Cathie O'Brien MA UKCP Reg Psychotherapist & Approved Supervisor BACP Snr Accred

Cathie O'Brien MA UKCP Reg Psychotherapist & Approved Supervisor BACP Snr Accred

Home&Away Psychological Therapies Service
1st Floor, Tree View Office, The Old Bakery
Portsmouth Road
Bursledon, Southampton
SO31 8EQ


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About me

I am a fully qualified, registered and accredited Gestalt Psychotherapist and Supervisor, with over 30 years’ experience working within the NHS, Education, Social Care and Private Care sectors. I have been practising as a therapist since 2001 working with Adults, Children and Young People and I also work in a consultancy capacity with organisations and multi-agency professionals delivering organisational development, coaching, supervision, reflective space, multi - agency therapeutic meetings and training - please see my website for further details.

My experience leading a mental health team within the NHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service), as well as working with adults, children and young people in a variety of settings, such as social care, education, the private sector and higher education settings, has given me a breadth of knowledge, experience and understanding that enables me to work effectively with primary issues such as bereavement, low self-esteem, relationship problems, bullying, depression and anxiety as well as more complex issues such as developmental trauma, attachment issues, abuse and complex/worrying behaviours in children and young people.

Deciding to have therapy can be quite frightening, for some people, and many people believe they will be judged by others or that it must mean there is something seriously wrong with them. This is a social stigma and the worry of how it may effect work or how they are viewed by work colleagues, friends and family is very difficult to manage - adding further  stress. Seeking therapy does not mean you are 'mad' or 'losing your marbles' and it takes a very brave person to seek help from someone else, to discuss their issues and explore how they can find equilibrium again. Life events tend to trigger all sorts of emotion and reaction and it is usually your nervous system in relation to your thoughts and feelings that has lost its balance. In its simplest terms, therapy re-balances the conflict between your thoughts, feelings and nervous system and this is generally done through talking - helping you to become more aware of unconscious processes, your senses, your feelings and what they mean. This process can help to integrate your different states into a functioning whole, alleviating anxiety and blocks that prevent you from achieving your personal goals in life. This is called self-regulation.

For some people, this imbalance started from a very young age due to the individual enduring, regular, traumatic events and for others it may have been triggered by a sudden traumatic or upsetting event.

Therapy is talked about in many different ways depending on the model of work someone is trained in. Most therapists have a core training, mine is Gestalt Therapy, with other trainings as an add on to their main qualification. I hold a Masters Degree in Gestalt Therapy with a special interest in Attachment, Trauma and the Neurosciences, please see my publications regarding this.

Amount and Types of sessions:

Short Term Focused: Short term therapy can be 6 to 12 sessions and is usually focused on a particular issue. Gestalt Therapy lends its self very well to short term therapy. The therapist focuses on how you are feeling and thinking, and how your body is responding to any mixed signals you may have about your issue. Mixed signals between thoughts, feelings and the nervous system can lead to people feeling stuck, anxious or depressed.
Short term therapy is often more focused on symptom reduction rather than cause.

Psycho-educational: aspects of short term therapy can be educational for instance explaining what stress and anxiety is and your bodies physiological reactions to thoughts, feelings or the environment. It can also give you some techniques that you can use to reduce physical symptoms and reactions such as mindfulness techniques.

Long term therapy: works well with long standing issues. The relationship between the therapist and individual becomes part of the focus, becoming aware of how an individual may adapt in relation to the other, as some peoples anxieties or problems are in relation to other people and the environment/context i.e. someone who always takes care of other peoples feelings and needs may well find themselves doing this in therapy and the therapist gently brings  this into their awareness.

Personal development. Some people enter into therapy for their own personal development, especially if they are training or practising as a therapist.

First meeting: It is useful to have a think about what may suit you best in terms of long term or short term therapy and this can be discussed during the first meeting. The first meeting is an assessment process for both you and I.

1) To discuss your worries and concerns.

2) To establish if I am the right person to work with you and if I can help you based on my qualifications and experience.

3) Your own assessment of me and the environment I work in - is this right for you?

Please see my website for more information on gestalt therapy for children and adults.

