Dr Carole Francis-Smith, DCounsPsych
I am a chartered counselling psychologist with experience of working in different contexts and with a wide range of people struggling with their mental health. Some of the setting I have worked within are; an NHS counselling service, disability trust and in/outpatients at a hospital unit supporting people with end stage renal failure. Also; University students, a private healthcare facility, charities and in private practice. This has given me a breadth of experience with people of all ages with different struggles. I have worked one to one, in groups, with other professionals and set up bespoke trainings with businesses and organisations.
As the 2020 pandemic struck my specialism in online relationships (see Doctoral research below) came into play and my colleagues and I were honoured to be able to support many therapists, charities and education facilities move safely and effectively online through trainings and webinars.
Many people are still feeling the overwhelm of that time and how we are now living, and my passion is delivering Living and Working Online Workshops to help us understand and provide balance to some of the hidden effects and challenges.
I offer therapy, supervision for professionals and bespoke trainings.
- Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology – University of the West of England. (Advanced training in many mental health issues, assessment, therapeutic technique, therapy planning, ethics, psychometric testing etc. Minimum of 450 hours working with clients in different therapeutic settings. Doctoral research conducted into Email counselling and the therapeutic relationship).
- Psychology degree (1st class) – University of the West of England. (Fascinating mix of factors influencing the psychological including; physiological, biological, social, health, evolution, stressors, organisational etc.).
- Counselling skills certificate – Bristol University. (Providing a great grounding in counselling skills, including solution focused approaches, and modules in working with; couples, families, young people and bereavement).
I keep up to date with relevant research and thinking in the area, and undertake further trainings as appropriate and out of interest.
I am a chartered/accredited Counselling Psychologist and member of the following organisations;
- The British Psychological Society (BPS)(accredited).
- The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
- I hold an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate for working with Children and Adults.
- I am a registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Each of these organisations has a set of ethical guidelines set up to protect clients and therapists, which I endeavour to follow. Please feel free to follow the links below to find out more.
The doctoral research I conducted was entitled;
‘Email counselling and the therapeutic relationship:
A grounded theory study’.
This is a short precis –
Provision of online counselling in its many forms has increased dramatically over the last 10 years; however research findings suggest that many therapists have concerns about whether a therapeutic relationship can be successfully engendered online, particularly given the absence of non-verbal communication cues. To date there is very little research available about the online therapeutic relationship; email counselling was chosen for the current study as through its dearth of non-verbal cues it may deemed most different to face-to-face counselling, and is considered to be the most popularly used mode. The study aimed to openly explore experiences of therapists who were working both face-to-face and by email, regarding the therapeutic relationship and formulate an explanatory theory of this process. Drawing on constructionist grounded theory twenty five participants were recruited using different interview methods.
The psychological processes co-constructed from the data indicated that many participants found working in the cueless online environment highly challenging with participants managing the resultant anxiety by; becoming more task orientated, avoiding difficulties , holding on tight to what was known to work in face-to-face encounters, overcompensating through having more time to perfect a response and defending the professional self-concept. The findings of this study provide new and important insights into the experience of online therapists and identify a process that could help inform future online therapists, as well as being useful to the online counselling profession as a whole. Implications for core counselling and psychology training programs were highlighted.