An Interview with Sonja Beacham.

A natural curiosity about people - and what makes them all so different – inspired Nottingham-based Sonja Beacham to spend years studying, exploring and developing new ways to help others create positive life changes. Today she is a highly qualified therapist and motivational life-coach, running ‘Excellence Within’ dedicated to helping people change their lives for the better on any level: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. 

Sonja’s interest in the area of personal development began in the late 1980s. Working as part of a mental health team, she observed many patients whose condition remained stable without necessarily improving – something which made her question how things could be done differently to achieve lasting results. This interest in people led her to embark on her first course of counselling training. 

Following on from this, Sonja worked in several GP surgeries, health centres, and occupational health departments - all the time developing her skills and interest in helping people create positive change in their life. “Recognising that successful life transformations were really achievable led me to explore and develop new ways to help others create positive life changes” Sonja explains.  

The real turning point came when a friend she met on a drama course introduced her to the concept of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). “Suddenly, my mind totally opened up to the possibilities NLP presented. I ended up enrolling on a 1 year course to learn about the subject in detail” says Sonja. This was followed by 4 years of Gestalt psychotherapy training* in Nottingham. Gestalt philosophy is based on a holistic approach which addresses the way a person feels today, rather than looking to past experiences for clues about a person’s current state of mind.  

Although Sonja recognises the influence previous life experiences may have on the client’s current life issues she prefers to avoid spending time tirelessly revisiting past experiences. She may encourage the client to make the link between past and present however. Although a past experience may have triggered a current concern, her focus is very much on the current state of affairs – and what can be done today to address the element of life that needs change.  

Around this time, whilst working on her dissertation, Sonja began to recognise and accept the balance between the logical side to life and the intuitive. Bringing these elements together is often a challenging but nonetheless integral part of personal development.  

Sonja employs a wide range of treatments, often combining techniques to suit each individual. “Everyone is unique, and I firmly believe there is no textbook formula or method that will work for every person. Instead, I tailor my approach to the individual - something which I can do as a result of having trained in several different models and techniques.” One method Sonja uses is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It’s a system that can be used to great effect to cure phobias, anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress, and relationship issues – often dealing effectively with long-term issues remarkably quickly.

EMOTRANCE is a relatively new energy psychology technique, which follows a similar principle to EFT, i.e., negative emotion results when the natural flow of energy within the body is interrupted. The client is encouraged to focus on the issue that’s bothering them and pinpointing where they actually feel it in their body. It’s an intriguing method that generates impressive results. Ask Sonja how it works and she quotes an interesting analogy “It’s all about energy flow. Imagine a radio. You know it works, but you can’t actually see the radio waves or the transmitter. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t work!”

Sonja continues an ongoing regime of professional development, focusing on the areas of energy psychology. She has trained with Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler (co-developer of NLP), Gary Craig (the developer of EFT), Sylvia Hartman (the originator of Emotrance, and top Life Coach Curly Martin. Recognising that each person’s body and energy system is different inspires Sonja to continue developing her skills, adding new techniques to a list which also includes Reiki, Hypnotherapy, NLP, Timeline Therapy, and Freeway CER – a new technique similar to EFT but using different meridian points.

When working with a new client, Sonja first assesses exactly what they expect to gain from the experience and will tailor-make the treatment to suit. The number of sessions required depends on the preferences of the client. “Although many issues can be dealt with in a few sessions, some clients feel more comfortable with a longer-term approach,” says Sonja, adding: “I passionately believe that, with the right tools, anybody can change their life for the better. It really is possible to achieve new levels of awareness and create lasting positive changes that will make a real difference to your life”.

NOTE: Sonja Beacham publishes a regular email newsletter which covers the different aspects of personal development issues like self-confidence and relationships. To subscribe, visit her website:

*Wikipedia says of Gestalt Therapy: 

Gestalt therapy is a method of awareness, by which perceiving, feeling, and acting are understood to be separate from interpreting, explaining and judging using old attitudes. This distinction between direct experience and indirect or secondary interpretation is developed in the process of therapy. The client learns to become aware of what they are doing psychologically and how they can change it. By becoming aware of and transforming their process they develop self acceptance and the ability to experience more in the “now” without so much interference from baggage of the past.

Interview by Hugh McClelland, Freelance Journalist, Moonsail Ltd.