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Welcome, and thank you for visiting my site. The choice of counsellor  is an intensely personal one. Here I hope to tell you a little about myself to help guide you in that choice. After teaching for a number of years I decided to completely change careers, and pursue my dream of being a therapist. I make no secret of the fact that this was partly informed by my own struggle with post natal depression. Indeed I feel that having walked some of the dark roads my clients have increases my empathy and understanding. In a similar way expat clients have found that my experience of living and working overseas means they find it easier to open up to me as a counsellor.

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.

I am a fully qualified counsellor with a professional 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 see myself as a guide, or navigator, whose role is not to take charge but to walk alongside you. I was fortunate that my department took an integrationist approach, encouraging us to use and develop skills from all schools of counselling.

I have undergone specific extra training in working with:

domestic violence

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.

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. I offer empathetic, non judgemental open-minded counselling, always rooted in my credo that everyone is doing the best they can, with the resources they have available to them.

I am a fully 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 and sexuality diversity. I offer counselling via skype, instant messaging, email or face to face working from offices in the Tyne Valley. I currently work with clients from across the world who find online counselling fits best with their needs.

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 am a board member for Be:Trans Support and Development. As well as offering support and advocacy for trans people across the North East of England we provide training to a number of local and national organisations.We also organise events to mark important community days such as Trans Day of Visibility and Transgender Day of Remembrance. If you would like to find out more about either our training and consultancy work, or our peer to peer support groups you can contact me on Karen@be-transnorth.org.uk.

As a curator for The Queerness, an online intersectional LGBTQ+ magazine I hope to raise awareness of a number of issues faced by LGBTQ people. It is also an opportunity to encourage new writers, and make a space for marginalised voices to be heard. We work as a collective, and are always eager to include new perspectives on LGBTQ+ issues.

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 6pm (UK time) and uses the hashtag #CSAQT

In my advocacy for better training I have spoken to trainee counsellors at a number of colleges about gender, sexuality, and relationship diverse minorities. You can contact me on northumberlandcounselling@gmail.com if you would like me to come and speak to your students.

 

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.