I have been in private practice since 1983 have been registered with the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) from 1994 – present day.
I was accredited by the UK Association of Humanistic Practitioners of Psychology (UKAHPP) (1994) in the categories of Individual and Group Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Educator and Researcher and in 2020 achieved the category of Higher Accredited Registered Membership.
I first qualified as an occupational therapist at the New Zealand School of OT (1972) and worked in a variety of areas in New Zealand, Canada and Britain, mainly in mental health and community.
Over the years I became particularly aware of the necessity for ethical practice and the value of the therapeutic relationship. I decided to train as a psychotherapist, initially to enhance my skills as an occupational therapist.
My first training was the 3-year course in Gestalt Therapy with the Scottish Association for Gestalt Education (1980-82). I found I particularly enjoyed this way of working so alongside my work as an occupational therapist I set up in private practice as a psychotherapist. I then went on to do 2 more advanced-level trainings in Gestalt Therapy (1984, 1985).
I came to believe that no single approach is enough to address the complexities of the human condition and have continued to develop my theoretical knowledge and skills, particularly in the humanistic, psychodynamic and cognitive behaviourist approaches. I have done this through workshops, training courses, conferences and reading and I draw on these approaches continuously in all areas of my work.
In 1995 I completed the Certificate in Person-Centred Supervision with PCT Britain and in 2000, the Advanced Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy with the London College of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
In 2000 I discovered the joys of bellydance and came to appreciate first-hand the therapeutic benefits of music and dance. In 2008 I completed both the Foundation Certificate in Teacher Training with the Josephine Wise Academy of Arabic Dance (JWAAD) and the Certificate in Dance Movement Therapy with Queen Margaret University.
From this rich foundation I have been currently developing my interest in body-oriented psychotherapies - in particular the physiological and somatic elements of trauma and how these affect cognitive and emotional functioning. In 2010 I completed the Training for the Treatment of Trauma with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute (Scotland), (now Trauma Training in Scotland) and further training in the treatment of trauma (2010-2011).
I also completed the 3 phases of training in Brainspotting (a treatment for trauma) with Dr David Grand, (2014 - 2015).
I continue to attend relevant workshops and webinars in this area of therapy.
2020: As a response to the necessary change to online practice methods during the lockdown period, I undertook a course in online and telephone counselling.
Photography by Wendy Smith
In 1986, I moved from clinical practice as an occupational therapist into the field of education. I became a teacher at the Glasgow College of Occupational Therapy, where I taught behavioural studies.
In 1986-87 I studied for a Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) and also for a Master's Degree in Education (MEd (psych)) focusing on the psychology of learning (1986-1989).
From 1993 to 2015 I worked as a lecturer at a Scottish university where I taught counselling skills, psychosocial intervention, the therapeutic relationship and ethics in health and social care.
From 2000 – 2015 I was also Programme Organiser for the university’s COSCA validated Certificate in Counselling Skills and a COSCA validated trainer of counselling skills.
I retired from the field of education in 2015 whilst continuing with my private practice. This has given me more time to be a student myself in pursuit of my professional and personal interests.
Through the years I have remained very concerned with ethical practice and causes and effects of abuse within health and social care. I have attended national and international workshops and conferences in this field.
During my professional career I also ran workshops on ethics and on counselling skills for organisations in the field of public and private health & social care.
Since retirement I continue to be a member of the COSCA Ethics Committee and work with them closely on varied ethical issues.
I have always found the combination of education and practice enhancing my work, both as a therapist and as a teacher. I now use an integrative and developmental approach in my psychotherapy practice and following initial assessment, will use what most meets the needs of each individual client.
My amazement in and respect for the human capacity to grow, heal, learn and develop has been with me since I started on this journey and continues to be a passionate and guiding force in my work and in my life generally.