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Welcome, and thank you for visiting my site

I am a qualified, experienced, counsellor who takes an integrative approach to therapy. This means I try to focus on what you need, using techniques and theories from different areas of counselling and psychotherapy.

I see my role as creating a space where you can explore what matters in a safe, non judgemental space. I use a number of interventions, as appropriate, such as journaling, mindfulness, art therapy, stone work and other gestalt, cbt and person centred techniques.

My clients tell me they value my down to earth attitude, my open mindedness, my compassion, and that I do not “seem like a therapist”. I do not believe I am an expert who can tell you what to do. I am a trained professional who can walk alongside you and use my expertise to help you work out the issues that matter to you.

Where can counselling take place?

 Online therapy:

This can be particularly useful to a number of people, either because of time, location, other commitments, disability, or convenience. Sessions can take place either via webcam, or instant messaging. I currently work with people from across the world, including expats who find online counselling ideal for their needs.

Face to Face;

I also offer conventional in person counselling, based in the Tyne Valley, around 30 minutes drive from Newcastle, in Stocksfield  or Prudhoe.

Walking Therapy;

For some, especially those with negative experiences of counselling, or institutional abuse in their history, offices and enclosed spaces can be distressing. Others find nature itself to be healing, and research bears this out. Living as I do in the beautiful Tyne Valley I am able to provide walking therapy, an unconventional but increasingly popular way of doing counselling. We walk, and allow the session to unfold as we walk. I have a number of routes, and before the first session we would discuss your mobility needs, as well as any other concerns you might have.

All sessions usually last for 50 minutes and take place weekly. I am also fully insured and have a DBS check.

Qualifications and Training

I have a post graduate diploma in counselling as well as further specialist training. This included 100 hours of supervised volunteer counselling in organisations who provided low-cost or free counselling to clients from very diverse backgrounds. It cemented within me the need for therapy to be more affordable and accessible to all.

My initial training was person centered, in essence this means believing you, the client, is the expert in your own life. I was fortunate that my department encouraged us to use and develop skills from all schools of counselling.

I have undergone specific extra training and am experienced in working with:

  • domestic abuse including coercive control
  • child abuse
  • bereavement
  • relationship counselling
  • working online
  • drug and alcohol use
  • rape
  • family breakdown
  • gender and sexual diversities including; asexuality, BDSM, bisexuality, non binary identities, polyamorous and non monogamies, kink and trans clients.
  • working with sex workers

I am currently studying for a post graduate diploma in Gender, Sexual and Relationship diversity, one of the few courses in the world to cover this area in depth.

How I work

Choosing to start counselling is for many a huge step. People can be concerned about stigma, stirring up the past, being judged. Many clients approach me after previous negative experiences of counselling. My attitude to counselling is always rooted in my belief that everyone is doing the best they can, with the resources they have available to them.

I am a registered member of the BACP, the largest regulator of counselling in the UK. I adhere to their ethical framework, and complaints procedures. I believe passionately in ethical practice, and the need for strong regulation of counselling to protect clients from abusive or negligent therapists. I am also fully insured. It matters to me that clients feel able to make a complaint just as they would against any other professional. I advocate for better training of therapists in gender, sexuality and relationship diversity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in the first session?

The initial session is very much a “getting to know you”. It is important you feel I am the right therapist for you. We will discuss practicalities, such as time, contact between sessions, emergency contacts and so forth. We will both sign a written contract, which gives you a clear outline of what to expect from me. We will also discuss issues around self care, and understanding that counselling can stir up strong emotions. You will only need to pay for this session if you decide to continue, I feel its important clients have no pressure on them when making such an important decision.

How do you work online?

Online counselling can take place either by instant messaging or camera. I use either encrypted secure apps called Appear.in or Zoom. I have written simple how to guides of how to set up use instant messaging, or Appear.in/Zoom. I also have guidance on protecting your confidentiality if for example you are using a family or shared computer.

You are also a writer, will you write about our sessions?

Whilst my clients continually educate and inspire me, I take great pains to ensure that nothing from the sessions ends up in my writing. I do not anonymise, instead I use totally hypothetical situations if I am writing about counselling. It is understandable that you might be worried about confidentiality however I make it one of my guiding principles that if I cannot write about something without respecting the sacred bond of trust between me and a client, I do not write about it at all.

Do you offer lower cost session?

For counselling students undertaking their mandatory therapy I offer a reduced rate of £25 per session. I enjoy this work immensely, and feel privileged to work with someone as they embark on a career which has brought me so much personal fulfillment.

