Esther Friend

Esther Friend

Hebden Bridge
West Yorkshire


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About me

Welcome to my profile. This is where I tell you a bit about myself so you can get an idea whether or not my approach is a good fit with what you are looking for.

I qualified as a counsellor in 2017 after 4 years of training; working with both adults and children. I currently work part time as a counsellor in a primary school and am fortunate enough to love my job. It feels like a great privilege to be doing this work. My motivation to train as a counsellor grew from the knowledge and wisdom I gained over many years of working on my own healing from PTSD, and the desire to be there as a compassionate witness alongside others who might be struggling. Although I qualified recently, I have been engaged in different types of therapy (as a client) throughout my adult life so I have learnt a great deal about what makes a good therapist from my perspective. The key ingredients for healing and change, I think, are based on feeling seen, heard, safe and met. I aim to create the conditions in the counselling room where these ingredients can thrive and interact so that you can move closer to your inherent potential.

How counselling can help:

Parenting or work stress, juggling multiple demands, feeling isolated or finding daily life overwhelming or hard to find pleasure in can all be indicators of your life feeling out of balance. This may be showing up in a variety of ways including high stress, low life force energy, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, loneliness, angry outbursts, lack of emotional regulation and low resilience to stress. If this sounds like you, finding some extra support can make a profound difference. It can be difficult to find the words to share with those around us, or we might be reluctant to try, for fear of worrying others or not feeling understood. Talking to someone who isn’t involved in your immediate situation can give you new insights, understanding and strategies. I hope to help you feel heard and understood and offer myself as a compassionate witness and guide to help you navigate through difficult times.


You may be someone who has experienced adversity or trauma in your early life, whether that was through explicit abuses of trust, medical procedures or being parented in a way which did not meet your basic physical or emotional needs. Such experiences may have left you feeling like there is something fundamentally wrong with you and hopeless that you can change, which brings to mind the words of Carl Rogers, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” I can help you navigate closer to this place of self compassion and self acceptance by building on your strengths (which may be buried under the rubble, but have got you through this far), and help you honour and deepen your understanding of old coping mechanisms which may be making your current life more difficult. I am especially interested in attachment and trauma and its impact on both the mind and the body and have accumulated a lot of embodied knowledge in these areas.

What to expect from counselling:

I work in an integrative way with lots of tools to choose from depending on what best suits you. Deciding to have counselling is a courageous endeavour and I want you to get the most out of it possible. I understand the need for an individualised approach, where you are acknowledged as your own best expert, are supported, empowered and offered appropriate tools and information to ease distress and maximise your capacity and choices for finding life easier.

If you decided to work with me, we would normally work in 6 week blocks and review as we proceed. We would start with building a sense of safety between us where you could feel seen, heard and psychologically held. This is a continuous process, the foundations of which may be laid quickly, or may take longer if relationships are a source of difficulty for you, for example. I would encourage you to set an intention for the work, which could be open “I want to explore what might be making me feel anxious” or quite specific “I want to develop some strategies to help me feel less overwhelmed”. I will bring the conditions – compassion, no judgement, a willingness to see the world through your lens, curiosity, hope – along with a bag of varied tools. We would then be led by you and your own inner wisdom about what would best suit your needs at this time, whether that be simply a space to feel heard, or something more specific such as trying out some body based practises or wanting to know more about the impact of trauma on the brain. I will be your ally and guide in this process but we will follow your lead.

I am passionate about counselling and have done a lot of work on my own healing in parallel with ongoing professional development and research.

Training, qualifications & experience

HNC Dance Movement Therapy (2004). Dance Voice, Bristol.

Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (2017). The Art of Change, Blackburn.

Therapy Mastermind Circle, a three month online course about Developmental Trauma created by Diane Poole Heller, including detailed sub-modules on the topics of Developmental Trauma, Shock Trauma and Character Structure.

Treating Trauma Master Series, an online course delivered by Pat Ogden, Ruth Lanius, Peter Levine, Bessel Van der Kolk, Dan Siegal and Allan Schore, including the modules of: The Neurobiology of Trauma and Attachment; Working with Traumatic Memory That Is Embedded in the Nervous System; Helping Clients Tolerate Dysregulation and Come Back From Hypoarousal; Working with the Limbic System to Reverse the Physiological Imprint of Trauma.

Smart Body Smart Mind an ongoing online programme of psycho-education and bodywork by Irene Lyon for rewiring the nervous system and healing from trauma (for personal development). Based on the work of Peter Levine and Kathy Kain.

I have experience counselling adults at Mind and children at a Place2Be project. My current job (since September 2017) is as a school counsellor in a primary school.

Member organisations


Accredited register membership


Adults: Self-assessed scale from £35 (low income) - £45 (higher income)

Children: Parent-assessed scale from £25 (low income) - £35 (higher income)

Maps & Directions

Hebden Bridge, HX7

Type of session

Online counselling: No
Telephone counselling: No
Face to face counselling: Yes
Home visits: No

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


Accessibility information
Wheelchair user access: Yes



Types of client

Young people
Older adults