Thank you for visiting my site. In these difficult and uncertain times many people are seeking support for their mental health and wellbeing. You may be wondering if counselling is suitable, practical and indeed safe, as well as whether I am the right fit for you.

First let me address the world which we now all have to adjust to, living in, and through a global pandemic. As someone who has been working online for 5 years, over 75 % of my practice was already online, using video conferencing, or instant messaging. I am experienced, and trained in, not only using the technology, and supporting your use of it, but also in how online therapy can be of the most benefit to you. My training also means that I am aware of the pitfalls and issues which may arise from working virtually. Whilst research shows that online therapy is as good as, and in some cases better than in person, it is important to be aware of the differences, and I talk my clients through these before we begin our work together.

For those who would prefer in person counselling , whilst I am not working indoors until summer 2021, at the earliest, my walking therapy practice is open. Walking therapy moves therapy outside, bringing not only the benefits of nature and movement, but for many disrupting the previous negative associations with therapy.

Below you will find an outline of who I am and how I work. You may also like to spend some time on my blog, getting a feel for me to help decide if I am the right counsellor for you. Before we begin counselling I suggest an initial conversation, by telephone or webcam, where you can ask any questions you may have. This usually takes about 30 minutes and is free of charge. Here I have written some questions you might like to ask any potential counsellor.

About Me

Let me tell you a little about myself and my role. 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 – which is probably what most people think of when they consider counselling.

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?

Online Therapy

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 familiar) 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 using Whereby or Zoom. 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.

Walking Therapy

Image shows me in a turquoise shirt and blue jeans standing in front of a large tress on a wooded hillside

Walking therapy sessions are currently available. 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 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. 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. Full covid-19 1m+ mitigation and risk assessment has taken place for these sessions, and I can send you copies of the risk assessments if you wish.

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
  • bereavement
  • 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
  • Working with Young People

I graduated with my Post Graduate Diploma in Gender, Sexual and Relationship diversity therapy in 2019, it is one of the few courses in the world to cover this area in depth and I am an Advanced Accredited Gender, Sex and Relationship Diversities Therapist as awarded by Pink Therapy.

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.

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?

Yes. I have a sliding scale for those in work, of between £30 and £60 per session, I do not ask for proof of income but simply that you assess your ability to pay. Previously I offered a limited number of low cost sessions of £25 to students and those on low incomes from the GSRD communities. I have opened this up to anyone who has been been financially impacted by the pandemic, and any key-worker who wishes to access counselling.

The choice of counsellor is an intensely personal one. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

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

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


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, Liverpool John Moores University, 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 also helping to organise and run Pink Therapy’s Kink on Pink Seminars online, as well as helping with, and presenting at Pink Therapy conferences.

I am co-shair of United with Pride, the NUFC LGBT supporters club, campaigning for better inclusion of LGBTQ people in football.

I write for a number of publications, including The Queerness, 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.

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.