My Career: Sara Devoy, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and Integrative Baby Therapist
Name: Sara Devoy
Age: 57 and growing!
Lives: Rosscarbery, West Cork, works online and in Cork
Job title: Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and Integrative Baby Therapist
Education background: BSc in Religious studies and Anthropology and MA in Visual Anthropology. Studying complementary therapies since 1991. Qualified Polarity Therapist, Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist specialising in Pre and Perinatal psychology for parents and children.
Hobbies: Swimming, theatre and walking.
Describe your job in five words: Soothing nervous systems — joy — vitality!
Describe yourself in five words: A tenacious heartfelt human-BEING!
Personality needed for this kind of work? Humour, flexibility, adaptability, kindness.
How long are you doing this job? Formally, 2016... informally, since I was born!
How did you get this job? When I left school I travelled widely and had the good fortune to teach in Kenya for nine months. Of course, at 19 I learned way more than I taught. It was a humbling experience to observe the obstacles that students had to overcome to get to school. A few months in I started to wake up to the hypocrisy, school fees were sometimes waived for the girls in return for sex. On several occasions I had to help a girl who had ‘lost’ her baby.
Here I began to see first-hand that what we ‘learn’ in life is only half the story. Being able to be calm in the most harrowing circumstances was essential.
I was entranced by Africa and wanted to find ways to deepen my experience of other cultures and beliefs. I studied world religions, philosophy and anthropolgy as my first degree which led me to work as a publicist for a specialist book publishers in London on Buddhism and Tibet. I enjoyed networking and selling translation rights at Frankfurt bookfair and regularly entertained authors and Buddhist teachers in our offices.
In my spare time, I became a founder member of what was then Tibet Support group UK that had now become an international Organisation, Free Tibet. We campaigned to allow The Dalai Lama to have a political voice in the UK and eventually enabled him to speak in the House of Commons about the Tibetan perspective. This was way back in 1988!
A lot of voluntary work, determination and knocking on doors got me some freelance radio journalism assignments and some exciting work in television research that involved travelling to USA. This spurred me on to do a masters in Visual Anthropology. I made my film for my thesis in Co Kerry.
Having completed my Masters, I took at a position as anthropologist for Body Shop International. I trained staff in Singapore, Malaysia and throughout the UK about the products and various cultures associated with the ingredients, for nine months. It was a brilliant experience and felt like a good cross-roads to follow my heart (literally) and come and live in Ireland in 1990. I commenced my first complementary health training in Polarity Therapy while based in Cork and set up my practice in 1992. I offered stress-management programmes for VHI when stress was hardly a household word!
I enjoyed the freedom of working for myself and establishing a direct marketing business for Chinese health foods with my now husband John. I enjoyed my moments of fame on the Pat Kenny show and speaking to large audiences in Dublin and nationwide as a result.
Finally, becoming a mother for the first time was a great triumph for me but learning to feed and take care of a wildly colicky baby was a steep learning curve for me — 22 years later, when working with young families, I am deeply grateful for those experiences.
So, looking back, I would encourage anyone to keep following their nose and trusting that eventually their choices will make sense!
As a young mother, I followed my husband’s career path for some years which evolved from the security of a position as a Biochemist in UCH to eventually establishing a successful organic farm in West Cork in 2002. Now with three young children, we worked harder than we would ever admit to create our home and new farm. Our determination and passion was such that we managed to co-found what is now Clonakilty Kindergarten. John and I poured ourselves into our vision for the farm and what we wanted to create for our family.
After 15 years of working at markets and developing a wide customer base in restaurants, supermarkets and shops, I felt ready to deepen my therapy studies with Craniosacral Therapy. I was ready to step away from the 365 of farming life to a quieter pace of being rather than doing!
Do you need particular qualifications or experience? Applications are open to all but those that establish a business usually have a range of life experience. Perhaps they have another therapy training as well. Anatomy and physiology exams are required. Patience and kindness are key.
Describe a day at work: On clinic days I gather notes for clients, read them through and sit quietly before each appointment. It is important that I am as calm and unruffled as possible when offering the work. If I have some personal stress in my life, it is important that I address it and seek additional supervision and personal therapy. Where possible, I aim to swim or get some time outside in nature in between or before work as I know that when I am invigorated, this supports my clients!
If someone was to look at me working, they would say that I am not ‘doing’ anything. I may gently hold a person’s feet, back or shoulder and certain points on their head where I can sense the cranial rhythm.
I am not transmitting energy or making something happen, instead I am creative a supportive environment that will allow the person’s own innate potency to establish the best balance possible.
Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: It requires good self-reflection skills and the ability not to take people’s responses personally. Some of the material I hear is hard to be with. My work can become stressful if I get momentarily involved and try to ‘fix’ or problem solve. If I ‘think’ that I have to do something or get something ‘right’, I have lost the plot and the point of the work!
Best bits: Seeing the joyful light in a baby’s eyes when they feel felt and seen by their parents and feeling people’s bodies soften and untangle under my hands. I have also worked on a dying friend that was probably one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. Resting with her at the end of her life, trusting that nothing needed to be said and there was nothing to be done. Both of us deeply connected and at ease.
Worst bits: Knowing that some some clients won’t choose to come back and trusting that they will find alternative forms of support.
Advice to those who want your job? Explore your own inner world first. Face your demons and have plenty of craniosacral sessions before deciding to train. There are various schools with different approaches and strengths and it is important to find out the style that suits you.