Counsellor & Psychotherapist
MA, BA Hons, UKCP
Working with children, young people,
adults & parents
WHAT TO EXPECT
Counselling is simply a safe and confidential space for individuals to talk about any difficulties they are experiencing. A counsellor helps people explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviours without judgement so they can develop a better understanding of themselves and of others; good counsellors empower clients to find their own solutions. Sessions are generally 50 minutes long over an agreed or open-ended period of time.
The main difference between counselling and psychotherapy is that counselling tends to be shorter and deals with a less broad spectrum of issues and the training for practitioners is shorter. Psychotherapy tends to look more deeply into a person's internal world and may take place over years. In reality, the two things tend to overlap.
There are lots of different types of counselling/psychotherapy and finding the right kind with the right person for you is key to success. If you are unsure about what works for you, try out some different people and styles or email me and we can discuss. Walk away from anything that doesn't feel like the right fit.
It is a joy to be hidden but a disaster not to be found
A former writer and editor, I changed tack when an unexpected illness forced confrontation with myself and ideas about my future purpose. It kick-started my own therapeutic process (I was cynical and resistant) as well as thoughts around how to combine my interests in psychology and the human condition with meaning-making through story. This, whilst still honouring the strong pull I have to work 'in service of others'.
After studying for my Masters in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (and adult counselling), I took up a number of clinical positions in the community, working predominately with vulnerable and disadvantaged clients with mental health issues - an area I continue to work in and feel committed to.
What I really like about this very challenging internal work is the privilege of being alongside people as they discover new perspectives on old narratives about themselves and their lives. Witnessing them and supporting them as this very intimate, excavatory process unfolds, in all its mess and beauty.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you
I feel strongly about retaining a connection with my local area through developing and working on local services which benefit diverse and disadvantaged communities. Over the the past 7 years these have included; Perinatal projects for parents at risk of Domestic Abuse, substance misuse and mental health issues, a young person’s emotional support service for individuals with mental health issues, an online emotional support service for care-leavers and a counselling service for youngsters aged 13+.
I have developed and facilitated group work with mums and babies with mental health issues and for young people with learning difficulties.
I have also headed up a busy clinical department for a London-based child and adolescent psychotherapy training centre and mental health institute.
I write and consult on children's books relating to mental health and wellbeing.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS & MEMBERSHIPS
MA Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling (includes adult counselling)
Art Psychotherapy Foundation
Theraplay Stage 1
Registered member of UKCP
Full DBS Check
I regularly update my CPD (Continuing Professional Development)
I am a UKCP registered Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Adult Counsellor.
I am qualified to carry out sessions with clients of all ages including children, young people and adults but I have a particular interest in working with young adults and parents. I have considerable experience in short-term work and believe it is possible to make big shifts in a short (ish) timeframe. I have also found that working within a pre-agreed time frame can be incentivising for both the client and the therapist.
I am warm, empathic, pragmatic, compassionate, humourful and creative in my approach. I value individual difference, honesty, curiosity and finding your own path. I strongly believe people should be empowered to find their own answers.
Integrative counselling means I assess the whole person, taking into account their mental, physical and emotional needs and use techniques and tools from different modalities to tailor an individual approach.
I work with issues such as (but not limited to) the following:
Adverse childhood experiences
Exploration of sexuality
Sexual, emotional or physical abuse
Feeling lost, stuck or generally unhappy with where you are in your life
Chronic health issues-mental and physical
Bereavement and loss
Raising a human being is hard. Tantalisingly beautiful and agonisingly hard. Despite it being a new job for everyone at the start, parents often expect to have all the answers immediately and are very critical of themselves when they don’t. This, despite the fact that any previous job they have ever attempted, has taken years of hard work and support to master.
Similarly, when challenges emerge along the way they chide themselves for not noticing or acting on them sooner, making the right decision first time, or generally expecting to be a child development expert as well as a parent. It’s an impossible amount of pressure and expectation! Especially considering the lack of praise or encouragement that generally comes your way.
Supporting parents is an area I feel passionately about, and one I have found profoundly rewarding to work in over the years. I have run mother and baby groups, worked in perinatal services and headed up a clinical department carrying out family assessments - in order to recommend and deliver therapeutic interventions.
Recognising the need for specific support for parents, I developed the following two targeted support services.
1. New parent support
Becoming a parent for the first time can be particularly daunting. On top of the physical challenges and the new stresses wrought on the co-parenting relationship, it may stir up difficult feelings from the past or anxieties about the future, ideas about how you will cope or about your relationship with your child. Parents tend to address any medical issues in this stage but overlook the need for emotional support -just when it may be most needed.
I offer therapy sessions for new parents, to give a space to these emotions at a time of great vulnerability and new learning.
These sessions are conducted just like other sessions, but with the focus on this new stage of life. They are guided by the client in terms of what issues they wish to talk about, be they the practical (yet no less emotional) challenges of motherhood/fatherhood such as struggles with feeding or sleep difficulties, or the impact on the new parent of a traumatic labour or their own early childhood experience. I believe attachment-based, responsive parenting and parent-centred solutions are most effective.
My role, is not to tell individuals what to do but to hear and validate their experience, and reflect it back. My hope is that the new parent will feel deeply witnessed, understood, supported and empowered as they emerge into their new role and community.
The number of sessions is flexible but, as a guide, a course of 12 may feel helpful, and can start at the end of pregnancy.
2. Parent consultations
I offer parent consultations for those who may be concerned about their children('s) emotional health/behaviour and would like another perspective on what might be going on. These sessions are up to 1.5 hrs long, during which time I take details about family background and discuss concerns.
The aim is to give parents a chance to be heard and to think together with someone objectively - and without judgement - about what might be going on and what may be needed to best support all.
This might include; considering a therapeutic intervention for either parent or child, signposting to other relevant organisations, or simply finding ways to support yourself as a parent.
During Covid I am working remotely via Zoom or telephone.
For adult, adolescent, child or new parent sessions:
Initial assessment £60.00 (up to 90 minutes)
Subsequent sessions £50.00 (50 minutes)
For one-off parent support sessions:
Parent consultation £60.00 (up to 90 minutes)
Term time only