Katharine Willsher

Hand in Hand Certified Instructor

I live in Guildford, Surrey in the UK with my husband and three children; a girl and two boys.

Before becoming a parent I worked as a finance professional but with an active interest in child psychology and personal development. In 2010 we had our first child: a highly spirited baby girl with reflux. She seemed to cry through 90% of her waking hours and rarely napped. It was the most challenging time of my life, and despite all of my reading, in my mind I was totally failing at parenting. My inability to soothe her increased my anxiety, which in turn would have fuelled hers. Other parents around me had obliging babies who followed ‘Gina’ routines beautifully. I would trail behind at our meet-ups, often on edge and pushing the buggy with one arm whilst carrying my unsettled baby in the other. 

Everything I had read was about meeting my baby’s needs when they cried. I now realise that beyond basic needs, my daughter was looking to heal emotionally and most likely just needed me to listen and anchor her. Hand in Hand would have been life-changing at this time, and a Listening Partnership: a life-line.

Our son came along 21 months later, and a need for control crept in to my parenting. I was persevering with the traditional rewards and punishments approach being advocated by several parenting coaches on television, although they weren’t really sitting right with me. I could be a shouty, scary Mum whenever I felt like I was losing control and I wasn’t proud of that.

A turning point came when during one ‘time out’ episode with my 3 year old daughter, my 1 year old son toddled over and sat next to her calmly as she wailed. I remember feeling a pang of guilt as part of me suspected that he had the better approach! But wouldn’t that mean indulging ‘naughty’ behaviour?

I started to notice that the days when I was spending more time down on the floor to really connect well with my children were the ones when they both seemed like angels, and sibling rivalry reduced. There was definitely something to this connection piece…

I was so excited to discover Hand in Hand in 2018 when my third child was 1 and oldest, 7. Here was a concise set of connection-based tools, in support of gentler parenting. Everything clicked in to place. The biggest realisation was that it was simply my warm presence that would help my children through their tantrums, and that they would be healing on a deeper level from emotional upsets as I listened to them. This was the Approach for me! 

It’s been an emotional journey. I’d love to support you with yours

 

“Katharine has opened my eyes to a new, positive way of parenting that has benefited both my nine and two year old. We have gone from a household full of shouting and tantrums to one which shows appreciation for one another, taking the time to be present and listen to one another which has made the household a much calmer and happier place to be. The tools and techniques I have learnt from Katharine have been invaluable and we will continue to use them moving forward.”

Guildford Parent, Surrey, UK

 

“The group has been transformational!”

Guildford Parent, Surrey, UK

 

I’ll connect you with like-minded parents in my small community groups or work with me on a one-to-one basis.

I’ll help you better connect to your children and empower you to support them as they release the buried emotions that are sending them off-track. 

You will come to better understand yourself and your personal triggers through the safety of Listening Time within the classes. As you adopt the tools you will feel more confident in your parenting approach, spend less time managing disruptive behaviour, and family life will become more harmonious.

In 2022 Katharine became a certified Hand in Hand Instructor. She runs classes, talks, workshops and support groups. 

Connect with Katharine at [email protected]

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