Therapy Is Best For You?, Jan 2017
- The Debrief Magazine: The realities of dating when you are struggling with your mental health, May 2016
- Study Breaks: Being Too Much: How Do You Deal With Emotional Intensity?, Oct 2018
- The Native Society: Thought Leader Interview, Nov 2018
- Mind Mastery Lab: How to Overcome the Fear of Failure, Dec 2018
- Foreword for the Art for Mindfulness Colouring book series, Harper Collins 2016.
- On Gifted Women and Impostor Syndrome with Twinky Tus
- On Invisible Childhood Wounds, with Twinky Tus
- On Being Intense and Parenting, with Ashleigh Boyd
- Video Interview on The Naive Society
- MX Brisbane, AU: Interview as an artist/ art therapist, 23rd November, 2010
- City Brisbane, AU: Press Release for the exhibition at liveingallery, 25 November, 2010
- 4 ZZZ Radio, AU: Radio Interview, aired on 12 June 2011
Teaching and Supervision
I have delivered lectures and workshops for trainee therapists seeking accreditation as a faculty member of the Beeleaf Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy, an accrediting authority of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Some of the topics I have covered include Human Development, Psychopathology, Attachment theories, Personality Disorders and Suicide crisis management With students’ consent, the following are testimonials for the workshops I have delivered:
Imi has an incredible wealth of knowledge and talent in her subject areas, and she shared it with us in a totally accessible way that felt inclusive & respectful at all times. Her humility compassion & warmth blended with her expertise and professionalism throughout. It was a thoroughly enjoyable & informative learning experience...
— Lesley C., Lead family support worker at London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Insightful, brilliantly delivered, flowing with compassion and understanding, giving us time to digest this complex area of therapy. Thank you so much Imi.
— Ed Luttrll, Director & Principal Coach at BlueTouchPaper Consulting
Master of Mental Health- School of Medicine, University of Queensland, AU
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology (MBPsS) - University of Derby, UK
Postgraduate Certificate in Psychological Studies- Middlesex University, UK
BSc. in Social Work (Hons) - Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK
Fine Art Program- Yale University, US
Psychotherapy Accreditations and Trainings
Certified Schema Therapist for Personality Disorders
Certified by the International Society of Schema Therapy
Mentalisation-based Therapy Practitioner (Advanced) for Borderline Personality Disorder
Anna Freud Centre, University College London (UCL), UK
Clinical Supervisor, Certificate in Psychotherapy Clinical Supervision
Metanoia Institute, UK
Accredited Clinical Psychotherapist; Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Psychotherapy
Beeleaf Institute, UK
Registered Art Therapist
The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) for Trauma
Accredited trainings approved by EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) and EMDR-Europe Association (EMDR-E)
Mentalisation-based Art Therapy
British Association for Art Therapists, UK
Psychosynthesis (A Psyho-spiritual model to therapy) Foundation
The Institute of Psychosynthesis, UK
LGBT Counselling and Trans(gender) Awareness Training
London Friend, UK
Applying Enneagram in Coaching and Counselling
Neuro- linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner
Trauma-Informed Art Therapy/Trauma-Informed Expressive Arts Therapy
Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute
Qualifications in Holistic Health
I am enthusiastic about combining ancient body-mind wisdom with modern psychology in my work.
My qualification in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (MBCT) was gained in Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre, UK, and my Practicum in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is recognized by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a mindfulness teacher, I have delivered mindfulness training programs in special education units, mental health charities such as Mind and in the local communities.
Before becoming a therapist, I was a Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), and was trained in various holistic healing modalities such as Reiki, aromatherapy, and energy work. I am also an Enneagram counsellor and trainer, it is a powerful and dynamic system that is close to my heart.
Experience prior to Eggshell Therapy
Psychotherapist – NHS Personality Disorder Specialist Team
Trainer and Module Leader - Beeleaf Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Non-Executive Director- Emergence Plus
Clinical Practitioner- NHS Personality Disorder Community Team
Social Worker/ Care Coordinator- NHS Community Mental Health Team
Founder - Eggshell Collective, London BPD Sharing Group
Suicide Counsellor – Samaritans Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre, HK
Psychotherapist- London Friend (LGBT Charity), UK
Wellbeing Centre Officer– Mind, Richmond Royal Hospital, UK
Mental Health Mentor- Randstad Student Support, UK
Assistant- NHS Eating Disorder Inpatient Unit
Art Therapist- Tennyson Special Education School, Australia
Counselling Practitioner- Centacare Family Services, Australia
Taipei Psychiatric Hospital Drug & Alcohol Unit, Taiwan
Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity- Published by Hodder and Stoughton, February 2018
Published in The Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Journal 2011 (Volume 6)
Introduction for the Art for Mindfulness Colouring book series.
Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
American Art Therapy Association (AATA)
The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA)
International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST)
EMDR Association UK & Ireland
The Community for Contemporary Psychotherapy (CCP)
The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
The British Psychological Society (BPS)
Australia Global Alumni
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
The Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZATA)
The UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners (UKAHPP)
British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board
Australia Endeavour Awards Alumni Network
Thank you for being here, and I look forward to meeting you!