I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and EMDR therapist, specialising in trauma, including trauma-related anxiety and attachment and interpersonal difficulties. I have been in practice since 2003 and worked as a senior psychologist and a clinical lead in NHS in a number of settings, including mental health hospitals and secondary community mental health services.
In May 2021 I transferred to a full-time private practice and I love the freedom I now have to use my clinical experience to be able to offer people therapy that "works" for them rather then be constrained by commissioning arrangements of organisations I used to work for.
I am also passionate about developing pragmatic and innovative approaches that can reduce financial barriers to high quality therapeutic help and fast-track people's ability to make changes they want to experience in their lives.
What can you expect working with me?
I currently offer 1:1 online therapy, and weekly, confidential online small groups of maximum 9 people, where you can practice skills that provide foundation for good mental health in a safe and supportive environment.
Below I provide information on my group programme and why I am a passionate advocate for working in a small groups. I then outline my approach to 1:1 therapy and the next steps you may consider.
Did you know that connection with others is the single most important thing affecting not only our psychological health and well-being but also our physical health and well-being?
Companionship with others triggers our brain's endorphin system making us feel relaxed and contented (Robin Dunbar, University of Oxford).
In my experience, common difficulties people come to therapy for such as anxiety, low mood, rumination, perfectionism, and judgemental self-talk are often maintained by and lead to difficulties with friendships and relationships.
Groups I run provide opportunities to practice the skills that enable people to create satisfying connections and relationships with others. In the group, you will be able not just learn the skills but also practice them with peers in a safe and supportive atmosphere. This is important, as some skills need to be learned by doing. For example, you cannot learn how to cycle or swim by talking to an instructor or by reading a manual!
What happens in the group?
In the group people can learn different skills and then practice them with others. All groups start with learning Resonant Listening skills. Then people take turns to share everyday stresses and strains with others, whilst other group participants attune to them using those skills, with warmth and kindness, helping those who shared work though their feelings and better understand their needs. The process is simple but very powerful and everyone gets to take turns to both share and support other people's sharing. In subsequent groups, we focus on other skills such as deepening communication, saying no, dealing with conflict, giving and receiving, accepting compliments and dealing with negative feedback and others.
People come to really value the group experience, describing it as space that offers "comfort" , "feeling really understood", learning that "my needs can be understood", that "I matter" and it is safe to share my feelings with others", realising that "it is not just me struggling with these difficulties", feeling "grateful" and "honoured" to be a part of the group.
Are you worried that you are too anxious to take part in a group?
It is ok to feel anxious! Anxiety is not a reason not to join, and you do not have to "overcome" anxiety in order to join. Most people join even though they feel anxious at the start. In fact, people who feel anxious on prospect of joining find the group particularly valuable and can transfer their learning to feel more comfortable in other social context in the "real world".
In any case, before you decide whether joining a group might be right for you, I will walk you through a few introductory steps.
So.... what are the steps?
First, you can email on email@example.com to arrange a FREE initial 30 minute Zoom call or a more in-depth, 60-minute reduced-fee Initial Consultation (£40), You will be able to tell me a little about your difficulties and together we can think what approach would work best for you.
Mix and Match
If we decide to work together, I will suggest that we initially have 4 sessions on a 1:1 basis so that I can get a real good understanding of your concerns, your goals and your developmental history. I will then be able to prepare a plan of therapy for you and explain my understanding of what therapy I recommend for you. The recommendation may involve some 1:1 psychology sessions and/or I may suggest you join a group.
If you want to know more about the group before making up your mind, I will invite you to an introductory webinar where you will learn more about what skills are taught in the group, how they are practiced, what is the theory/evidence base/clinical rationale for these skills and generally what to expect. You will also be able to ask questions. NB: You do not have to stay in treatment with me in order to join the group - people who are with other therapists can also join the group.
If you decide to join a group...
If you decide to join a group, you will be invited to enrol for a 6-session cycle consisting of weekly 1.5 hour sessions which are delivered by Zoom on a weekday evening (7.30-9pm).
You can stay for as many cycles as you like - the groups are "slow open". This means that some people may leave the group after a 6-session cycle and new people may then join. I may also open a new group if there are more people wanting to join then leave. Once a group is formed, people can stay as long as they like and really benefit from the sense of continuity and ongoing support that a group can provide. Attending the group can provide an anchor in people's lives, help embed habits and give time for habits to become personality traits.
This level of weekly support in a small, confidential group of other people who are on a similar journey provides a cost-effective alternative to a 1:1 therapy, adding qualities of being supported not just by a therapist but also by peers.
What will you gain from attending a group?
Interpersonal skills and skills for managing feelings learned in the group transfer to contexts outside the group, improving self-esteem and sense of self-worth, and ability to make and maintain rewarding relationships with others.
Do you prefer to work 1: 1?
In my 1:1 work, the way I practice is well suited to people who have a preference for a therapist who is kind and supportive, but also quite structured, transparent in sharing their thinking and open to giving and hearing feedback.
