My work has always been involved with people, firstly as a secondary school teacher and then as an RSPCA Education Adviser. However, I began to realise that although there is plenty of attention paid to the “external” aspects of people’s lives such as education and work, many people become isolated in their own internal worlds, the world of feelings, thoughts and beliefs. This sense of isolation can result in unhappiness and confusion. I wanted to understand more about this, so I returned to education and retrained as a therapeutic counsellor. I now work as a counsellor with young people from aged 11 upwards, and although much of my work is with adolescents I also work regularly with adults of all ages.
As a result of my training and experience, I have a thorough knowledge about the nature of childhood, adolescence and adulthood. This includes an understanding of emerging identity, and the complex demands placed on people in today's society, such as technology and the constant pressure to look and be a certain way.
I regularly work with clients on themes such as relationship and family issues, self-harming behaviour, suicidal thoughts, anger, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, loss, health issues, OCD, the effects of social media, and specific school-related issues such as bullying and exam pressure. Sometimes it is best to work in a focused way on a particular problem; at other times it may be helpful to work in a more open way, perhaps exploring a person’s life journey, to enable them to gain understanding of the meaning of their lives.
My professional qualifications include a BA Honours degree in Music, subsidiary subject Psychology, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education, a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, and a Certificate in Counselling Skills Working with Children and Young People.
I have also undertaken training in Mindfulness Meditation and Compassion Focused Therapy. These approaches are scientifically proven to help improve people’s mental health. Compassion Focused Therapy has been shown to be particularly helpful to people who may have high levels of self-criticism or shame. It uses techniques such as visualisations and breathing exercises to help a person tap into their imaginative world. This can be a powerful experience, and can work very effectively alongside other techniques which utilise the more cognitive or ‘rational’ part of our brain.
I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), which is the UK's leading body for talking therapies. Accreditation is a rigorous application and assessment process, and recognises the achievement of high standards of knowledge, experience and development as a counsellor. As a member of the BACP I adhere to their Ethical Framework for Good Practice, and I regularly have my work overseen by a clinical supervisor
I hold a current enhanced DBS certificate and am trained in safeguarding.