Imi Lo - Consultant for Highly Intense and Sensitive People (MMH, UKCP, FRSA)
Hi! I am Imi,
I have spent my professional life of over a decade in pursuit of answers to one question: ‘How to best serve people who are emotionally intense?’
Though my background is in clinical psychotherapy and art therapy, my work has evolved throughout the years beyond the conventional medical model. Now, instead of being a ‘mental health practitioner’, I practise as a consultant to highly intense, sensitive and intense people.
The way I work with you is holistic, combining East and Western philosophies with other psychological and spiritual healing modalities. We may address the past, the pain of alienation and not fitting in, the childhood wounds, emotional triggers, and the body-mind disconnection. But this work is not just about healing, but also thriving. Thus, we will talk about your hopes and dreams, your inner strengths, and most importantly how to harness your creative potential so you can feel fully alive.
My work was recognised by the Endeavour Award, an international scholarship presented by the Australian Government. In 2018, I was granted the Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) for my commitment and contributions to social change. With all the intense souls I have met on my path in mind, I wrote the book Emotional Intensity and Sensitivity (Hodder & Stoughton).
More about my professional background:
For more than a decade, I specialised in working with people diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder within the mental health system. My aspiration emerged in 2006 when I witnessed people who are unable to manage their emotions being misunderstood, marginalised or described as having ‘personality defects’. Hearing pejorative labels such as ‘manipulative’ or ‘attention-seeking’, and seeing people who do not fit neatly into diagnostic criteria slip through the cracks of the system deeply frustrated me. My experience in the public health system has inspired me to break away to forge a different path, where I hope to initiate a paradigm shift, away from the model of pathologies.
I started my career as a clinical Social Worker and later received accreditations as a Clinical Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Schema Therapist (ISST), Mentalisation-based Therapy Advance Practitioner (BPC), and Mindfulness Teacher (in MBSR, MBCT). After gaining the Master of Mental Health (School of Medicine, University of Queensland) in Australia, I have expanded my knowledge and skillset to include various modalities, such as healing through creative arts, schema work, EMDR, sandtray, Jungian symbol work, dream analysis, personality typologies like the Enneagram, MBTI, and philosophical coaching. At the moment, I am pursuing a Master in Buddhist Studies, which adds a spiritual dimension to my work.
Instead of taking suggestions straight from these theories, I weed out the jargons and or overly complicated elements, to include only what I know to be effective and resonate best with you. After all, underneath all the techniques, it is our relationship and the genuine feelings between us that makes therapy work. I cannot hide behind theories and you will know it if I do.
My experience is grounded within various roles in the mental health sector. I was a practitioner of an NHS Community Mental Health Teams, a Personality Disorder Specialist Team, a mental health centre for Mind, and the Samaritans Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre. I have also sat on the Board of Directors for Emergence, a personality disorder service-user led organisation. I also founded Eggshell Collective, a BPD support group that had run successfully in Central London for three years.
Leaving my job in the NHS and ending the academic path to pursue my passion have allowed me to work in a holistic, creative and authentic way. Every day, I devote all my enthusiasm and resources to Eggshell Transformations. I am grateful that I get to sit alongside many creative and intelligent individuals, fulfilling my mission to liberate them from the bind of negative patterns and to live full and authentic lives.
I value clarity and openness, and I am a great believer in sharing knowledge with you, as well as actively engaging with your existential and day-to-day questions.
I look forward to being with you!
I work with people on issues related to the experience of feeling and living intensely, especially the pain of being told – spoken and unspoken – that you are ‘too much’—‘too intense’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘too emotional’.
More specifically, these are some of the challenges commonly faced by emotionally intense individuals:
- Extreme and unpredictable mood swings, feeling like you are always on the verge of losing control.
- Sensitivity to criticism and rejection, over-reacting in some situations, carrying internalised shame.
- Perfectionism, chronically restlessness, overdrive, unable to relax or to take in pleasure.
- Patterns of impulsive and self- sabotaging behaviours that are not aligned with who you want to be.
- Feeling oppressed by the dominant culture, not able to have a voice or a place in the world.
- Not fitting into mainstream society or cultural values, being or feeling isolated and alienated.
- Being drawn to the same type of partner/ relationship over and over, even when your needs are not met.
- Taking on other people's emotions; Becoming overly responsible for things that happen between you.
- Unable to say no, feeling guilty even when you have done nothing wrong.
- The fear of 'coming out' with your intensity, with the fear of being annihilated if you ‘stick your head out.’
- Feeling numb and empty most of the time, except when the emotions erupt suddenly and uncontrollably.
- Existential guilt and despair, feeling hopeless and powerless in the face of uncertainties in life.
