A person centred approach
I work in a person centred way with individuals - listening as you identify your difficulties, encouraging you to express your feelings to help you gain understanding and a way forward that is right for you, at your pace. The person centred approach recognises the importance of the counsellor/ client relationship, whereby a counsellor respects their client who in turn, feels able to trust their therapist.
I draw on my experience and knowledge, both as a children and families social worker/ manager for 26 years and 16 years as a counsellor, and I recognise how my personal life experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. This gives me good insight into working empathically and in a supportive way with people across a wide variety of situations.
How I work
I typically offered face to face counselling appointments - currently suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic - and now offer virtual appointments over the phone or VOIP (voice over internet provider: Zoom/ Skype). In light of the pandemic, I have successfully completed the Open University Level 2 Intermediate course: 'How to do counselling online: a coronavirus primer'.
I am flexible in offering you a one-off counselling session, appointments over a number of weeks, or longer term work to suit you. Each session lasts for 60 minutes. The first time we discuss together is a way to get to know each other and for you to decide whether you think I am the right person to help you. I am available Monday to Friday daytimes/ occasional early evenings and or Saturday mornings.
How I can help you
I have experience in supporting people across a wide range of issues - including abuse, adjustment, bereavement, depression, dissociation, health related matters and palliative care, men's and women's issues, personal development, relationships, self esteem, sexual identity and sexuality, stress, trauma and work related issues. I am open to listening and helping you, whatever your difficulty.
Where I work
I work from my home and provide a comfortable ground floor counselling room. My house is approximately one and a half miles from Chesterfield town centre on a main bus route and if travelling by car, you are welcome to park on my drive, accessed from the front of my property .
Please note that I offer discounted rates to Trainee Counsellors and people in receipt of benefits. I am also extending this to people working in essential services and NHS/ care staff who are offering vital support at this time of (inter)national emergency.
Training, qualifications & experience
Qualifications - Open University Level 2 Intermediate course: 'How to do counselling online: a coronavirus primer', 29/04/20 (6 hours, online learning) - Certificate of Competency, Counselling for Depression, 2015 - Post graduate Diploma in Professional Leadership and Management (Social Care and Health), 2011 - BACP Certificate of Accreditation, 09/05/11 - Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling, 2005 - MA/ Certificate of Qualification in Social Work, 1986 - BA Social Studies with Social Work, 1984
My first full time employment was as a houseparent within a therapeutic community for adults with learning difficulties. Whilst physically and emotionally challenging, this provided me with a marvellous insight into the lives of individuals with a wide range of needs and levels of understanding, enabling me to develop compassion and empathy.
Whilst training as a social worker I undertook work experience within a large general hospital in the West Midlands and on qualifying I worked generically with adults and children before specialising in children and families work (local authorities and the voluntary sector). As a manager I had responsibility for child protection, looked after children, family support and leaving care services. As my interest in counselling developed and I began my counselling training in 2002, studying part time, alongside my main work role.
My first counselling placement was within a Derbyshire hospice over a 6 month period, offering counselling to people who had been bereaved; this was followed by a placement with a Nottinghamshire sexual abuse charity, providing counselling to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. On qualifying as a counsellor (2005), I continued as a volunteer counsellor in this setting, until 2011. During that time I served for 2 years as a committee member and then ultimately chairperson of the organisation for 2 years.
From 2006 onwards I began working as an independent counsellor, supporting staff working for a Nottinghamshire learning difficulties registered charity (2008- 2015) and once I had gained an additional award - counsellor 'Accreditation' in 2011 - I was approached by an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) company to offer counselling to staff working for the Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust and Derbyshire Community Health Trust. I have been able to put to good use the knowledge and skills gained from the roles I have occupied within social work, and subsequently the NHS, hospice and higher education settings and also my management and leadership qualification - see above.
In 2012 I channelled my energies solely into counselling and I began in a full time role as a counsellor with a local NHS IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) - working with people experiencing depression, general anxiety and other 'common mental health' difficulties, based within GP surgeries and a community base, working closely with other health professionals. After 3 years I changed employment to Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield, becoming manager of the Psychological Support and Counselling Service, working directly with people experiencing life limiting illnesses and their families, and those who had been bereaved. In June 2016, in order to achieve a more effective work-life balance, I made the decision to work as a self employed counsellor, supporting people across a wide range of issues, drawing on my variety of roles, over the years.
Between 2017-2020, alongside my self employed Counsellor role, I worked part time at the University of Sheffield (Student Access to Mental Health Support Service/ University Counselling Service) assessing students with emotional health issues, providing individual counselling and project manging the development of student experience focus groups. I also delivered training, mentored staff from other University Departments and undertook peer reviews of other mental health services in line with APPTS (Accreditation Process for Psychological Therapies Services) standards.
I've included some comments from a range of clients I've worked with over the years:
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening to me. I would leave our meetings feeling like a human being. Meeting with you shined a light on my problems...you made my demons known to me...simply by sitting and listening to my words. I will remember our conversations for the rest of my life. (S, 2015)
Thank you for all your help. You have enabled me to re-evaluate difficult things and put them into place. You have been absolutely wonderful. (K, 2017)
Stuart, I just can't thank you enough for the time spent together over recent weeks. Through skilled questioning, to enable me to explore my options and your patience in allowing me thinking time, I now feel clear headed and ready to move my life forward. (J, trainee counsellor, 2020)
Thank you for reading my Profile and I hope I can be of help to you.
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 have counselled adults affected by the impact of meningitis, for a national UK meningitis charity and for a number of years supported staff within an East Midlands charity offering support to autistic adults and children. I am currently registered with a number of Employee Assistance Programme providers and offer brief therapy to staff from NHS and Police, not for profit organisations and the private sector. I also receive referrals from individuals who approach me, independently. Whilst not having a formal qualification in couples work, I have read around this issue and been able to offered it to a number of couples, when asked, by Employee Assistance Programme firms.
Typically I have tended to offer telephone counselling only when I have an established counselling relationship with a client via face to face sessions although I have adapted my ways of practice in light of the current situation (Covid-19). I am experienced in undertaking telephone / Zoom counselling sessions for clients on behalf of companies (EAP work) and likewise offer phone/ Skype counselling to private paying clients. Please inform me if you are a key worker and I will consider offering a concessionary counselling rate. Whilst I do not have a formal couples counselling qualification although have offered this work when requested by a company, or by individuals, to explore relationship issues in a general way.
Concessions offered for
£38 per hour/ £30 concessionary rate (trainee counsellors/ people in receipt of benefits and key workers).
I am able to offer flexible appointments, daytime/ some early evenings and occasional Saturday mornings. I also offer telephone/ Zoom/ Skype counselling.
Counselling for Depression
My Counselling for Depression qualification (2015) demonstrates my ability to work at a relational depth with clients, closely following and exploring the experiences they describe to me, in order to more specifically assist them.
PODS - dissociation
I was a counsellor member of PODS - Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors (registered charity) - although this disbanded in 2019 and deemed able to work effectively with adults who have experienced previous trauma and abuse.
Survivors UK - male sexual abuse
I have undertaken an intensive training course by Survivors UK (registered charity for male survivors of sexual abuse) and am recognised as an appropriate counsellor in this area.