Welcome Sheridan, thank you for being a part of The Miracle Project ‘Inspiring Women In Business’ Interview. One of the best decisions I made after my daughter was diagnosed with a life-changing diagnosis, was to meet with a local psychologist regularly. It was deeply healing and supportive to have someone to talk with, outside of family, friends, FB forum’s and the special needs community. So it is with great honour that I share your business and journey, as I believe your work is so integral to women and mothers throughout their journey. Sheridan – Sophrosyne Psychology.
Sheridan: Hello to all the courageous whole-hearted mothers reading this. What an honour it is to connect with you through such a nourishing and inspiring online space, it’s such a privilege to be a part of The Miracle Project. My name is Sheridan Meulblok, I’m a mother, lover and psychologist with a long standing habit of wearing my heart on my sleeve.
My little family and I live in the rugged and beautiful coastal town of Warrnambool where I also run my business Sophrosyne Psychology. Warrnambool provided us with sanctuary after returning from a long hospital admission following my daughter’s birth. It’s small enough to offer a strong sense of community, affordable housing, devastatingly beautiful landscapes, and minimal commutes. It also has the most magically powerful rainbows I’ve ever seen!
As a family we embrace dancing in the kitchen at breakfast time, speaking from the heart (even when it means taking a risk), rest, regularly bringing others to our family table to share a meal and family “love bombs” – when one of us shouts “love bomb” we all have to huddle together as a family and shower each other with cuddles and kisses! The family huddle releases a hit of oxytocin for us all at once making it a great healer and stress reliever.
Natalie: How did Sophrosyne Psychology begin? Can you tell us a little more about it?
Sheridan: I’ve always wanted my own business. But before I birthed Sophrosyne Psychology I needed to go on a journey and really work out what I needed both professionally and personally. My experiences in public mental health, non-government organisations and other people’s private practices provided me with such a strong foundation as a psychologist, helping me work out what felt right and what didn’t whilst laying down fundamental skills all psychologists need. After 20 years of practising as a psychologist I knew that I had to go my own way in order to create a way of practising that was inspiring, nourishing and sustainable. I wanted a business where I could be who I really am. I needed an office that was colourful and beautiful, that felt sacred, safe and tranquil. I knew in order to do my best work without burning myself out, I would need to offer a reduced amount of appointments per day, and give myself space between sessions for meditation and reflection. After hanging out with artists and musicians half my life, I knew that I needed to embrace my own creativity in the way I worked with my clients and also in the way I ran the business and connected with wider audiences through my my website and social media.
Natalie: What do you love most about your work?
Sheridan: Watching clients move through their suffering and come back to their own hearts, Natalie. It’s profound.
Natalie: What services do you offer?
Sheridan: I offer individual therapy both in person and online for a broad range of mental wellbeing issues, integrating Mindfulness and Acceptance therapies, Self-Compassion Psychology, Narrative Therapy and Schema Therapy. I also draw meaning in therapy from art, poetry, myth, philosophy and spirituality. As a therapist I try to be friendly, down to earth, heart centred and holistic.
I have a specific interest in issues relating to eating and body image and have recently started offering couples therapy (which I never thought I would do, but sometimes the work chooses you, it would seem). I also offer supervision, coaching and public speaking services.
Natalie: Who are some people that inspire you and offer you insights into the human experience.
Sheridan: The world is filled with the most incredible teachers. Some of my favourite psychologists include Buddhist Psychologist Tara Brach and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy founder Steven C. Hayes. Neither of these psychologists are afraid to share their struggle with their own human experience. I’m so grateful that therapists more recently have been given permission to be real people who love and hurt. The power of the “me too” in therapy is significant.
I’m also totally inspired by social researcher Brene Brown (that woman has been a total game changer in my life and the way I parent). For creativity Elizabeth Gilbert is my lady and I have no doubt her book Big Magic influenced the shaping of my business on so many levels.
For all things related to taking the big leap and running a business true to your soul calling, I take inspiration from the founder of publishing company Sounds True,Tami Simon and entrepreneur Seth Godin.
For spiritual inspiration HeatherAsh Amara and Adyashanti speak my language and give me goose bumps. I also love a good dose of Caroline Myss to shake me up, she is incredibly confronting but always enlightening.
Natalie: You had a pre-term birth for your beautiful daughter, the photo of you holding her in hospital speaks a thousands words. Can you share more about your experience?
Sheridan: We come into parenthood with the most ridiculous sense of control. We think that we are here to guide and teach our children – yeah right!!! By the time most children become adults they have completely cracked open their parents exactly where they need to heal. Whether parents lean into their journey with the child and evolve, or whether they continue to struggle with control and suffering is ultimately up to them. With all my pre- conception planning, organic food, birth plans and good intentions, my daughter still came into the world dangerously early and ultimately I had to give up control and honour that her journey into this world was Divine. So that photo is one of deep surrender. That’s not an easy thing to do when your child is suffering and you fear they may die. But in those moments where I was able to go beyond fear and control and just be with each unfolding moment, I found great peace, space and love.
Natalie: I’m a huge advocate for mothers to reach out for professional support. Often due to the nature of caring for a child with additional needs, the mother can overlook her own needs. What are some benefits of seeing a psychologist?
Sheridan: A good therapist can take away the sense of aloneness that is often experienced when we suffer, whilst teaching us how to hold our experience gently and receive our pain with loving care. Therapy provides us with a space to deeply reflect on what we want to stand for and how we want to really show up where we are being tested in life. On a practical level a psychologist can hold space for you to process, reflect and problem solve and also teach skills to support increased conscious awareness and coping.
Natalie: Do you have a favourite quote, prayer, or piece of miracle inspiration that you would like to leave us with?
Sheridan: Glennon Doyle Melton in her book Carry On Warrior sums life up as Brutiful:
“ Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real”.
I also deeply love this quote by Nisargadatta that I feel is at the core of my psychological work:
“The mind creates the abyss and the heart crosses it”.
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