Therapy gives you the opportunity to speak in confidence and the time to make sense of past experiences and current problems. You will also gain new skills and insight which can support a greater sense of wellbeing. I offer CBT, Counselling, Psychotherapy and Couples Therapy online and in Leamington Spa* and specialise in work with clients who want to improve relationships, reduce stress and anxiety, lift depression and improve general mental health.
* Currently online only via Zoom.
I'm a registered and accredited BACP counsellor and psychotherapist. Working with me is a flexible process negotiated to suit your needs. The main psychotherapy I offer integrates CBT with mindfulness and other approaches within the limits of my training. I listen carefully to the issues you bring with a clear agenda to help you find your way towards your goals.
We will plan our work together in the first session, with a shared responsibility to keep track of progress. Our focused work will always be collaborative and supported by therapeutic conversation. Your responsibility is to be honest and open, taking time to say how you feel and how you would like things to change. My responsibility is to make sure every session gives you the opportunity to lighten the load. We may meet every week or space sessions to provide extra time for reflection, according to your needs and budget.
Whatever we agree, change is possible from the first session. However it's important to be clear that therapy can be challenging and tiring. It's an unknown territory for new clients and you might not feel 100% motivated and convinced right now that it's for you. Here's what one client wrote after our final session...
'I didn’t go to counselling because I wanted to, I went in an attempt to show my family that I was engaged in trying to sort out the situation I found myself in. When you are at a low point in your life the last thing you want to do is talk about things with a complete stranger. My first session was a guarded affair from my point of view. I didn’t believe in counselling, had no previous experience of it and could not see how talking could help me. How wrong I was! Gaynor was easy to talk to and gave me confidence to be totally honest in our sessions together. Quite quickly the sessions I had dreaded became a highlight of my week. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing and feeling real progress. Counselling may not be for everybody, but you never know unless you give it a go. Thanks Gaynor for helping me to find the ‘REAL ME’ again!'
BL, Leamington Spa, July 2019
Here are more comments from clients who have completed therapy with me over the years...
'Going into counselling, I was nervous that I would struggle to be open enough to really engage in the process and gain from it. Gaynor put me at ease straight away - allowing me to feel in control of the pace and focus of each session, listening and guiding me honestly and without judgement. I have come away from our sessions together with the ability to help myself and challenge my own thinking using prompts and strategies that we developed together. I feel capable and excited about my life again'.
L, Warwickshire, July 2021 (Online CBT).
‘I am indebted to Gaynor for her help over the past year. When we first met I had a very broad set of concerns and issues affecting my personal life with no real idea what they were or why they manifested themselves. Through patience and skill, a lot of compassion and an ability to be considerate, non judgemental and ease out root causes of my beliefs and the actions I take, Gaynor has given me the confidence to look ahead. I will always remember what she has taught me’.
DN, Warwickshire, July 2019
'Working with Gaynor has been a fantastic experience. She is skilled at her work, knowledgeable and passionate about helping people through therapy. This, and the fact that she is easy to get along with made an experience that can be very tough actually fun and insightful! The sessions, as well as being enjoyable, were also very difficult and challenging. It’s a courageous thing to face your issues head on, and it takes a lot of effort from you and your therapist to make improvements, but if you’re willing to open up and put in the work, these sessions will really change your life for the better. I can honestly say that CBT with Gaynor has improved my mental health and has set me on the right path to be in control of my life. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is struggling with their mental health. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your well-being. I have asked Gaynor to add my full name to this feedback because I think it’s important to show other people that getting help is something to be proud of'.
Thomas Russell, July 2018.
'I found Gaynor after taking time off work with anxiety and needed to speak to somebody neutral about my fears. My anxiety was work-related and having to speak publicly triggered a challenging time. Gaynor was easy to talk to and really helped me to uncover where these fears came from. Some of the sessions were difficult but enlightening and I’m so pleased I had CBT with Gaynor. I’m able to draw on the techniques I learned when I need them and have just received an ‘outstanding’ performance rating from my organisation and am growing in confidence with public speaking'.
N, November 2018.
'I found Gaynor had a true gift for listening and then distilling from my words the essence of my issues. She gave me short perceptive insights that immediately “gelled” with me and allowed me to grasp ideas that have greatly helped. From the start there was a very firm dose of what was realistic, which coupled with a good-humoured intelligence, left me after a short number of sessions feeling I had made sense of confusing areas of my life and given me some real hope'.
