After a 20 year career in financial services, as a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, I took the chance to change career completely. While this means I came to counselling and psychotherapy relatively late in life, I believe it has given me plenty of 'life experience', both personally and in terms of working with people, that I can bring to my work as a therapist.
I first trained in a humanistic therapy called Transactional Analysis, which involves looking at 'ego states' and the 'transactions' between individuals, which might also be described as the units of social intercourse. I was quickly hooked and desperate to learn more about psychology and the ways in which it might be used to help people.
After some general counselling training through the Sherwood Institute in Nottingham, I realised that a person-centred approach to therapy was the one that felt authentic and 'right' for me. The psychologist Carl Rogers developed the theory and 'way of being' of person-centred therapy; you will note that I've not said that he developed the 'method' for the therapy - originally it was described as 'non-directive therapy' as it moved away from the idea of the therapist being the expert and instead introduced the idea of trusting the innate tendency (known as the 'actualising tendency') of human beings to find fulfillment of their own, personal potential.
Key to the person-centred approach is the psychological environment in which the work takes place. Rogers described this as one where a person felt free from threat, not just physically but also psychologically. One of the key goals for the person-centred therapist is to achieve this environment - we don't have a list of 'tools' to do this though and there is no set format or procedure for our sessions to follow; instead we focus on offering a 'relationship' to our clients that is deeply understanding (empathic), truly accepting (offering unconditional positive regard), and is as honest and genuine (congruent) as possible.
I studied at Keele University to gain first my PG Diploma in Counselling Psychology and then my MSc Counselling Psychology (Distinction) and my experience includes working within the NHS as a Counselling Therapist in a highly respected IAPT service and also working as an Associate Counsellor at Warwick University Counselling Services. I am a Registered Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the largest association representing those working within the field of talking therapies.
My personal life is busy, with children, a supportive husband and a wonderfully 'enthusiastic' dog to keep me active and out in the fresh air whenever possible. I love to travel and I continue to study and research within the psychology and therapeutic areas, for my own interest but also to enhance my work with clients.
"I now know I didn't fully understand what I needed to work through and Helen helped me realise this and I can't thank her enough for that. The sessions I have had have made a huge difference to how I think and feel" - Sharon