Dr Karen Halford Verified Professional Verified Professional
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Clinical Psychologist

About me

I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, with extensive experience in the NHS and in private practice.

Psychological difficulties

I work with people who are struggling with a variety of complex psychological difficulties such as depression (from mild to severe), eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and others), anxiety (including panic, phobias, social anxiety, health anxiety etc), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma/PTSD (from one-off events such as accidents to more complex early abuse), body dysmorphic disorder and many others. Usually I work with the difficulties and symptoms a person is struggling with rather than focusing on the diagnosis, unless that is preferred and requested. 

I also provide therapy to help people to cope with difficult life experiences (such as redundancy or a relationship breakdown), stress, low self-esteem or low self-confidence.

I work alongside people to explore their difficulties with them, help them to understand themselves better and find ways to improve their situation. I have helped many people to feel better about themselves, to make significant improvements in their lives and to enjoy life more. I develop strong therapeutic relationships with people and work in a collaborative way.

Therapeutic approach

My training and experience enables me to use many different approaches with different people, according to the current research evidence and taking into account an individual's needs and preferences. I very often use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people to move forward and overcome their difficulties, but I can also draw on several other models where appropriate, particularly schema-focused therapy, ACT (including mindfulness), compassion-focused therapy and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR). I would be happy to give you more information about each of these approaches if you would find this useful.


The first session or two (the assessment) would involve talking with you about the difficulties you are facing, what you would like to change from our work together (identifying therapeutic goals) and finding out about your life to date, to help us to make sense of your current problems. We will then discuss how to progress and how many sessions this is likely to involve. There is no obligation to continue meeting with me if you do not feel I am the right person to work with you or if you do not feel ready to undertake the therapy at this time.

Clinic rooms  I have confidential practice rooms in Milton Park, Abingdon, eight miles from Oxford. Parking is readily available. I work Mondays to Fridays.

Further information

Please have a look at my website for further information: www.halfordpsychology.co.uk

I would be really happy to talk to you on the phone to help you to decide if I can provide what you feel you need (07847 886718) or to answer any questions you have by email (karenjhalford@yahoo.co.uk), if you would feel more comfortable with this.  Both my email and my phone messaging service can only be accessed by me so are totally confidential, so please feel free to leave a message if I am not available and I will contact you as soon as I can. I look forward to hearing from you.

Training, qualifications & experience

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (D.Clin.Psych) from Oxford University
Masters Degree (MSc) in Applied Psychology from Cranfield University (Class 1)
Post-graduate Diploma in Advanced Studies in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University (Class 1 - Distinction)
BA (Hons) degree in Management from Hull University (Class 2:1)
My doctoral thesis examined possible factors involved in the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after childbirth
Professional Certificate in Coaching from Henley Business School (Distinction)

Further training

Schema Therapy Foundations: Theory and Core Skills (Schema Therapy School)

Rewiring the Anxious Brain (Dr Catherine M Pittman)

Advanced Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (Dr Russ Harris)
Excellence in Report Writing for Expert Witness work (Bond Solon)
Business and Responsibilities for Expert Witness Work (BPS)
Various additional CBT training courses eg for Depression, OCD, Self-harm, Formulation skills, Low self-esteem, Trauma/PTSD, Complex cases, (Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre)
CBT for childhood sexual abuse (Dr Helen Kennerley)
CBT to build resilience and uncover strengths (Dr Christine Padesky)
DBT (Dr Fiona Kennedy)
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for depression (Professor Mark Williams)
Teaching mindfulness skills to clients (Greyrock Ltd)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Mindfulness Training Ltd)
Compassion Focused Therapy for childhood trauma (Dr Deborah Lee)
EMDR (EMDR Works Ltd)
Addictions (Ronnie Aaronson)
Schema Therapy for Complex Cases, BPD, Narcissm and Anxious/Avoidant PD (Schema Therapy Associates Ltd)
Time-limited Schema Therapy (Schema Therapy Associates Ltd)
Psychodynamic principles and practice (Tavistock Centre)
Clinical Supervision: supervising others (Oxford Doctoral Course in Clinical Psychology)

I have worked in the NHS for many years in three different Trusts; Oxford Health, Tees Esk & Wear Valleys and Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust in several different mental health teams, a rehab unit and a specialist eating disorder unit.

I am Chartered by and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and fully registered as a Clinical Psychologist by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) which means that I offer high levels of knowledge and expertise and follow ethical and professional guidelines in my practice. I am committed to continuing professional development so I often attend additional training and I have regular supervision to ensure the highest levels of professional care for my clients.

Prior to my psychology training and joining the NHS, I joined the graduate management scheme in Unilever (UCMDS) and worked in a marketing/brand management capacity for several years, both in Unilever and other multinational organisations.

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

Registered / Accredited

Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.


British Psychological Society (BPS)

British Psychological Society


Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.

They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.

Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.


£150.00 per session

Health Insurance/EAP

  • BUPA
  • Axa Health
  • Health Assured
  • Aviva
  • Vitality
  • WPA

Additional information

Fees are £150 per session. Sessions last for a full hour. You are welcome to attend sessions weekly or fortnightly, whichever suits you best.

Payment by bank transfers are preferable and if you are happy to pay this way, I will provide you with the bank details at our first session.

Different fees apply to Insurance companies. I am registered with most of the major Insurance providers.  If you would like to see me through your health insurance, you will need to ask your GP to write a letter to your insurance company. Once they have received this, your insurance company will provide you with an authorisation number. Please could you provide this number to me when you first make contact with me.

When I work

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Further information


"The work I did with you Karen literally saved my life”

"Thank you for being so experienced - I knew I was in safe hands from the moment I met you"

"I am really glad I found you!"

“My whole life feels more positive; I wish I had come to see you before now”

"Thank you for not being afraid to talk about big subjects"

“Your utter brilliance at what you do has enabled me to get through the worst part of my life”

“It is fair to say that working with you has helped to change my view of myself and left me a happier and more confident person as a result.  You have always been kind, thoughtful and insightful”

“You have such a good balance between being challenging and empathic.  I always knew you were on my side, but you knew when I was strong enough to be challenged and when I felt too fragile.  It has been such a difficult journey but you were there with me the whole way”

“I would like to thank you for your help in finding myself again and finding new paths to walk. You are, in a way, my guiding star...”

"I feel so lucky to have worked with you"

"I am in such a different place to 12 months ago, thanks to your skill and patience. I think we all need someone like you in our lives"

“Karen, you are such a great mix of being professional and knowledgeable and being warm and genuine”

“I have had therapy before, but what I have done with you is just poles apart from anything I have done before.  I am now a different person and I am really comfortable with who I am now”

"Taking the decision to see you was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.  I'm glad to have met you, you helped me shape towards a far better version of myself probably in more ways than an email could express"

"I began therapy on anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and prescription sleeping pills and I ended it completely medication-free.  At no point did it feel like a talking shop, and I benefited greatly from the well-laid out and objective-driven pathways provided for me.  I cannot recommend Karen enough, especially as someone who put off therapy for almost half their life for fear of what it would entail; she is quite literally a 'life saver'"

Abingdon, Oxford, OX14

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Older adults

Key details

Wheelchair user access

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