Hope Bastine is a game-changing psychotherapist. As a barefoot child of India, she understands the compass of cultural diversity. Born at the foot of the Pyrenees, raised in India, and consolidated her education in Europe – she is a Third Culture Kid. But what has been her constant in the face of an ever-changing environment is her spiritual practice.In her late teens, Hope joined up with the Red Cross and went to war-torn Bosnia.
This experience opened her eyes to the psychological impact of trauma which motivated her to help people in a meaningful, long-lasting way. She went on to train in Neuroscience and Psychology at Westminster University, Hope went on to teach psychology for five years with a PGCE from St Mary’s University College. Following this, she earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy where she discovered how Mindfulness can cure insomnia. She began her counselling psychotherapy training with a foundation diploma from The Metanoia Institute which provided her with the opportunity to worked as a CBT specialist on the IAPT service at the South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS for over two years, and with the Awareness Centre for three years before founding wellbeing company, Fresh Perception.
Well-trained in the science and art of yoga and mindfulness meditation by Jason Crandell and Dr. P Collard, she incorporates an evidence-based, mind-body approach within the therapeutic setting. She believes the key to releasing your potential is found in the mind-body-soul integrative approach to our well-being. In her transformational approach to psychotherapy, she incorporates positive psychology, yoga philosophy, and mindfulness-based concepts into the room. Hope is passionate about the aspirational qualities of personal and professional development but more importantly developing good research to back up her practice. She has specialised in insomnia and trauma recovery research with an MSc in Applied Mental Health Research at King’s College London.
Hey Hope, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your current role at Fresh Perception?
I am half Indian and half French. After spending my time in both France and India I was raised with great admiration for cultural diversity. I feel I am a living, breathing East-meets-West fusion in mind and body. I think this is reflected in my Eastern Wisdom, Western Science (title of one of my books) approach to my work. I love how the ancient practice of mindfulness is now backed up by neuroscience and am even more excited to see where this conscious evolution fusion will take us. After spending time as a teenager doing humanitarian work I studied Neuroscience and Psychology at Westminster University.
I then trained as a Psychology teacher and worked in some inner city schools renowned for their challenging behavior. I was grateful for my education and felt the need to give back by working with kids who had had a hard start in life. On the weekends I was training to be a therapist which is where I discovered Mindfulness. I had long-since suffered from insomnia and was amazed at how it helped me overcome this. I decided to train as a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and never looked back. One the deputy heads of the school asked me if I’d teach Mindfulness Meditation with some of the most challenging students which had the most rewarding positive impact on the students.
From then on, my work in Mindfulness just evolved organically. Linklaters LLP approached me out-of-the-blue to teach weekly classes and monthly seminars. Looking back, its funny how life takes you on wonderful twists and turns through to the place you are supposed to be – and that may not, in fact, be where you thought it would be! I then set up Fresh Perception and from the get-go, it sustained itself – no loans – something I’m very proud of. I have recently pulled back from running things to focusing on what is more important to me – developing excellent content and earning my MSc and Ph.D. That has been the best decision I have ever made and I am a much better teacher for it and I have gone from strength to strength! I think it’s important to be economical with your time and pour your energy into why you started the company in the first place. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging every aspect of your business which drains your creative energy – but I had to learn through experience.
What is a typical day for you?
My morning routine is very important to me as once I’m out in the City there is little opportunity to self-care. So, I have carefully curated my day to revolve around a morning ritual that helps me perform at my best.
A typical day for me will start off with 5min sense-check as I sip my coffee before I do a 45min warm yoga class from yogaglo.com and 45min of meditation to set the rhythm for the day. Then I’ll listen to a podcast by Tara Brach or Michael Stone while I Breakfast and get ready. If there is time, I will do come content writing as I’m my most productive and creative in the morning. Emails and organising my diary are for once I’m out the house and traveling to my bookings and appointments.
Leading mindfulness and wellbeing workshops usually start from 10:00am and continues throughout the day. Lunchtimes (11am-2pm) are always fully booked three months in advance. Careful planning is involved to make sure I have enough time between bookings so that I am not rushing around stressed and not practicing what I preach. (I am very dependant on my calendar app – organisation is key to productivity)
2-4pm is usually working in the office writing content, articles, or interviews and meetings. Then is the next wave of teaching classes/clients from 4pm till about 7pm but sometimes even till 9:30pm.
