Deb Morgan has faced some of life's toughest obstacles, leading to an unorthodox but truly inspiring path to her current happiness and wellbeing. Deb's work as a relationship coach draws on her incredible journey to guide people to what is right for them and their partner.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
Via a background of domestic abuse. My first marriage was physically and sexually abusive, my second marriage was psychologically abusive, and I then ended up in a third abusive relationship; this one was economically abusive.
In amongst all of that, I had a failed business, personal bankruptcy and lost residency of my son. I planned to take my own life, but something stopped me.
I entered the oldest profession in the world, which gave me back my self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. I vowed that I would use my experiences to help others going through something similar, never to feel that they were alone. That was my springboard to study for a psychology degree with the Open University and, more recently, to become a certified and registered Hypnotherapist, TimeLine (TM) Therapist and NLP Coach Practitioner.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I work primarily with mid-life women who are wondering whether there is any future in their relationship. The question they are often asking is 'Should I stay or should I go?'. I help them to reach the right conclusion for them. Some clients stay and work on their relationship; others decide the right thing for them is to end the relationship and move on.
I also work with couples who have jointly decided to work to save or improve their relationship. Often they just need an objective point of view to help them see things from the other's perspective and to listen without judgement.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I love that everyone's idea of the perfect relationship is different, that there is no such thing as the definitive 'perfect' relationship. By using the tools at my disposal, coupled with my own experiences, I get to help a myriad of people to create the relationships they truly want and deserve.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
'Never dress for the job you've got; dress for the job you want'.
My father said that to me in my very first job, and it taught me to always dress to impress and behave as if I already had the 'job' I wanted. He didn't know it at the time, but it was his way of telling me to "Act as if", which is something used in the coaching world. It's stood me in good stead throughout my life.
How do you support aspiring leaders in your field?
I have lots of conversations with other coaches, share my journey, and share great resources and useful tips. I love to share best practice and encourage others to share theirs too. It's the best way for all of us to actively improve.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
I attend regular supervision, and I'm a member of the British Psychological Society and read their journal 'The Psychologist' and keep an eye and ear on the news. I also subscribe to relevant podcasts and thought leaders.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
As previously mentioned, I went through an 18-month period when my second marriage collapsed, and my very successful business also failed.
I had to make my team redundant with immediate effect and no pay, go through personal bankruptcy and lost custody of my son. Then, after a failed attempt to take my own life, I entered the sex industry. That completely changed my life for the better, contrary to what people might think and started me along the path I'm now on. That and the 10-year legal battle to have residency of my son were the most challenging things I had to overcome.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would open my own theatre company and use that to educate people about domestic abuse, creating strong, healthy and robust relationships and respect for one another.
I would also do a massive amount of pro-bono work for those who cannot otherwise afford my services. There is nothing worse than being in a place of desperation and not being able to access the help you know you need because you can't afford it. Unfortunately, the public services that try to offer it are under-resourced and over-stretched, so only the most severe cases of physical abuse get help.
Psychological abuse, or coercive control as it's now referred to, gets a lot of lip service, but the public services that claim to offer help and support actually do very little when it comes to evidence-free abuse.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
I enjoy cooking for my family in the evening, which I find relaxes and brings out the nurturer in me. I also enjoy running but usually do that to start my day at 5.30am; 3 or 4 miles first thing in the morning really sets me up for the day.
My partner and I also go ballroom dancing once a week; it creates focused connectivity, which is essential when we lead hectic lives. I also enjoy reading, gardening, watching films and quite often I find something to study too.
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
To stop marketing the 'perfect' relationship as illustrated by Disney and Hollywood and acknowledge that everyone's 'perfect' relationship is different.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
The REAL Relationships Show is my podcast with weekly interviews with real people talking about real relationships.
My books, 'Whatever it Takes: Living with, Leaving and Surviving Psychological Abuse' and 'Create YOUR Blockbuster Life: Stepping out of the wings into YOUR Spotlight', both tell my story of surviving domestic abuse and how I changed my life.
How should people connect with you?
FB Group: Real Women, Real Life, Real Relationships
FB Page: NotARehearsal
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