Tony, Warwickshire, 2017.
'I went to Gaynor for bereavement counselling 6 months after my wife died. I'm so glad that I did. Counselling is invaluable regardless of how emotionally strong you feel you are and I am now much better equipped to deal with life's challenges. It is good to see someone who you can pour your heart out to in total confidence and who doesn't sit in judgement. Gaynor is easy to talk to, good humoured, positive and helps you make sense of everything and all the emotions that you have at a time of loss. She helps you develop the skills to cope with life's ups and downs and I can't recommend Gaynor and bereavement counselling highly enough'.
Chris, Leamington Spa, 2017.
'Counselling was, at first, a scary concept - I've never been able to articulate my feelings very well and so naturally talking in hourly sessions about it seemed a poor idea. It has, however, been a monumental help in dealing with stress and depression. I would recommend Gaynor for any variety of problem; her forward and honest approach was hugely refreshing and allowed us to get to the core of my issues and find realistic solutions'.
Henry, aged 18, Warwickshire.
'I cannot recommend Gaynor highly enough. Her counselling sessions, even difficult ones, are always supportive and caring. When I first came to see Gaynor, I was in an extremely difficult place. I was so low that for the first two to three sessions I was unable to say very much at all. Now, two years on, I am working again in a new job that I enjoy very much, and I feel much more comfortable within myself. I feel more able to cope with things and work through them. I don’t need to see Gaynor now, but knowing that she is there should the need arise, is good to know. I can truly say that I am the happiest I have ever been and I could not have reached this point without the help of Gaynor'.
'Gaynor provided a professional, supportive and challenging environment for me to learn CBT techniques that have helped address an ingrained detrimental behaviour. I feel much better equipped following my time with Gaynor and the evidence of progress continues daily. I am very grateful'.
Important note on confidentiality: When clients decide that it's time to end counselling, I ask for feedback. Some clients give permission for me to use their comments in the hope that they can encourage others to take that first step but this is always the client's choice.
Now, if you are interested in working with me, here is some more detailed information about issues that clients bring to counselling and psychotherapy and how I might work with them...
Couples and Relationship Issues
If you are thinking about relationship counselling, it's important to understand what kind of help you can expect from me. When I work with a couple, or any two people experiencing difficulties in their relationship, I want to hear the concerns of two individuals without judgement and without taking sides, even when they have very different feelings about the same issues. I want to help each person to hear the views of the other without the need to feel defensive. My aim is to help couples to communicate effectively without distress and wearying arguments. I do also offer family sessions where appropriate. Please note that couples and family appointments last for 80 minutes to allow good time for each person to talk about what concerns them most.
You've tried to stay in control but anger bursts out at the slightest thing. You know that people you care about are walking on eggshells. Counselling can help you to understand your feelings and control your behaviour. It's the behaviour that is damaging, not the feeling. Feeling angry is normal and it is ideal if we can experience the full range of emotions. It’s not helpful to try to block them because they'll find a way out somehow. I offer the client a safe place where all their feelings can be expressed, without fear of judgement or harm to others. We work together to help manage unhelpful behaviour and, at the same time, we talk about what fuels the angry feelings because understanding can bring real relief.
Anxiety and Panic
Anxiety and panic may mean you withdraw from enjoyable aspects of life such as social activities, career opportunities and relationships. It’s important to know that anxiety helps us to survive. Sensing threat can be uncomfortable but it would be a mistake to ignore or remove the warnings. CBT helps you to learn to respond accurately to external and internal signals and to gain confidence to live your life fully. Clients can feel better quickly, even after one session, as they learn to communicate more effectively with their bodies.
Bereavement can leave you feeling like your world is shattered. You want everything ‘back to normal’ but it doesn't seem possible. Grief is a healthy, natural process which puts you ‘on hold’ until you have mourned and made sense of your loss. The raw feelings of grief fade over time as you begin to function again in your new, changed reality. Bereavement can be particularly difficult if it is sudden, if you had a confused relationship with the person who died, or if the death seems out of step with the right order of things, such as when a child dies or when we are bereaved by suicide. I provide a confidential space where you can say how you feel. With support and gentle challenge, I help you to rebuild for the future.
