Counselling Service staff
I started my professional journey
I originally trained in the Person-Centred model of Counselling and Psychotherapy but, subsequently, embraced other theoretical and philosophical ideas in my work, such as phenomenology, attachment and existential psychotherapy. Ultimately, I feel that it is the interpersonal relationship with the Other in the here-and-now that is the catalyst for psychotherapy, regardless of the theoretical vehicle that will take us there. I have now been working in higher education on and off since 2009, as a counselling practitioner and counselling service manager, and I am honoured to be managing a team of deeply compassionate and committed counsellors in the Counselling Service of London Metropolitan University.
As a practitioner, I abide by the BACP Ethical Framework and I am BACP accredited and UKCP registered.
I completed my training as a Counselling Psychologist in the United States and since 2016 I have been living and working in the UK. I am originally from Iceland and so far I have had the chance to work with people in a wide range of circumstances in a total of five cities and in many different settings, including three universities overseas. I am registered with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist and I am a chartered member of the British Psychological Society.
Prior to joining London Metropolitan University I worked for the NHS as a therapist at a community mental health centre in Haringey, where I assisted people in overcoming psychological difficulties and traumatic experiences. I also provided trauma focused therapy with the Women and Girls Network in west London to female survivors of gender based violence. I am very interested in working with survivors of trauma, abuse, or other distressing life experiences and I believe in providing systemic support to people who experience oppression of any kind.
In my work with students, I seek to understand their background and context, identify their priorities for our time together, make space for working through troubling experiences they may have had, and build on their unique strengths and resources. In our sessions, I do my best to create a safe and supportive atmosphere where students can share their concerns at their own pace and explore ways to move forward.
As well as having been a counsellor in two universities, I have also worked therapeutically in colleges and schools. During and since my counselling degree, I have found myself being drawn to working in both education and in community based services in London, such as a Womens Project for refugees and migrants in Deptford, a charity in Richmond offering residential care to teenagers with substance abuse, and a community centre for young families in Lewisham. I am a Registered Member of the BACP.
Being a counsellor is a career change for me, having worked as an employment lawyer in a previous life. It was a decision that has at times felt risky but ultimately, has always felt right. It has given me a personal appreciation for our ability to shape our own journeys, adapt to different worlds, and that in one way or another, we are always in transition and learning something new. My work at the university offers me balance as I run my private practice alongside it. I think it is fair to say that I enjoy variety!
In my style of working, I try to be gentle and respectful. I also try to be pragmatic and creative in integrating different approaches and my new learning along the way. I am keen to keep up to date with current research, such as neuroscience, which helps to inform my work, particularly with trauma and relationship issues. I strive to be open to the unique experiences and world views that all my clients bring, and to meet them in that place. I work with my clients to connect with their own power to cope through life challenges and to fulfil their potential, at whatever stage they are at.
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!).