Welcome and thank you for visiting my site. I am a qualified and experienced counsellor in private practice, working online and face to face in the North East of England. I see my role as creating a space where you can explore what matters to you, and find the solutions you need, in a safe, non judgemental space. I use a number of interventions, as appropriate, such as journaling, mindfulness, art therapy, stone work and other techniques as well as traditional person centred therapy. .
My clients tell me they value my down to earth attitude, my open mindedness, my compassion, knowledge and specialist training. I do not believe I am an expert who can tell you what to do though. I am a trained professional who can walk alongside you and use my skills to help you work out the issues that matter to you.
Where can counselling take place?
This can be particularly useful to a number of people, either because of time, location, other commitments, disability, or convenience. As an experienced online therapist, which specific training in working online, I will walk you through not only using the technology (assuming it is not familial) but also offer guidance on how to get the best from online work, as well as specific issues which may come up when working online.Sessions can take place either via webcam, or instant messaging. You can read brief FAQ’s about online therapy here. I currently work with people from across the world, including expats, disabled people, carers, parents, those who are self isolating or shielding, all of whom find online counselling ideal for their needs.
Face to Face
Currently no face to face sessions are available due to the pandemic. It is unlikely I will be offering face to face office based sessions before September.
Whilst currently all walking therapy sessions have been suspended, or moved online, due to the lockdown, this is the one form of in person therapy which I will be offering in the upcoming months. Since it takes place outside, and is considerably lower risk, once the scientific advice allows, I shall be taking on new walking therapy clients. It may well be that more people will feel safer with this form of outdoor based therapy, than conventional office based therapy. Living as I do in rural Northumberland, there are a number of quiet roads and public footpaths, both paved and across fields, which are suitable for nature 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. Before starting walking therapy, we would discuss accessibility, including allergies, physical access needs, level of fitness,means of transport to and from the session, this allows me to design sessions according to the specific needs of each individual client.
Qualifications and Training
My original qualification in counselling 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
- relationship counselling
- working online
- drug and alcohol use
- 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
- Working with Young People
I recently graduated with my Post Graduate Diploma in Gender, Sexual and Relationship diversity therapy, 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. I will provide you with 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. Many clients like to have a chat on the phone before this first session, to get a feel for whether I am the right therapist for them. I am always happy to do this, and there is no charge for this as 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 firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 07442808719 or use the contact form.
Finally, thank you for reading, sometimes simply clicking a link is the first, most vital step.