Therapist, coach, teacher, working class academic, cat wrangler, poetry lover, optimist. Proud citizen of the London Borough of Brent. Doctorate in counselling studies.
Nobody’s perfect – the work is to do the best with what you’ve got, to have the best life you can.
I was born in Harlesden NW London and grew up in Willesden Green, where I have still have strong roots and ties. I came to Norwich for the first time in 1986, to study English at the University of East Anglia, where I returned to work in 2004 and continue to teach, alongside running my private practice and writing.
Teacher training at Cambridge was followed with an MA in twentieth century writing at Sussex university. I continued my adventures in literature, completing a PhD in 1970s New York School poetry at the university of Dundee. Then I did a series of teaching jobs, in London and elsewhere, while I found my feet in life.
I started my therapy journey in 2004 with an evening class in person-centred counselling skills, chosen fairly randomly, as something to do when I was working in Norwich for part of the week at a time when I was still living in London. I loved it and I qualified as an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor in 2010. I often say that therapy is a hobby that got out of hand⏤it started with an evening class and ended with a PhD. I completed my second doctorate, in poetry therapy, at UEA in 2020.
I began coaching as a result of doing my ‘day job’ as an academic at UEA and qualified there as an EMCC coach practitioner in 2019. I have found coaching to be a good complement to my therapy work. In 2022 I undertook training in person-centred creative arts therapy, and have now added this way of working into my practice, alongside more traditional talk-focussed counselling.
My passion is working with people to help them achieve better relationships with themselves and the world around them. I also have a strong commitment to social justice, fighting ableism and resisting discrimination in all its forms.
I was assessed as being autistic in 2019⏤after a lifetime of struggling and not knowing why⏤and since then have been working to educate and support myself, and others, on what it means to live well as a neurodivergent adult.
I specialise in working with:
- Navigating change
- Self-esteem and imposter syndrome
- Structural discrimination
I also have experience of delivering training and consultancy in these areas:
- Understanding and supporting neurodivergence
- Coaching and mentoring training and CPD
- Listening skills
- Emotional Intelligence
My research focusses on the relationship between creative writing and mental health: not only the therapeutic benefits of writing expressively, but also how our interactions with language influence and in many ways create our experience the world. I am currently writing a book on poetry therapy, which will be published by PCCS Books in 2024.
As part of this work I often run hands-on writing and expressive arts groups⏤and I am a member of the Association of Person Centred Creative Arts (APCCA).
See my blog for more on my publications and research activities.
PhD in Counselling Studies Poetry/Therapy (2020, University of East Anglia)
Certificate in Person Centred Creative Arts Practice (APCCA, 2022)
EMCC Coach Practitioner Qualification (2019, TPC)
Primary Certificate in Coaching Supervision (2018, British Psychological Society)
PhD American Literature The Poetry of Ted Berrigan (2000, University of Dundee)
BSc in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counselling (2010, Middlesex)
Current Affiliation and Roles
(2021-Present) Lecturer and MA Course Director, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, University of East Anglia, Norwich UK
(2004 -2021) Senior Staff Development Officer (Academic)
University of East Anglia, Norwich UK
I was the senior academic developer at UEA, based in the Centre for Staff and Educational Development; I am also an academic course director in the UEA School of Education and Lifelong Learning, responsible for the MA in Higher Education Practice programme. I have worked as a coach on the UEA Staff Coaching Network since 2005, and became a coaching supervisor on the scheme upon qualification (British Psychological Society, Primary Certificate in Coaching Supervision) in 2018. I am an accredited member of the National Counselling Society (NCS 521-01613). I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.