Lynn Simpson Davies MBACP - Autism-Aware Counsellor
My name is Lynn Simpson Davies…
I am an autism-aware pluralistic counsellor, working in a welcoming space in Central Dundee: The Clearing Counselling Studio.
I am a gentle, down-to-earth, curious and creative person. I have over fifteen years' experience working in the field of mental health, and can provide a supportive presence for people exploring a wide range of life situations and mental health issues. This support can be short-term or long-term. I am a pluralistic counsellor, which means that I will do my best to vary my approach to suit each client that I work with.
My rate is £45 for a 60 – 80 minute session, although concessionary rates are available. I also offer a free 30-minute phone or online conversation so you can work out whether or not I am the right counsellor for you.
Please note: I am currently unable to take on new clients until early October.
I will restart face-to-face sessions when the vaccination programme is more advanced. At the moment – I am offering remote sessions by telephone, Signal or Zoom.
Autism is an area of particular interest for me (although I am equally happy working with non-autistic clients). There is an increasing recognition that autistic people can be misunderstood within society in a way that can contribute to mental health problems – and this is a subject close to my heart.
I identify as autistic, personally, and I find that my way of being can be helpful in therapeutic conversations. I tend to sense underlying issues and emotions quite strongly. I also have a natural curiosity and playfulness which lends well to creative work; and can empathise strongly with people who experience and express their emotions and empathy in different ways from ‘the norm’. I bring a gentleness to my counselling sessions; and have also been told that my frankness and straightforwardness is helpful and puts people at ease.
Here are some of the ways I can make counselling autism-friendly:
- I know eye-contact can be very uncomfortable and will take your lead with that. From regular eye contact to none at all – I am happy communicating without any eye contact and don’t find this to impede communication.
- I know it isn’t always easy to be asked ‘how does that make you feel?’ It can be particularly hard for autistic people to find accurate and specific vocabulary for their feelings when under pressure; even when experiencing really strong feelings at a bodily level. For this reason, I try never to push clients to give their feelings a name if this isn’t what works for them in the moment. I am open to working creatively to make it easier to get in touch with and process feelings, whether by using a feelings wheel, creative expression (e.g. drawing, collage), emotional ratings systems, or body awareness.
- I know that autistic people are at greater risk for bullying and/or social exclusion at school and in the workplace; and that everyday life can take on a subtle or pronounced traumatic edge which can be cumulative and destructive of mental health (particularly for those who go through life without realising they are autistic). I try to bring trauma-awareness to all my counselling sessions for this reason; and am experienced providing coaching support on safety and stabilisation techniques.
- I know that while it is not always easy for autistic people to stay organised, organised environments free from sensory overload can have a relaxing and therapeutic effect on autistic minds. The Clearing Counselling Studio is a carefully curated, uncluttered space with subtle decoration, art work and plants. It has blackout blinds and low level lighting installed for those who experience sensory overload; and I am happy to use these at any time of day.
- I know it sometimes takes a while to settle into a counselling session and decide on something you’d like to talk about. For that reason, I am flexible with the duration of sessions that I’m offering. I can offer sessions between 60 and 80 minutes for the same rate. We can agree how long you want your sessions to be initially, and/or agree to have a longer session where a particularly important issue comes up.
- I know that autistic people are often brilliant and lovely people! I might be biased about this, but I love the way that the autistic mind can focus intensely on passionate interests; and have skills, knowledge and vision that are different from the norm. I also love the honesty, integrity and sense of fairness that autistic people often share. I am troubled by the idea that through a need to fit in, autistic people will sometimes lose an authentic sense of themselves through a life-time of ‘masking’ their autism. I am very open to discussion around ‘autistic thriving’ if clients would like to explore this – finding a fulfilling way to savour life that honours rather than clashes with their autistic brain wiring.
The Clearing Counselling Studio:
The Clearing Counselling Studio has space for one-to-one counselling and for creative work at a craft table during sessions if this is helpful. Lighting can be limited for those who are affected by sensory overload (lamps and blackout blinds); and I hope to keep adapting the space to become more and more autism-friendly. If you feel more grounded with your shoes off; or a weighted blanket over you – that is very welcome. If you would like to bring something with you that could be helpful during sessions (e.g. a fidget toy or grounding object) - that is also very welcome.
