Qualifications, Training and Experience

Qualifications

  • 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).
  • Certificate in Online Counselling skills – Online Counselling and Supervision Training organisation, OCST. (Training covering what is unique and different about working online).

Experience

The professional aspect of my training involved working with people from all walks of life and I have been fortunate to work with; students of all ages in a university setting, those struggling with end stage renal failure and other health related problems in a hospital setting, a wide range of people referred by their GP’s for talking therapy in a NHS counselling service, and in a learning disability trust with adults suffering mental health issues. I have worked one to one, in groups, with other professionals and set up bespoke trainings. This has given me a wide ranging experience in different settings.

Additional training and information

Training in

  • Couples Counselling
  • Compassion Focused Therapy
  • Trauma
  • Conflict in Groups
  • Child Protection/safeguarding
  • Safeguarding adults.

Clinical supervision training

  • Six day course at UWE (Different models, Group supervision, Formulation based, CBT Informed, Systemic therapy informed, Relational supervision).

Conferences and publications

In conjunction with Onlinevents (2017-2018) presenting a series of events entitled ‘Behind the Mask’, looking at the realities of working as a therapist in a digital age. Co-presenter Kate Dunn.

Presenting with Kate Dunn at 2017 Online Counselling and Therapy in Action (OCTIA) conference in Edinburgh. ‘The Online Disinhibition Effect Revisited’.

Presenting at 2014 British Psychological Society Counselling Psychology Division conference in London. Symposium ‘Pluralistic therapy for the treatment of depression – reports on an early trial’.

Presenting at 2011 British Psychological Society Counselling Psychology Division conference in Bristol ‘Email counselling and the therapeutic relationship – the need for research’.

Professional Affiliations

I am a chartered Counselling Psychologist and member of the following organisations;

  • The British Psychological Society (BPS).
  • The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
  • The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO).
  • I hold an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate for working with Children and Adults.
  • I also hold Personal Indemnity Insurance and am a registered Data Controller with the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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.

Doctoral Research

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.

I am in the process of publishing the findings but you can access the full document at the University of the West of England online repository. If you are interested in the research please feel free to contact me. In addition, an article I wrote for the Online Therapy Institute is available here, entitled “Therapy through the looking glass; implications for training and beyond”.