I could finally see what the problem was
When Giselle Morgan was employed as a social worker, she became skilled at handling difficult situations.
As a single mother of three whose job was to work with troubled youths, she knew how to hold her own with the toughest of cases and keep calm under pressure.
Then one day in 2016, a handful of teens turned on her and tried to attack her.
“I ended up in a tricky position where a young group of people, who turned out to be substance-affected, wanted to assault me,” she says.
Giselle hid in a room, while the youths tried to break down doors to reach her.
“I had to hide for about four hours and it was very traumatic,” she says.
“I also received inadequate support from my workplace at the time and that was when I had a breakdown because I couldn’t trust the people I worked with.”
Depressed, anxious and suffering from PTSD, Melbourne-based Giselle took out a WorkCover claim.
While she had long known, deep down, that her workplace was not a healthy place for her to be, she had overlooked the red flags because of the convenience and security it offered.
“I was separated from my husband and I was in the process of getting my mortgage in my own name,” she says.
“I was wanting a specific job, for specific hours and money, and this one fit the criteria.”
The price she paid, she now concedes, was with her mental health.
“I was prioritising the work over the fact that I knew I was at risk there,” she says.
“And that was a habitual pattern for me.”
Giselle saw both a psychiatrist and a psychologist to cope with her depression and PTSD. While she disliked the diagnostic model of treatment favoured by the profession, her psychiatrist made her feel safe again and gave her the confidence to start the process of her own recovery.
Giselle began to explore other forms of treatment, which led to a renewed interest in life coaching. She attended an event at The Life Coaching College and was “sold straight away”.
“One of the trainers was talking about seeing your life from a different perspective and when you change that perspective, it changes what you see on the outside,” she says.
“I walked away thinking, ‘I want to do this’.”
Giselle signed up for the Master Practitioner of Life Coaching at the College, and found the hypnosis training had an almost immediate impact.
“It was really empowering because I felt good every time I came home from hypnosis and I recognised that it alleviated some of the symptoms I was still experiencing,” she says.
Next came the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training, which, according to Giselle, was “a breakthrough”.
“Through the training I could see that I was always trying to please people and I wasn’t good at putting up a boundary if someone gave me a hard time,” she says.
“I would seek approval of other people to validate myself. I could finally see the problem.”
These days, Giselle’s life is moving in a positive direction. She works part-time as a wellbeing facilitator at a private company, offering support to people experiencing mental illness.
“I often use some of the skills that I learnt in my NLP breakthroughs,” she notes.
Giselle also contributed to the book, I AM: How to Release the Shame of Narcissistic Abuse & Transform Financial Poverty to Wealth Beyond Numbers, which became a number-one seller on Amazon.
The book generated a number of coaching requests, and Giselle now works with a handful of clients one-to-one. She also runs a program, called Un-Gaslightable You, for women who want to re-claim their strength.
“I teach them how to look after themselves and become independent and hold boundaries,” she says.
“It’s not about labels or blaming anyone, but about shifting yourself.”
Giselle also draws upon the practical lessons she learnt at the College to connect with clients suffering acute mental illness.
“One of the foundational things we are taught (at the College) is the importance of building rapport with people,” she says.
“That is helpful in my work with people who have a really complex mental illness, as building rapport can take a while.
“You have to give it time and sometimes if someone simply wants you to come back and see them again, well, that is progress.”