Sophie Cockell BA(Hons) CQSW MSc Systemic Psychotherapist Registered UKCP
Therapy can help people when they are feeling overwhelmed, sad or angry or when they are not sure what to do for the best. Sometimes people feel stuck in repeating unwanted patterns that create hurtful or harmful feelings and behaviours. I believe that therapy can support people through making useful changes in their lives by exploring their difficulties, thinking about how they emerged and by building on their strengths and resiliencies.
Making relationships is at the heart of my therapeutic practice. I draw on the evidence base from research that concludes that whatever a therapist’s theoretical position, it is the quality of the relationship between therapist and clients that creates possibilities for change. Therefore I take a collaborative and flexible approach and offer a safe confidential, therapeutic and reflective space where individuals, couples or whole families including significant others can come and explore their issues together or separately.
Systemic Psychotherapy sees the individual in the context of a network of relationships recognising that we live in a world of relationships and not just in our minds. By focusing on the relationships we live in I can help to support individuals, couples and families to find ways in which they can make it possible to build connections with others that allow them to talk about and manage difficult feelings differently. This way of working acknowledges the importance of our closest relationships.
You don't have to be in crisis or feeling really low for psychotherapy to be useful. I am here for anyone who would like to talk to someone in a confidential and non-judgmental space and available to talk with any family member who may be struggling with, caring for or coming to terms with a member of the family having any kind of a diagnosis.
I am flexible in my approach and gauge how you would like to go on in therapy, whether it is a reflective space to talk or more about suggestions of different things to try out that might make a difference to you.
My Experience and what I bring to sessions
My social work experience contributes to my understanding about the impact of wider influences such as poverty, class, ethnicity, race and other considerations on mental wellbeing and my Systemic training has an emphasis on considering ethics and power in relationships. I therefore tend to pay close attention to these issues in order to work collaboratively with each person and I am sensitive to working with people from different cultures and backgrounds to my own and attempt to be inclusive of diversity and difference.
Therapy is also a learning space for me and I find myself inspired by those I work with, they teach me about the resilience and resourcefulness of human nature which, in turn, furnishes me with new ideas about how I might be helpful to others.
I bring my professional training, skills and experience to our meetings and work with integrity, honesty and a belief in change and growth. I work within and am bound by the ethical frameworks of the professional organisations I am a member of: Association for Family and Systemic Practice (AFT) and the United Kingdom of Counsellors & Psychotherapists (UKCP). To comply with these memberships, I have regular clinical supervision of my work.
I have extensive experience of working with clients living with Identity problems including Gender identity and couples and families who are fostering and adopting children.
I also have knowledge and experience of the challenges and rewards that encompass neuro-diversity which includes working with and offering support to significant others both therapeutically and practically. Many people have told me that they find it helpful to have space to talk through the impact of having a child with special needs. It is often very difficult for parents to give time to looking after themselves including accessing services which would support their well being such as counselling or psychotherapy.
Physical and mental illness, bullying, feeling different and not fitting in can contribute to low self-esteem and affect confidence; contributing to our difficulties connecting to others. This, in turn, can impact on the relationships and mental and physical well being of those closest to us. If these sound like issues you have struggled with then I am here to help.
My experience is also of benefit to those with relationship struggles leading to symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma or loss.
Systemic ideas are helpful for:
- Individuals who would like to better understand their relationships and how they can improve their communication with others
- Couples wanting to improve their relationships
- Where a member of the family may be struggling with addiction or mental health wellbeing, disability or illness
- Where parents may be concerned about their child’s behaviour or when concerned about the effects of separation or bereavement on the family.
- Some families may have special needs to do with multiple losses or traumatic experiences that seem to have been handed down from the past. They can sometimes continue to impact on the family structure and ongoing relationships
- Coping with general life changes for example a child moving school or moving towards independence.
- Couples who are fostering or adopting where extra support may be required.
Here are some of the things that a family therapist might do with a family:
- Talk about each person’s hopes for their family.
- Listen to you and encourage everyone in the family to talk about their experiences, and to listen to each other.
- Respect and clarify each person’s beliefs, values, needs, hopes and assumptions to help them understand each other better.
- Help families to stop blaming each other and to begin exploring how everyone can work together to make things better.
- Help people to understand the effect their words and actions have on everyone else in the family. Explore what each person in the family does well, and what they are most proud of.
- Draw a kind of family tree, called a genogram, to help people think about the different relationships in their family.
- Help families to talk about the challenges they are facing
- Support families as they work towards their own goals.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have over twenty years experience of working with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families in a variety of statutory and voluntary settings. I have held specialist and senior clinical posts at internationally renowned London Institutions such as The Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Tavistock and Portman.
My first degree was (BA Hons) Humanities. Following this I began working with young offenders moving on to working with families at the Family Welfare Association in the 1980s.
I qualified as a clinical social worker gaining the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) having completed psychoanalytical social work training in 1992. Subsequently I worked as a social worker in the fields of Fostering and Adoption, Child Protection, International social work, Court Work and latterly in Mental Health.
I qualified as a Family and Systemic Psychotherapist at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in 2015 where I have worked since. I completed a further postgraduate qualification in Family Therapy Supervision, Consultation, and Training at the Tavistock Centre and am an AFT qualified Systemic Supervisor in 2018.
I am currently working as a Senior Family Therapist in the National Autism Unit at the Bethlam Royal Hospital and a Specialist Systemic Psychotherapist in the Autism and Learning Disability team at the Tavistock and Portman NHT Foundation Trust.
I am also a visiting lecturer and supervisor at the Tavistock and Portman where I supervise qualified and training clinicians, facilitate assessment and treatment sessions and train professionals both individually and in groups. I also offer systemic consultation to a network of professionals working with families.
Immediately prior to my present posts I worked in the Gender Identity Development Service at the Tavistock which is a national service and the only service working with issues of gender identity with children in the UK
Family, Couple and Systemic Psychotherapist
- Registered Systemic Psychotherapist with The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- Registered Systemic Psychotherapist with The Association of Family Therapy (AFT)
- Accredited Systemic Supervision with The Association of Family Therapy
Accredited register membership
Areas of counselling I deal with
- Affairs and betrayals
- Anger management
- Asperger's syndrome
- Attachment disorder
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Carer support
- Child related issues
- Eating disorders
- Family issues
- Gender dysphoria
- Hearing voices
- Learning difficulties
- Low self-confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pregnancy and birth
- Relationship problems
- Separation and divorce
- Work-related stress
- Young carers
Other areas of counselling I deal with
In psychotherapy I can help with:
- Adoption issues
- Challenging behaviour
- Chronic and Life Limiting illness
- Cultural issues
- Family Conflict
- Identity problems
- Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Trans-gendered life experiences
- Living with Disability (including mental health)
- Race issues
- Relationship and interpersonal difficulties
- Social and communication difficulties
- Work related issues
£100 for individual sessions. £150.00 per session for couple or family consultations. I have specialisms in Identity Work, Social Communication Skills and am a trained AFT Systemic Consultant, Trainer and Supervisor.
£60 per session for Systemic Supervision
I also work from Walton-on-Thames
Maps & Directions
Type of session
|Face to face counselling:||Yes|
I am currently available on Wednesdays.
Types of client
Supervision & training
I really enjoy supervision and therefore completed the AFT accredited Systemic Supervision Training at the Tavistock and Portman. My supervision style is influenced by Post Modernist/Social Constructionist and Dialogical ideas. .View supervision profile