Sylvia Schroer – biography

My work is about helping you to create the best conditions for healing. 

I became interested in psychology in my late teens and went on to study psychology at UCL  I was given the opportunity to put what I had learned into practice at a very young age (21) when I took on the role of co-therapist for an NHS psychotherapy outpatient group. I felt totally out of my depth if I am honest! But I stuck with it for three years.

I spent my 20’s working mainly in the corporate sector – in magazine publishing. I had a brief foray into film and photographic production. I remember joinng the Samaritans towards the end of this decade, feeling a real pull towards healing work and the helping professions. The impetus to change tack and work with Eastern medicine came when I was 30. I tried acupuncture having seen how it had helped a friend. I began having treatment myself and felt a sense of well-being that I could only attribute to the therapy. I was drawn to acupuncture from the very beginning – seeing a chart on my practioner’s wall depicting the Five Elements and their associations.

My professional training

Following my practitioner, Tim Gordon’s footsteps, I trained initially in Five Element acupuncture at the College of Traditional Acupuncture in Leamington Spa. This approach relies on the identification of a person’s constitutional factor and supporting it, which can in my experience, be truly transformational. It can help a person to connect with the very best part of themselves: who they would like to be and who they were meant to be. We all have our strengths – and this approach helps us tap into them. Please have a look at my film – the Gifts of the Five Elements.

Shortly after finishing my Licentiate acupuncture training I completed further studies with John and Angela Hicks who founded the Reading College. I then went to China myself and undertook a short course at Dongzhimen in Beijing. I have also studied in Vietnam. The reasons that people use acupuncture vary from east to West and I find it fascinating that in China the most common reason people use acupuncture is to help after a stroke, yet it is barely used for this purpose in the West.

In 1996 I trained in Kampo medicine with Gretchen de Soriano who completed a 7 year apprenticeship with a renown Japanese master at the Kitasato Institute. 

I was one of the first in Europe to train in Toyohari, with Stephen Birch and Junko Ida – in Amsterdam and Tokyo. I love the gentle approaches of Japanese acupuncture, and with these methods I feel I get the most sense of what is going on in the meridians and channels, as they are very direct and hands on. Few people know that acupuncture was a profession for the blind in Japan, who have so much to teach us about sensing with our hands. These approaches have great affinity with craniosacral therapy, which is perhaps why I was drawn to study this therapy.

Craniosacral Therapy, which I trained in at the Craniosacral Therapy Education Trust, came later. I qualified in 2013. I find it to be a wonderful approach enabling clients to feel their system is being truly heard at a deep level. The work is relational and it is done in states of stillness and calm. Mindfulness techniques and practices are used to help a person to feel calm, resourced and peaceful. Even the energy in the room feels different in a session when one has reached a ‘healing space’ – and the body begins to re-organise itself and make tiny shifts, of its own accord – for there is no manipulation involved in this treatment. One has a palpable sense of harmony, balance, radiance, emanating from a clients body, when there is a good listening connection made with them. 

Learning about research

In 2003 I moved to York to undertake a PhD researching acupuncture for depression, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research. My motivation to learn about research came from a deep desire to help make acupuncture more accessible to those that cannot easily afford it. My research was in the field of depression – I see so many people given antidepressants who then seem to be unable to easily come off them. Whilst they are found helpful in some cases many seem to find they are only partially effective. Learning about other ways to help support mood and emotional health seemed to be a global priority.

Clinical work and supervision

Over the years I have supported individuals with a wide range of health conditions in many different settings including: the BBC; the Belgravia Surgery; the Stress Project; the Core Trust; the Angel Drug Project; the Hoxton Health Group and numerous complementary health clinics. For the past seven years I have worked at the Serenity Clinic in Harrogate and Miller’s Yard in York.

I have completed postgraduate training in mental health, stroke recovery,  trauma, developmental trauma, addiction, prenatal and antenatal care and fertility support and working with babies and children.

I have ongoing supervision with Franklyn Sills with whom I collaborated for the first Share Ideas film project. His script advice was invaluable and he is one of the true masters of CST. People travel from all over the world to learn at the Karuna Institute, which he co-founded.

I have made a further three healing films with Share Ideas on Five Element Acupuncture, Epigenetics and the Chinese Clock. They can be seen on You Tube on the Share Ideas channel.

I feel so fortunate to have discovered the healing potential of the therapies I work with and it is very humbling to know I have been able to help someone to feel more able to cope with whatever it is they must deal with.