You feel exhausted, low... depressed. It's like you're living in a separate world and, even though people ask you to try, you can't seem to join in with everyone else. You might not even know why you feel this way or how it started. Can counselling really help? It can, and you don’t have to know what’s wrong before you start. In the first session we begin a process of therapeutic conversations. Working together, we will explore your thoughts, feelings and concerns, helping you to make sense of your depression and, in time, to leave it behind. Lifting your mood and beginning to re-engage with your life can take time. However, I do know that taking this first step and beginning to understand your feelings and your situation can be helpful, even from the first session.
OCD is diagnosed when a reasonable strategy for living a healthy life has developed to the point where it stops the person living healthily and has become a distressing cycle of anxiety and brief reassurance. For example, it makes sense to keep clean or check that appliances are off when you go out. But when you can only relax if you take your iron to work, something is out of balance. The behaviours you developed to reduce anxiety are now causing your distress. Counselling and CBT can help you to restore the balance. My aim is to help you to identify the roots of your anxiety so you can stop trying to control the world. With agreed tasks, I encourage you to re-learn how to assess risk and to manage repetitive thoughts and behaviours.
Relationships (This is for problems with relationships in general. For couples therapy, see specific section in this list above).
Maybe you feel like leaving your partner or you fear that they will leave you. Perhaps you want to understand why they left or why all relationships seem difficult. It makes sense to talk to someone you know, but what if your relationship with that person is the problem? Talking to someone trustworthy and impartial can help. It’s normal to want to change people around you so they become easier to live with. But the only way you can influence other people is to change the way you relate to them. Usually we have a relationship style that we learned as a child and, perhaps surprisingly, we relate to most people in the same way. So I use the counselling relationship as a guide and, together, we explore difficulties and consider what you would like to change.
You hear yourself saying things like ‘I’m useless’ or ‘nobody would want to be with me.’ And every time you seem to fail at a relationship or an interview, it’s just confirmation that you're right. Maybe you’ve stopped trying. If this is you, no wonder you feel low. When we’re young, we don’t put ourselves down but we do notice if other people say we’re no good. And because those people matter to us, we begin to believe it. Then, later on in adult life, a put-down or rejection from a partner or boss can stir up old feelings of being worthless. So we feel low again and pile on the self-criticism; yes, we really are useless, just like they said. My aim is to help you to build a different, more accurate, view of yourself and an increasingly resilient way of being in the world.
Training, qualifications & experience
BACP Accredited since 2010 Registration No:022638
2010: MSc Psychotherapy (Distinction)
2009: Advanced Diploma in the Supervision of Counsellors & Psychotherapists
2007: Diploma in the Theory and Practice of Counselling
2006: BSc (Honours) Psychology
CBT and Trauma Specific Training Courses and Professional Development
2020: DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) Skills (Marsha Linehan)
2020: CBT for Couples (Beck Institute)
2020: Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) including EMDR, CBT and Somatic-Based Interventions (PESI UK)
2020: REWIND for Trauma (David Muss)
2018: CBT for Personality Disorders (Beck Institute)
2016: CBT for Depression (Beck Institute)
2016: Essentials of CBT (Beck Institute)
2015: Problem Solving Techniques in CBT (SDS)
2015: Teaching and Supervising CBT (Beck Institute, Philadelphia)
2020: Counselling online: A coronavirus primer (BACP/Open University)
I have been working as a counsellor and psychotherapist since 2006 in a range of organisational settings and in private practice since 2010. Among my experience of issues as a counsellor, psychotherapist & mental health mentor, I include: abuse, addiction, anger, anxiety, Asperger Syndrome, bereavement and loss, cancer, conflict resolution, couples therapy, depression, low self esteem, motivation, OCD, panic, personality disorders, relationships, self harm, spirituality, stress, suicidal thoughts, trauma and work-related issues. My preferred approach is CBT although I am qualified in person-centred therapy and integrate other approaches and methods where appropriate and within the limits of my training. I have also been a clinical supervisor for other counsellors and psychotherapists since 2009 and an HE lecturer, training counsellors and psychotherapists since 2012.
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 Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.
Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.
All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
I prefer to see the client as a person, rather than as a disorder, and I am ready to work with any presenting issues if they are appropriate for CBT, counselling and psychotherapy. I have ticked a range of issues in the section above which relate to my areas of experience. However, I am willing to work with any issues. Please ask if you are unsure and we can discuss my competence to work with you. Some other areas not included in the list above are: Conflict Resolution, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), Living with a Cancer Diagnosis, Living with a Mental Health Diagnosis, Relationship Counselling, Couples Therapy, Family Issues and Suicide of a Relative.
Online sessions only.