Ella McCrystal, a 40-year-old mother, and Business Owner. She was born in Northampton, the UK in 1978. She is a survivor (thrives) of Childhood Sexual Abuse/Incest and she has most definitely turned her pain into power!! Her experiences in life have driven her passion to help/heal/coach others. This passion has turned into her endless energy to succeed and she believes it’s the key to her success!
I have been a Lead Psychotherapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist for over a decade. I am also the Owner/Director of The Northampton Clinic. The clinic (the oldest of its kind in the Country — 90years) is an Osteopathic and Multi-Disciplinary Health Clinic.
I am extremely passionate about the work I do and I firmly believe that the client/therapist rapport is vital. I aim to build a positive, strong and successful partnership with each of my clients. As do the rest of the practitioners in my Clinic.
I am a multi-model psychotherapist and believe strongly that therapy should be tailor-made to fit each individual. During the years that I have been practicing, I have found that no one person responds to therapy in the same way. Therefore, I use many tried and tested techniques from the world of therapy in order to maximize your success inc:
- Solution-focused Therapies inc. — Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
- Motivational Coaching
- Clinical Hypnotherapy
In addition, I am the co-founder of the ‘Evolve Project’. I originally started the Evolve Project with World Champion Boxer, Chantelle Cameron, to raise awareness and much-needed funds for ‘Eve’ a local Domestic Abuse Support Service and Refuge. Over the past year, the Evolve Project has grown as has its vision. We now also raise money for Blesma — a charity that supports Limbless Military Veterans. The ongoing plan is to continue to be a vessel for raising funds but to also set up workshops for children affected by abuse. We know that statistics show that boys that end up using violence and knives are often bought up seeing violence in their homes.
I have a wonderfully fulfilling life. I love my work, but I am also passionate about being a mother to my beautiful 11year old daughter. I have some amazing friends too. I am also someone who loves a challenge — abseiling, sky-diving, bodybuilding…I want to make sure I live my life to the fullest. I love to travel too, nothing enriches the soul in quite the same way!
I am proud of how far I’ve come in my life…I’m a survivor of abuse: sexual, physical and emotional. My Dad was the perpetrator of the sexual and physical abuse. As a very young child, I realized just how truly dysfunctional my family was.
Then, at 13 years old, I was raped by a 20-year-old man. I blamed myself for this for many years. I thought I attracted the energy of predators. I thought I was a slag. My experience of childhood led me into a deep spiral of depression and rebellion which entailed hanging out with the wrong crowd, drinking way too much alcohol, shoplifting, self-harm, suicide attempts, eating disorders and being sexually promiscuous. I was angry and I felt very, very alone. I HATED myself.
There were times that I didn’t have a home and I slept on floors at friends houses. Needless to say during my teens and early 20’s my future was looking bleak and my behavior was worsening.
My mother was very, very disconnected and she was emotionally detached and cold. Her choice to stay in a relationship with my Dad, meant that after he finished his time in prison, he came back into my home. My Mum completely isolated herself from her role as a parent and she always made choices that served her needs, not mine as her child. When she found out about the sexual abuse, our relationship completely fell apart and she neglected my emotional needs.
It wasn’t easy growing up in an abusive home, and my teens were a total mess, but eventually, I found new ways to cope and deal with the circumstances I was born in to. I eventually realized that I couldn’t change my past, but I could work on my life each day.
I don’t speak to my Mum and Dad anymore. It took me until about 4 years ago before I cut them out of my life. I had been trying to be loved by them my whole life. One day I realized, they weren’t capable of loving me, their daughter so I walked away.
The painful memories and experiences of growing up in an abusive home will never be erased. At one point in my life, I wished that I could erase the memories and myself! However, I couldn’t be more grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this way of life.
I allowed my pain to teach me something rather than blame someone or something for it happening to me.
I realized that regardless of what has been done to you, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. I have found gifts in my traumatic experience of abuse. It has taught me how to be humble, compassionate, and most of all empathetic to other people. If anything, I have learned more about how to truly connect with the human species. Pain can have strong transformative power and way of leading people in the right directions. It definitely has for me.
Allow it to be your compass to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
I know it’s easier said than done. In the midst of a painful experience, you can often feel as though there isn’t a way out.
Some key tips if you’ve been abused in any way at all:
Don’t blame yourself for what has happened. When being abused, we can often ignore what the person has done to us and think we are the fault. This is not the case at all. No one deserves to be abused.
Remember, it’s not you; it’s them.
Recognize your worth and value yourself.
Think about all of the things that make you great and use those characteristics to give you strength and motivation. If this is difficult, seek out support from a close friend, confidant, or someone who knows you well and can help you believe in yourself again.
