Following a long and successful career in sales and marketing I retrained as a counsellor following the birth of my daughter in 1995.
After qualifying I was asked to set up a youth counselling service for two high schools on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and during the 11 years I worked there I provided a safe, boundaried and effective service for more than 700 students. Whilst every one of my young clients was unique, the underlying issues were the same. They felt overwhelmed with feelings they couldn't express, they were unable to focus or retain information, they found it difficult to form or keep meaningful relationships, they were explosive and reactive and pushed others away, or they imploded with anxiety and hurt themselves. Often they did both.
Whilst counselling was helpful for these young people they needed more. They needed answers to the many questions they had about why they couldn't sleep, why they self harmed, why they used food or endless gaming to take their mind of how they felt, why they were bullied, or why they bullied others. As the questions were answered, often accompanied by simple drawings and illustrations, they felt relief followed by a sense of normality - and their demeanour, behaviour and general wellbeing began to improve.
The Human Toolbox
I wrote The Human Toolbox Programme to help these young people make sense of their lives and I incorporate this powerful psycho-education into my work with children, adolescents and adults in a 1:1 setting, in systemic family work where applicable, and in my work with groups.
For the last five years I have been using the Human Toolbox in my NHS IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) work in Bury St Edmunds with outstanding results. Many of the adults I work with express surprise that they weren't taught about their powerful Human Tools in school.
If you are struggling to make sense of your life, or you are dealing with the effects of loss or change, or if you are experiencing anxiety or depression then the powerful combination of the Human Toolbox coupled with a safe and encouraging space to learn more about how your mind and body work and what makes you tick may be just the answer. To learn more go and have a look at the two slide shows 'What Humans do...' and 'How the World is...' on the homepage of my website www.lindywheeler.co.uk.
What to expect in your first session
Coming to counselling for the first time can feel scary, particularly if you're not used to talking about your feelings. Often we're taught from an early age to 'man up' or to hide our difficult feelings from others so the thought of sharing them with a complete stranger may feel uncomfortable.
Our first session together will help us to get to know each other and to gently explore the issues that are troubling you. We'll discuss what you'd like to achieve through counselling and maybe set some objectives for our time together. We'll also discuss whether you would just like to use the time to talk about and explore the issues that are troubling you, or whether you would like to know more about your mind/body connection by incorporating the Human Toolbox Programme into your sessions. This would simply mean we would use some of the session to help you understand the effect of stress on your mind and body, or to explain the reasons you wake in the early hours of the morning feeling anxious and unable to control worrying thoughts. This simple 'psycho-education' can bring enormous relief and can aid recovery.
Each session is 60 minutes long unless we decide differently. If you are engaging in family therapy where two or more of you are attending then we might decide that 90 minute sessions are more helpful.
How long will we work together?
That depends on what you feel you need. Some people just need a few sessions to work through specific issues, others choose longer term therapy. You are completely in control of the length and format of your counselling sessions. Short term solution focussed work tends to be 6-8 sessions.
As an Accredited Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) my work is governed by the BACP Ethical Framework. As part of my ongoing Accreditation I am required to take regular training to ensure my knowledge is up to date and my practice is both professional and ethical. I am also required to take regular monthly clinical supervision where I have the opportunity to discuss confidentially any areas that concern me and to seek advice on how best to help my clients.
I like to use two methods of measuring progress. The first is a simple questionnaire called PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire Version 9). The PHQ-9 is a multipurpose instrument for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and measuring the severity of depression. The second is the GAD7 (General Anxiety Disorder Version 7). This is a questionnaire for screening and measuring the severity of generalized anxiety disorder.
Completing these two simple questionnaires at the start of our work together gives us an idea of where you are on the scales, and updating as we go through will enable us to see if things are improving.
It's up to you whether we use these measuring tools but often people find it helpful to see how much better they feel once they start to talk about their difficult feelings.
My practice room
I work from Acorn House, 8a Looms Lane, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. IP33 1HE. Acorn House is very easy to find - the first white door on the left as you come on to Looms Lane from Northgate Street. My office is on the ground floor and is fully wheelchair accessible. There is metered parking on Looms Lane and car parks in Lower Baxter Street, Angel Hill and Ram Meadow which are all within easy walking distance.
