Having overcome my own identity issues, and seen the difference that made in my life results, I became interested in whether I could also help others, and began mentoring my teams and colleagues in the corporate world. Seeing the results gave me the interest in Psychology which led to my First Class Honours degree – and now, after a successful career in corporate consulting, has led me to a PhD researching identity.
Identity does not develop in a vacuum. It grows from your genetics, your thought processes and your social environment; part nature, part nurture. Identity is impacted both by how you see yourself, and how you feel you are seen. It impacts on how you feel, how you interact with others, and how you respond to situations. If it has been damaged, restricted or distorted in some way, it can affect everything that you experience in life, and have a dramatic impact on your ability to build the life you wish for.
On my PhD, I intend to work towards an integrated theory of identity. I will be looking at how identity forms, what it contains and how being forced into identity positions can negatively impact life results and well-being. I am particularly interested in the relationship between ongoing mental health issues, previous negative experience, diagnosis labels and identity. How much of what you do and become is a reaction to circumstances, and how do labels and stereotypes affect your ability to make changes and move on?