I try to take the mystery out of psychology and see you as a person who is trying their best to negotiate the often challenging past or current circumstances. My role is to support you to make sense of your situation, learn new skills and feel supported and empowered to move forward in meeting your needs.
How can therapy help address the past?
Having experience of adversity or trauma can be life changing and can affect how we feel, think and behave. I can help you make sense of how power operated in your life and contributed to the patterns that no longer serve you. I then work with you to help you develop more adaptive patterns at a pace you are ready for and which often depend on what else is going on in your life.
From the first Consultation I see you as my partner: we jointly and openly discuss what is wanted (your goals), what is needed (my professional understanding of causes of your difficulties and the way in which they could be addressed) and what is possible (duration and cost of therapy).
As a Counselling Psychologist I am trained in a number of different therapeutic approaches so I can create a bespoke treatment plan that is driven by your needs rather than trying to fit your needs into a specific model.
Would you like to know what you can expect to happen when working with me 1:1?
I am able to provide "counselling", ie a listening space, but I find that my skills are put to a more effective use when I provide "therapy". Different schools of therapy understand "therapy" to mean different things and their practitioners may do "therapy" in a different ways.
The way I do therapy is integrative: I use knowledge from a number of approaches to most quickly understand what is at the root of your difficulty and help you address that to meet your goals. Most broadly, working with me you can expect that:
- You will gain a clearer understanding of how the difficulties you experience can be understood not as something "wrong" with you, but as a consequence of adverse - and not fully processed - experiences that happened to you in the past - "it is not who you are, it is what happened to you" - this level of understanding removes stigma and can feel profoundly healing and liberating in as far as it opens new possibilities: awareness enables choice.
- You will be able to understand how your nervous system and your brain work and how anxiety, sadness, anger are "signal" and "defence" patterns that are common to all humans. You gain skills how to manage these patterns and be supported in practicing these skills in session.
- I can help you to understand how your thoughts, feelings and behaviours may be linked to emotional "core beliefs" which are often held out of one's conscious awareness and appear irrational (eg strong seemingly "irrational" reactions to certain things). These core beliefs frequently relate to domains of Responsibility (eg "I am not good enough" or "I did something wrong"), Safety/Vulnerability (eg "I do not feel safe to stand up for myself") or Control/Choices (eg "I am not in control"/"I will fail"). They can be held in the body as implicit ways of being in the world that can profoundly influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns.
- Using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), you will have an opportunity to identify and De-sensitise difficult events from your past that might have contributed to the creation of the above Core Beliefs and undesired physiological states. You will be able to Reprocess them and form alternative new beliefs that are not only more realistic and helpful for your everyday life, but also feel true on a "gut level".
You will also be invited to join one of the Authentic Relating Groups I run so that you can receive empathy and care not just from myself, but from a wider collective - this makes the experience much more powerful, helping to reorganise the brain and increasing your ability to form more nurturing relationships in adult life.
Please note that the above summary outlines a comprehensive model of therapy. Depending on your needs and circumstances, you may wish to focus on a specific aspect/s. NB: If you come to therapy in a time of personal crisis, a different model of change may apply. In some crisis situations, therapy may not be the most appropriate first port of call - I will be happy to think about this with you.
In the Initial Consultation session I will be able to advise you what could be a most helpful starting point and possible progression depending on your needs. A set period of therapy, say 16-24 sessions, is often sufficient to allow to complete a journey as described above, focusing on some elements more then on others and interweaving them together. For more chronic or severe difficulties, a longer term work maybe indicated.
What next ?
I offer a no-obligation, free, initial 30-minute Zoom Consultation or a reduced fee Zoom Initial Consultation (£40) for us to meet and discuss in more detail your difficulties and goals as well as for you to see how it feels to be working with me.
If I am not able to offer you help at this time or you would benefit from a different approach to what I offer, I will endeavour to signpost you on to an alternative service.
Please send me a short email outlining in brief the nature of your difficulties and I will endeavour to respond to you within 72 hours and to arrange an Initial Consultation. I operate a waiting list for when I do not have an immediate vacancy or the space I have is not suitable for you.
Why choose a Counselling Psychologist?
Counselling Psychologists specialise in providing psychological therapy of a highest quality, aiming to reduce psychological distress and promote psychological well-being in clients.
Counselling Psychologists are trained to a doctorate level through courses that focus on both research and practice of different schools of psychotherapy as well as underlying knowledge of psychology, neurobiology, ethics, social factors etc. The involves a minimum 7-year training, including a 3-year undergraduate psychology degree and a 4-year post-graduate training.
Our training model is that of a "Scientist-Practitioner": it includes an in-depth study and supervised practice of a number of contrasting therapeutic approaches, but also puts emphasis on developing our ability to critique each model by dissecting its underlying assumptions and possible limitations.
This means that, as practitioners, we are able to integrate different treatment models into bespoke treatment plans that are driven by the client and their needs rather than trying to fit the client into a specific model.
