Alison Thorpe

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Focusing Practitioner (BFA) and counsellor (MNCS Accred)
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

Brighton BN3 & Hove BN3
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

Welcome to my therapeutic practice.

I consider my work with clients to be about deep healing. Let me explain why:

Along with my counselling training, I discovered and trained in an approach called 'Focusing' which transformed my life. Focusing is many things, but at its simplest, it is a way of tuning in to our inner world with curiosity and waiting to see what emerges. When we learn to do this, we discover that there is incredible awareness and wisdom that we can tap into that we did not know existed. I personally had many YEARS of psychotherapy - with not really much change - and with several therapists - before I discovered this process. And then issues like repeating bouts of depression, not feeling good enough - and in the worst times, feeling like a failure at life - actually shifted, changed and I was able to be happy. I also discovered where these feelings came from (spoiler alert: they mostly stemmed from dissociated childhood trauma).

When we come into counselling or therapy, it is natural to talk about our problems, our unhappiness, our struggles, and what we’re longing for - but after that, then what happens? How do things change? It can be very supportive and helpful to be listened to and cared about and not judged. And we may have realisations, see things in a new light, appreciate things about ourselves that we didn't before, and take some new steps. This can especially be the case when we feel validated by a therapist – that we 'make sense', that our feelings are valid and have meaning and are about what has happened to us in our lives.

However, often we need an approach which goes deeper to what it's all about. For me, Focusing was that approach, and still is.

I work with various issues people struggle with - anxiety, depression, procrastination, decision-making, relationship and work issues, stress, bereavement, identity, including gender identity, feeling sad, unhappy or unfulfilled, growing older, fears about the world including climate change anxiety as well as reactions to the state of the world right now. There is also the influence of early life issues and trauma that may even have come from previous generations. Often when our parents or grandparents have been through trauma and oppression, we experience some of it too. 

Often it is hard to even name what we're seeking help for - and that is OK since a Focusing experiential approach will bring answers for you. 

Over the 10 years I've been a counsellor,  clients have given me consistent feedback that they've felt understood, cared about and were able to share things with me that had felt difficult before. I deeply understand that so many people feel some - or a lot of - shame with what they're going through or can't manage. Somehow we are not good enough, we've failed, we're putting on a good front or mask. And actually you may not be able to put on a mask anymore, because things have got too overwhelming.

You might also want to come to counselling because you sense something is missing, you want to go forward, or be who you are in the world, but feel held back or are not able to express your potential, in whatever way. 

I am trained in the person-centred approach of Carl Rogers, and my aim, first and foremost is to be with you, in our counselling sessions, in a genuine way, with empathy and deep acceptance of you - the person you are and what you're struggling with or would like to be different.

As well as Focusing, I am training in a complementary approach called 'Clean Language' (for example: Clean Language at its simplest is asking pared down questions that both give you freedom to answer in any way you like, whilst helping you on the journey of inner discovery. I am combining these 2 approaches and as a way of making Focusing easier to access for people. 

I have a lot of experience working with trauma - both things that have been difficult, perhaps impossible, in childhood as well as traumatic things that might have happened to you in adult life. Often we can substitute the word 'overwhelming' instead of 'trauma'. I have a lot of experience enabling clients find real healing from childhood abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse as well as other traumas in adult life.

I also know that a lot of life issues people deal with are due to or exacerbated by financial worries, job insecurity, and the harsh ways people can be treated in our society at present - as well as the strain on our medical and mental health services. I endeavor to provide a service that is culturally sensitive and aware and with awareness of power and privilege differences between us. 

LGBTQIA* including trans and non-binary people very welcome. 

Previous clients have also told me that I've helped them with some useful ways of working. These are:

  • Simple grounding and calming exercises to relieve overwhelm and anxiety, or when people feel spaced out or not in the present. 
  • Working with aspects or 'parts' of ourselves. It might sound strange language at first, but it can really help overwhelm, depression, and anxiety to be able to listen to the anxious or overwhelmed or hopeless part of us. It can quickly get us out of overwhelmed states.
  • Slowing down and seeing what comes when we ask how 'the whole thing' feels. For example, how am I after that difficult conversation with my colleague, my partner, my mum? If we wait a little, we might notice that something comes in our body, our feelings - maybe a tightness in the chest or some sadness or longing in our heart area. Or an image comes to describe how we feel in this situation, what it is like for us. If we stay with this, it can reveal so much that is helpful and intrinsically healing. The body does actually know how to heal, and it is quite extraordinary to experience. 
  • Some Clean Language questions like '...and what kind of stuck is that stuck?' (It might be a big wall in front of us, we might feel stuck in the mud, we might feel we are just about keeping our head above the water). 
  • Using art materials to represent something, or to follow a process using images, and marks on paper.