- Not able to trust anyone, feeling like you have to control everything.
- Losing touch with your intuition, and disconnected from spirituality.
- Writer/ Artist's block; Feeling stuck and unable to reach your full potential.
BORDERLINE PERSONALITY TRAITS
Despite being referred to as a ‘personality disorder’, BPD is not a personality defect. It simply reflects a degree of unmet childhood needs, which now affects your way of being in the world. The condition is often misunderstood and heavily and stigmatised. For one, the myth that BPD is ‘untreatable’ is an old, inaccurate and very dangerous myth within the mental health industry. In fact, mounting evidence is suggesting the opposite is true.
Some of the traits of BPD are:
- Fearing abandonment and rejection
- Having series of intense and unstable relationships
- Not having a strong sense of self-identity, not knowing 'Who I am'
- Impulsive behaviours that are self-damaging e.g. spending, drug use, sex, reckless driving, binge eating
- Recurrent suicidal thoughts and behaviour
- Severe mood swings
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Sudden and uncontrollable rage
- Feeling dissociated from reality during times of stress
Training, qualifications & experience
Professional and Academic Awards
- Tung Lin Kok Yuen Postgraduate Scholarship, 2020
- Fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), 2018 - Royal Society of Arts, London
- Dean’s Commendation for High Achievements- University of Queensland, 2011
- Endeavour Award (International), 2010 – Australian Government
- Dean’s List Recipient 2009, School of Social Work, CUHK
- HSBC Social Work Scholarship, 2008, 2009
- Social Work Departmental Prize, CUHK, 2008, 2009
- Class Scholarship, CUHK, 2008, 2009
Master of Mental Health- School of Medicine, University of Queensland, AU
Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology (MBPsS) - University of Derby, UK
Postgraduate Certificate in Psychological Studies- Middlesex University, UK
BSc. in Social Work (Hons) - Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK
Fine Art Program- Yale University, US
Psychotherapy Accreditations and Training
Certified Schema Therapist for Personality Disorders
Mentalisation-based Therapy Practitioner (Advanced) for Borderline Personality Disorder
Clinical Supervisor, Certificate in Psychotherapy Clinical Supervision
Accredited Clinical Psychotherapist; Advanced Diploma in Contemporary Psychotherapy (UKCP)
Registered Creative Arts Therapist (AThR);The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association
Certificate in Logic-Based Therapy (LBT) via the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA)
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) for Trauma
Mentalisation-based Art Therapy; British Association for Art Therapists, UK
Psychosynthesis (A Psyho-spiritual model to therapy) Foundation
LGBT Counselling and Trans(gender) Awareness Training
Applying Enneagram in Coaching and Counselling
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner
- Gottman Couples Therapy Level 1 Training: Bridging the Couple Chasm
Qualifications in Holistic Health
I am enthusiastic about combining ancient body-mind wisdom with modern psychology in my work.
My qualification in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (MBCT) was gained in Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre, UK, and my Practicum in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is recognized by the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a mindfulness teacher, I have delivered mindfulness training programs in special education units, mental health charities such as Mind and in the local communities.
Before becoming a therapist, I was a Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), and was trained in various holistic healing modalities such as Reiki, aromatherapy, and energy work. I am also an Enneagram counsellor and trainer, it is a powerful and dynamic system that is close to my heart.
Interviews and Media Consultations
- The Daily Mail, UK: An Interview about the book Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity, Feb 2018
- Live Interview on Talk Radio Europe (Spain), about the value of sensitivity in today's world. March 2018
- Psychologies UK: Sensitivity is my Superpower, Nov 2017
- The Telegraph UK on Borderline Personality Disorder, Feb 2015
- Marie Claire UK: 'How to Toughen Up', Issue March 2016
- Happiful Magazine: Emptiness and Borderline Personality Disorder, April 2017
- The Ambient: on smart light and how colour affects our mood, Feb 2018
- Refinery29: How Do You Know Which Therapy Is Best For You?, Jan 2017
- The Debrief Magazine: The realities of dating when you are struggling with your mental health, May 2016
- Foreword for the Art for Mindfulness Colouring book series, Harper Collins 2016.
- MX Brisbane, AU: Interview as an artist/ art therapist, 23rd November, 2010
- City Brisbane, AU: Press Release for the exhibition at Liveingallery, 25 November, 2010
- 4 ZZZ Radio, AU: Radio Interview, aired on 12 June 2011
Teaching and Speaking
I have delivered lectures and workshops for trainee therapists seeking accreditation as a faculty member of the Beeleaf Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy, an accrediting authority of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). Some of the topics I have covered include Human Development, Psychopathology, Attachment theories, Personality Disorders and Suicide crisis management I also supervise therapists in training as a clinical supervisor and mentor. With students’ consent, the following are testimonials for the workshops I have delivered:
Imi has an incredible wealth of knowledge and talent in her subject areas, and she shared it with us in a totally accessible way that felt inclusive & respectful at all times. Her humility compassion & warmth blended with her expertise and professionalism throughout. It was a thoroughly enjoyable & informative learning experience...
