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 is free of charge and lasts for 40 minutes.This time gives me the chance to explain in more detail about 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.
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.
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 please do not hesitate to contact me.
“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
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.
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Anorexia nervosa
- Attachment disorder
- Attachment disorder in children
- Behaviour problems
- Binge-eating disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bulimia nervosa
- Career counselling
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Childhood bereavement
- Childhood bullying
- Chronic fatigue syndrome/ME
- Domestic violence
- Eating disorders
- Emotional abuse
- Family issues
- Feeling sad
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- Panic disorder
- Passive aggressive behaviour
- Personality disorders
- Physical abuse
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Postnatal depression
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship problems
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Separation and divorce
- Sex problems
- Sexual abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Work-related stress
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.
- Behavioural therapy
- Cognitive and behavioural therapies
- Couples counselling
- Family/systemic therapy
- Group therapy
£40 per session
£50 per session
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
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I do not have steps to my counselling room so it is accessible to people with disabilities, unfortunately I do not have access for a wheelchair. Guide dogs are of course welcome
Daytime, evenings and weekends
Types of client
|Employee Assistance Programme|