I am trained to provide one-to-one counselling for individuals and relationship counselling which may involve intimate partners, parent and son/daughter or business partners.
Counselling offers a confidential, accepting environment which can facilitate personal growth and the development of new skills and strengths to cope with your particular circumstances. That being said it is important to find a counsellor who you feel confident about. Here is some information about my professional background which may help you in your decision-making.
My way of working
I work with adults and teenagers for periods ranging from six weeks, for a short term input, to several years when long term work is more appropriate to client need. At the centre of my approach is the emphasis on forming a sound therapeutic relationship with my client. This is a relationship where the client is the focus and where they are supported to grow in their understanding of themselves and their issues. This understanding includes how they are affected in the here and now as well as considering the origin of the difficulty. It is this awareness which facilitates the changing of unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving as well as patterns of relating to others.
Short term work usually has a focus on current issues whereas those who are troubled by past trauma and childhood issues generally benefit from longer term counselling. CBT is particularly useful for short-term work supporting the client to make connections between their thoughts and emotions and giving consideration to ways in which they can amend their thoughts to healthier alternatives which can lead to a more fulfilled way of living. Longer-term counselling may involve the application of CBT but also supports a deeper level of work where the client is able to explore more thoroughly issues from the past which are impacting on their present day living. The opportunity to talk about past trauma and childhood issues with the support of the therapeutic relationship is of great value and forms the foundation from which changes can be made to how the client thinks and feels long term.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have thirty years of experience working in the statutory, independent and voluntary sectors. I have worked as a Social Worker, specialising in child protection, as well as fostering and adoption. I have also worked training student counsellors. Currently my work is solely focused on my counselling private practice.
I have a Diploma in Integrative Counselling (Person-centred & Psychodynamic) and a further Diploma in CBT Skills & Theory. I am an Accredited Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and as such I abide by their Code of Ethics. I qualified as a Social Worker in 1990 on completion of a BA (Hons) Social Work . I have post-qualification and advanced level training in Social Work specialising in attachment issues, fostering and adoption.
Alongside training and qualifications, my experience of working with people at challenging times in their lives is key to the provision of an effective and ethical service within a relationship which is experienced as confidential, warm and accepting.
Areas of Special Interest
Issues Stemming from Childhood:
I have a background in working with child abuse and neglect. I undertake some specialist work with adopted people and parents. My previous experience as an Adoption Social Worker with the Health & Social Services Trusts means that I have a wealth of training and experience working with issues such as attachment, childhood trauma, loss, abuse and neglect.
Knowledge and expertise with these very important issues can be applied to other clients who have experienced challenges in their early years which are resulting in difficulties in adulthood. Such people may be experiencing anxiety, depression and relationship difficulties and can, with help learn to manage in a healthier way.
Issues with Food:
For some people emotional difficulties can influence what and how much they eat, this can become a problem which affects their self esteem, mood and physical health. It can be difficult to talk about such issues as they invoke shame and those that struggle in this way can feel very alone and isolated with their problems. Taking the courageous step to invest in a counselling relationship can be a catalyst to bring about the changes that the person would like to see. I have an interest in this area, developed through the completion of the British Psychological Society (BPS) approved training: Master Practitioner in Eating Disorders & Obesity.
This involved achieving the following qualifications:
- Diploma in Practitioner Skills for Eating Disorders
- Certificate in Nutritional Skills for Eating Disorders
- Certificate in Essential Obesity: Psychological Approaches to Weight Loss
Disordered eating will have developed for reasons; of course these will vary from person to person. Counselling can assist an individual in gaining an understanding of why food has become a problematic issue in their life. In their own time they can begin to think about things differently and make changes in how they relate to food. This often involves new learning, gaining skills to cope with stressful moments and events and the discovery of different eating habits and routines which are ultimately healthier both mentally and physically.
I completed training in Relationship Counselling with Rutland House Counselling & Psychotherapy, Leicester. This training equips counsellors to work with intimate partners as well as others in significant relationships. While below I have illustrated the role of relationship counsellors with intimate partners, the service is also useful in the case of a parent and child who have a difficult relationship or in the case of business partners who are in conflict.
It is usual for any relationship to encounter difficulties over time and sometimes these can be hard to resolve. For some a crisis may occur which threatens the relationship and for others the build-up of issues leads to a tension which causes a drift between two people. Partners can become distant, losing the once-valued connection that they used to enjoy.
Relationship counselling provides the opportunity for two people to consider the quality of the relationship and improve on aspects that they feel need to change. The role of the counsellor is to manage the space ensuring that both parties have the chance to express their thoughts and feelings, they will also provide feedback from a neutral stand-point and offer suggestions about how both parties may develop in order to achieve the changes that they hope for.
It is of course a reality that sometimes relationships reach a point where the only healthy option is for the relationship to come to an end. This is a painful place to reach and can be complicated by ongoing shared responsibilities such as those connected with parenting or a business partnership/working relationship. Separation counselling can be helpful in facilitating an understanding between parties which enables a respectful parting or the evolving of the relationship into one whereby the parties can work constructively with each other.
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 am currently meeting with clients both on video and and face-to-face. This is according to what is preferred by the client. If you chose to come to counselling in person I will provide some detail about precautions I am taking in order to manage risk in relation to Covid 19.
Individual & relationship counselling sessions last for 50 minutes.
Individual sessions cost £50 and relationship counselling sessions cost £60.
Counsellors (student or qualified) are supervised at a rate of £40 per fifty minute session or £75 per ninety minute session.
Available for day-time sessions.
I work from accommodation in the East Belfast/Holywood area . Counselling takes place in comfortable surroundings and affords clients privacy with the convenience of easy parking. The premises are accessible to those with some mobility difficulties however there are a few steps up to the front door which would prove a difficulty for a wheel chair user.
Your next step...
Finding the right counsellor is crucial as the quality of this relationship will determine the effectiveness of the work we do together. I am comfortable to meet with you for a one-off session which we can use to discuss what counselling could offer you. This gives you the chance to decide whether you wish to commit to further sessions without any pressure.
If you wish to make contact please email me with some details then we can arrange a time to talk.