Debbie Mehaffy is the founder of Life Transformations, a counselling and life coaching practice with an inspiring self-help ethos that also offers Heal Your Life workshops for women.
Debbie, who is in her 50’s and from Lisburn, is a Life Coach, Counsellor, Master Reiki Practitioner and Heal Your Life Teacher.
She has taken her own experiences of grief and pain to help inspire others and transform their lives through her work.
How did you get started in the industry?
“Twenty years ago I started work in a Women’s Shelter in Belfast working with women and children who were experiencing domestic violence. This support work was based on an ethos of self-help. While working there, I developed my own personal knowledge of how to support an individual going through trauma and crisis and trained in Counselling, Trauma and Coaching.
“I facilitated self-help groups for women and worked alongside other staff as we developed and delivered prevention programmes into primary and senior schools. Though out my time in the Domestic Violence field I started out as support worker, and went on to be a development worker and for the last 12 years of my career there I became a regional trainer for the organisation, and expanded my skills into regional and national training. Developing, delivering & assessing training within Community Voluntary and Statutory Sectors.
“I became redundant from the organisation in 2014 and after a period of time it seemed like the right opportunity to become Self-employed. Being heavily involved in training, I began to notice that I had missed working on a one-one with individuals and supporting small groups to develop personally. So it seemed the right time to create Debbie Mehaffy Life Transformations: offering counselling & Life Coaching from my private practice within a log cabin in my back garden, as well as external facilitation and training of groups.”
What genre/style do you create in?
“My style is based on a self-help ethos whereby the person as an individual leads the way. I believe as a human being, once we are supported by an environment which creates safety, unconditional positive regard and a belief that we can make it, to wherever that might be…We as Human Beings are more likely to thrive as children do and find solutions to any problem.”
What would you be best known for?
“Wow!!! Find this one difficult to answer. I would like to think it’s for my work within the domestic violence field. I am co-author of a programme which was developed to assist and support mothers with the understanding of the impact of witnessing domestic violence on children and young people. I have trained staff, at both regional and national levels to understand the programme to enable delivery to mothers throughout the UK.”What would you consider your biggest achievement?
“Professionally- The above programme as well as having an article published within a national nursing magazine. Personally: learning how to ice skate last year, and achieving grade 1.”
What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?
“Since becoming self-employed I think it’s been a lesson to put in the work per day to promote my own business. I find it was so much easier to promote a big organisation that I and others believed in, rather than now promoting myself.
“At times my work can be quite isolating and I find networking very important, and of course having a mentor or someone who believes in me too, when I start to flag.”
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
“Personally- continual survival from the grief process after the death of my husband and soul mate of 41 years, which took place 18 months ago, and to discover through this journey I am in control of nothing. Professionally: surviving redundancy at the same time as becoming a widow and setting up my own business.”
Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?
“I’m mum to five adults now and 14 grandchildren with another two babies due this year. I was married to Bill for 41 years, we meet when I was 16 and he was 19 and married at 17 and 20. I very sadly became a widow in Sept 2015 after Bill died from a cancerous brain tumour 18 months ago. My hobbies include swimming, walking, listening to music. I’m in the process of being taught by Shirley Brown Camblin how to paint and loving that. I like to journal as well as sew and knit if I have the time.”
Tell us about your most recent work?
“I became a Heal Your Life Teacher teaching the philosophy of Louise L Hay from her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ in 2013, and I’m currently facilitating a 10week study group for women who want to lead their best life possible. I also provide full and half day workshops based on the same philosophy, the last one entitled Perfectly Imperfect Me which I delivered to staff within the women’s sector.”
PLUG !! What would you like us to tell people about?
“Debbie Mehaffy Life Transformations: Providing Life Coaching, Couselling and Heal Your Life Workshops for Women.”
If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?
“I’m Debbie Mehaffy I inspire women to live their best life possible and teach them the skills to transform”.
What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?
“Discussion when working with groups of women on life issues can as you would expect be very serious, but many times we have a laugh too. However, what’s said in group stays in group!”
What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?
“Get to know yourself, study counselling, study people, watch people, learn from your own life experiences, what was missing when you needed support in your life. Learn how to provide it and then offer it as a service. Volunteer to gain experience on issues that interest you.
“Keep learning about life about people; keep adding to your own skills. For me, it’s like filling up a toolbox of life skills and you just never know what tool you’ll need next. Network with others and learn from them too. We are all students and all teachers. And always have a dream.
Anything else you want to tell people?
“I left school at 15 without any formal education, but the one thing I knew about life was how to survive.. I didn’t know that then, but on looking back I recognise it sure was already there. I became a stay at home mum for 18 years and didn’t come back into the work scene until my 30’s where I then went back into education, and got the bug for learning.. Coming back into education meant that I was picking subjects that
“I was interested in Childcare, Health & Social Care, Counselling, Trauma, Life Coaching, Reiki and Heal Your Life. So I believe It’s never too late to believe in yourself. Tomorrow is a new day even though some of those days are hard to get through. For some of us, just having a willingness to make it through one moment at a time is enough.
“I love my work, and feel so privileged to accompany women on their personal journey, at times from a place of hopelessness, despair, loss of direction and withdrawal, back into living their dreams their way, whatever that dream looks like.”
Who do you look up too and why?
“My first role model was my own mother who taught me how to survive in adverse conditions. My late husband taught me about love, and how those same loving conditions gave me a belief in myself, I also learnt through this love that when there is safety and belief – one can flourish and become whole. I’ve learnt that we all need champions & cheer leaders in our life. As a family going through grief I’m so proud of my children and grandchildren for not only supporting me, but each other every day. Their love helps me thrive.
“I look up to many, many, women who make it through their day by doing the best they can within the constraints of inequality and abuse either within the home, within the work place are within society every day…They are my heros.
“I’ve read many self-help books, and look up to the work, of Louise L Hay from her book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ which teaches that we have the ability to change our lives by changing our own thinking.
“I love the work of Wayne Dyer and have adopted his affirmation on beliefs, as a mantra for myself, Dyer teaches, If you change the way you look at things the things you look at change”… This is not always easy to do though as I’ve found since Bill’s death that I’ve had to change my thinking to stay in the moment of NOW’. Eckhart Tolle writes about this in his book “The Power of Now”. I’ve experienced this adjustment in living without someone you love, as at times extremely painful to reminisce within your memories, as well as looking to the future and acknowledging your changed life, as moving on without them.
“However, through the pain of learning, I now support others to stay in the moment of Now. Life can be for you right here, right now, in this moment… Because truly that’s all we have. Life is made up of moments, precious moments…And when linked together become a life.”
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Instagram: Debbie Mehaffy