Wendy contacted me looking for help to break a pattern of ‘financial meltdowns’ and a spiralling credit card debt, which was giving her a growing sense of panic. Financially literate, and with a background in economics, she had no problem providing the financial details: she knew exactly how much money she had, what her assets were worth and what she owed, and she didn’t hide bills or invoices. And yet she was spending beyond her means. Though currently mortgage free, she was contemplating getting a mortgage as a ‘solution’ to her credit card bill, and for extra house renovations – thus heading for even more debt. She suspected that there were deeper issues and blocks around her money behaviour. We explored these together, and investigated potential routes out of debt and into financial security and calm.

Owning the fact that I was fully responsible for the mess I was in now felt liberating. Simonne saw immediately that the problem was quite simple in pure financial terms: I just wasn’t earning enough. And if I carried on that way I would just get caught up in a maelstrom of unmanageable debt. As a freelance writer I rely on myself to get work and I had suddenly stopped finding new clients; my financial crisis was the result.

I am fortunate to not have a mortgage and had wondered if getting one might be the solution. Simonne astutely spotted a very slippery slope that I had been unaware of. She asked me about previous times I had been mortgage free and gone on to borrow money. Gently she exposed my need to get rid of any money coming into my hands as quickly as possible. I would get enough dosh out to pay back my credit card and restore the ruined houses I am so fond of buying. And of course, then I would end up having to sell them because the building work cost more than the money I had borrowed. And so back to square one.

For me, the most important and amazing part of our one-hour call was when I pushed Simonne for her opinion. Should I borrow money? Should I get a mortgage? Should I get another credit card? Help! I felt desperate. “I think you can do this on your own,” she said. And the scales fell from my eyes. It was tremendous boost to my confidence. Yes, I can do this, yes I can clear my own debts. I was fired up and ready to take on the world with those nine little words.

Solving the financial problem was a short-term, necessary solution, but then I needed to discover the underlying reason for this crisis. I came off the phone relieved, enthused and motivated.