Counselling Psychologists are Chartered Members of the British Psychological Society. It is a legal requirement that Counselling Psychologists register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), meaning that the protected title “Counselling Psychologist” ensures peace of mind that you are working with someone trained to the highest level.
Training, qualifications & experience
I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist, with a full professional registration with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health and Care Professions Council, and a full professional indemnity insurance. I am also registered as an Applied Psychology Practice Supervisor with the BPS.
In addition to my core training, I have done training in EMDR, CBT, Somatic Psychotherapy, Mentalisation, Dialectical-Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Compassion therapy, Emotion focused therapy and Mindfulness. I am a certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider.
I have a strong interest in the application of neurobiology to understanding how the mind works and how change can be created. This allows me to see your difficulties and solutions through different theoretical lenses and effectively tailor my approach to your needs and goals.
I have worked in the NHS for the last 11 years, prior to that I worked as a counsellor in voluntary services with young people and in the forensic setting. Before/alongside training in mental health I worked as a Associated Tutor for the Open University (teaching on an undergraduate Social Psychology course), for a Jobcentre as an employment adviser and team leader, for a Careers Service as a Connexions worker with youth at the risk of disengaging, for a City law firm as a marketing officer, for a geophysical consultancy as a Russian-English translator/interpreter. I have also been a private tutor, waitress, kitchen porter, chambermaid and an apple picker. This gives me a rich lived experience and a personal understanding of a variety of working contexts and life stages.
- British Psychological Society Chartered Counselling Psychologist (Membership No 96128)
- Health and Care Professions Council accredited Counselling Psychologist (Membership No PYL27878)
- Member of the British Psychological Society Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors - - Certified Safe and Sound Protocol provider
MSc Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2010), Postgraduate Diploma in the Practice of Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2011), Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology (Roehampton University, 2007), Conversion Diploma in Psychology (Open University, 2000), BSc Psychology and Business Studies (London Guildhall University, 1998).
Certificate in Counselling Skills and Attitudes (Westminster Pastoral Foundation, 1998), Diploma in the Application of Psychodynamic Theory to the Principles of Counselling (Westminster Pastoral Foundation, 2000); Foundation Certificate in Biodynamic Massage (Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre, 2003), Mentalisation Based Treatment (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Reflective Parenting: Increasing Mentalising in the parent-child relationship (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Multi-family mentalisation based group training (Anna Freud Institute, 2016); Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors Training (Canterbury Christ Church University, 2017); Use of Imagery in CBT (BABCP training, 2017); Environmental Arts Therapy (London Arts Therapy Centre, 2018-2019) and with Ian Siddons Hegginworth 2019-2020), EMDR Therapy (EMDR Academy, Parts 1-3), Safe and Sound Protocol (2020) to increase social engagement capacity.
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.
Health and Care Professions Council
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.
British Psychological Society
British Psychological Society
Areas of counselling I deal with
£80.00 per session
Concessions offered for
EAP/Health Insurance Providers
SERVICES AND PRICES:
All London sessions take place online for the foreseeable future. Face-to-face sessions available in Faversham only
Initial 30-minute Zoom Consultation - FREE - Simple and easy to book. We meet over Zoom to chat and see if working together could be a possibility.
Introductory 50- minute Consultation - £40 - A more in-depth opportunity to understand your needs and help us decide if the approach I offer is suitable for you.
Individual Psychological Therapy (50 minutes)
£80 from 4pm on weekdays and all day Saturdays. I see people weekly or fortnightly. £75 weekday daytime, £65 concessions for people on lower income (mornings only).
Resonant Communication Group (2 hours) - £150 per block of 6 session (maximum 9 participants). Initial Consultation (£40) is required for people wishing to join the Group. I offer a £10 discount on my 1:1 fees for people in weekly therapy who are also wishing to attend the group.
Insurance companies: I am registered with AXA, Aviva, Vitality Health and BUPA. I can obtain registration with other insurance providers - please enquire.
Online 1:1 sessions: Weekdays 9am-9pm, Sat 9am to 1pm.
Resonant Communication Group: weekday evenings 7.30-9pm. Next group starts in September 2021. Please contact me for information.
In the course of my own life, I experienced many of the challenges, losses and set-backs as well as joys and accomplishments that are experienced by people who come to me for help. I have also received my own in-depth therapy over several years so I am able to appreciate how it feels to be a client and what is needed for a successful change.
Through both my personal life and professional practice, I learned that the sooner help is received, the better. Modern life can be complex and stressful, demanding an individual to have good psychological adaptation. If that adaptation is fragile, a person may lose their “inner compass” and respond by withdrawing from life’s demands or from their own inner life or by overcompensating, ie responding too aggressively to the perceived threat. This often leads to making decisions that are not conducive to their well-being or achievement of life’s developmental tasks. The longer this continues, the less options may be available.
However, I also discovered that it is never too late to improve something in your life that you really want to change, to learn new skills, treat yourself with compassion, to connect to yourself and to others and to find meaning and valued directions. In other words, it is never too late to start doing what you can with what you have, wherever you are right now.