Donna Maria Bottomley is a psychotherapist and writer based in Wales, UK.
She runs a private psychotherapy practice (DMB Therapy), and is the author of the book ‘Do I Need to See a Therapist?!‘. As well as being a CBT/EMDR and Brainspotting therapist, Donna also trained in creative writing and songwriting and uses writing as an expressive art both personally and professionally. She is a member of Lapidus International and the Society of Authors and is currently researching writing therapies and putting together a course on managing emotions using expressive writing.
Donna’s personal writing and musical work explores issues related to mental health and Neurodiversity and her next book also includes some of these themes.
Five things you may not know about me
Colours: I’m crazy about turquoise.
Songwriting: I’ve written two songs with Michael Garvin, the writer responsible for writing George Benson’s ‘Never give up on a good thing’, and ‘Waiting for tonight’ by Jennifer Lopez.
Neurodiversity: I have sensory processing sensitivities and am somewhere between ASD and ADD. I work hard to keep focused and disciplined and keep my brain organised. But the plus side is I’m never bored and am always busy with various projects. I sometimes don’t get jokes, hate talking on the telephone and have bendy fingers that can never get the tops off of bleach bottles! (am dyspraxic as well).
Cars 1: I used to have a car accessories shop called ‘Fluffy Auto Boutique’ (FAB) and was the first person in the UK to import and sell the auto vase car vase which could be used in any car. Prior to this only VW Beetles could have a car vase and flower in them. I even designed my own vase at one point and had it prototyped.
Cars 2: I’ve been trained how to do car reviews by Vicki Butler Henderson and used to go on rally driving days for fun.
For more details about my book, click here
Donna’s long bio
Donna Maria Bottomley was born in Mill Hill, North London and grew up in Hendon. She left school after sixth form to get a job at her mothers request, but as soon as she could manage it she enrolled in evening classes and eventually got her much longed-for place at university. She started at the University of Brighton on the BA (Hons) in Visual & Performing Arts with the wonderful Liz Aggiss, but then moved to Derby to study Psychology, Psychotherapy and Occupational Therapy (three separate degrees). During her Masters in Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, under the guidance of teacher and mentor, Anni Telford, a personal trauma altered Donna’s life. She managed to complete her degree but had to let go of her desire to continue on to do a PhD in CBT.
Recovery from trauma came in the form of completing another degree. Donna blended her knowledge of therapy and psychology, with the expressive arts of dance and writing, to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Arts for Health, Education & Community Settings. She also worked with the hospital that helped her, and set up several arts and health projects in association with staff and other service users. She became concerned about the acute psychiatric unit environment at that time and joined with staff to setup a project to improve the acute unit environment. She also worked with Professor Kevin Gournay, MBE as a fellow guideline group member on the 2003 NICE Guideline for the management of disturbed behaviour in acute psychiatric units.
Writing has always been a part of her life, from copying out chapters of her textbooks prior to completing any homework tasks in junior school, to writing ‘pongs’ (poems to be sung) when she was in sixth form. She has taken many creative writing courses, including several Arvon courses, and has spent a year studying Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University under the tutelage of the excellent Michael Schmidt, Simon Armitage and Carol Ann Duffy. She left the MA in Creative Writing after a year because she realised she was starting to move towards taking words off of the page, to try and make them physical somehow. She briefly worked with text artist Tony Trehy whilst also exploring the auditory aspects of words. This was at a time when she was becoming aware of her own neurodiversity and the different way that she experienced things.
