Counselling Service staff
I started my professional ‘journey’ supporting people with acute mental health difficulties as a befriender/ advocate mainly in Westminster borough, subsequently focused my work on suicide support and prevention in the ‘Maytree Suicide Respite Centre’ in north London and also worked in psychotherapeutic communities around London.
I have trained in the Person-Centred model of Counselling and Psychotherapy but I also believe in the integration of different theoretical ideas with an ultimate focus on the relationship with the Other. I believe that the client and the relationship are the active ingredients of change in psychotherapy and I have always strived to promote a safe non-judgmental space for them to experience that. From a phenomenological perspective, I would try to relate with them without any pre-conceptions and prejudice whilst offering the person-centred ‘conditions’ that would enable a more ‘fluid’ genuine experience of their feelings and thoughts in the ‘here and now’. I am a graduate member of BACP and accredited with UKCP.
I first trained as a teacher of English and Drama, which I did for about 10 years before working with so-called ‘disturbed adolescents’ in an educational and therapeutic setting. I have trained in Integrative and Adlerian models of counselling and psychotherapy and have an interest in ‘being without a model’ and in the ideas which other models have to offer, including Narrative Therapy, Transactional Analysis and Sensorimotor work. I work broadly from a phenomenological and mindfulness perspective, helping clients explore life descriptively, as free as possible from the influence of theories, explanations and judgements, and with due respect for the wider context and what clients already know and experience. I want counselling to be an encouraging and sometimes challenging experience and one that takes place through curiosity, frankness, uncertainty, humour and seriousness.
I am particularly interested in: issues related to change management; systems and institutional thinking; alternative perspectives, including what can be gained from the Arts and Eastern philosophy. In addition to Western psychology, I find it valuable to draw upon literature, expressive arts, meditation and yoga. I am a BACP (British Association For Counselling & Psychotherapy) Senior Accredited Counsellor and a registered psychotherapist with the UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy).
I started my professional life in Waltham Forest and Redbridge boroughs, a senior youth worker and a foster carer, inspiring young people to fulfil their potential. I did this for six years and in 1992, I made the decision to train and work as a counsellor in education settings: colleges, universities and supervising in schools. I am a member of the BACP (British Association For Counselling & Psychotherapy) in the final stages of accreditation.
I originally studied Humanistic Person Centred Counselling and over the years have developed a more Integrative and Holistic approach to my therapeutic work. I have trained in Psychodynamic theories, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Trauma Therapy, NLP, EFT, Anatomy & Physiology, Remedial and Medical Massage. I have also travelled across Europe and Canada to train in performance psychology using EEG Biofeedback, Neurofeedback, Computerised Stress Tests and Low Level Laser Therapy for addictions and pain management. In my work with clients, I aim to explore thoughts, feelings and beliefs from a relational perspective. This may clarify insights into physical, emotional or spiritual needs and help resolve past trauma, discomfort or inner-conflict.
In addition, I work very closely with the school staff in the areas of personal development, retention, student engagement and employability. My aim is to identify the need for personal development workshops that may help to enhance the student experience at London Met. I also facilitate interactive programmes such as: motivation, confidence building, presentation skills and ‘maximizing your competitive edge’.
My initial training was as a nurse and I have had vast experience of working in general as well as specialised units, in psychiatry and intensive care. I later trained in Counselling and Humanistic Psychotherapy. Recently, my work experiences have included working as a generic and trauma specialist at London Underground and supervising a cancer emotional support group for patients, post diagnosis. I have worked in depth with trauma, stress, anxiety, depression and am currently creating a programme to support personal resilience in the workplace.
I am passionate about working holistically with people, dealing with life challenges in a safe environment, supporting them in their exploration of the impact they have on others, encouraging curiosity and development. I am currently working towards BACP accreditation.
I have a long-standing interest in personality development and the process of therapeutic change. This motivated my entry to university as a mature student where I studied BSc Psychology at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds. During my studies I developed a particular interest in psychotherapy and other psychological interventions. I also developed a keen interest in the well-being of students with mental health difficulties and their experience whilst at university, including their experience of stigma and discrimination and the difficulties they experienced in accessing appropriate support provision.
Whilst at university and since graduating I have worked in many different capacities within the field of mental health, including the following: group and individual therapeutic work with children and young people with a particular emphasis on facilitating the development of emotional literacy; therapeutic work with autistic children to facilitate the development of communication and play skills; family work, providing advice, training and guidance to families; co-ordination of support provision for young people, adults and families from economically-disadvantaged communities; training and group facilitation including mental health awareness training; care co-ordination for adults with severe and enduring mental health problems in voluntary sector mental health services.
In 2000, while running an Employment & Training project for MIND in Haringey, I began my training as an Integrative Counsellor – combining psychodynamic and humanistic approaches. From MIND I went on to work as an advocate and counsellor with clients who had experienced abuse by health and care professionals. As a counsellor, I then moved into the field of disability and traumatic sight-loss with RNIB. Overall, I have worked a great deal with issues of power, identity, difference, diversity and marginalisation. My role has often involved helping clients to explore how they can move towards recovery and rediscovering a sense of meaning in their lives. I spent three years as a student counsellor at City Lit, working with students facing a variety of challenges and wishing to find ways to develop their potential and live more fulfilling lives.
My initial degree was in Comparative Religion and I have a longstanding interest in the beliefs and outlooks of different communities and faiths. From this, I hope I bring a respectful way of working with issues of culture, and also an interest in meditational practices, which I find can be a helpful component in counselling, pain/stress management and, more broadly, in personal development (no faith required!).