Beth Burgess is a psychotherapist, life & recovery coach, author, freelance writer, consultant, speaker, workshop leader ... and someone who walks her talk! Beth has herself recovered from alcoholism, social anxiety disorder, bulimia, self-harm and Borderline Personality Disorder - and gone on to achieve a happy, successful life.
Beth's empathy and insight help her pull people out of the darkest of places
Beth runs Smyls, which she originally set up as a specialist coaching service to empower people who had suffered from setbacks to find success. Demand for Beth's deeper therapeutic work led to Smyls becoming a one-stop shop for clients at all stages of their journeys. Beth now specialises in treating addiction and psychological issues, helping clients learn how to deal with life more effectively, and assisting them to find direction, achieve goals, and build fulfilling lives.
Although best known for her addiction recovery work, Beth has been sought out to help people overcome relationship problems, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, phobias, mental health issues, OCD, personality disorders, eating disorders, and to deal with redundancy, illnesses, divorce, and bereavement.
In addition to her 1:1 work, she runs employee development workshops, covering topics such as assertiveness and stress. She offers businesses consultation and training on substance abuse and addiction awareness, as well as support to employees with problems.
Beth has a unique way with words, which she uses to touch, inspire and educate
Beth is the author of The Recovery Formula: An Addict's Guide to Getting Clean & Sober Forever, and The Happy Addict: How to be Happy in Recovery From Alcoholism or Drug Addiction, both of which have been described by readers as "life-saving". She has also published a mini ebook, What is Self Esteem? and had two academic papers on addiction published in 2016 in a book by Oxford University Press called Addiction and Choice: Rethinking the Relationship.
She has penned articles for The Royal Society of the Arts, The Big Issue, New Statesman and other publications. She enjoys writing freelance articles within her fields of expertise, and has by-lines and ghost-writing on several websites.
Beth is a media-friendly expert on addiction, mental health, and personal and professional development
Beth has both a personal and professional insight into topics such as alcohol, drugs, addiction, emotional and psychological issues and mental health, and is often quoted as an expert in the media. She is happy to share her knowledge, advice, and opinions, and point journalists to relevant statistics. She is passionate about helping people understand what it takes to live a healthy, happy life at home and at work.
Beth cares a great deal about social justice and enjoys commenting on stats and stories which cover the links between trauma, addiction, criminal justice, and mental health.
For reasons of confidentiality and sensitivity, Beth will rarely ask her own clients to be case studies, but will gladly tweet such requests to followers on Twitter. She is very open about her own journey, and her personal story of recovery and success has been featured in The Daily Express, Woman's Own, and The Sun newspaper.
Beth's charity work
Beth is the Chair of a specialist addiction charity in London, DiversityInCare, which helps people with complex needs, including addiction and trauma. She has also voluntenteered for more than a decade for homeless charity Crisis and in the past has volunteered to mentor ex-offenders for the London Probation service.
Beth is happy to be contacted by any addiction or social care charities for her services as a speaker, or by prisons, criminal justice services, or mental health centres that would like to receive free copies of her books.
"I almost became an alcoholic on purpose. That sounds quite strange, but when I started drinking all day, every day, I knew exactly what I was doing and had no intentions of stopping. I started drinking alcoholically because I had an anxiety disorder. It started off with being afraid to eat in front of people and progressed to being too scared to go outside.
"The symptoms of my anxiety disorder started to emerge very strongly at around the age of 17. By 18, I was drinking every day. And by 19, I was already a full-blown addict.
"Throughout my years as a 'voluntary' alcoholic, I tried all sorts of things to deal with my anxiety disorder. Eventually I came across a cure that took just 90 minutes and I haven't been afraid to go outside ever since. It was an amazing day, not just because I now felt no fear in the course of trying to function, but because I thought that I would begin drinking normally like everyone else.
"Cue another five years of being absolutely unable to drink like everyone else. Being a rational person most of the time, it didn't make sense to me at all, and I refused for a long time to accept that this was it; I just was an alcoholic now and there was nothing I could do to change that. But I did have to accept it in the end, and so began my quest for recovery.
"After a long battle, I found a stable and incredibly happy recovery - and now I help others to do the same, using the tools that helped me get over both my anxiety disorder and my alcoholism, and that enabled me to grow as a person.
"I believe that we can use our pain to find meaning and learn to value our experiences, no matter how challenging they are; we can use them to become the people we were always meant to be."
(Adapted from The Recovery Formula)