— Lesley C., Lead family support worker at London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Insightful, brilliantly delivered, flowing with compassion and understanding, giving us time to digest this complex area of therapy. Thank you so much Imi.
— Ed Luttrll, Director & Principal Coach at BlueTouchPaper Consulting
- Specialist Psychotherapist – Personality Disorder Team, NHS
- Trainer and Module Leader - Beeleaf Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- Non-Executive Director- Emergence Plus
- Clinical Practitioner, Care Coordinator- Personality Disorder Community Team, NHS
- Founder of Eggshell Collective, London BPD Sharing Group
- Suicide Counsellor – Samaritans Suicide Crisis Intervention Centre, HK
- Honorary Psychotherapist- London Friend, UK
- Wellbeing Centre Officer– Mind, Richmond Royal Hospital, UK
- Mental Health Mentor- Randstad Student Support, UK
- Eating Disorder Inpatient Ward – NHS
- Art Therapist- Tennyson Special School, Australia
- Counselling Practitioner- Centacare Family Services, Australia
- Taipei Psychiatric Hospital Drug & Alcohol Unit, Taiwan
- Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
- The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA)
- The Community for Contemporary Psychotherapy (CCP)
- The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST)
- EMDR Association UK & Ireland
- The British Psychological Society (BPS)
- Australia Global Alumni
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
- The Australian and New Zealand Arts Therapy Association (ANZACATA)
- Australia Endeavour Awards Alumni Network
- British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
- Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board
- British Mensa
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
UK Council for Psychotherapy
The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is a leading professional body for the education, training and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.
As part of its commitment to protect the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.
UKCP standards cover the range of different psychotherapies. Registration is obtained by training or accrediting with one of its member organisations, or by holding a European Certificate in Psychotherapy. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
I am passionate about dispelling destructive myths and stigma about borderline personality disorder (BPD), and provide evidence-based treatment for related issues such as fear of abandonment, moods swings, anger outbursts, impulsive and compulsive actions, chronic anxiety, suicidal thoughts and urges to self-harm.
My goal is to create deep and lasting shifts that dispel your difficulties at their roots. On top of a mere intellectual shift, we aim for changes on a visceral and emotional level.
Because true healing and come from lasting changes in physical, emotional and behavioural levels, the work should be integrative and holistic in nature. Instead of having a fixed, rigid modal, it is important to find out the unique way of working that best resonate with you.
WHAT DO YOU OFFER?
I offer online consultation, therapy, coaching, and supervision.
FOR HOW LONG?
The duration very much depends on what you are after. Some people just want one or a few consultations for specific issues, others sign up for a course of 8-10 session coaching, or longer-term therapy.
I understand your desire to get better fast. You may have read online or in books that there is no 'quick fix' for the particular issue you face. This may be true, but it is entirely possible to attain deep insights or experience a rapid shift in a short period of time. These shifts can then be consolidated via other means, such as less-frequent follow-up sessions, books, email support from me, or being around the right people in your life. There is much value in ongoing support, but in contrast to some other models of long-term therapy, our goal here is to effectively equip you with the needed insights and capacity, so you can be free to live a full life as soon as possible.
I encourage you to trust your instinct and the ability to discern. If you decide half-way through that it doesn't work for you, you have the full right to withdraw and I will respect your decision.
The meetings are GBP 160 per session.
After booking the first session, you will receive an email confirmation with all the logistical details. You will also be directed to complete an Online Assessment. This initial step is optional, but it may help us to have a deeper understanding of your unique needs and challenges, and allow us to focus in our work together.
Using a credit or debit card, you can book your session with a secure online process.
With less than 24-hour notice, my cancellation policy is to collect the agreed amount of payment. The same rule applies to me, where if for any reason I were to miss a session, your next session will be free-of-charge.
HOW FREQUENTLY DO WE MEET?
I do not have a fixed rule about the frequency of our meetings.
The old gold standard of having weekly (or more frequent) session is arbitrary and does not reflect authentic and unique individual needs. Yes, sometimes having some regularity can help us settle into an emotional rhythm. However, in our fast-moving modern world where you might already feel stretched in multiple directions with financial, life and work demands, a weekly set-time schedule may seem undoable.
