My training as a counsellor was at Masters level at the University of Brighton; I qualified with a Postgraduate Diploma in Person Centred Counselling in 2007. My work remains fully rooted in the person centred approach, as I continually see how effective this approach can be with people. I am a member of the Person Centred Association (bapca.org.uk).
I started my private practice in September 2007, working with individuals, adults and children and young people, and have worked continuously since then, building up and developing my experience of working with a wide range of issues, and with a wide range of clients, of all ages (from age 5 to 86) and backgrounds. Before I started my private practice I counselled in a preventative mental health centre, where clients were referred by their GPs.
I have a long-standing interest and specialism in working with bereavement. I initially volunteered with Cruse Bereavement Care supporting bereaved adults in 2005 – this was one of my training placements, when I was accruing the clinical hours I needed in order to qualify as a counsellor. I then continued with them – in total for seven years. I completed Cruse training to work with bereaved children and young people, and spent two years working with bereaved young people. I completed supervision training with Cruse, and for two years supervised groups of Cruse Bereavement Volunteers.
My interest and specialism in bereavement continues. I am a supervisor with St.Wilfrid’s Hospice, and supervise three groups of bereavement volunteers – qualified and trainee counsellors who support the bereaved family members of patients who have died at the hospice. I have also counselled bereaved parents and family members through the charity You Raise Me UP, which offers support and counselling to families who have lost children between the ages of 16 and 25.
I find my knowledge and understanding of bereavement helps me in my other work, as loss can be a feature of so many issues that clients may come to me with – for example, relationship and marriage breakdown, family issues and a lost sense of personal identity.
I enjoy supervision – facilitating counsellors as they explore their client work, ensuring they are working ethically and professionally, and helping them in their own personal and professional development. I continue to work as a supervisor in my private practice, currently supervising both trainee and qualified counsellors.
I am a qualified teacher, with a PGCE, and have worked in various primary schools in East Sussex, as a classroom teacher teaching 7 – 11 yr olds, and also in a senior management role as the Upper School Co-ordinator of a Junior school. I spent three years working as an Advisory Teacher for East Sussex County Council, providing training for teachers across the county. I combined my interests in counselling and training/teaching when I worked as a tutor at at Sussex Downs college for four years, where I taught counselling theory and skills to adults on interpersonal and counselling skills courses. Completion of these courses is often a requirement for those going on to counselling training courses. I also spent a year working as a Specialist Mentor for HE students on degree courses who were experiencing mental health issues, supporting them to be able to continue with their courses.
I very much enjoy working with children and young people – the aspect of my work I most enjoyed when I was a teacher was talking to children, getting to know and understand them, and find out what made them ‘tick’. I remember many times when I would be having a meaningful conversation with a child in break or lunchtime, and then the bell would ring and I would have to stop, and start teaching science – I would have preferred to carry on the conversation! As a counsellor I can have these conversations, and can fully explore with young people their worries, concerns and fears, and their successes and achievements. My first task when meeting a child or young person is to begin to form a connection with them, and to create a safe and confidential space which allows them to talk about their concerns, should they wish to do so.
My background in teaching is helpful in that I know and understand the educational environment, so am aware of school procedures and protocols around areas such as safeguarding. I find this helpful when working with my own clients and in my supervision work; I supervise school counsellors privately and provide supervision services for Fegans – a charity who provide counselling support in schools. I also supervise counsellors working with bereaved children and young people through the recently started children and young people’s project, The Seahorse Project, at St.Wilfrid’s Hospice.
- PG Dip in Person-Centred Counselling, University of Brighton, 2007
- Cruse accredited counsellor, 2007
- Training for working with Children and Young People, Cruse, 2008
- Ascentis accredited supervision training, through Cruse, 2010
- MA in Education, from the University of Sussex, 1994
- PGCE in Primary education
- I have a BA (Hons) in English and American Literature from the University of Kent.
I am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). As required by the BACP, I am in regular supervision and follow an ongoing programme of continued professional development to update my knowledge and skills. I am covered by professional liability insurance.