Alison O’Mahony was brought up in Gloucestershire with her four younger brothers. She has fond memories of her early childhood and draws on her own good parenting experiences from her early years. But when she was a teenager, her mother died very suddenly. Her father met her step-mother six months later. Alison’s father and step-mother had a daughter, Alison’s half-sister. Alison had great difficulty accepting a step-mother. Alison’s step-mother found her teenage step-children a challenge.
Alison went to Art College and studied jewellery design. She took a job in high-end jewellery retail in London, becoming the store manager a year later. She later joined an international firm of jewellery manufacturers and worked abroad for some 8 years. Her experience enabled her to become a management consultant with a large London firm. She ran and spoke at conferences, managed a department and consultancy clients, and designed and ran training programmes for senior managers in leadership. Alison developed into a coaching specialist. During this time Alison spent time with a man who was getting divorced andwho had children of his own. She was an unwelcome step-mother.
Later, Alison met her husband who had been widowed nine months before, and gave up paid work to become a step-parent to his two young children. Later she had two children of her own.
While her children attended school Alison trained as a parenting practitioner. She ran and developed The Nurturing Programme for parents at her children’s school. Realising that support for step-families was scarce, Alison trained as a Systemic Family Therapy practitioner at the Institute of Family Therapy, graduated from Birkbeck University London and then started her own business: Be StepWise.
Alison has had experience working as a Family Therapy Practitioner in the NHS CAMHS Dartford, Wimbledon Guild (a charity in South West London), Newminster Children’s Centre in Merton and a Private hospital for acute eating disorders in South London.
Her step-family are very close and this year she is very pleased to be becoming a step-grand-mother.