Parenting is probably the most challenging job we do in our lives, a job for which there is no training other than our apprenticeship in our family of origin. The Heart of Parenting groups offer the opportunity to explore and enhance our relationship with our children, to deepen our connection to their wisdom and uniqueness. The goal of the group is to affirm and develop the skills which we have as parents.
I run small online groups as well as parenting groups and courses in North London. Both the courses and the ongoing groups provide an opportunity for support and guidance as well as time to share our experiences, both the joys and the challenges, of being a parent.
The online sessions provide the time and opportunity to check in and get support and ideas on the specific challenges you are dealing with day to day.
On the full day workshops we look at specific aspects of parenting such as boundaries, consequences, special time, bottom lines, sibling rivalry, family dynamics and more.
The Heart of Parenting is open to parents, live-in step-parents or grandparents.
NEW Group – Staring September 2019
The group runs termly, there is one full workshop day in London (not online) every term and 4 Tuesday sessions online from 7 – 8.30pm. This group is specifically for new parents of babies or young children under the age of 5.
The group is limited to 4 people.
Dates for Autumn Term 2019
Full workshop day in London – 9th November 10.30-4.30pm
Tuesdays online: 3rd September, 8th October, 26th November, 10th December,
Dates for Winter Term 2020
Full workshop day in London – 29th February 10.30-4.30pm
Tuesdays online: 21st January, 11th February, 17th March, 14th April
Dates for Summer Term 2020
Full workshop day in London – 18th July 10.30-4.30pm
Tuesdays online: 12th May, 9th June, 4th August, 25th August
We use an online platform called ZOOM for the Tuesday evening sessions – a bit like Skype but better. It’s very easy to access, you don’t need to join anything, or set up an account, or download anything. You’ll receive all the details so you’ll know exactly what to do. The full days workshops take place in Islington at Barnsbury Therapy Rooms.
The fees for the online sessions and one full day workshop is £295 per term.
When you join I ask that you commit to the first 2 terms. You can then leave group anytime after the first two terms by giving one term’s notice.
The Heart of Parenting will empower you to be the parent that you want to be by giving you tools and drawing on all the skills you already have, to raise confident, self motivated and cooperative children and to be a confident and loving parent. Through the group discussions and exercises you will gain all the understanding, insights and practical tools you need.
There’s time for you to talk about all the things you find challenging about being a parent, to bring your questions, worries, frustrations and celebrations.
As parents it can be so helpful to have a place where we can talk about our parenting and our children without fear or being judged or criticised.
There are some testimonials below from members of the existing parenting groups.
As well as running workshops and group for parents, I am experienced at working with young people between the ages of 14 and 19 who are struggling with a variety of issues such as self harm, eating disorders, self esteem, sexuality, school, education and identity.
Before training to become a psychotherapist I completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education and worked as a secondary school teacher. I have had experience of both inner city schools and the challenges of classroom management and high pressure private schools and the struggles young people face in both environments. I loved my time as a teacher and found being a form tutor and mentor the most rewarding parts of the work.
The teenagers I have worked with say that I am easy to talk to, friendly and warm and that they feel both supported and gently encouraged to work through the struggles they are dealing with.
If you are interested in talking to me about working with your son or daughter, please feel free to give me a call. I would be very happy to have a chat with you or your son or daughter anytime.
When my son was two and started saying no, very loudly and with great determination I realised had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to be harsh and disciplinarian and I also knew that letting him get his way, ruling the house with his strong, spirited will was not helpful to him or for our family. I was at a complete loss for a few months. I read books that suggested various tactics, none of which I really liked the sound of and the ones that I did try just didn’t seem to work.
That’s when I had the good fortune to find Judy Hargreaves. Judy had been running parenting groups and working with children of all ages since the 70s and my husband and I joined one of her parenting groups in 1997. I am still a member of that group today and Judy has now trained me to run the Heart of Parenting groups.
Being a part of an ongoing parenting group has saved our family life. I learned how to hold boundaries with care and love, I learned how to get my children to cooperate without needing to punish or reward them, I learned how to talk to my children so that they would listen to me and how to listen to them so that they would want to talk (incidentally, that’s the title of an excellent book which you’ll find in my FAVOURITE BOOKS section). Having a place to talk about my experiences as a mother and getting support, ideas and encouragement from other parents and an experienced group leader is one of the most valuable things I have ever done. Some years ago, my husband was out of work and we had very little money coming in. We sat down to look our budgets to work out what we could cut out to make ends meet. We had to cut a lot of things out for a couple of years and the one thing I refused to stop was the parenting group. I knew that our family’s health and sanity depended on it and today, looking back, I know I was right.
I have two children, my son Jasper is almost 21 in his final year at University. My daughter Evie is 16 and has just started sixth form. I live with my husband Ben (IT Consultant and Parenting Coach) in north London where I work as a psychotherapist and parenting coach. I am also the co-founder of Beyond Chocolate.
I have graduated as a Humanistic Psychotherapist from Spectrum the largest centre and practice for Humanistic Psychology in Europe and a UKCP accredited organisation.
I am also a Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP).
As part of my Graduation Programme at Spectrum I have completed the following courses:
Cert 1 Year Course in Psychotherapy
Cert 1 Year Continuation Course in Psychotherapy
Cert Postgraduate Course in Psychotherapy
10 years of Post Graduate Continuation Course in Psychotherapy (2006-15)
OCR Certificate in Counselling Skills
Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Sexuality
Anger in the Therapy Room
Working with Groups
The Heart of Parenting
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Developing Clinical Skills
Heart of Parenting training
Gestalt – Theory and Practice
Psychotherapy on Skype/Telephone
I am also a trained walk leader with Walk England
PGCE – Institute of Education 1990 (Distinction)
Masters in Education – The Open University 1997/98
Year 1 – Child Development
Year 2 – Language and Literacy in a Social Context
(I completed 2 years of a 3 year masters programme with the OU. I decided not to complete the course when I started training as a psychotherapist in 2002)
Before training as a psychotherapist I worked in management at Marks & Spencer and later trained as a secondary school teacher and taught modern languages. I took a break from paid employment to have my two children.
“Thank you so much for the Parenting Group yesterday and for the many many ways you have supported me over the years. I am so grateful. I feel so much lighter, stronger and more hopeful about everything”AR
Sophie was supportive, gentle and challenging all in helpful proportion.SL
Sophie is insightful and incredibly sensitiveSL
Sophie creates a warm, safe and fun environment to explore all aspects of parenting. I have found the support provided in the group invaluable in navigating my way through the early years of my son’s life. Unlike other antenatal/ postnatal groups, I feel I can bring all my struggles with parenting to the group and am I am met with real understanding, connection and kindness. I am becoming much more confident in looking after my child and often find that I do know what is best for my family and for myself through working together in this group. I thoroughly recommend Sophie’s parenting groups.
When I started parenting group I didn’t realise how very important it would become. So many things seem to happen in just one day (one hour!) of being a parent and this group provides an essential space to reflect on those issues – it’s often a genuine relief to think ‘I’ll take that to parenting group!’ Working with Sophie and the other members feels supportive and safe but has also allowed me to question some of the judgements and actions I made automatically – hand me downs from the way I was parented and my parents before that! The structure of the calls and workshops allows time to work with individual parents, as well as learning from others and looking at more general parenting themes. Parenting is just about the hardest thing I’ve ever done but this group makes such a difference in helping me to work towards being the parent that I want to be.HB