For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to develop my own independent practice; to be able to offer the high quality, compassionate and completely individualised psychological therapy that I am trained in (and sadly often cannot be offered within the NHS). But I have also wanted to give back in other ways; to share my psychological knowledge and provide support outside of the therapy room to those who are not able to access help in this way.
There just never seemed to be the right time to do this. Life was busy and my work in the NHS was ever consuming. I had no idea where you would start with the complexities of developing your own venture and it all felt a bit like a distant hope and dream. But then life dealt us a really tough card, and just as we thought we were starting our family, this future that was within touching distance was cruelly snatched out of our hands when our first daughter died just before she was born.
Andy and I immersed ourselves in fundraising. We talked openly online and off about baby loss. We tried to find meaning through our grief whilst navigating pregnancy after loss. And I guess what we learnt is that life is unpredictable, very often messy, but that there are options. You cannot escape or avoid the difficult experiences that may be thrown your way. You can’t really avoid the emotional turmoil that these experiences bring. However, you can choose to find a way to live alongside them. To find hope and purpose.
And this is where Talking Heads was born.
One day, over a Whatsapp message, we decided that we would put our (very different) heads together and build something that we hoped could provide support to many other people. Our lives had changed more than we had imagined, and whilst we could have continued to work in much the same way we did before loss and before becoming parents, it felt a bit like trying to jam an oval shaped peg into a round hole; not as jarring as a square peg, but it just didn’t quite fit anymore. So, from that moment on, every spare moment was filled with growing an idea from a little bulb of hope to something that is now a living breathing company.
It was important to us that we developed something with the capacity to provide support in a variety of ways. As a psychologist, I have had the opportunity to lead some innovative services in the NHS; as a Finance Director, Andy has worked with some of the most pioneering companies within the London technology sector; as a couple, we have personally immersed ourselves in the online support provided in the baby loss community. We therefore wanted to take everything we had learnt from these experiences to create a company that is professional, forward thinking and ethical. And for these reasons, Talking Heads is a Community Interest Company (sometimes called a Social Enterprise), which means that we have made a commitment to using our resources to benefit the community.
So, what do Talking Heads actually do? In a nutshell, we are a psychology service providing high quality, effective private therapy to individuals as well as a range of mental health services within the workplace. And in addition to this, we will be using our resources to develop a range of community based interventions and support that will be available to people free of charge. This will include sharing information about mental health difficulties and tools that we know can help, as well as running therapeutic groups for parents who have experienced loss. As doctors of psychology, we only share information and provide services that are evidence based; this means that there is a theory and proven research behind it. But what we want to do is disseminate it in a way that makes it accessible and transferable to everyday life. Talking Heads aims to do just that: talk about our heads and everything that we can do to make them as healthy as possible.
So please follow us here and on our social media channels for further information regarding our services, events and community projects. We hope that there will be something here for everybody.
Michelle and Andy
Founders, Talking Heads