Guided Focusing Sessions instead of counselling

As well as working as a counsellor, you can come for a guided Focusing session. The name comes from the idea of something fuzzy and unclear coming into focus.  "Focusing" is like mindfulness - it is slowing down....taking a pause (and we might start with a bit of noticing the surroundings, your breathing, do a short body scan, some grounding) - and then invite whatever wants to arise, in your awareness, in relation to what you'd like to focus on. (You don't have to give attention to a problem or bad feeling, you can give attention to something that you long for, something unfulfilled, something you'd like in your life or be curious about who you really are). Bringing a gentle curiosity to yourself, you let whatever arises be there, acknowledge it, and see what it has to show you or communicate with you. It's very much a process of allowing what comes without trying to control or steer it. Our body and mind will do this for us if we are just there with friendly curiosity and a bit of patience.

An example: back in 2011, when I first learnt Focusing on a weekend course, I was very stressed in my job. I don't recall all of the session now, but I was aware of the centre of my chest, around or in my heart - there was something important there, it felt 'concentrated' and like it was held in or held back....I stayed with how it felt in my body, how my body and feelings were communicating with me about this job stress....then I got words that just appeared (which felt very different to the thinking about, and worrying about the job that I'd been doing over the weeks before, like the words themselves were coming from somewhere different), and the words were "there's no love here". And even though I couldn't have explained to anyone what that actually meant, I knew in the core of me that I had to leave that job. No question. It was an experience I've never forgotten. It took me a while to actually leave but I never wavered on this being utterly the right thing to do. And I've never regretted it, quite the opposite. It actually led me to training as a counsellor, which was what I had really wanted to do but not had the confidence to go for it previously. I learnt then and there  that there is an amazing inner guidance that we all have as humans and we can tap into in various ways. You can book a session with me to try out Focusing and I will take you through it so you can see for yourself. 

I'm also influenced by Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy and working with "parts" of self and "inner child" work. I find Focusing also goes naturally to parts of self.  I wrote an article for Counselling Directory on this which you can read below. 

£60 per 50 minute session (in person)

£65 per 75 minute session (in person)

£60 for 60 minute session online.

I usually work over Zoom and will send you a private link for our session.

I do offer cheaper sessions when I have space available so please ask.

It can feel daunting and scary to contact a counsellor. We can take things at your pace, you are in control. 

You're very welcome to contact me to take things forward together.

Training, qualifications & experience

Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (person-centred approach), City Lit, London, 2013-16.

Certificate in Counselling Skills (person-centred approach), City Lit, London, 2012-13

British Focusing Association certified Focusing Practitioner (

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies, University of East London/Tavistock Clinic, 1992-7.

I have been counselling adults for 8 years and accompanying and supporting people with focusing and listening skills for 11 years.

I worked at the Centre for Better Health, Hackney E9 and at Trust The Process, Lewisham (SE8), a drug and alcohol recovery project.

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.

National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS)

The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society

This Not For Profit association of counsellors and psychotherapists aim to support the counselling profession, members and training organisations.

In 2013 the NCS register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under the Accredited Voluntary Register Scheme. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Accredited register membership

National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society
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.

National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Complex trauma, developmental trauma, dissociation.

Photos & videos


£60.00 - £65.00

Concessions offered for

  • Low income
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Unemployed

Additional information

Counselling is £60 for 60 minutes online, or £60 for 50 minutes in-person or £65 for 75 minutes in-person.

I am also open to working for longer length sessions (eg 1.5 or 2 hours) if this would suit you or you'd like to explore this. The cost of this is negotiable between us.

When I work

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Saturday sessions available.

Hove Therapy Rooms, 69 Church Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN3 2BB

Unique Mind Therapy Rooms, 75 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2BB

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Young adults (18-24)
Adults (25-64)
Older Adults (65+)

Additional languages


Online platforms




Focusing to support you, to give you new insights into your clients and the therapy relationship, and to alleviate secondary or vicarious trauma.

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Alison Thorpe
Alison Thorpe