Please see pictures below (Photo 2 and Photo 3) to get an idea what the room looks like.
I will meet clients at the reception to the Flour Mill shortly before their scheduled appointment (See Photo 1 and Photo 4 for internal and external images) to show them up to the room. I then give clients a few moments of privacy to settle in before the session.
My interest in working with autistic clients came through recognising my own autistic traits; and recognising how autism fitted into my life story. I am passionate about neuro-diversity, and believe that in the long-run the world needs to change to better accommodate - and better value - autistic people. My goal as an autism-aware counsellor is to help autistic clients to reach higher levels of self-acceptance, self-esteem and self-compassion.
If that isn’t where you’re at just now, I’ll try not to force that agenda on you – instead meeting you where you are to help you to work through any issues in your life that are troubling you.
My counselling methods:
Whether or not you are autistic: as a pluralistic counsellor, I am able to vary my approach to meet the needs of different clients. I enjoy working flexibly and collaboratively with the following approaches:
- Person-centred Counselling
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Gestalt counselling techniques
- Transactional analysis techniques
- Attachment theory
- Personality systems (as narrative tools to strengthen self-awareness)
- Solutions-focused counselling
- Trauma awareness/psycho-education
- Creative techniques (e.g. personal timelines, drawing, collage)
If you have a preference for the kind of counselling you would like, let me know. For example, if you would like to use CBT techniques; or do drawings as part of our sessions; or if you would just like an open space to speak about things freely (person-centred counselling). I will also ask you questions from time to time about what is most helpful for you, and will sometimes give ideas of approaches we could take together.
Please ask if you would like more information on the styles of counselling that I draw on.
Getting in Touch
Don't hesitate to get in touch by email if you would like to arrange a free 30 minute meeting to explore whether I am the right counsellor for you (using the email link at the top of the page).
Please include: Your name, your date of birth, email address, telephone number and your availability (I work Monday - Wednesday day and evening).
If you are getting in touch by email, you might want to tell me a little bit about your situation and what you would like to work on in counselling. Or you might want to wait until we speak in person to share any personal information. Both are completely fine, and I'd suggest deciding which you feel most comfortable with.
Training, qualifications & experience
- MSc Counselling from Abertay University with Distinction (2020)
- Final Year MSc Project: “Autism Awareness Toolkit Project” (2020)
- Over 15 years experience working in the mental health, student support and care sectors
- MA Hons English Language from University of Glasgow: First Class (2004)
- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills/ASIST (2011)
- Study Trip to Brisbane to Study Reflective Integration Therapy with Rachel Lee Harris (2019) Funding Received From Santander Opportunities Fund
National Autistic Society Online Training Modules (2019):
- Understanding Autism
- Autism, Stress & Anxiety
- Autism & Sensory Experience
- Autism & Communication
- Women & Girls on the Autism Spectrum
- Autism: Supporting Families
Other Professional Development:
- National Autistic Society: Women and Girls Conference (2019)
- Professor Tony Attwood Counselling & Autism Masterclass Event (2019)
- Counselling & Autism Training with Orly Koppel and Chris Bonnello (2019)
- Autism & Addictive Behaviours Conference by Hearts and Minds Clinic (2019)
- More Than My Trauma Online Conference (2020)
- The Rupture Repair Cycle Online Seminar by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk (2020)
- How to Do Counselling Online: A Coronavirus Primer by Open University (2020)
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
£45.00 per session
Free initial in-person, telephone or online session
Concessions offered for
£45 per hour.
This is for a full 60 minute hour.
If you would prefer a slightly longer session, I am open to negotiating that when initially contracting, as I appreciate that it might be useful for some people to have longer than an hour per session. Sometimes it can take a little while to settle into the session before opening up more difficult areas of personal experience; which can make some additional time beneficial. I am open to having sessions of up to 1 hour 20 mins for the £45 rate.