From Theatre To Therapy

Tara Buckel
January 22, 2024

Due to the Covid19 shutdown,  I’ve recently embarked on this project with my daughter.  She wanted me to make a kimono with her. I'd not really made anything apart from a few easy makes, some cushions and curtains for many years.  It took me back to my life before I was married when I spent most of my time at a sewing machine or with a pair of fabric shears in my hand cutting into some beautiful fabric I'd saved up for.

When I left school all I wanted was to go to art school and become a designer or maker.  Being a therapist felt a million miles away for me as a goal in life.  Science was not a strong subject for me at school (nothing was, to be honest) and I could rarely hold a conversation with a stranger as I was so quiet and shy.  It hadn't even entered my head to be involved with health as a profession.  

At art school I went on to focus on Fashion (which I quickly discovered was not a match for me at all...an air of confidence and competition is the key in that world) so I changed direction and was accepted at the London College of Fashion to train as a costume maker.  I did some very exciting film work but focused on working in regional rather than the big theatres as I wanted to avoid feeling I was part of a production line, I wanted to work with designers and experience following the whole process from read throughs to production week.  I made and altered costumes, I also dressed wigs, dyed fabric, broke down costumes to make them look lived in and authentic, fitted them on the actors and washed and repaired throughout the run & of course, no matter how shattered I was, I attended first nights exhausted but glowing with pride.

 "I thought I was on track for my dream job...but it was draining the life out of me.  I loved being around all those amazing personalities, but I felt small and insignificant.  I had grown up experiencing anxiety, and it multiplied big time with the high pressure deadlines and long days leading up to dress rehearsals.  It was a job that required love and commitment, I didn't feel I had a life away from it and I began to hate and resent it."

 I felt rubbish that I'd spent all that commitment and energy focused on training but I knew I needed to walk away and start a new career and start to feel better about myself.  

So. I retrained 20 years ago as a therapist.  I originally intended to focus on aromatherapy, but over the years massage has become my big passion.  

What I do now is absolutely my perfect job.  I get to work with a wide range of people who teach me about life...the highs, the lows and the in-between.  I work one to one with people (perfect for me) I get to learn about my strengths and develop them.

 I am trained by a fantastic teacher/massage therapist & psychotherapist how to communicate really well, how to connect with and support (but not rescue) clients and how to take care of myself...which is quite a significant learning curve for me, and I know I'm not alone in that.  What I am really proud of is that I have trained to a really high standard and when my clients tell me our work together makes a difference to them, I feel like a million dollars.  I now know why my original profession didn't sit right for me back then.  I simply didn't feel I was good enough and I didn't feel an important part of it all.  It's a real shame, because, perhaps with all my experience and learning since, I might have really had some fun and enjoyed working as a costume maker, even just as a dresser.  I could have travelled the world and gained so much from the fantastic people I would have worked with.  

I am very thankful. All the tough stuff we go through can either crush us or make us stronger, because we either run and hide or we grow with our learning and move forward.

 If I hadn't experienced all that anxiety or developed an autoimmune condition, I wouldn't have the insight and experiences to be able to support my clients in the way that I do.  I wouldn't change what I do now for the world.  Can't wait to get this clinic open when it's safe for us to work together again and continue from where we paused. 

Tara Buckel
Therapist since 1999. Specialising in TraumaTherapy and Pain Management
Main photograph credit:
Tara Buckel

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