My sleep ritual is a necessary pleasure to help me unwind and decompress from the working day. As I work from an evidence-based approach, curating content both for my workshops/course and writing is analytical and cognitively demanding. So, for the last hour of my day, I will disconnect from the digital world and connect with inner self. As I’m human, I do make time for my social media fix beforehand. My Sleep Ritual will involve sipping herbal teach by candlelight with some soothing background music. Sometimes my brain needs to wind down in stages so I will flip through an art book, read some poetry, of a good piece of literature. Then is personal hygiene and a magnesium salt bath by candlelight before I melt into my bed for a sleep meditation or a few Yin yoga postures.
In your late teens, you joined up with the Red Cross and went to war-torn Bosnia, can you talk to us about that?
That time was really the making of who I am today. It was in that experience that really crystallised in my heart and mind what I should be doing with my life. I saw that the medical and relief-aid work had only a temporary impact on the victim’s lives. Whilst that help was very necessary and effective, I could see that impact of trauma had very real and lasting effects. There was a baby who couldn’t have been more that one-year old who clung to me like a Kola; I eat, slept, and worked with her arms and legs wrapped around me for two weeks.
If anyone tried to take a turn and give my back a break she became hysterical and inconsolable save by being returned to me. I deeply moved by the doctors, nurses, and volunteers selflessly giving to the point of burnout. I saw the pointlessness and destructive impact of war, the hatred it ensued, and the lasting damage of the psychological and emotional trauma caused by these wars and natural disasters. It was at this point when I knew I wanted to help in a meaningful and lasting way. The human spirit and will to overcome pierced through the dark bleak dirt of disaster life a knife and this was contagious. I knew then I was going to be a psychologist.
Congratulations on everything you have achieved so far, where can you see the future taking you?
I have a couple of book coming out and with the completion of my Ph.D. in Human Flourishing, I plan to make a positive impact on a much larger scale. My work with https://simbasleep.com/ has opened up doors to better support large companies think about the long-term benefits of looking after their staff’s wellbeing. I see myself as contributing to a wave of positive social change to create a healthy sustainable working culture.
You lead corporate health and wellbeing workshops/courses, where do you find time to evenly balance your work life and personal life?
Balance is certainly the key word here. Planning according to the natural rhythm and pace of the business world is essential but this has taken me some time to find my groove.
On Mondays and Tuesdays, I work evenings with either with clients or teaching at an event. Wednesday evenings, hump day, is self-care evening with a workout/long yoga class plus Yin yoga followed by an early night as Monday & Tuesday were late ones. Thursday and Friday evenings are connection time with friends, colleagues, and family.
Fridays tend to be quite quiet in terms of bookings so I make use of the time to write or if I have to work the weekend then I take Friday as a day off. Of course, commitments and bookings vary greatly so being flexible is important. As I am also completing my Ph.D. in Human Flourishing and I may have any number of deadlines to work with so if I have to have a working weekend, I do it with a view i.e. taking a trip to the beach or the country with family and blocking off time to work and time to play. Regardless of what I’m doing, the key is being in the moment. If I’ve blocked off time to write in the morning, I do that and park wishing I wasn’t. Then I’ve enjoyed my reward with spending quality time with family and friends.
You also contribute as an expert in a range of publications such as Psychologies Magazine, Top Santé, The Telegraph, what has been a real winning moment for you to date throughout your career trajectory?
I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been to be valued and respected by a company like https://simbasleep.com/ – when they chose me to be the voice of the science of sleep I was elated! More and more companies are seeing the value of having experts behind their product.
What would be your 3 tips for other women that are wanting to continue to stay on track?
1.Self-Care is of vital importance when running your own business. You are not good anyone if you are not your optimum self. Never trade in sleep for productivity. Always give yourself an hour a day to process and reflect. A budget for a self-care treat like a massage and make sure you nutritionally support your busy life.
2.Set firm boundaries and plan how you are going to achieve your goals. This ranges from not answering emails after 6/7pm to being present with family and friends, or, to organising your schedule to suit your best productivity hours of the day.
3.Value yourself. Don’t take on projects just for the sake of it or because you need the immediate income. Balance your fee/rate with ethically making your work accessible to those that truly need it and reflecting your training and expertise.