Anna Richardson and Lesley Hibberd trained together as Cognitive Hypnotherapists at Regent’s School of Psychology and Counselling in London with The Quest Institute. Both have extensive backgrounds in subjects surrounding community health and wellbeing, as well as having battled their own fair share of challenges using various therapy approaches. After graduating, they began identifying key issues their clients were encountering in getting the help they needed, whether online or in person, and resolved to do something to make a change.
Anna and Les enlisted the support of Gareth Ogden, a highly experienced practitioner and part of the therapist coaching team at the Quest Institute in Regent's. Gareth also has a background in corporate learning and business development which meant, as a team, they now had the collective skills to not only help those suffering with mental health issues, but develop a wide scale offering that could better service their needs.
Anna is best known for her successful career as a TV presenter, journalist and author and is renowned for her no-nonsense, down to earth approach. Her award-winning work over the last 20 years has seen her tackle a wide range of popular lifestyle subjects, including overeating and the psychology of food; sex education online and in secondary schools; plus, the rise of social media and its sometimes devastating effects on relationships.
After finally resolving the anxiety issues she had suffered from for years, Anna decided to train as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist herself, so that she could bring her knowledge to the wider world and help people in the way that she herself has been helped. She believes passionately that everyone deserves immediate access to the support they need to improve their mental health.
Gareth had always had a keen interest in the potential of people and has spent much of the past decade studying behavioural psychology, adult learning and cognitive therapy approaches. These interests led him to a career in corporate learning and development, consulting for large organisations like The Co-operative Group, Avon Cosmetics and Virgin. After qualifying as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist in 2009, Gareth launched a private practice in Manchester and also worked as a Quest Institute coach for trainee therapists at Regents in London.
As a keen martial artist, having trained for over 20 years, he’s experience first-hand the price and payoff of high performance. This also offered Gareth a gateway into male mental health and the taboos which surround it. As a result, he’s become a passionate speaker on the subject and sees an important part of his work to create a breakthrough in this space and encourage more men to open up about it.
Lesley was 25 when she joined the Metropolitan Police and spent her next 25 years working as a front-line uniform officer. What fascinated her was how two people experiencing the same set of circumstances could act or react in totally different ways. Why were some people happy and content with life and others desperately unhappy, when to an outside observer they were living almost identical lives? What was it that made the difference? Whilst she loved her job it was also, at times, stressful, dangerous and extremely traumatic. In the mid 1990’s Lesley was diagnosed with PTSD and her life took a dramatic downturn. In the end she sought help from a therapist, who literally saved her life. In 2013 Lesley left the police force and retrained as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist specialising in trauma and working with clients who have experienced long term debilitating anxiety.
Lesley says ‘Being a therapist is the most rewarding job in the world and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. It’s not just a job, it’s my passion because I know what it’s like to live in the grip of despair and also what it’s like to get your life back’.