Louis Weinstock Child Psychologist

ABOUT ME

MEET LOUIS

When we tell a story about ourselves, we usually share the best version of ‘me’. But in my work, I’m privileged to witness the version of people they don’t want anyone else to see.

In honour of that, privilege, here is a story about me and how I came to do the work I do, beginning with the bits I want you to know, and ending with some bits I’d rather hide…

As a child, I was curious and shy, and loved reading and escaping into imaginary worlds. My sisters teased me for being a bookworm. I also loved exploring nature, and from 7 upwards we would spend hours (unsupervised) exploring the fields and woods behind our house.

When I was 10, I had a terrible cold and I remember sitting down on the carpet in my spider-man themed bedroom, closing my eyes and trying to make myself feel better by focusing on my breath. Incredibly, it worked! I felt better. This was my first experience of meditation, of understanding the intimate connection between mind and matter – which I then quickly forgot about as I entered into adolescence and found myself getting into various spots of bother.

I had a turning point aged 17. At that time, my curiosity had led me to raving, and although I was having transformative, quasi-spiritual experiences on the dancefloor, my parents were worried about me. One weekend, I’d been out raving since Friday and came back late Sunday to find my parents sat up waiting for me. My mum burst into tears, my dad got very angry, and it all kicked off. The next morning I awoke, heart full of guilt. I found a pad of yellow post-it notes next to my bed onto which I drew a symbolic message – one smiley face, plus one smiley face = smiley faces. In other words, something shifted psychically for me in this moment, and I started being a little less self-destructive and began helping others. This was my entrance into the archetype of the wounded healer.

Aged 20, I returned back home to Manchester to find a book called Raising Cain – protecting the emotional life of boys, which my parents had bought to help them help me. I am so glad that in the 21st Century men are slowly, sometimes painfully, opening up to vulnerability. In my school, it definitely wasn’t ok for me to be vulnerable.

In my 20s, I went travelling to India and South Asia and was blown away by the hospitality and warmth I experienced. People who owned so little gave so much. Even in the war-torn regions of Kashmir and Eastern Sri Lanka, I was offered shelter, food, wisdom, and love. This experience left a deep imprint on my heart and a burning question in my mind:

How could it be that such generosity, such love can exist even in poverty and war?

I remember when I had just arrived back from India to the UK, standing in the centre of Manchester, surrounded by shiny, new shopping arcades, built after the IRA had detonated a huge 3,300lb bomb in the city centre in 1996. There was a distinct air of nouveau riche in Manchester at this time: throngs of people were scurrying around the arcades, wide-eyed and heavily laden with shopping bags, designer clothes, and debt. As I stood there, I felt disconnected and depressed. In this moment, I was deeply affected by the changes that were occurring in my home-town, this spiraling of greed and materialism I bore witness to.

I began to work more closely with people who were suffering, trying to understand human beings more, what makes us suffer, and how can we liberate ourselves. The intersection of psyche, spirit, and world became my passion. I worked in various jobs which were about empowering people trapped on the edges of society, from homeless young people, to drug addicts in the criminal justice system. For four years, I ran a therapeutic education provision for some of London’s most troubled teens. Whilst there, I had an amazing supervisor – Tamsin – who in one session gave me an experience of instant freedom from suffering. I decided I simply had to learn how to share that gift with others. So I went on to train as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist.

I met Andy and Rich from Headspace and brought them into my school to develop a mindfulness programme for kids with complex trauma. They then launched an app (did rather well) and invited me to consult them on their mindfulness for kids offering. I eventually set up my own charity, Apart of Me, which combines digital and real word interventions to help young people transform their loss and trauma into compassion.

I have travelled extensively, studying wisdom traditions from around the world, including both personal and academic studies of International and Postcolonial Politics, Surrealist philosophy, indigenous wisdom traditions, and studying with meditation masters, yogis and indigenous wisdom-keepers in Asia, South America and Europe. However, I have learned the most from the clients I’ve worked with, those human beings that found the courage to transform their suffering into compassionate action-in-the-world, often in spite of extreme, traumatising, soul-restricting environments.

These days, I live in Manchester with my wife and daughter. I still love dancing, and Five Rhythms is my number one spiritual practice.

(Oh, and some things I’d rather you didn’t know about me is that despite all my training, all the work on myself I’ve done, despite all my ‘wisdom’ I still sometimes struggle with life – I get shy, I get anxious, I struggle with sleep, I get angry, I get confused, I feel lonely at times, I find it hard to say no.)

Contact Louis

To work with me 1:1 click here, book me for your organisation, join the community or sign up to the newsletter for sporadic meditations and musings.

For all other inquiries, please email hello@louisweinstock.com