Penny Mathern MBACP (Snr Accred)
Thank you for reading my profile. My aim as your counsellor is to provide you with a calm and safe space where you can explore what is troubling you, gain understanding of your situation and decide what you wish to do next. I do not give you advice or tell you what to do; rather I facilitate you to find your own ways of coping and moving forward. I would describe myself as warm, approachable, non judgmental and with a sense of humour.
The first session:
This time is for me to explain in more detail what is involved in counselling and for you to tell me what is troubling you. Most importantly it is for you to work out if you feel comfortable talking to me about yourself. If you do feel comfortable and decide to come into counselling we will then arrange to meet, usually every week for 50 minutes, for as long as we both feel is appropriate. Sometimes that can be just a few weeks, sometimes people can see me for many months. I provide both face to face and online counselling.
How can counselling help?
I have had a varied and in depth career and from this I have been able to develop an integrative approach to counselling which means that I bring a range of knowledge, skills and approaches to my work. I offer clients a "tool box" from which they can select different ways of working. I offer Behavioural work, where the client understands their thought processes and can then change them, if they wish; Psychodynamic work, where the client explores issues from their past and how they may be impacting on their present lives; finally person-centred therapy is core to all my work, where the client sets the pace and direction of the work. The individual needs of clients can be very varied and it is important that I can tailor my work to meet those needs, and some clients use all the tools in the box.
I provide both couple and individual counselling. In couple counselling my role is to help the couple decide where they want the relationship to go, that might be for it to end or it might be to initiate change to enable it to continue. Issues may include the impact of an affair, the impact of childhood experiences on a relationship and the importance of minimizing the impact of divorce on children. The individual counselling I provide includes bereavement, bullying, self esteem, loss, trauma, sexual abuse, domestic violence, stress, depression, anxiety, family relationships and issues resulting from being a carer. I am also experienced in working with counselling students as part of their course requirements.
The most important part of the counselling is the relationship between you and me, your counsellor. By providing a confidential and non judgemental setting I give you a space for you to talk to me about whatever is troubling you. As I said above my role is not to tell you what to do, it is to listen, to enable you to explore what is distressing you, to help you understand and then to decide for yourself what you wish to do next. Although I do not tell you what to do, I do pass on my knowledge, for example about the process of bereavement, and I will observe things about you that perhaps you were not aware of yourself. In individual work I have had clients who had no idea that they regularly referred to themselves as stupid. In relationship work I will notice how people talk to each other, for example one can act like a parent and the other act can like a child; again they may not be aware of this.
Face to Face Counselling.
I provide a comfortable and private space for counselling with parking close by. I am able to provide 2 metre social distancing so a mask is not essential however should clients wish to wear one that is not a problem. For safety I ask clients to bring their own tissues and water. I have carried out a risk assessment and have client guidelines for Covid 19
For some clients online counselling is helpful, e.g clients who work away from home or do shift work find online gives them a flexibility that face to face does not. Some clients also find that not being in the room with the counsellor makes self disclosure easier.
My role is to support you with using and installing the technology and then to help you feel comfortable talking to me on line. I use Zoom and if you are not familiar with it I can send you information on how to download and use it. It is free, easy to install and easy to use. Occasionally the WiFi signal can be lost, should this happen I would continue the session on the telephone. With online counselling it is important that you put in place the same conditions that you would have in face to face counselling so you get the most from your session. This would be that you are in a comfortable and private space where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the session and that you have to hand the things you need for your comfort, e.g. tissues and water.
Finally I hope this profile has given you the information you require, however, if there are other things you wish to know or if you would like to talk to me in person before making an appointment please do not hesitate to contact me either by email or telephone. I look forward to hearing from you. Penny
“I have worked with Penny for 6 years at Mount Pleasant Health Centre, Exeter where she was our Practice Counsellor. I can very highly recommend her as a practice counsellor; her work is of very high quality” Dr David Russell GP Trainer MRCP FRCGP
“Penny is a skilled listener, offering both empathy and insight in a safe and tranquil setting.” Alison, client, Leeds 16
"Penny guided me through a difficult time in a family relationship that is very important to me; she is the reason that relationship is saved (and I like myself a lot better too)" Alison Kelly, client.
Training, qualifications & experience
- MBACP ( Snr Accred)
- Relate Certificate in Couple Counselling
- Certificate in Marital and Couple Counselling (Theory and Practice)
- Diploma in Social Work
- Certificate of Qualification in Social Work
- BSc Econ and Soc Studs
- Throughout my career I have had supervision in line with BACP standards and have participated in many post qualification courses.
My initial training was at University College Cardiff where I studied Sociology, Psychology, Social Work Methods, Counselling Skills and Theory. Having graduated I then continued my training with Relate and specialised in Couple Counselling. I then obtained a Further Certificate in Couple Counselling (Theory and Practice) with Relate and achieved Senior Accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Finally I trained as a Trainer with Relate, offering specialist courses to the public e.g. assertiveness, self esteem and loss.
- Relate Counsellor and Trainer
- GP Practice Counsellor, Mount Pleasant Health Centre Exeter
- Student Counsellor, University of Exeter
- Private Practice Counsellor
- Course Director, Certificate in Counselling Skills, University of Exeter
- Tutor Counselling Skills, CSCT
- Long Distance Learning Tutor in Mental Health, Skills Network
- Group Facilitator, Bradford Bereavement Support
- Student Counsellor Leeds University, lead counsellor for bereavement
I have been very fortunate to have had a varied and rich career which has included both counselling and teaching. As a counsellor I have worked for Relate, a GP Practice and the University of Exeter. As a trainer I have taught skills courses to members of the public e.g. assertiveness and loss and I have also taught counselling students, both at the University of Exeter and for CSCT. I have also worked in partnership with Social Services to deliver a Course for Carers.
Relate work has qualified me to work with couples and also enables me to help individual clients understand both the couple and family dynamics which may be affecting them. My experience at Mount Pleasant Health Centre, Exeter resulted in me becoming highly skilled in individual counselling and brief therapy and expanded my skills to include working with a range of problems including anxiety, depression, bullying in the work place and stress. In my post as a student counsellor, I developed skills of long term therapy and in particular working with suicidal clients. I also learnt the skills of flexibility, availability of students could be very varied depending on the timetables, and I am aware of how important flexibility is to my clients in private work.
My group work and teaching enables me to bring into the counselling room many techniques for change e.g. with stress, loss, negative thoughts and many others.
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 also offer support to couples who are undergoing separation or divorce to minimise the impact of the separation on their children.
Free initial online session
£50 per session
£60 per session
Daytime, evenings and weekends
I provide directions to where I practice once a first appointment has been made.
I am a 10 minute walk from Guiseley railway station and five minutes walk from a bus route.
Parking is available on a residential street.
Should you wish to contact me for more information please do, either by email or telephone, whichever feels most comfortable for you.
Access to my premises does not involve stairs so is suitable for the disabled and I believe wheelchair access would be possible. Guide dogs are, of course, welcome.
Monday: both daytime and evenings, between 9.30am and 7.30pm
Thursday: both daytime and evenings, between 9.30am and 7.30pm
Friday: 9am until 1pm
Sunday: evenings between 5.15pm and 7.30pm