Friends and close loved ones may be your saving grace and strongest form of support, especially if you are in need of encouragement or motivation to push forward.
Remember you are a human being who is worthy of being loved in a healthy way. Abuse is not loved.
Challenge fears, negative self-talk, and doubts.
Fear is going to be your #1 enemy in trying to change anything in your life. Surround yourself with positive people who love you to get through.
Believe in yourself and trust that you have a life purpose here. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Be aware of who you fall in love and become friends with. As a survivor of abuse, I found that I would attract people who had qualities similar to my parents. It’s easy to fall for and attract people who will be or feel familiar to the past.
After getting out of an abusive situation, the last thing you would think to happen or want is another abusive experience. However, this is common and happens often.
I found that identifying key beliefs about myself linked to being abused helped me. These beliefs were things such as fear of being judged, low self-esteem, and not knowing what a healthy relationship should be like.
The first step in changing anything in your life is always the hardest. My life is still a work in progress but I am so happy with my decision to change it.
It all starts with one step and a little courage. As the wise Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Trust that you deserve it and don’t look back.
My life experiences really have made me want to have the best life possible. The experience I had made me strong, and for that reason I’m grateful. I became more empathetic as a result of my story, so naturally, I felt I had a yearning to help others. Psychotherapy and Clinical Hypnotherapy seemed so attractive to me. These two approaches combine tools that help us correct both our subconscious and conscious thinking patterns.
Once I qualified, I knew I had to work extremely hard to build a private practice. I shared a room with other therapists, to begin with, and created a little website. Very soon, I was seeing the odd client here and there. The most rewarding feeling was getting recommendations from clients I had worked with! My practice was slowly growing!
I had rented three Therapy Rooms before I was lucky enough to rent a room in The Northampton Clinic (The clinic I now own) This clinic had a marvelous reputation and I was thrilled to be working from there. Within a couple of years of practicing from the clinic, the owner offered to sell it to me as she was moving away. This was such an exciting opportunity. I had always wanted my own multi-disciplinary health clinic…this was my dream. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I was willing to put my heart and soul into it! I was able to sort out a loan agreement and a lease for the building, and then the real hard graft began! Within four years, I was in a position to buy the building! With a fantastic team around me and solid hard work and dedication, I was building the dream bigger than I had ever imagined!
My team is the real heroes. It’s essential to have people who you can trust and communicate well with. There are always tough times and hard conversations that have been had along the way, so having a good rapport with your team is critical. We are all genuinely interested in the Clinic’s success which makes it easier to create positive outcomes. My advice is, seek out smart people that are further on the journey and learn from their experience. It’s remarkable how generous many are with their experience. So many people have made time to listen to my struggles or insecurities and have offered valuable essential advice. I’d always say do everything yourself first, and feel the pain!! I’ve enjoyed learning about HR, Payroll, Legal, Sales, and Marketing. Understanding the hardships your team faces keeps you grounded, helps you to provide better context, and evaluate their challenges and strengths.
My business model is based on traditional, good old customer service. We are very responsive to our patient's needs and each one of the team builds wonderful relationships with the patients. We pride ourselves on being personal, friendly, warm and welcoming. We have strong communication strategies and we know that our patients feel cared for.
Being a business owner, your own boss, in control of what you create can be truly wonderful! However, there is a flip side sometimes. I have learned so much and continue to learn every day. Here are some vital lessons:
- To ensure that each task, each patient receives the same service, I ensure that I have a process for everything and a system to back it up.
- Over the years I have come to rely on some amazing programs that help my business run daily. Find programs that enhance your organization and experience.
- Delegate — If you are a startup this might be difficult at first, especially if you’re a one-person show. However, you will reach a point when you will need help from others in order to reach your full potential. Some people find delegating easy, but others will hold on to work thinking it’ll save time. This type of thinking is detrimental to the workflow and growth of the business. If you are overloaded, offload! Then you can focus on what is more important to you at that time. Outsource wherever needed…Don’t like blog writing? Pay someone to do it for you then you can do the stuff your passionate about.
- Take chances! If you never step out of your comfort zone you cannot grow.
- Honesty — I would rather be honest about my business, my services and not gain a client rather than hard-sell someone and lose them later. When I started, I made a vow to myself that I was going to pride myself on honesty and if someone did not want to use my services because of it, then so be it.
Owning a business means learning every day! There’s an opportunity to learn around every corner. Learn from everything, your successes and above all your mistakes!
Personal Website: www.ella-hypnotherapist.com
Business Website: www.northamptonclinic.com