The Ladder of Healing is my way of talking about the various stages you move through as you clear your head trash and heal your triggers and traumas.

I first introduced this concept in my book, Clear Your Head Trash, because I noticed recurring themes and trends with my clients that mirrored my own life experience.

Since coming up with this concept five years ago, I’ve come to know each stage much better as I’ve observed more and more people move through them. Now I feel like I know these different stages very intimately,

A good place to start would be to describe the opposite ends of this ladder. One, because it’s useful to have a sense of scope, but secondly because Head Trash Clearance is all about opposites!

The bottom of the Ladder of Healing

At the bottom of the ladder we have what I call the Conkers.

Conkers are people who are typically suffering from high levels of anxiety or depression. They feel low a lot of the time (being at the bottom of a ladder is as low as you’re going to get!). Conkers could be on medication for their mental health or be seeking professional help.

If you’re a conker, then your head trash will be affecting other parts of your life: your health, your relationships, the quality of your sleep, your work…. you name it. Conkers tend to be prickly customers who can be difficult to be around. They’re easily triggered and can’t help but behave in ways that might hurt others. All this is down to unresolved traumas, trapped emotions and internal conflicts.. in other words head trash.

Conkers might feel that their headspace is a bit of a lost cause, but that’s simply not true. Abandoning your inner Conker just requires you to step onto the first rung of Head Trash Clearance.

All you need to do is to take ONE STEP. Just clear ONE piece of head trash. Then the next. And then the next. These baby steps will build until you climb up.

At the beginning of your Head Trash Clearance journey, we can safely assume that you have a fair amount of head trash to clear. I did! How this shows up for you will be dependent on many factors, so we can’t simply assume that you automatically start your journey at the bottom of the Ladder of Healing among the Conkers. Not everyone starts at the bottom.

Some of the factors that play a part here include;


Have you experienced trauma in your life? To be honest who hasn’t? There’s the trauma we know about – because we remember it – and the trauma that we have no idea we experienced (childhood trauma, birth trauma, ancestral trauma or trauma we might have experienced in-utero, for example).

Most of us have oodles of childhood trauma kicking around, but many people haven’t opened that can of worms to process it and let it go. Trauma feeds fear and anxiety, so if you have high levels of anxiety, the chances are there are some unresolved traumas you need to resolve and heal.

There are plenty of blogs and articles on trauma here which might be a good place to start if you want to better understand this. INSERT LINK TO CATEGORY

Your Parents

If your parents had a load of head trash and unhealthy patterns of behaviour then I’m afraid you’ve probably inherited them. No judgement here, just a simple fact of life. If your parents prepared for your arrival by doing some inner work then this will have had quite an impact on you. So it may be that your parents were young things with lots of anxiety, but perhaps by the time you arrived, they had addressed much of this, If so, then this is great. If you parents have never explored this aspect of themselves, then it’s for you to do if you feel called to do so.

Your Upbringing

This is closely tied to the point above, but it’s slightly different. Your upbringing might have been influenced by grandparents or family friends so we need to consider the influence they might have had on you.

Then there’s your life experience as a child growing up which will have affected you.

  • Did you move around a lot?
  • What were your relationships like with your parents or siblings?
  • Did you suffer from health conditions?
  • Was your time at school horrid or great?

All of these experiences will shape us and contribute to our head trash (or lack of it).

Your appetite for personal development

If you’ve been devouring personal development ideas and tools for a while then the chances are you’re reasonably self aware, although not guaranteed. And, depending on your efforts and how long you’ve been at it, you will have already let go of some head trash.

Now back to the Ladder of Healing.

The top of the Ladder of Healing

At the other end of the ladder of Head Trash, we have the Glitter Ball.

I LOVE the glitter ball! Everyone flocks to a glitter ball because that’s where the party’s at, where all the uplifting energy is. People are drawn to glitter balls because they make them feel good and are easy and fun to be with. They are inspiring and make great leaders or influencers (not the insta variety!).

Glitter balls will be on fire; their life is in flow, and they find it easy to get in the zone. They’re life is full of synchronicities and extra-ordinary outcomes. Others might look on and think “wow, they’re lucky” but they’ve created this for themselves, it’s not luck at all. Although that is very much how it might seem.

What’s in between on the Ladder of Healing?

In between the Conker and the Glitter Ball are the Washing Balls, the Bouncy Balls and the Snooker Balls.

The Washing Ball still has spikes, but they’re not as spiky, and there are less of them. This makes Washing Balls much easier to be with and to handle; they’re less likely to hurt you. Washing Balls will still feel overwhelmed by life and their anxieties. They will find themselves repeating the same old sabotaging patterns, and it can feel like they’re just going round in circles.

Washing Balls tend to be a bit more connected to their emotions than the Conkers. Conkers, because of the emotional hardships they’ve endured, have done a good job at numbing themselves from the pains of life. They’ve created a hard shell to protect themselves which can mean that they might find it hard to express themselves or be emotional (cry, laugh etc).

Washing Balls have managed to break through this hard shell and so tend to be more emotional and expressive. However, because they’re still very easily triggered, this can lead to arguments and shouting matches which can create unnecessary conflict.

For the Washing Balls that choose to address their triggers and traumas, the next stage of evolution is the Bouncy Ball.

Bouncy Balls

Bouncy Balls are where most people are at. I spent years as a Bouncy Ball, and it’s not a bad place to be. Bouncy Balls are fun, right?

In the most part they appear to be in a much better place than the Washing Balls. Where the Washing Balls are in a state of perpetual anxiety and stress, Bouncy Balls tend to be more in the highly-stressed category. But it’s not all the time, they have some reprieve.

