Penney Hames Verified Professional Verified Professional
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About me

All kinds of change can make life stressful.  Family issues, illness, unemployment, depression, generalised anxiety disorder, moving home, new family members, getting older, divorce, death and trauma. In all these things the relationships that we have with the people around us may make managing these changes easier or harder. Problems that get talked about as though they are inside us - like depression and generalised anxiety disorder - are often related to things going on around us. Things like hurtful or harmful patterns of behaviour we are in, patterns of behaviour that used to help but now that things have changed are no longer useful, or the sometimes overwhelming influence of society's ideas about achievement or happiness or success, especially when it feels as though we're the only one who doesn't measure up.

As a family therapist, I see that change is often best talked about with others - none of us are in this world alone. I'll help you to better understand yourself and those around you and to look for ways to gain and give support to those closest to you. I'll help you to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, understand the experiences and views of those around you and find ways to build on your strengths, helping you to work with others to make useful changes in your relationships and lives.

We'll look at the patterns and the interactions in your relationships - whether they are in your family, at work, with your partner, your parents or your children. We may draw out your family tree, and identify patterns there as well, because sometimes patterns repeat across the generations. Maybe all the women in your family have had a relationship with depression, maybe all the first born boys have struggled to feel close with their fathers. And starting from an appreciation of what already works, we'll gently investigate what is painful or uncomfortable and help you to think about, discuss and, in time, experiment with better ways forward for you and those around you. We'll draw out your strengths and hopes for your life and focusing on those will explore the history of these ideas, who else knows about these things and who can support you as you develop this part of yourself.

The atmosphere is non-judgemental. And that's because patterns happen between people, they are not one person's fault. But through talking together we can begin to make sense of those patterns, until with time and a gentle curiosity they become less like patterns that push us around and more like thoughtful stories that we are happy to tell about ourselves and our relationships.

I see children, young people and adults on an individual basis as well as working with families or couples in comfortable and welcoming private rooms at my home in Alton. Sometimes I offer a mix of individual and family sessions if that is helpful. I understand that sometimes it feels easier to begin to talk just with me.

Indeed, making sure that you feel safe talking with me and that you also feel heard is an essential part of my work. I take time to listen carefully to the way that you - and any other person you bring with you - thinks and feels about the challenges you face so that I can understand them from all points of view. But I also listen out for the less obvious, or perhaps less talked about, moments of your day, your memories, your relationships and your hopes and beliefs which may influence you and which may provide a different, perhaps preferred way forward.

Family therapy has a well-established and growing body of research that shows its effectiveness in a wide range of difficulties across the whole age range. These include family issues; couple relationship difficulties; behaviour difficulties; separation and divorce; parenting and step-parenting issues; illness and disability; aging and life-cycle transitions; generalised anxiety disorder and depression.

If you would like to talk to me without obligation please do get in touch.

Training, qualifications & experience

I trained in London as a family therapist more than 13 years ago and worked for years in the NHS. I have extensive experience of working with children, young people, adults and families across the whole range of life’s challenges. I have a particular interest and experience in working creatively with family issues, generalised anxiety disorder, low mood and depression, work-related stress, relationship difficulties, divorce and separation, parenting and step-parenting challenges, bereavement and mental health difficulties.

Professional qualifications
MSc Family and Systemic Psychotherapy (Kensington Consultation Centre / Bedford University)

Membership Organisation
Association for Family Therapy (AFT)

Professional Registration

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy

The NCT book of babies' sleep.
The NCT book of toddler tantrums.
Freelance pieces for the Saturday Telegraph on family life and child development.

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

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.


UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is a leading professional body for the education, training and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.

As part of its commitment to protect the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.

UKCP standards cover the range of different psychotherapies. Registration is obtained by training or accrediting with one of its member organisations, or by holding a European Certificate in Psychotherapy. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Accredited register membership

UK Council for Psychotherapy

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.

UK Council for Psychotherapy


Additional information

Session fee: £55 (individual session), £65 (family/couple session)

I am able to offer some flexibility in session fee to those financially unable to meet the full cost.

When I work

I offer appointments Mon - Fri 9am - 8pm

Alton, Hampshire, GU34

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Young people
Older adults

Key details

Family therapy with me is completely accessible at the moment as I am working entirely through skype or zoom. You can talk with me and other members of your family in other countries.