Working with children and young people under the age of 16
If your child is under the age of 16 you will be required to accompany him or her to the first session where you will be asked to sign a consent form. All work with your child will be confidential unless there is a disclosure. A disclosure would involve your child telling me that he or she is being harmed in some way. In the event of disclosure I am required by law to notify the appropriate services, but I would only do this after seeking advice from my supervisor and in accordance with BACP Guidelines. All this is explained in my Terms and Conditions.
Terms and Conditions
At our first session I would give you a copy of my Terms and Conditions. These are set out in accordance with BACP Guidelines and will include details of my cancellation policy, the timings of sessions and the official complaints procedure.
Training, qualifications & experience
- Dip. in Person Centred Psychodynamic Counselling 2001
- Cert. Human Givens Post Traumatic Stress Therapy 2004
- Cert. Human Givens Rewind Technique 2004
- Cert. Therapeutic Sand Play and model making 2005
- Cert. Human Givens Working with Sexual Abuse 2005
- Thrive FTC Practitioner Training 2006
- Accredited by British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) 2007
- Registered by UKCP 2007
- Gestalt Anger Management Training 2007
- Cert. Human Givens Therapeutic Storytelling 2008
- Cert. Systemic Family Work Dan Hughes 2008
- Cert. in Group Analysis. Cambridge Group Work 2009
- Cert. Child Mental Health and the medical model. Inst. Child Mental Health 2009
- Integrated Science (bridging the gap between science and spirituality) David Hamilton 2014
- CfD Counselling for Depression University of Nottingham 2015
From 2001-2012 I work firstly on placement and then as a qualified counsellor and group facilitator for West Suffolk Mind (later to become Suffolk Mind). During this time I underwent Gestalt Anger Management Facilitator Training and delivered small to medium sized group for Confidence and Self Esteem, Anxiety and Stress Management and Depression groups.
From 2002-2011 I was the School Counsellor for Charles Burrell High School and Rosemary Musker High School in Thetford. The two schools later combined to become Thetford Academy. I worked with over 700 students in a 1:1 capacity and I provided systemic family work where required. I also set up the counselling service at East Point Academy in Lowestoft. During this period I wrote The Human Tools for Schools Emotional Literacy Programme.
From 2011 to date I have had my own private practice offering a unique combination of talking therapy coupled with the Human Toolbox psycho-education. I also worked in a self employed capacity for MTCIC who provide IAPT counselling and who commission Human Toolbox Therapy Groups as part of their service. I supervise other counsellors and I run regular Human Toolbox Practitioner Certificate Courses across the country.
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.
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 provide the following specialised services:
- counselling for the deaf (through a signer where applicable).
- counselling for the visually impaired and blind. (Guide dogs are very welcome in my office)
- play therapy including sand tray, model making and games for my young clients
- help and support for families going through separation and divorce
- help and support for teenagers and adolescents who are struggling with behaviour and identity
- help and support for those lacking in motivation and focus
- help and support for those entering 'the third age' and coping with 'empty nest syndrome'
- help and support in finding purpose and meaning in life
- help and support for those who are struggling with the effects of redundancy or retirement
- help and support for carers
I work with children of school age (aged 5 and over), families, individuals and couples. I also run bespoke workplace wellbeing groups for companies and organisations who wish to improve the physical and emotional health of their employees.
Fees for 1:1 counselling £60 per hour
Fees for family/group work £85 per hour
Supervision £30 per hour for trainee counsellors
£50 per hour for qualified counsellors
Concessions: I do offer some concessions for students, those on low income and seniors.
Before retraining in 2001 I had a long and successful career in sales and marketing for major companies including British Petroleum, IBM and Aldus UK later to become Adobe International. I have a deep understanding of working in the corporate market and all the stress that this invokes. I also have an in-depth knowledge of working in schools.
I have worked with visually impaired clients and those with audio impairment. I can work through a signer if required to do so.
On a personal note...
I have two children, both fully fledged and leading happy and productive lives. I have been a single parent and a working mum and I know at first hand the stress and anxiety that goes with being a working parent.
I believe my life experience, coupled with my passionate interest in 'humans' and what makes us tick enables me to provide a safe, insightful and supportive place for my clients to work through whatever is troubling them, and to find peace and balance in their lives.