The problem for them is that this reprieve tends to be short-lived. They manage to find ways out of the stress, but always get dragged back in.

Bouncy Balls tend to be very up and down, and unpredictable emotionally. This is because they still have plenty of healing to do. Bouncy Balls will find themselves flip-flopping a lot between extreme positions. One minute they’re totally into this Thing, and the next minute, they’re avoiding it and hiding from it.

I’ve seen this a lot with women who are terrified of pregnancy and birth. They simultaneously WANT to be pregnant while at the same time NOT wanting it. One minute they take steps towards the pregnancy, and the next they avoid it and hide from it.

The next stage of the journey for those Bouncy Balls who continue with their head trash clearance is being a Snooker Ball.

Snooker Balls

Snooker Balls are in a really good place, most of the time. They’ve made the leap from struggling to thriving. Their hard work has paid off and they’re seeing the benefits. Things are coming together really well for them in life. They have direction and are making progress.

Washing Balls and Bouncy Balls see them and think they’ve got their life sorted, and they will gravitate to them for support. Snooker Balls tend to be a lot more grounded and are less unpredictable. But because they still have more healing to do, they still get caught out every once in a while and find themselves in a ditch (or a pocket ?) wondering what went wrong.

Their sabotaging patterns are a bit more subtle and require a bit more digging to unearth, but they can still be spectacular in fashion.

But overall, they’re productive and focused. They tend to be in reasonable health and the sleepless nights are behind them. They have good levels of mental energy and they’re enthusiastic about life, fully believing that they can achieve whatever they set out to achieve. This is something that Conkers and Washing Balls find hard to do because they’re tend to feel disempowered and like life is a struggle.

How do you move up the Ladder of Healing?

It’s quite simple; You heal.

The more you heal, the more you get to move up the ladder.

A good place to start is to take a close look at the things that are stressing you out and giving you anxiety. Ask yourself what it is that’s making you feel the way you do?

Here’s a list of questions to get you started;

  • What am I afraid of?
  • What’s the worse that can happen to me?
  • What annoys the hell out of me?
  • What behaviour in others drives me mad?
  • What does my inner voice say when it’s being mean?

The answers to these questions will provide clues as to what it going on for you. Raising your self awareness is a very important first step.

Once you have a better ideas as to what is going for you, you can start to seek out help in resolving the feelings you have.

That might mean working with someone, or exploring this yourself using a DIY approach. We’re all different and have different needs.

Whichever route you choose, I can support you.

If you want to start exploring these themes yourself here is where I can help you;

Read the Clear Your Head Trash book

In the book, I share the Head Trash Clearance method which you can use to start clearing the things that are stressing you out and making you feel anxious.

If you want more than a book, but still want to keep exploring this DIY style, then let me invite you to join the Clearance Club.

Join the Clearance Club

The Clearance Club is my monthly membership that guides you through addressing various life themes. It provides you with everything you need to tackle your anxieties and stresses.

One member managed to heal her depression in just two months using the resources and tools in the Clearance Club.

If you would like one-to-one support on this journey then let me invite you to get in touch ADD LINK to GET SUPPORT PAGE

How easy is it to move up the Ladder of Healing?

The more healing you do, the easier it is to work your way up the ladder. This healing can take many forms and will depend on what’s going on for you, how important this is for you and how you decide to prioritise it, and whether you choose to try and do it all on your own, or get external help. There are lots of variables here, so I’d rather share my personal experiences with you as I feel that will help you the most.

On my own personal healing journey, jumping up a level accelerated when I did Head Trash Clearance. Other interventions like attending intense Tony Robbins events or long term meditation courses didn’t really move the needle for me.

The most notable jumps for me was when I decided to focus on clearing my head trash over the space of a few months.

In those months it was a priority. The two I’d like to share with you are

1. My first pregnancy when I decided to tackle my pregnancy and birth fears
Before my fist pregnancy, I was probably floating on the border of Conker and Washing Ball. With the inner work I did over the course of my pregnancy, when I gave birth to my first daughter, I was a Bouncy Ball. I’m going to dive into exactly what I did and what impact that had on my position on the ladder in a separate blog. So look out for that.

2. My most recent ‘dark night of the soul’ when I decided to focus on healing lots of my unresolved traumas
Due to some very challenging life situations, I slipped down the ladder from being a Snooker Ball and spent a good few months back as Bouncy Ball, maybe even a Washing Ball.

I spent around four months healing my traumas intensely. And I mean intensely! In that time I leapt and emerged as a Glitter Ball. I’ll be blogging about this soon too, so look out for that.

In terms of what I’ve observed in my clients, generally speaking, those that work 3 months with me tend to jump up a level. I’ve seen it happen in less than that, but 3 months is a good barometer.

This blog can shed more light on what is involved: How long does it take to clear head trash?

Now, just to revert to the word EASY in my previous questio “how easy is it to move up the ladder?”.

It’s easy in the sense of, here’s the to-do list, now just work through it. But that doesn’t mean that it’s super easy to actually do. Putting the time aside to do the clearances can be a struggle for some. Our self-sabotage kicks in and we can procrastinate like crazy. This is why working with someone like me can help you with that: it keeps you moving.

But if you commit to the process and the doing, then yes, you will get there.

Would you like to find out where you are on the Ladder of Healing?

I’ve created a quiz that will tell you. It’s really quick to do.¬†Just head over here to find out where you are on the ladder.

Alexia Leachman
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