She decided in 2010 that she wanted to test the theory that she “can’t sing” and has a voice that “sounds like a cat” (according to a school friend). So she enrolled on the Beginners Pop Singing course at Leeds College of Music with the truly special vocal tutor Anna Uhuru. There, in October 2010, the same month that she got married, began 5 years of not only singing and songwriting, but that rare feeling of belonging; of finding your ‘tribe’. Donna realised that she could keep in tune and learn to ‘hold’ notes, and she could also write songs. She progressed from beginners to advanced level in both pop and jazz singing and performed under the artist name Ortense Blue. She also studied songwriting with Michael Garvin, Martin Sutton, and Shaun Hunter, and attended an Arvon songwriting course with Kathryn Williams and Chris Difford. All of this activity culminated in two songs ‘Cold‘ and ‘Hammer & Chisel‘ becoming published through Leopard Music. These songs are taken from her debut album ‘Safe to make a sound‘, an album which aimed to capture the feeling of trying to speak through the wall of fear that can surround us sometimes. The album was produced by Paul ‘Pash’ Hutchinson, and featured Norman Cooke (Papa Norm) on drums. It explored themes of anorexia, domestic violence, and repressed homosexuality. The track Donna is most proud of is ‘Ladies‘, not least because of the review it received from fellow indie artist and avant garde phenomenon Darren Laurence of Leg Puppy. Ladies was inspired by both the story of the two Ladies of Llangollen and Downton Abbey.
Donna was also asked to write a song for Eurovision by Leopard Music for their artist Orly Vardy. For this, Donna enlisted the help of her songwriting colleague Michael Garvin and together they co-wrote the song ‘I Choose Love’. Orly and Ofer Hammerman are due to release this song in 2021.
Donna has been involved in several songwriting collaborations, including one with Nic Rigby and David Banks where they wrote and produced ‘Dragons and Lions‘; a song depicting a fictional tale set in the time of the Marcher Lords and the battle between Wales and England. Donna’s main interest now is in helping others to express themselves through this medium of lyrical and expressive writing.
This passion for helping others especially with regards to mental health has led her to devote most of her working life to her role as an accredited psychotherapist. She runs her own private therapy practice (DMB Therapy). As well as CBT, she also practices EMDR, and ‘Brainspotting’ – a new therapy which uses interoception and the gaze of the eyes as a way to access the mid-brain and release ‘stuck’ feeling-states.
Donna keeps up to date with current findings in neuroscience in relation to trauma, attachment and the brain-body connection and is currently interested in the role that interoception plays in our feeling-states. She uses a technique she calls emotion-focused interoceptive awareness in her psychotherapy to help clients feel less frightened of the bodily sensations of emotions.
Aside from her therapy practice Donna is currently at work on her second book (creative non-fiction). She plans to produce this book in two formats (handwritten, and audio).
She has also trained in journal therapy and is developing an expressive writing course on processing and managing emotions.
Mental health has been an issue that Donna has had to manage since she was a young child. Her Mother has always needed support after being left severely traumatised from her time at the Magdalen laundries in Ireland, and being left to ‘baby farmers’ prior to that. Donna’s Father struggled with alcoholism, and Donna herself struggled with an eating disorder for 16 years. In 1998 the suicide of someone very close to her led to her experiencing life from a different lens for a while. She recovered from this period and feels it has given her a gratitude for the small but important things in life.
All of this is difficult to bring to a conversation, but I can shape it into a song. I also know it gives me an energy that fuels my passion to be of service to people and to know, at a very deep level, that this too shall pass.02/02/2021
Private Psychotherapy Practice
Donna runs a private psychotherapy practice (DMB Therapy). She is a BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, an HCPC Registered Occupational therapist, and is registered by the BACP as a psychotherapist. In her practice she specialises in trauma and anxiety and offers CBT, Brainspotting, EMDR, ACT and Writing therapies.
Author of ‘Do I Need to See a Therapist?!’ published by Hero Press, and imprint of Legend Times Group.
Interoception and emotion
The neurobiology of gazespotting
Place and feeling-states
Gazing and Feeling
Writing therapies such as CBWT, Interapy, Journal therapy, and expressive writing therapy
Donna is a published songwriter (under the artist name Ortense Blue) and has also had two poems published ‘A scent of a memory’ and ‘The Sea Orphan’.
The Fort Offices,
Oswestry, SY11 4AD