Welcome to Beacon House’s virtual home! I would like to take a moment to tell you a little about the story of how our team came to be; what we are passionate about and the values that we strive to bring into everything we do.
I have always been passionate about working with children and adults who have experienced emotional struggles, loss and trauma. The resourcefulness and sheer survival instinct of humankind in the face of adversity is something which has inspired me, energised me and motivated me since my own adolescence.
As a Clinical Psychologist, I worked for many years within NHS teams, where I felt privileged to work with children and adults from all walks of life. The NHS is a place filled with dedicated, loyal and skilled therapists and, at the same time, there are complex reasons why both children and adults (particularly those who are traumatised) can’t always access quite what they need, and quite when they need it. The reasons for this are understandable, yet I found myself feeling deeply dissatisfied with the way in which I was able to reach children and adults who needed specialist support.
In 2013 I came across an interesting and daunting fork in the road. I had just had my second child and was facing the return to work after maternity leave. One evening, I sat with my partner at our kitchen table and we asked ourselves ‘what if?’
What if we could create a different kind of place for therapists to work; for individuals to come for specialist support and for professionals to learn? What if we could build the kind of place that we would like to go if we had a child who was hurting; or if we were looking for therapy for ourselves?
As a psychologist with a huge passion for healing the impact of trauma, I also asked myself whether it could be possible to build a team who could really understand trauma. Not from a diagnostic/medical model, but from a neuro-scientific, relational, trauma-informed model where the basic human values of kindness, respect and compassion could be at the heart of an approach which respects the impact of trauma on the brain and body.
It was this night, at our kitchen table, that Beacon House was born. We started as a small family business, with one small therapy room above an estate agent and all the administration taking place out of our spare bedroom!
As the journey of Beacon House unfolded, I began to connect with other like-minded therapists who, like me, were committed to supporting vulnerable people and who wanted to do this ‘differently’ to the traditional NHS mental health service model. Each therapist connected us to another like-minded therapist, and before long we had a group of dedicated, innovative, creative and kind mental health practitioners.
There was something important about the timing of Beacon House. I think we started to develop right at the time when a national and international interest in trauma (and being ‘trauma-informed’) was also growing. Over the last five years I have seen an interesting and dynamic dance between the many requests for support that we receive, and the need to respond with a bigger, more specialist and more innovative team.
Five years in, we are now striving to find the right balance between responding to the high levels of need and demand for our specialist service, with the need to embed, consolidate and improve what we do. We have also entered a new chapter of service development in our work with people who are adopted, in that we have applied to register with Ofsted who regulate support and mental health services for adopted children and adults.
Above all, I look back over the journey of the past five years and feel deeply grateful and lucky to have found an incredible team who, together, are co-creating a service which each day strives to support children and adults in respectful, kind and creative ways.
I also feel deeply grateful for the hundreds of children, families and adults who have approached us for support. In allowing us to stand alongside them and help, they have taught us so much about how we as professionals can be authentic, safe and effective helpers.
I feel moved and excited that we are able to offer specialist services to individuals of all ages, with complex needs, who might otherwise not have access to trauma-informed help; and I feel hopeful and energised by the possibility of what we can all achieve together in the future.
“Growth and change are never by mere chance: they are the result of forces working together” (Penney)
Thank you for taking the time to read about our story. I hope you find our website fruitful and informative, and perhaps you’ll ask yourself your own ‘What if?’. Remember, it always seems impossible…until it’s done.
Dr Shoshanah Lyons, Founder and Clinical Director