Imi Lo - Consultant for Highly Intense and Sensitive People (MMH, UKCP, AthR)
Imi Lo is a Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, and Consultant for emotionally intense and highly sensitive people. She is the author of Emotional Sensitivity and Intensity, available in multiple languages; and The Gift of Intensity (2021). Imi specializes in emotional intensity, high sensitivity, giftedness, complex trauma (CPTSD), and personality disorders.
She is qualified as a Psychotherapist (UKCP), Art Psychotherapist (ANZACATA), Schema Therapist (ISST), Philosophical Counsellor (NPCA), Mentalisation-based Treatment Practitioner (BPC), Supervisor and Mindfulness Teacher (MBSR, MBCT). With more than a decade of experience, she has worked in the NHS, charities, and other mental health settings. Now, as an independent consultant, she works holistically, combining East and Western philosophies with psychological and spiritual healing modalities.
Imi is the recipient of multiple scholarships and awards including the Endeavour Award by the Australian Government. She has been consulted and featured in publications such as The Psychologies Magazine, The Telegraph, Marie Claire, and The Daily Mail.
Leaving home at a young age, Imi has lived and worked in the UK, Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. She has been a school therapist, suicide counsellor, social worker, artist, mindfulness teacher, yoga instructor, and psychotherapy trainer.
She founded Eggshell Therapy and Coaching, where she works with intense people from around the world.
MORE ABOUT MY PROFESSIONAL FOOTPRINTS
Hi! I am Imi, and I am committed to your transformational journey.
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?’
After being a clinical psychotherapist for more than a decade, my work has evolved beyond the conventional medical model to include a forward-looking, coaching component. Our work should not be just about curing a disease but supporting you to thrive emotionally, socially and spiritually. We may address the past, the pain of alienation and not fitting in, the emotional triggers, and the body-mind disconnection. But after healing, we also want to think about 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.
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, sand tray, 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.
I used to work within the mental health system and specialised in working with people diagnosed with personality disorders, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder. My aspiration to change the way we think about this ‘disorder’ came from repeatedly seeing intense people 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.
My experience is grounded within various settings in the mental health sector. I was a practitioner within an NHS Community Mental Health Team in London, Mentalisation Therapist in a Personality Disorder Specialist Team (NHS), Wellbeing Centre Officer in Mind (UK Mental Health charity), and a Crisis Counsellor with 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 founded Eggshell Collective, a BPD support group that had run successfully in Central London for three years. Leaving my job in the National Health Service and ending the conventional academic path to pursue my passion have allowed me to work in a holistic, creative and authentic way.
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. Instead of taking suggestions straight from 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 create changes. I cannot hide behind theories and you will know it if I do.
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 Mindfulness/ Buddhist Psychotherapy
- Mahayana Buddhism (Distinction) - University of Hong Kong
- Buddhist Ethics, Indian Buddhism, Early Buddhism, Study of Important Buddhist Meditation Texts - University of Hong Kong
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) Clinical Training- Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Professional Internship- Openground Australia, University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Heart-mind with Mindfulness: Clinical Applications of Mindfulness- Mindfulness Centre, Australia
Art Therapy Training
- Trauma-Informed Art Therapy - Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute
- Supervision Training for Art Therapists - British Association for Art Therapists
- Intensive Mentalisation Training - British Association for Art Therapists, UK
- Psycho-Educational Approach to Art Therapy - British Association for Art Therapists, UK
Qualifications in Holistic Health
I am enthusiastic about combining ancient body-mind wisdom with modern psychology in my work.
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.
I am also a Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), and a Master-level Reiki practitioner. I have been trained in various holistic healing modalities such as herbal remedies, 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.
- 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
Interviews and Media Consultations
- The Third Factor Magazine; From Hiding HSP to Gifted Leader (A brilliant piece on overexcitabilities, intensity, shame and more), March 2002
- The Daily Mail, UK: Why it's time you were proud of being a drama queen! Social misfits are unfairly maligned so says the author of a new book, Feb 2018
- BloomTime : Hypersensible et heureux (In french)
- The Native Society: Thought Leader Interview, Nov 2018
Features, Media Consultations and Mentions:
-Metro UK, Emotional contagion: What you need to know about catching feelings online, Feb 2021
- Psychologies UK: Sensitivity is my Superpower, Nov 2017- Womankind Magazine: Why Sensitivity is a Gift (in print), Winter 2019/2020
- The Telegraph UK: Borderline Personality Disorder: 'I couldn't deal with the rollercoaster in my head', Feb 2015
- Marie Claire UK: 'How to Toughen Up', Issue March 2016
- i-D Magazine: 'Shadow Work' is the latest self-care trend, May 2021
- Rewire.org: Are You Catching Other People’s Feelings?, Nov 2018
- 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
- Study Breaks: Being Too Much: How Do You Deal With Emotional Intensity?, Oct 2018
-Sex and relationships for the emotionally intense/ highly sensitive person, Sex Unshackled ; (a thorough review of what Emotional Intensity means, followed by a discussion of challenges intense people face in relationships and sex.)
- "What Your Reactions Say About You" Podcast Interview, We Do Hard Things Podcast
- A deep and raw conversation about my personal journey, Humanitou Podcast
- Being intense, being different, remaining single and childfree, Honest Uproar
- What is Emotional Intensity?, Students of Mind Mental Health Podcast
- Empath’s Alchemy Podcast: If It Ain’t Broke…
- What is Emotional Intensity and How to Embrace It, the Corrie Lo Show
- Video Interview on The Naive Society
- On Gifted Women and Impostor Syndrome with Twinky Tus
- On Invisible Childhood Wounds, with Twinky Tus
- On Being Intense and Parenting, with Ashleigh Boyd
- Talk Radio Europe Live Interview, about the value of sensitivity in today's world. March 2018
- MX Brisbane, AU: Interview as an artist/ art therapist, 23rd 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
- The Australian, New Zealand and Asian Creative Arts Therapies Association (ANZACATA)
- The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- The Community for Contemporary Psychotherapy (CCP)
- International Society of Schema Therapy (ISST)
- Association For Contextual Behavioral Science (ACBS)
- The British Psychological Society (BPS)
- Australia Global Alumni
- Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC)
- British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT)
- EMDR Association UK & Ireland
- American Art Therapy Association (AATA)
- British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
- The UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners (UKAHPP)
- Hong Kong Social Workers Registration Board
- Australia Endeavour Awards Alumni Network
- Royal Society of Arts (RSA)
- 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.
£165.00 per session
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.
Monday to Saturday
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.