Our founder, Dr. Jane Leigh, penned her memoir based on her personal experience of trauma and abuse and how this led to her professional journey as a clinical psychotherapist in the mental health industry. Her book was successfully published in December 2012 and officially launched in the Wyndham Vale Library in 2013.
'This powerfully moving, brutally honest, and inspiring memoir tells of the tumultuous life of renowned Australian psychotherapist and Beyond Blue ambassador, Dr. Jane Leigh.
Born in Singapore, Dr. Jane's childhood was filled with emotional trauma. She suffered sexual assault at the hands of her parents as a child and by priests of the Roman Catholic Church as an adolescent. She moved to Perth in Western Australia, and at seventeen years of age, Dr. Jane was raped then forced into a loveless marriage, leaving her a single mother of two children at the age of twenty-three. Just as Dr. Jane began her struggle for survival, she was hit by more devastating news – the savage murder of her uncle David, the only true father she ever had.
Dr. Jane was diagnosed with chronic depression and suffered a severe mental breakdown in 2002, when she was confronted with two choices: give up or stand and fight. Dr. Jane chose to confront the crippling after-effects of her sexual abuse. From legally confronting the unethical methods of one of Australia’s largest private pathology companies to a series of failed, abusive relationships with men, Dr. Jane’s touching story describes her long, arduous journey of counselling, therapy, self-discovery, and eventual healing.
Dr. Jane went on to further her education and obtained her master’s degree in counselling from Monash University. In 2007, Dr. Jane set up her own private counselling practice in western Melbourne, where she continues, through her profession, personal experience, and role as a Beyond Blue ambassador, to help thousands of people suffering from the debilitating effects of mental illness caused by trauma and abuse.'
“Children are for most of us a blessing, they are the reason for our existence, they give us reason to strive to be better so we can give them what we did not have and to make the world a better place. Conversely a child can be a means, primarily to predators, to pleasuring carnal desires through the use of positions of trust. The world then takes on a dark nature as the child’s life is confusing, painful and lonely. Children who are exposed to sexual abuse are prone to further abuse in adulthood as predators seem to be drawn to them like a magnet. How does a child define their experience of being a child as being anything but normal when they have nothing else to draw on? How do they then continue to survive into adulthood with predators circling just waiting for an opening? This book will give you an inkling.
Dr. Jane Leigh in her book “My Nine Lives” gives us a glimpse into the life of a child who is exposed to church-sanctioned abuse. When she goes to her mother for help the psychological harm is further ingrained as Dr. Jane’s mother then accuses her of the sin of leading the priests into temptation. The mother’s only action was to then go to church to pray for her daughter’s sins. Into adulthood Dr. Jane’s life descends further into one abusive experience after another, not always sexually. The more Dr. Jane is abused the more she needs to be loved and cared for by a loving partner and this need continues to make her vulnerable to the approaches of further predators. In spite of these traumatic experiences Dr. Jane is able to balance many of her experiences by looking for the positives in them and not becoming bitter. Her courage in this respect is something as a reviewer I much admire.
Dr. Jane’s own mental health suffered as a consequence of her experiences as she continually dealt with depression and suicide, her only solace being her own children. It was having children that gave Dr. Jane the strength to continue to live and do what her own parents could not do for her and that was love them and be there for them. Dr. Jane is extraordinary in that she survived multiple experiences of abuse, many of them on their own enough to send any normal person into a spiral of despair and desolation.
Dr. Jane’s story is brutally honest. She does not use the book as a platform to excuse her actions or vilify the men who used her. The book is simply her story as she sees it and her story is one of inner strength, courage, honesty and a mother’s love for her children. Dr. Jane’s ability to use her life story to resolve her own inner demons and with the help of therapy and self-discovery to move forward is one all counsellors and victims of abuse could benefit from by reading.
Philip Armstrong, FACA
CEO, Australian Counselling Association Inc.
“When trust in the people we love results in deep betrayal all that is left for the human spirit is the quest for survival. Dr. Jane Leigh’s extraordinary memoir begins in her childhood where the tapestry of her life is woven. Dr. Jane takes us through the labyrinth of her life and demonstrates how the foundation of childhood determines how and why we unconsciously attract the same experiences to our present in our attempt to grow and heal.
Dr. Jane never loses sight of her values or her faith in true love. With only hope as her guide she finds a place deep within herself to find the courage to heal. From victim to survivor Dr. Jane’s book will resonate with anyone who has experienced trauma or loss, and will assist in each person’s unique journey towards healing and developing unconditional love for oneself.”
Dr. Peggy Kardaras, PhD.
"The book "My Nine Lives" is one of the most powerful true accounts on the subject of sexual and emotional abuse that I have encountered.
If you are or have been a victim of sexual and / or emotional abuse from parents, teachers, clergy or others in authority, or other loved ones and want to start taking back control of your life then this is a must-read.
The book also shows that through the support and genuine love of the people close to us there is hope that we will find the light at the end of a very deep and dark tunnel, and that true love and happiness may one day be possible."
Stuart Steinberg, PGDip. Loss & Grief (Victoria University)
Loss & Grief Counsellor
Several radio stations have engaged with Dr. Jane regarding her book.
To listen to an interview with Dr. Jane about her book, please click here
Dr. Jane's Book is Available for Purchase at: