creating a bridge between professional practice, research and lived experience communities

what I offer

Training, advice and consultancy on a variety of topics including:

  • Embedding co-production and 'Patient & Public Involvement' (PPI) into research, services, projects and events

  • 'Trauma 101' - understanding the basics of what trauma is, the impacts and what it means to be 'trauma-informed'

  • Helping without hurting - how to support trauma and abuse survivors (for people in any healthcare or helping roles)

  • The use of self to co-create safety for trauma survivors (for research, service development and frontline practice)

  • Peer support - benefits, issues and models

  • Reforming counselling & psychotherapy training and practice through a trauma survivor lens

My Background

In addition to my psychotherapy practice, I write, lecture and provide advisory and consultancy services to a range of organisations (see below). I have over 27 years of professional experience beginning with my training in social work (which at that time included two years of counselling skills training), qualifying in 1996. During a break from frontline practice while I raised my children, I established a mosaic art studio and explored the link between creative making, mindfulness and mental health. I then trained in mental health research and in counselling/psychotherapy, gaining an MSc in Mental Health Studies from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and a PGDip in Counselling & Psychotherapy (both with distinction). My thesis was in the assessment and treatement of trauma and PTSD. I am an honorary Research Associate with King's College London and the University of Bristol.

 

I spent most of my social work career working with young people (and their families) in care and prisons/secure settings. This included managing advocacy services to open and secure children's homes with Coram Voice (then Voice for the Child in Care) where I also set up and ran their Learning & Development Department, devising and delivering training and consultancy.  In 2000 I also began running groups for people who had experienced abuse and trauma, which eventually became Survivors' Voices, the peer-to-peer organisation I co-founded and continue to work with. I have helped facilitate over 50 peer-to-peer groups and events over the years, supporting people who have experienced violence and abuse and untapping their lived expertise in order to change responses to trauma.

 

Recent work, presentations & publications
  • I am co-founder of Survivors' Voices and act in an oversight and consultancy capacity for the organisation. I was the lead researcher and co-author in the Wellcome Foundation funded project that led to the  Charter for Organisations Engaging Abuse Survivors in Projects, Research & Service Development.

  • I am a co-investigator on the ESRC funded JiCSaV project with Coventry University, researching the impact of Covid19 on the criminal justice journeys of adult and child survivors of abuse and sexual assault

  • I am on the project team of the Royal College of Psychiatry's expert reference group looking at the response to non-recent childhood sexual abuse

  • I am an honorary research associate with King's College London (KCL), Section of Women's Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and led a rapid-response research project on how best to respond to "Off-Radar" children at risk of abuse during lockdowns, which was fed into government to inform the initial pandemic response. In collaboration with KCL, this research was deepened, resulting in Safe, Seen and Supported, a key report on how to reach and support children and young people experiencing abuse at home

  • I sat on the steering group for the NIHR funded MiMoS study into the mental health needs of people who attend NHS Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC's)

  • I sat on the steering group of the University of Bristol's Supporting Survivors project exploring the role of peer support for people who have experienced sexual violence and abuse

  • I acted as an advisor on the Mesarch study evaluating the work of Sexual Assault Referral Centres across the UK

  • I acted a consultant with the Barnado's Centre for Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse

  • I sat as a lay member on the Board for the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine

  • I acted as a consultant with the McPin Foundation and Violence, Abuse and Mental Health Network (VAMHN) to create Survivor Priority Themes and Questions for Research which is being used to guide this UKRI funded network

Publications

Recent Presentations

  • Royal College of Psychiatry, Women in Mind Conference - Sexual violence and abuse & the mental health system

  • VAMHN Children & Domestic Abuse webinair - Reaching and supporting 'off-radar' children at risk

  • Women of the World (WOW) Shameless festival - Triggered: on material triggers and memory

  • VAMHN National networking day - Survivor Priorities for Research

  • Barnado's Centre for Expertise in Child Sexual Abuse - involving trauma survivors in research

  • MiMoS and Mesarch studies - The use of self and creating safety in research with trauma survivors

  • 2nd International Conference on Pluralistic Counselling & Psychotherapy - Involving trauma survivors in research and practice development

  • St Mary's SARC 16th Annual Conference - Involving trauma survivors in research and services

  • 2018 and 2019 Women's Mental Health Summer School at King's College London -Trauma, PTSD and research

  • The Havens SARC/King's College Hospital Annual Conference 2017 & 2018 - Involving trauma survivors in research

  • University College London Medical School 2018 - Effective support for patients who are survivors of abuse

  • Margret Pyke Trust Conference at the Royal College of Physicians 2017: The sexually abused patient and effective support