A Professional Counselling Service
Some background that has provided me with the breadth of experience I bring to my practice today: -
In 1973 I started General Nurse training at the former St Stephens Hospital, (now Chelsea & Westminster Hospital). In the early 1980s I began to take a great interest in the unusual symptoms many of our patients were presenting with at the John Hunter Clinic.
As a result of this, and following reading a small clip in an American pharmacology newsletter about the rise in demands in the U.S.A. for a little used, and outdated drug that was now being requested for use, to treat one of the unusual symptoms of an illness called G.R.I.D at that time, (now A.I.D.S.).
This immediately rang bells with me and I started to make links. I put forward a suggestion to my Consultant Dr A. Lawrence that I believed one of our patients had died of this condition and that the symptoms so many others were presenting with were probably related to this condition.
A diagnosis was confirmed by pathology and identified as the first case of A.I.D.S. in the U.K. and probably in Europe at that time. From this other retrospective cases were able to be identified, one in particular by Professor Gazzard back in 1978.
From this, mindful we now had so many patients affected by this condition, I was involved in lobbying for services at the hospital and with my colleagues the first AIDS Related Clinic (commonly known as the A.R.C. at the time) was set up.
In 1983, following my initial nurse counselling training, I set up and ran a HIV/AIDS Counselling Service at the hospital clinic. I went on to run support groups for the Terrance Higgins Trust, gave medical lectures, public speaking and provided training to a wide variety of professions, including social workers, police, fire brigade, nurses, doctors and many other disciplines.
At the time, I was also visiting a number of hospices that felt they were not in a position to take people with HIV/AIDS for terminal and respite care. As a consequence, I joined forces with Christopher Spence, an Organisational Consultant and Bereavement Counsellor and Andrew Henderson, Director of Social Services in Kensington and Chelsea; like me, they were concerned about the situation and aware of the fact that many in distress could not find hospice beds.
We agreed that something needed to be done to meet these needs and we decided to do something ourselves. We discussed the possibility of acquiring a six bed-roomed house initially. At that time, Christopher already had a 'blueprint' of a hospice he envisaged opening one day in Notting Hill.
Christopher and I visited San Francisco on a ‘fact finding’ mission. This was interesting but it demonstrated that we were quite advanced in our work already. In fact, the visit made us realise that we were already doing quite well in a short space of time, particularly as we had no previous models to draw from.
I joined Christopher and Andrew and we co-founded London Lighthouse and eventually - with the help of a small group of other people - London Lighthouse emerged from a building we purchased with charitable donations, owned at he time, by the Spanish Embassy. The premises had previously been built as the ‘Solomon Wolfson Jewish School’.
In 1986 I left St Stephens hospital to become the first paid member of staff at London Lighthouse.
I left London Lighthouse at the end of 1989 to set up another HIV/AIDS voluntary organisation, the Red Admiral Project Counselling Centre, where we successfully provided counselling to individuals, partners, families and friends, seven days and evenings per week, this was due to the high demand for counselling services at that time.
During the course of my work in the AIDS counselling field, I trained extensively in the area of death, dying and bereavement with the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation (author of 'On Death and Dying,' and many other books.) and was privileged to have her supervise my early work with dying patients, bereaved partners, families and friends. I also worked as a staff member on some of her workshops.
In 1994, I left the Red Admiral Project and went into Private Practice and I further trained in Adult Psychodynamic Counselling at Birkbeck College, University of London.
I took further trainings as an E.M.D.R. Therapist. (see information on E.M.D.R.) Emotional Freedom Therapy E.F.T. Thought Field Therapy T.F.T. and Energy Psychology.
I have extensive experience in a wide variety of issues and have been a Counsellor/ Therapist for 28 years, offering both short and long-term therapy to individuals, families and couples. I receive referrals from a wide variety of sources. I also have extensive experience in running and facilitating therapeutic groups and residential workshops on a variety of issues.
I consider that the breadth of my experience outlined, has allowed me to embrace the issues that affect people on a day-to-day basis, and I am able to bring this to my now very mixed generic private practice. (See list of some of the issues on 'Psychodynamic Counselling' page).
I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and adhere to their Code of Ethics and Practice.