Indeed, entering therapy is not a light undertaking- financially, emotionally, and pragmatically. At the same time, nothing is more important than investing in yourself and building a solid foundation for your relationship and creative endeavours in life.
The work happens not just within the hour; in fact, the real work begins in your real life. If we were to meet less frequently, I might offer certain ‘reflection prompts,' specific homework or exercises, so that the work continues in-between sessions.
I trust you to find your own pace and would try my best to work with you to find a balance between cost, your readiness, and our progress.
Meeting online is no longer a second-best solution. With its own merits, it is something that is different to, but not inferior to face-to-face therapy. I work with clients from around the world so actually, half of my sessions are conducted via Skype.
Here are some of my thoughts and experience with meeting online:
Research has found that Skype therapy can be as effective as face-to-face. In fact, there are times when online therapy can bring out a level of depth and progress that in-person session cannot. In a nutshell:
Have you ever felt that an hour of traveling to your therapist’s office through the tube, settling to the new environment and checking in, you are no longer able to connect with the emotional materials that most need to surface? These may be the times where you feel frustratingly numb and empty, and unable to connect. This is understandable, especially if disconnecting have been part of your way of protecting yourself from feeling emotionally vulnerable. Many people have found having therapy from home allow them to feel safer, more at ease and in control. Being in the comfort of your own home can enable you to feel more at ease and in control, so you can open up at your readiness.
Meeting online can bring out a level of depth and progress that in-person session cannot. Having someone with you in the here-and-now of your battles can alleviate the loneliness that many sensitive and intense individuals have carried all their lives.
By meeting you in your private space, I am meeting you in your world, in real time. This is especially useful if you struggle with bouts of intense emotional storms, periods of depression, and feel that emotional triggers surround you. Meeting online would give us more opportunities to ‘strike while the iron is hot’ in the space where your day-to-day struggles occur. I also get to have a more vivid sense of your difficulties, to help you bring the new learnings or insights into your actual life.
Most intense and gifted people are resource-rich but time-poor. Perhaps your competence attracts expectations, you have high standards for whatever you do, and your multiple passions tug you in a million directions. You may already be confronted with the feeling that there is never enough time to do all that you want to do, or have to do. If you were already battling with a sense restlessness and urgency, overwhelming responsibilities from inside and out, travelling stress is the last thing you need. Meeting online gives you the benefit of flexibility- so you can use your time and money in ways that you want to, rather than being limited by the public transport system or traffic.
Throughout the years, I have been able to develop deep emotional bonds, spiritual friendships, and go on incredibly moving journeys with many intense and sensitive souls via Skype, even when we have never met in person. Everyone is different, I personally have a lot of good experience with meeting online.
More articles by Imi Lo - Consultant for Highly Intense and Sensitive People (MMH, UKCP, FRSA)
- 5 ways to survive an argument when your loved one has borderline personality disorder
- What do we really want from our partners?
- Challenges faced by non-conforming Asian women
- A new way to treat addictions and compulsions
- Emotionally sensitive and intense: would online therapy work for me?
- Borderline Personality Disorder: emotionally intense or emotionally empty? Part two
- Borderline Personality Disorder: emotionally intense or emotionally empty? Part one
- Sensitive, intense and gifted women: what holds you back?
- Why didn't therapy work for my borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
- The gift inside borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- The gifts of being emotionally intense
- Being ‘too sensitive’: is it because of my childhood?
- Can I be emotionally free, no matter what happens?
- The trust practice for the sensitive and intense individuals
- Is your past holding you back from true intimacy?
- 'I have uncontrollable rage when I talk to my parents'
- Can I get over the fear of being hurt and love again?
- Hone your empathic intuition and heal the head/heart split
- Finding your best self by learning from the world around you
- Getting the diagnosis for Borderline Personality Disorder
- What Frozen teaches us about being emotionally intense
- Healing roadmap for the emotionally intense individuals
- The way out of confusion and emptiness as an empath
- Worried about how to survive your family reunion?
- Stop that cake! Habit changing tips that may actually work
- Find your flow as an intense person
- Where is my shadow self?
- Being you: How to be effortlessly happy and successful
- Stop telling me I 'think too much'!
- Are you the 'black sheep' of your family?
- The power of grief
- Be yourself, everyone else is taken
- Impressive results: Schema therapy for complex issues
- Feeling stuck in therapy? The surprising power of sandplay
- Why do I feel nothing? Emptiness and borderline personality
- Do I need to 'grow a thicker skin'?
- The wound of being ‘too much’ - emotional intensity
- 'I can't meditate, I can't do mindfulness?'
- ‘I can’t get it right’
- Effective Treatment in Borderline Personality Disorder - What to look for