I have been a practising counsellor for over 10 years, and I hold a Diploma in Contemporary Psychodynamic Counselling from Leicester University, representing 4 years of study prior to qualifying. I have also completed a Foundation Certificate in Group Analysis. Prior to going into full-time private practice, I worked as a trainer and consultant within the voluntary sector within the area of mental health and, following this, as a counsellor with Leicestershire County Council.
My style is friendly and open, and I take an active part in our work together. Over the years, I have a developed a broad base of knowledge and expertise, which includes a wide ranging understanding of the important components of wellbeing, and how to help clients use specific techniques which research has highlighted as beneficial to health of body and mind.
My interests and way of working have become increasingly holistic over time, and I place great importance on working with the whole person rather than simply 'an issue.' In practice, this means that we work on the issue/s that bring you to seek help from a number of different perspectives, rather than simply as a 'problem to be solved. You therefore leave counselling with a rich set of skills and perspectives which enable you to live life more fully and with greater awareness and more intentionally than when you initially came.
I have been in full-time private practice for over 10 years, working mainly with individuals face to face.
I was also for some years a counsellor with Leicestershire County Council's Counselling Service, offering counselling and wellbeing support to its employees. This involved supporting staff with a wide range of issues, some personal, others work-related. I continue yo call upon that extremely varied experience in my current work with client's.
Prior to setting up in private practice, I worked as a trainer and consultant supporting families and carers affected by mental health issues, and wrote and delivered successful training programmes throughout Leicestershire for families and carers. These years gave me huge insight into the experience of mental health, both from the perspective of the person experiencing mental health difficulties but, also, from the point of view of the carers or family members directly affected.
I was also for a number of years a worker with Home Start Leicestershire, and continue through my current practice to maintain a particular interest in supporting women through pregnancy and early motherhood, infertility, miscarriage and termination.
I have 5 years experience as a trainer in the Voluntary Sector writing and running psycho educational courses for families supporting someone with severe mental illness. I also work as a freelance trainer offering mental health training to voluntary and private organisations. For an informal chat about your training needs, please do get in touch to find out more.
I offer sessions on :
Understanding Mental Illness
Understanding Self Harm
Taking Care of Yourself
Coping with Challenging Behaviour
Mental Health First Aid: Coping with Distress
Registered General Nurse - South Manchester School of Nursing
Human Psychology BSc Hons 2.1 - Loughborough University
Diploma in Contemporary Psychodynamic Counselling : Distinction - Leicester University
Foundation Certificate in Group Analysis - East Midlands Institute of Group Analysis
Train the Trainer Certificate
My approach draws from an integrated mix of psychodynamic, humanistic and Cognitive Behavioural and Mindfulness based Stress Reduction.
However, my core model is Psychodynamic. What does that mean? Simply that we are the sum total of all we have known, and that making sense of why we feel the way we do is every bit as important as learning techniques to manage it. If you like, I believe that it's better to heal the wound than to put a sticking plaster over it, and that it's this that makes the difference to the outcome, and whether change is lasting or not.
Over the years, I have become increasingly interested in, and persuaded by, the mind-body-spirit connection, and my way of working has become increasingly holistic.
I have also become interested in the importance of spirituality (with a small 's') in wellbeing, and the creativity and greater sense of connection it can give us.
You can imagine that, for someone in my position, admitting that you need help with one of the most basic things in life felt acutely embarrassing. The shame I felt in needing to make an appointment to ask someone to help me learn how to relate to other people was so great that I had put it off for years. I kept convincing myself that it was just a matter of time, or that things weren't really that bad. In the end, though, I had to swallow my pride and admit that I couldn't do it on my own.
Nicky couldn't have been more easy to talk to, and all my fears about looking like some kind of freak gradually melted away. Nicky has this wonderful way of normalising everything, of helping you realise that you're not at all the only person struggling with something, but that a large proportion of the human race is struggling with the very same thing, or has experienced something very similar. I think that's the thing I am most grateful for, more than anything else - Nicky helped me to believe that I was a human being just like anyone else.
She helped me understand, as we pieced together all the different experiences I'd had, why I found trusting people and opening myself up so very hard. High expectations placed on me as a child to achieve and be a certain eay, being bullied at school, one or two disastrous attempts at asking girls out on dates, a career taking over, and finding that safer and more reliable than people, their influence had been so great.
It wasn't easy, certainly not comfortable in the beginning, to admit to all these things. But looking back, I realise that Nicky made it possible for me to share them without shame or embarrassment, and to accept them simply as experiences that had brought me to here. I had seen them as permanent flaws or faults, something actually wrong with me that could never change, but very gently and firmly Nicky helped me to build my confidence that things could be different.
We did a lot of very practical work alongside what I would call the 'deeper stuff', and Nicky helped me hugely in thinking about how to relate to other people more openly and more effectively. I began to dare to risk conversations that I'd always have avoided before. I'd hang around at the coffee machine and talk to people instead of scuttling back to the safety of my office. I developed interests and began to take more notice of what was going on around me. I'd have follow-up conversations, as I learned in more detail how conversation works, and how to make friends and keep them.
I got engaged to be married a few months ago. Nicky walked with me through the highs and lows, the fears and anxieties, and helped me to keep daring and hoping and being honest during the enormous demands of building this relationship too. There wasn't anything we couldn't talk about, or anywhere we couldn't go.
I owe Nicky a debt I can never repay. All I can do is tell you to go and see her. Don't put it off for years like I did. You won't regret it.'
My areas of specialism
I work with individuals and have interest and experience supporting people with the following difficulties -
My areas of experience and interest include:-
Stress/burnout/Work Life Balance
Stress at work
Struggling to find peace calm and inner stillness
Feeling stuck and wishing there was more to life
Difficulties relating to other people
Grief and Loss.
Low self esteem
Problems dating back to childhood and adolescence
Spiritual development and crisis.
Pre and post natal mental health
Significant life events
Autistic spectrum issues
Physical illness and it's impact on emotional wellbeing
I work face-to-face with individuals.