I grew up in London, but one winter in my teen years I found my way to Devon and worked in a care home for the elderly. This experience made two things clear to me – I wanted to move away from the city and work with people. I have now lived on Dartmoor for nearly forty years, bringing up my family here.
I experienced loss at a young age, at a time when feelings weren’t talked about. Therapy enabled me to make sense of the effect of that early trauma, which led me to work as a counsellor for people affected by cancer. In 2019 I retired from 16 years as an Oncology Support Specialist with the FORCE Cancer Charity in Exeter.
Working with people facing a potentially terminal illness and often at the end of their lives has been a profound experience and has taught me invaluable lessons. With acceptance of their limitations, people’s ability to live through this time and to find meaning and joy, even peace, is awe-inspiring. These lessons can be applied to so many situations that arise in our lives.
This work has helped me appreciate all aspects of my life, even the difficulties as they have given me the greatest opportunities for change. Story, myth, word, the wild, animals, humanity and meditation influence my work and my family are my greatest source of joy, laughter, tears, challenge and learning.
Life can be a struggle, often leaving us in states of deep distress or suffering. I'm interested in how we can maintain our health; mental, emotional and physical, in a way that makes sense to us. This requires listening to the quiet voice within that in our busy modern lives is so easily drowned out. Sometimes we just don't feel right in our own skin. It may be in response to a life crisis or something subtle and indefinable. Whatever it may be that causes us to suffer, there is always a way through to a more meaningful and content way of being.
My intention is to offer a space to listen to that quiet voice. The voice we only hear in the silences, through dreams and yearnings, or that makes itself heard in a crisis. It may be that voice is screaming loudly now, demanding to be listened to and that is what you are responding to by seeking counselling.
Rather than only focus on your challenges, I aim to help you see your strength and resilience, the qualities that brought you to therapy in the first place. We tend to live our emotional lives on autopilot, until something comes along that turns our lives upside down. So we will look at what strategies are serving you and which are not, and together we'll take time to explore what needs attention. To do that we have to let a relationship develop – through kindness, compassion and building trust while exploring the challenges and the wonders of your life.
If you want to manage a particular issue in a new way, something immediate and known, we can work together to see how you might do that differently. Some people come to counselling for support and assurance that they are managing a difficult situation in the best possible way.
For whatever reason you seek counselling, and there is no right or wrong reason, my suggestion is to listen to that call and be open to what may be possible.
Diploma in Counselling with Life-threatening Illness, Grief and Loss. College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth 1996
Foundation Course in Core Process Psychotherapy. Karuna Institute. 2003
Mindfulness Teacher Training (TDR 1 & 2). Centre for Mindfulness Research
& Practice, Bangor. 2008
BACP Accreditation 2010
Counsellor. Mustard Tree Cancer Support Centre 1996 – 2004
Co-Founder, Facilitator, Trustee – Cancer Lifeline SW 2002 – 2013
Mindfulness teacher. Groups, workshops, retreats 2008 – 2016
Co-Facilitator: Sustaining Ourselves, Sharpham Trust 2012 - 2016
Oncology Support Specialist, FORCE Cancer Charity 2004 – 2019
I am accredited with BACP and adhere to their Code of Ethics
I hold full indemnity insurance with Balens Health Professionals Combined Liability Insurance
It can be daunting to find the right person to see for counselling. With this in mind, our first meeting will be free so that we can see if we think we can work together, what you might hope for, what I can offer and to establish all the practicalities, should you decide to see me as a counsellor. A relationship of trust and value takes time to develop, of course, though initially it is important to believe that is possible as that will be the foundation of our work together.
It also gives you an opportunity to ask any questions and I would like to know what is bringing you to see me at this time in your life. It may be circumstances, challenges, a crisis, a general feeling of something missing or that is at odds in your life and you may even be unsure why you feel the need. There is no right or wrong reason to be seeking counselling and you may not know where to begin.
Please contact me to arrange this first meeting which will last for 40 minutes and ideally would be in person or over a video link such as Skype or Zoom or it is also possible to just have a telephone conversation.
My fee is £50. I have some concessionary places, please ask.
Initially I ask that we see each other initially for 6 weekly sessions to start to establish the work together and our relationship. After that we can review whether to continue and on what basis. My counselling days are Tuesday and Friday in Exeter or by Zoom and we would ideally agree a regular time for our sessions.