Julia Samuel MBE is a psychotherapist specialising in grief, Sunday Times Best Seller of This Too Shall Pass: stories of change, crisis and hopeful beginnings and podcast host of A Living Loss – The Art of Losing and Finding Yourself.
She worked as a bereavement counsellor in the NHS paediatrics department at St Mary’s Hospital where she pioneered the role of maternity and paediatric psychology. In 1994, she helped establish Child Bereavement UK with Jenni Thomas, now a leading charity that supports families and trains professionals when a child dies or when a child is bereaved. Until September 2019, this was her central focus, stepping down as a Trustee but remaining Founder Patron. She now works in private practice.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No, never – but once I had started training as a therapist I did have images of people who inspired me and I wanted to emulate – like teaching therapy – which I did.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Very many – usually me getting things wrong which I hate doing and having to learn from it, which is nice afterwards but super hard at the time.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I think being Founder Patron of Child Bereavement UK, working ther for 25 years and now it runs brilliantly without me and does vital and extraordinary work, supporting families when a child dies or when a child grieves.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I work very hard, finish tasks. I’m more of a cart horse than a racehorse, I keep going and eventually get there. I don’t set my goals in unrealistics spheres.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I love mentoring and have mentored lots of therapists. I’d love to be a mentee, but since I don’t have one I read and follow other people who inspire me.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
Let women be more self compassionate and less self critical, so they can trust themselves to reach their potential.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
You are not as stupid as you think you are.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I would love to have a successful podcast and have lots of wildly interesting conversations with a hugely broad group of individuals.
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