Julie Knowles Counsellor,Psychotherapy and Clinical Supervision
I am a qualified, BACP Registered and experienced therapist working from The Lotus therapy centre.
Thank you for taking the time to read my profile. As a therapist I realise that at times life doesn't make sense or you can feel lost and overwhelmed. Counselling can help you to make sense of your thoughts and feelings. I specialise in trauma, sexual abuse, work with the elderly and bereavement although I have a wide breadth of experience working with individuals and couples of all ages and with a wide range of issues including relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety, anger issues, mental health problems, low self esteem, bullying and stress.
You'll find lots of information to read through below. This is to help you decide if I am the right therapist for you and also what therapy and therapeutic approach will suit you best. It is really important to find a therapist you can trust and feel able to work with as comfortably as possible.
I am a qualified and BACP Registered therapist with over 10 years experience. I offer Person-Centred Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness and Childhood Trauma Therapy.
I aim to offer a safe and confidential environment where you can explore the difficulties you are experiencing.
My counselling approach places an emphasis on supporting you to have a greater understanding of yourself and on enabling you to find solutions and coping strategies.
PCT is a humanistic approach that deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves.
I aim to offer a non-judgemental and honest approach as you explore your past and current experiences. It is within this environment that you are supported to develop emotionally and process issues that may be affecting you.
As a Person-Centred counsellor, I endeavour to fully understand your individual experiences, to help you to learn about, and reflect on, your inner values and sense of self-worth, and, in turn, develop your own sense of identity and be in the world confident and happy with who you are.
Working with adult survivors of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse and incest
Working for the last 8 years with adult survivors of incest and childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse, has developed my specialist interest in this area of work. Trauma in childhood can have a huge impact both short and long-term. This impact will often be present in adulthood and may lead to depression, anxiety, loss of identity, addiction and difficulty in maintaining relationships. These traumatic experiences can be very difficult to talk about and can cause a whole array of overwhelming thoughts and feelings. Trauma therapy aims to build a safe and trusting relationship with the therapist before exploring and processing the past, which is essential in creating the right environment for you to begin the trauma therapy journey.
Like adult victims of sexual abuse, children experience significant psychological and emotional distress. Unlike adults, however, they are traumatised during the most critical period of their lives:
- When assumptions about self, others and the world are being formed;
- When their relations to their own internal states are being established; and
- When coping and relationship skills are first acquired.
Therefore, the Post Traumatic Stress reactions impact upon the child's subsequent psychological and social maturity and often leads to dysfunctional development. In other words, if untreated, the effects of sexual abuse in childhood usually have a much bigger impact, in contrast to trauma effects in adults who have a stable base development and maturity to draw on and for whom, with support, the trauma effects will become less over time.
Impacts of childhood sexual abuse are likely to occur in three stages.
- Initial reactions to victimisation:
- involving Post Traumatic Stress reactions;
- alteration in normal childhood development;
- painful affect; and
- cognitive (thought) distortions.
- Accommodation to ongoing abuse:
- involving coping behaviours intended to increase safety and/or decrease pain during victimisation (i.e. memory suppression, denial, dissociation, accommodation syndrome; Stockholm syndrome).
- Long term elaboration & secondary accommodation reflecting:
- the impacts of initial reactions and abuse-related accommodations on the individual's later relationships
- the survivor's ongoing coping responses to abuse, (Cognitive distortions, denial, memory suppression, dissociation, altered emotionality, i avoidance, problems in relationships).
For adults abused in childhood, who received no counselling or support at the time, some of their initial reactions to the abuse may lessen over time but more typically such disturbances get worse over time. These are the impacts which need to be addressed in working with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
The key objective of counselling with adult survivors of childhood sexual assault is to facilitate trauma resolution and foster healing and growth.
Normalisation of your reactions to the abuse experience and the effects this has had on your psychological functioning, both historically and currently, is a key factor. It's important to point out that the coping strategies you may have developed helped you to survive at the time and adapt. In that way, these strategies served you well. However, these responses may have become maladaptive in adulthood and limit your ability to live a full life, limit your interpersonal relationships and your psychological functioning.
Education about the psychological effects of childhood sexual assault is also important. It helps destigmatise your own experiencing and also helps to normalise your responses. Information about the lasting effects of childhood sexual assault, the types of difficulties experienced and presenting symptoms survivors encounter and how to cope can help you better understand your own range of behaviour or responses.
Both normalisation and education are critical particularly at the beginning of the counselling process and can be seen as preparing you for the healing process. The healing process is not always easy and your memory of the abuse will not magically go away.
I can provide a safe environment and a structured process to help you acknowledge your memories and associated pain, assess the influence these have on your behaviour and begin to integrate them with your adult self. This integration will allow you to process the memories and pain so that they no longer control your behaviour and responses.
The early phase of therapy focuses on building trust between the counsellor and the survivor and preparing the survivor for the healing process. During this phase of therapy you will be encouraged to tell your story which allows me to assess which therapeutic techniques may be the most beneficial. This can be very difficult and I aim to help and support you through this and go at your pace. You will not be forced to tell your story if you're not ready or go into detail if you don't want to.
The later phase of therapy includes re-processing the trauma. Simply stated, processing the trauma of childhood sexual assault involves:
- Acknowledging the fact of the abuse and its impacts.
