Kia ora e te whānau INPM
Ko Alex tōku ingoa
Nō Liverpool ahau[Hello to the family of INPM
My name is Alex
I am from Liverpool in the UK]
I live in Aotearoa, New Zealand and have done so for the last 12 years. I work as a counsellor in both private practice and part-time in a local high school in Auckland and have just received a scholarship to study a PhD at the University of Auckland. I am married to my husband, Ray, a Deputy Principal at a local school and have a son (aged 20) and a daughter (aged 19), who are also studying at University. I enjoy practising mindfulness and yoga, have ran a few marathons to raise money for diabetes, and rejuvenate my wellbeing in nature walking my dogs.
In 2020 I completed a Masters in Counselling. My research thesis was entitled: ‘Meeting God in Thin Places’ – Clients experiences of counselling through difficult life experiences. It was rooted in the indigenous Celtic wisdom that describes ‘thin places’ as geographical locations on earth where the space between heaven and earth is described as ‘tissue paper’ thin, and Māori indigineous belief in the creation of the world through the metaphor of Tihei-wa mauri ora (see figure 1.). It was a small scale qualitative research, that used the methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to hear the voices of six participants’ experiences of feeling especially close to God/The Divine, through the most difficult times in their lives. Finding meaning in the depths of te korekore (see figure 1.) was an important element towards growth and wellbeing via the processes of surrender, acceptance and trust.
Within a month of completing my Masters, we went into the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns. Being in New Zealand observing from afar the devastating impact corona virus was wreaking on the UK and Europe was unnerving. During lockdown, I sought positivity and hope, and embarked on the coursera free learning courses in positive pyschology and flourishing through the University of Pennsylvania. They sparked a curiosity to know more, and during the last year I have completed a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing through Langley Group (AUS) and New Zealand Institute for Wellbeing and Resilience (NZIWR). I was very interested in the work of Dr. Paul Wong on meaning and purpose as it resonated with my Masters research, and this sparked further interest in PP2.0. With spirituality as my top Values in Action (VIA) Character Strength, followed closely by Love of Learning, I am excited to start my PhD investigating further peoples’ lived experiences of spirituality during global existential crises. There doesn’t seem to be a more significant time for this research than the present.
I am enjoying being a member of INPM and very much appreciate the sharing of articles, which I am finding interesting and useful towards my personal area of research and I look forward to making more connections with you all.
Ngā mihi maioha (thank you with appreciation)
Figure 1. Tihei-wa mauri ora (Pipri & Body, 2010)