Location: My Psychotherapy practice is less than 1 mile from junction 8 of the M27, Just off the A27, and has free parking on the main road outside or further down the road, just past the shops, there is a short stay car park which is also free.

My practice is above a shop called Complexions and there is a side entrance for you to use. Here there is an intercom system installed, which has Tree View written on it, please ring this on arrival. The practice is in the back of the building, overlooking the garden and has a tree view. Please see my website for pictures of my therapy room.

Training, qualifications & experience


MA Gestalt Psychotherapy - qualified to work with individuals and groups.

Post Grad Dip Gestalt Therapy

Post Grad Dip Supervision

Post Grad Dip Relational Organisational Gestalt

Registration and Accreditation with the below governing bodies who are regulated by the PSA (Professional Standards Authority):

UKCP Registered and Accredited Child and Adult Psychotherapist and Approved Supervisor.
BACP Registered and Senior Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapis
(Search the above registers under Catherine O’Brien)

UKAHPP (UK Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners) Accredited Psychotherapist.

Other Accreditations:

EAGT - GPO (European Association of Gestalt Therapist - Gestalt Practitioner in Organisations) Accredited GPO

Other Qualifications:

ADCE (Advanced Diploma in Child Care and Education)

NNEB (Diploma in Nursery Nursing)

Foundation year, consisting of 60 hrs, with the inner yoga trust. Scaravelli Inspired teacher training; bringing awareness to the spine and its connection to the limbs, empowering individuals to be aware of their own bodies, exploring rather than forcing postures.

My Publications:

  • Speaker BACP Event Belfast Sept 2017 - Whole service/systems approach to emotion regulation.
  • BACP CYP JOURNAL, MARCH 2017, Article - Self, Other and The We.
  • ATTACHMENT JOURNAL - New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, Vol 7 No 1 March 2013, The Bowlby Centre, Karnac, Article - Disorganised and in Care - first published in the BACP 2011.
  • BACP CYP Journal, March 2012, Book Review Disorganised Attachment & Care Giving.
  • BACP CYP Journal, Dec 2011, Article - Disorganised and in Care.
    BAAF have requested permission to use the above article in their training settings

People searching for a therapist on line have told me that when they search for a therapist they are confused by what all the different qualifications, accreditations and registrations mean, so I have tried to break this down for you:

Therapists gain their qualifications at a Diploma, BA or MA level at a counselling and psychotherapy institute attached to a college or university. They then apply for accreditation either through their institute, leading to registration with a governing body such as the UKCP, or directly to a governing body such as the BACP.

The governing bodies, such as UKCP and BACP, set the minimum standards required for the counselling and psychotherapy courses and are regulated by the PSA (Professional Standards Authority).

What does accreditation mean?
The term accreditation means an individual therapist, after gaining qualification at either Diploma, BA or MA level, has undergone a rigorous assessment process of their work and ability to put theory into practice via case studies, evidence, a sound understanding of their governing bodies ethical framework and a substantial amount of client contact hours. This process can take over two years to complete.

What does senior accreditation mean?
This means that the therapist, after a period of accreditation as outlined above, has undergone a further rigorous assessment process and is considered an experienced practitioner due to the amount of years in practice and substantial amount of client contact hours.This is evidenced by their supervised practice hours, case study, understanding of their governing bodies ethical framework and ability to put theory in to practice.

What does registration mean?
This means an individual has been granted registration after a process of accreditation or qualification with a governing body such as the UKCP or BACP.

The BACP also grant registration to individuals who have not completed an accreditation process but have completed a proficiency test showing that they work within the organisations ethical framework - This is separate to and different from accreditation.

Please click on the below logos to find out more about what registration and accreditation mean.

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited


Accredited register membership


Therapy session, 50 minutes, £50

Supervision for therapists £55 an hour.

NB There is a separate price list for work commissioned by organisations from the public or private sectors and this is due to the higher level of administration and  multi- systemic aspects of the work commissioned creating higher levels of intensity and complexity.

Maps & Directions

Bursledon, Southampton, SO31 8EQ

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 access: Unspecified

Types of client

Young people
Employee Assistance Programme

Supervision & training

I hold a Diploma in Supervision and UKCP Registration as an Approved Supervisor.

View supervision profile