- Experiencing and releasing some of the feelings associated with the trauma that typically has remained unexpressed.
- Exploring a range of feelings towards the abuser/s and non-protective parents, siblings or caretakers; and
- Making cognitive reassessments of the abuse (i.e. why it happened, who was responsible etc).
Working with the elderly/vulnerable adults
I have a great deal of experience in my former job working with vulnerable adults and families in the Local Authority supported Housing Department. Part of my work in this area includes advice about what facilities may be available as well as offering therapeutic support. When a loved one loses their independence it can be an incredibly stressful time for everyone involved. My work in this area aims to help you or your family manage the changes to lifestyle and independence and to process difficult feelings that can include loneliness, bereavement, anger, frustration and sadness.
What is mindfulness and how can mindfulness help me?
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. By being fully present in this way – not forcing things or hiding from them, but actually being with them, we create space to respond in new ways to situations and make wise choices. We may not always have full control over our lives, but with mindfulness we can work with our minds and bodies, learning how to live with more appreciation and less anxiety.
Making mindfulness a frequent aspect of daily life requires training and a lot of practice. If you’re motivated, a fresh perspective can begin to emerge and extend to the whole of your life – when we start practising mindfulness, we’re embarking on a journey that helps us live life more fully, to really be alive.
Mindfulness practices have Buddhist origins and have been around for thousands of years. More recently they have been formalised into therapies which mean you don’t need to be religious or spiritual to learn to practise mindfulness and enjoy the benefits. For decades now, scientific research has been showing how useful these therapies are for reducing stress, anxiety and depression, helping people manage a wide range of physical conditions, and for our general wellbeing. So mindfulness isn’t only useful if you’re feeling stressed or have a mental health problem – it can help any of us enjoy a more wakeful, healthier, happier life.
Anyone can learn and practise mindfulness; children, young people and adults can all benefit. It’s simple, you can practise it anywhere and the results can be life-changing.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
How CBT works
CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.
CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You're shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel.
Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.
Uses for CBT
CBT has been shown to be an effective way of treating a number of different mental health conditions.
In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people with, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, eating disorders, sleep problems and problems related to alcohol misuse.
CBT is also sometimes used to treat people with long-term health conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Although CBT can't cure the physical symptoms of these conditions, it can help people cope better with their symptoms.
What happens during CBT sessions
During the sessions, you'll work with your therapist to break down your problems into their separate parts – such as your thoughts, physical feelings and actions.
You and your therapist will analyse these areas to work out if they're unrealistic or unhelpful and to determine the effect they have on each other and on you. Your therapist will then be able to help you work out how to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
After working out what you can change, your therapist will ask you to practise these changes in your daily life and you'll discuss how you got on during the next session.
The eventual aim of therapy is to teach you to apply the skills you've learnt during treatment to your daily life.
This should help you manage your problems and stop them having a negative impact on your life – even after your course of treatment finishes.
Training, qualifications & experience
Level 5 certificate in Integrative clinical supervision Shire counselling 2017 - 2018
Higher Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling Vision West Notts College - 2011
Diploma in Person Centred Counselling Vision West Notts College - 2010
Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Shire Counselling - 2014
Certificate in Transactional Analysis (TA) Vision west Notts College - 2010
I attend regular professional development training to increase my knowledge base and share good practice.
After joining the Derbyshire Alcohol Advisory Service and completing their training course, I worked one to one with clients with alcohol issues. I have experience and knowledge of working with those affected by alcohol misuse. People often feel guilty when drinking to excess and can find it difficult to access support. I work in a way that support people to understand the root of their drinking behaviour and to find ways of changing unwanted behaviours. Family can often be affected by the misuse of alcohol by a family member and therapy can offer a space to explore and process difficult feelings and thoughts.
I completed the Cruse Bereavement training and worked with clients affected by many types of loss and bereavement including complex bereavement and trauma. Everyone is affected differently by death depending on the cause, previous experiences, their own history and their relationship with the person who has died. Every loss is unique. I have worked with people who have experienced the death of a friend, a partner, child, relative and colleague. Complex bereavement arises when death is untimely, unexpected or traumatic and this can be the time when people will benefit from processing their thoughts and feelings and gain support in what is always a difficult and painful journey.
Since 2011 I have worked as a volunteer counsellor for ISAS providing one to one counselling for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Currently I offer counselling at Shire Counselling service, working with individuals with various issues including; depression, stress, low self-esteem, relationship issues, trauma in childhood, anxiety and domestic abuse. This also includes providing an Employee Assistance Programm to a large local 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 have experience in helping clients with anger management issues, relationship difficulties and work stress.
I work with couples as well as individuals and am very experienced with working with elderly and vulnerable adults.
Concessions offered for
£45 per 50 min session.
Reduced rates for trainee counsellors ring for details.
£50 for 90 minute Supervision
£50 for 50 minute couples session.
I offer day and evening appointments
I have spent over 30 years working with vulnerable adults and families in the Local Authority supported Housing Department. This has given me an in depth understanding of the issues and pressures affecting this vulnerable group of people and their families.
During this time I have had training in many areas including:
Safeguarding Adults and Children
Working with Children and Young People
Working with Older People