Find me

I work from 2 places in Calderdale – White Rose Mill, Rise Lane, Todmorden OL147AD a ground floor space, not currently wheelchair accessible (see map below). Very close to Todmorden Train Station.

and Hebden Therapy Center, Wragley House, Valley Road, Hebden Bridge HX7 7BN – an upstairs space with a lift and accessible toilet.

Both places are quiet and comfortable with plenty of space to move around work in other ways than a traditional talking therapy, if wanted.

 

Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

I have worked for many years with clients on the Autistic spectrum; firstly as a creative artist and then as a counsellor. I Currently work part-time with a Manchester based charity called Respect for all which provides free or low cost counselling for people on the spectrum and also for their siblings, carers, parents and partners.

It was through working as an artist with adults with learning disabilities that I realised that I wanted to train as a psychotherapist, thereby turning an aptitude into a qualified skill.

Many people, especially young people are receiving diagnoses of ASC with little or no understanding of how it might be affecting them. Counselling can be a good way of exploring these issues and gaining confidence and self-compassion.

Creativity

Creative acts can be transformative and creativity can be key to problem solving.

People speak of feeling entirely changed by the arts. Books, music and culture help shape our thoughts and articulate our feelings, often because they can operate outside of our logical brain, closer to the subconscious. But as well as the obviously artistic activities, many of our  moment-by-moment behaviours, choices and responses require creativity. As we decide what to do, or how to respond, our subconscious works to keep us safe and avoid things it has learned to fear.  As babies we learned through play and experience. Some of those lessons may have served us ok as children, but may now be holding us back. Creative thinking and creative play can help us contact those deeply held beliefs and feelings in a way that rational discussion can sometimes simply cannot access.

It’s not about artistic expression. It’s about engaging more than the cognitive imagination and helping the subconscious to merge into consciousness. Sometimes words and the rational mind need to sink into the background or soften their rational grip. This gives room for a more open perspective or relaxes the rigidity of thinking that may be needed for change to occur.

Sometimes we need to be creative in order to find a way to express or explore our thoughts, feelings or actions.

Sometimes clients and I make drawings or diagrams to represent or catch something elusive. We may come back to these scribbles and schema to help us remember the themes and layers of previous sessions. Patterns appear, symbols speak and feelings become more meaningful.

Sometimes we lay out objects to illustrate tangled relationships or a complex set of feelings. This enables a perspective, or multiple perspectives to be seen, to be layered…. and even to be challenged.

Sometimes we may need to stand tall, curl up, walk around the room or jump up and down. By changing ourselves physically we may allow different psychological perspectives to emerge.

I believe that we are all creative, through necessity. In times of distress, crisis or chaos our creativity can be soothing and so helpful.

And of course it can add humour, fun, relief or distraction where needed.

Therapy or counselling

What is the difference between therapy and counselling?

Opinions differ but I feel like therapy and counselling often overlap and I find in my work that I do both.

I understand counselling as essentially a listening process, through which people gain perspective, find a voice and share their experiences without judgement or criticism. This process can be illuminating, empowering or cathartic. Sometimes sharing your story is a first step toward changing the narrative.

In therapy the client works towards a process of change. This may involve explorations and insights, it may involve discoveries and challenges. But the process should be held safely by the therapist and the direction or purpose of change should be agreed and understood by the client, usually through an agreed contract.

In simple terms, counselling tends to be shorter, often focussed on one particular issue, whereas therapy may take longer and be more open to exploration.

Feel free to ask for clarification if you are not sure. The first session is a good time to ask questions.

Diversity and access

I welcome clients of any gender, race, ethnic background, sexuality or social class and understand that there may be issues specific to ones background that may require sensitivity to your experience. I have worked in many countries and have wide interests in other cultures. I also have many years experience of working with people with learning disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, to help them to express themselves and to take control of their life choices.

I aim to support diverse beliefs or lifestyles and would like, where possible, to support people from challenging backgrounds to assert their rights and achieve their goals.

I also can offer a limited number of clients a reduced price or variable fee to support those with limited means of income. Please feel free to ask.

Parents and carers can also benefit from counselling or therapy with someone who understands these pressures and stresses.

(I work from Todmorden – not currently wheelchair accessible) and Hebden Bridge (wheelchair accessible).

wheelchair logo
access restricted

Fees and discounts

I charge £40 per session in 2018.

Concessions and reductions are possible by agreement. Feel free to ask.

A session is about 50 minutes, but not more than an hour.

I ask that a client pay one session in advance.  Excepting emergencies, 48 hours notice is required to cancel an arranged session. Clients are charged for sessions that they fail to attend or cancel without sufficient notice.

For information on the cost of my workshops please use the enquiry form and give a brief outline of your organisation or event.

Training and qualifications

Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

I hold a diploma in Transactional Analysis Counselling 4 years with Elan Training

BA(hons) Creative Arts 3 years Nottingham Trent University

Trained Psychodrama Auxiliary 1 year with Northern School of Psychodrama

I attend regular CPD and professional supervision including training on working with children, using creative arts, suicide prevention, diversity and disability training, Gestalt techniques, Action methods, working outdoors,…

£10 first session

I offer a reduced price 30 minute session for new clients to meet me and ask some questions.

I appreciate how hard it can be to find the right person to work with. A conversation can give us some time to decide if we will be able to work together, or of not, I am happy to refer other colleagues who may suit your needs.

I always recommend that clients meet or speak to 3 different therapists before making a decision. Finding a good match is possibly the greatest contributor to successful therapy.