I also offer a limited number of low cost sessions to people who belong to gender and sexual minorities, in recognition of both the marginalization faced, and the difficulties faced in finding therapists who do not pathologise non allocishet identities. If income is a barrier currently, please do not hesitate to get in touch, and to see what we can organise.


The choice of counsellor is an intensely personal one. Please explore my site, and writing, I feel it is so useful to get a feel for whether I would be the right person for you. Here I have suggested some questions clients might like to ask a potential counsellor or therapist.

If you would like to discuss counselling further you can contact me on Northumberlandcounselling@gmail.com  telephone 07442808719 or use the contact form.

Finally, thank you for reading, sometimes simply clicking a link is the first, most vital step.

Karen

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Contact me here

If it is more convenient you can use the contact form to get in touch.

 

Training and Campaigning

I offer bespoke, individually tailored training and consultancy packages, designed to fit the specific needs of private business, public and third sector organisations and groups. I have worked with local councils, charities and NHS trusts to train their staff and develop policies which ensure LGBTQAAI people are included and affirmed on every level. I also run counselling training in conjunction with Outreach Cumbria, and my own workshops. If you would be interested in learning more, and discussing your training needs please get in touch to arrange an intital meeting.   

I am the Diversity and Inclusion lead for Bi Pride UK, a national charity who campaign for all those who experience attraction beyond gender, and are organizing the first Bi Pride march and celebration in March 2019.

I write for a number of publications, including Stand Up Magazine, the Huffington Post and professional journals. I never refer to current or past clients in any of my writing, and ensure confidentiality is respected at all times.

Every Monday evening I help run a twitter chat for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Social media can be a lifeline for those who have felt unable to speak out previously. It is also a chance for people to share their wisdom, experiences, and provide peer support. It is not intended to replace therapy, but many participants feel it is therapeutic. If you wish to take part it is at 8pm (UK time) and uses the hashtag #CSAQT and you can find out more on the website here.

 

 

My recent blog posts

What happens in a counselling session?

I am a firm believer in demystifying counselling and the therapeutic process. It is part of the reasoning behind my Archers posts, to make theory accessible using a popular soap opera (which I happen to love). Many people are apprehensive about the idea of counselling and concerned about what will be expected, here I hope to answer come common questions and give an idea of how the process may work.

The initial session.

I believe it is important to have a contract between a therapist and a client. This sets out practicalities such as how to contact each other between sessions should it be necessary, payment and emergency contact details and so on. A written contract also makes clear the limits of confidentiality. What is said in a therapy session is of course confidential, however in cases where its believed someone is in direct danger of harm this knowledge needs to be passed on. (I have never yet come across a client who disagrees with this, however in the first session I explain with concrete examples what this exactly means).

As a member of the BACP I also adhere to their ethical framework and complaints procedure. I believe it is best practice to offer clients a copy of both of these so they feel empowered about making any complaint, and are reassured my practice is ethical and regulated.

The initial session will also cover issues such as what the client wishes to gain from therapy, previous experiences of counselling, and any particular questions or concerns they may have. For online counselling privacy will also be discussed, as well as how breakdowns in technology will be handled.

There is no couch

[Picture description A cartoon black and white image of a woman lying on a traditional psychiatrists couch while at the end of the couch an old, bald man is taking notes]

This is probably the traditional view of therapy. You lie down while the therapist asks you about your childhood. This puts many people off counselling, indeed many fear that against their own knowledge or experience they will be required to “uncover” childhood trauma. Other who know there is a history of trauma in their past do not wish to be forced to tell their story unless they are ready to do so.

I cannot of course say what happens with other therapists, however I believe in being led by the client, in believing them, in offering unconditional positive regard, and most of all in walking along side rather than leading. My training and experience provide me with the skills to work with a number of issues, including abuse and trauma, but there will never be a demand you uncover it for me,nor do I believe that it is necessary to tell your story in order to heal. Of course for some people the safe space to speak that therapy provides is vital, is healing, but that is decided upon by them not me.

So I will not blame your parents, demand you do the same, or insist that an incident you believe was trivial had some deep inner significance. You are the expert in your own life.

Its OK to Laugh

Many people assume therapy will be serious at all times. Indeed, there may be tears, anger, frustration, but there is also laughter. Looking into yourself, making changes, learning healthier habits, letting go of negative emotions makes room for the positive, allows you to smile, and indeed laugh. Therapy is not all about the negative.

I hope in this post to have addressed some of the common questions people have about counselling, and some of the fears. If you are interested in counselling you can email me on northumberlandcounselling@gmail.com and if you have any more general questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to answer them.