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I have worked as an integrative counsellor for over 12 years, with a special interest in trauma, autism, working with LGBTQI+ clients, dissociation and somatic processing (how our body communicates our trauma to us in sensations that gives us useful information).
I live in Bonnyrigg. I provide short and long term counselling for adults and young people. I work with anxiety, depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, derealisation and dissociation, DID, addiction, bereavement, relationship and family issues including affairs, racial trauma, LGBTQI+ clients, adoption and fostering issues, parenting, abuse and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
I offer face to face sessions as well as having a number of local and international clients who work with me online. For those who prefer I also offer walk and talk therapy. The Dalkeith to Penicuik walkway runs from outside my front door and is ideal for those who prefer to have less eye contact during sessions and access nature therapeutically.
I have worked with both couples, individual adults and young people with mental health challenges and learning difficulties in a variety of education and healthcare settings for more than 25years. I believe that our early development and attachments inform how we go on to relate and communicate. Life crisis' often lead us to try and work out who we are and what purpose we want from life. I try to help people find purpose for themselves and this often involves looking at our family of origin and the environment we grew up in. Although our early relationships deeply affect us throughout our lives, I believe we all have an intrinsic propensity to strive for what is good for us and what will help us grow. Helpful therapy focusses therefore on what is happening in your life now, what beliefs and questions you have about yourself and what you want to achieve.
When you contact me by email please let me know your availability and I will get back to you asap.
Training, qualifications & experience
I began my career in healthcare settings supporting young adults with learning difficulties. I went on to work with children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the education department, many of whom were affected by substance abuse, the criminal justice system, adoption, fostering, disability and significant trauma.
I began my own personal counselling journey in 1995 and then decided to begin training as an Integrative counsellor in 2000. I have a COSCA approved Diploma in Counselling. This means that the model I studied, allows me to listen to what YOU want from counselling and adapt my approach to what suits you and your situation best, incorporating theoretical knowledge taken from a number of the most widely accepted counselling models (CBT, Psychodynamic, Person centred). I am also currently studying Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy and have studied aspects of Sensory Motor therapy. IFS teaches us that we all have multiplicity of mind ('part of me feels like this but part of me feels like that, however my gut is telling me to......')
Furthermore, as part of my training I had to undergo extensive personal therapy for a number of years and therefore I know what it's like to be a counsellee and how important it is to find a counsellor that 'gets' you and that you can trust and feel safe and relaxed with.
I am rigorous in my approach to ongoing learning and study and regularly undertake CPD (professional development) courses. I have recently taken courses/pursued my own study on many varied areas including: working online with clients, complex grief, bereavement, anxiety, dissociation, working with clients on the autistic spectrum, family systems, addiction/prescription drugs, the judicial system and mindfulness.
I am a member of the BACP and therefore I am subject to their ethical framework.
I have run my own private practice for over 10 years, from my home based in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.
BACP is one of the UK’s leading professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy with around 60,000 members. The Association has several different categories of membership, including Student Member, Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP, Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Accred) and Senior Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Snr Acccred).
Registered and accredited members are listed on the BACP Register, which shows that they have demonstrated BACP’s recommended standards for training, proficiency and ethical practice. The BACP Register was the first register of psychological therapists to be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
Accredited and senior accredited membership are voluntary categories for members who choose to undertake a rigorous application and assessment process to demonstrate additional standards around practice, training and supervision.
Individual members will have completed an appropriate counselling or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but they won’t appear on the BACP Register until they've demonstrated that they meet the standards for registration. Student members are still in the process of completing their training.
All members are bound by the BACP Ethical Framework and a Professional Conduct Procedure.
Accredited register membership
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 often take a mindfulness. creative approach to therapy. If people are comfortable with using the creative arts to express themselves there is scope to use art, music, the written word and sand tray work to enhance our talk therapy. I am not extensively trained as an art/music therapist but am comfortable using the arts within a session.
£55.00 per session
Concessions offered for
I charge £55 for a 50-60 minute one to one session, with a limited number of spaces for clients on a lower income at £40. Please feel free to ask about this.
Sessions usually occur on a weekly basis. I work Monday to Thursdays during the day. I don't work evenings. My latest session is at 5.30pm.
We have a cat in the house but she isn't allowed in the counselling room.
When I work
I work Monday to Thursdays during the day. my last session is at 5.30pm.
There is ample free parking outside the house. The no 31 stops less than a minute from the house which comes from the city centre. The bus stop name is Waverley Terrace. There are a number of other buses linking Bonnyrigg to Penicuik and Dalkeith/Mayfield and we are less than a mile from Eskbank Railway station. It takes approximately 35 minutes to get to Bonnyrigg from North Bridge, Edinburgh by bus.
My work room is on the first floor.
Below is a letter written to an imaginary client. The reason I add it here is to give you an idea of the kind of client that may come and see me but also to give you a 'fly on the wall' insight into the kind of journey many of my clients take even if their life stories don't match 'Alison's'. I hope it helps.
I am so glad you decided to bite the bullet and come for counselling. Life has been tough for you. You have faced so many traumas in your early life and there have been so many events out with your control that have caused fear, uncertainty, shame and loss. You have battled through these, believing you were to blame for many of them. You have carried the weight of the world on your shoulders for so long, believing that if you had cried, shouted, asked for help you would have been judged as being weak and unacceptable and therefore rejected.
At times this has been too hard to bear and you have sought comfort and connection in places that subsequently brought much pain and regret. You have paid a high price. Despite this you have worked hard to be a faithful and loving wife and mother and to make amends. You have a daughter who loves you and who has turned out to be a beautiful, respectful and motivated human being, compassionate about others. Your husband loves you very much and wants to grow with you and plan a future with you by his side.
You have come so far. You are learning to connect to your feelings again, take responsibility for your emotions and actions and throw off shame and guilt that hold you back. This has been such a hard thing for you to do, to trust a total stranger with your secrets and take a risk of being overwhelmed and consumed by your feelings. But you are getting there!! You are facing those feelings and realising they are not consuming you. You are learning to make more conscious choices, to be kinder to yourself, to like yourself again and to understand yourself and others better. You are tackling that anxiety head on and learning to verbalise what you need.
Well done for being brave and reaching out for the connection and love that you desire and deserve. Keep going Alison, one step at a time. You’ll get there and I can’t wait to be there as you grow, cheering you on and helping you to connect with who you really are, holding you as you as you weep and let go of the pain of the past and standing with you as you take the future by storm! I’m so proud of you!