I have extensive experience of working with individuals and couples in areas as varied as depression, anger, bereavement, anxiety, and relationship issues.
I am a UKCP registered psychotherapist and Relate certified counsellor with more than 20 years experience of working with individuals, couples, supervisees and groups in NHS, voluntary sector, educational and private settings. I am also a musician with a wealth of experience in performing, community arts and training.
My professional training – person-centred, psychodynamic and gestalt – is informed by a life lived committed to the value of creativity. I offer my clients the opportunity to explore their thoughts, feelings and behaviour in a confidential and supportive but challenging environment, underpinned by a prime interest in the therapeutic relationship, the present moment and the value of imagination.
I have a special interest in couple counselling. My first experience was with Relate so my first clients included couples. I’ve maintained a special interest in love and the dynamics of intimate relationships, throughout my career.
For me, though people come for all sorts of reasons, some of them quite acute, counselling & psychotherapy is a way of finding out how you’ve become, and continue to be, you. It’s a chance to experiment with doing things differently - to think the unthinkable, say the unsayable, if you like, in a relatively safe and non-judgemental environment. The aim is to enhance your awareness of the processes that influence the choices you are making all the time. With more clarity about what helps and what limits you, you are more able to effect change if you want to. In this way the choice to live in a freer, more creative and authentic way can become a real possibility.
I see clients in a spacious, light-filled office in the centre of Lancaster. Appointments can be arranged flexiblly. Each therapy session lasts a full hour. They are usually weekly and, as far as we can manage, at the same time on the same day each week. How many sessions is a bit of a ‘piece of string’ question - anything from a few weeks to a few years and everything in between! Ideally we stop when we both agree you are ready. There isn’t usually a problem about this and sometimes what happens during the ending can be a particularly valuable part of the work.
For more details of my work have a look at www.psychotherapistlancaster.co.uk
Training, qualifications & experience
I have done extensive training in Person-Centred, Psychodynamic and Gestalt therapy as well as shorter courses on the likes of Transactional Analysis, Solution Focussed Brief Therapy etc. I hold the Relate Certificate in Marital and Couple Counselling and am a registered member of United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) through Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI) with an M.A. in Gestalt Psychotherapy (University of Derby). I have worked for Relate, Lancaster NHS Psychotherapy Clinic and Psychology Dept of Morecambe Bay Primary Care Trust as well as in private practise. I work to UKCP’s professional code of ethics and receive regular supervision.
I have taught Gestalt psychotherapy as part of NHS psychiatric training and as part of the Clinical Psychology Doctorate at Lancaster University. I have taught aspects of groupwork to music leaders and facilitated trainer-training weekends with More Music. I have run experiential groups on counselling training programmes and done consultative work for Lancaster University’s School of Management and The Sage Gateshead.
In 2009-10 I served as a trustee on the Board of UKCP, one of the two major national registration bodies in the field. I came away from that work with a renewed commitment to increasing social access to psychotherapy.
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
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
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
Issues specific to the performing arts - eg creative blocks, anxieties around stagefright, employment etc.
My standard fees are around £50 per session, £60 for couples. I can offer some concessions at negotiable rates.
To get started contact me by phone or email and we’ll arrange a mutually convenient initial assessment appointment. This half hour session is not therapy as such but an opportunity for us to meet and find out a little more about each other. I will ask you to outline the sort of issues you might want to bring and you will be able to ask any questions you might have. At the end you are free to go away and think about what you want to do. No obligation is involved and the charge is only £10.
What sort of issues do you work with?
I like to work holistically so prefer to think of people as individuals rather than sets of particular difficulties. Having said that I find people come to see me for all sorts of reasons- relationship, family and work problems are common, so are issues around confidence and self-esteem, or dealing with particular emotions like anger or grief. Sometimes people aren’t quite sure what makes them want to come so we can work on identifying this more precisely. Others don’t have a specific problem, they want to work on, what you might call, personal development. Though apparently diverse all these people have one important thing in common - an interest in change.
How Does It Work?
Mostly we talk. I don’t have a set list of questions I have to begin with. I am usually led by my clients, what interests them here and now. So you talk about whatever is concerning you. I might comment about what I’m hearing or seeing or ask questions . Sometimes I might suggest we do something different like using art materials, moving around, playing with objects or visualising.
What about couple counselling?
Working with couples is different. In a way there are always 3 clients in the room, the two people and their very particular relationship. Typically couples come when they are in some sort of crisis. Usually something’s changed to make one or both parties unsatisfied. This might be to do with life events around family, career, depression, illness, sexual difficulties or an affair. Often problems with communication lie at the root. Couples find they’ve stop talking, or perhaps never started! I find this work particuarly fascinating. It would be fair to say it has become a specialism of mine.