We will promote counselling and psychotherapy as a rightful entitlement for children and young people and work for greater accessibility to services.
Emma Davies, Chair
Emma is a director of The Exchange, a specialist counselling and psychological wellbeing service for children and young people. She provides school counselling services for local authorities across Wales and Scotland, with a team offering counselling and psychological wellbeing interventions across 400 primary and secondary schools.
Over the past 12 years, Emma has created the resource-based approach to counselling children and young people. She set up Exchange-Resource to educate and train counsellors, psychological wellbeing practitioners and school staff in applying this approach to support the psychological development and resilience of children and young people.
Emma also acts in a consultative role with governments and local authorities in integrating this approach with getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) principles to achieve a whole school approach to supporting psychological wellbeing. Her special interest in promoting a holistic understanding has created a strategic model of psychological wellbeing for children and young people.
Cathy is a passionate advocate for, and well-respected pioneer in, school counselling. She has set up, developed and implemented schools counselling across all educational sectors throughout Northern Ireland. She has promoted inter-disciplinary partnerships between counsellors and schools, creating a regional pilot scheme which became the model for a Department of Education funded service.
She has also worked as advisor in pupil emotional health and wellbeing for the Southern Education and Library Board and was seconded to the Department of Education as regional coordinator for the Independent Counselling Service for Schools (ICSS).
Cathy has a master’s degree in counselling children and young people. Her research interests include models of working with primary school children and the efficacy of school counselling in supporting emotional health and well-being. She is also a trained social worker and has experience across a variety of statutory and voluntary services for children.
Claire Harrison-Breed, MBACP
Claire has worked with children, young people and families for the past 25 years, in social care, health and education settings. A counsellor, Gestalt child and adult psychotherapist, play therapist and social worker. Claire specialises in working with trauma, dissociation and attachment issues. Before becoming a private practitioner, she worked as a therapist for organisations including the NSPCC, Northamptonshire County Council and Children Fund Research projects. She is also a senior lecturer in counselling and psychotherapy for the University of Northampton teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and developing research in the counselling field.
Sandra Bell, MBACP (Accred)
A counsellor, clinical supervisor and trainer, Sandra is the founding director of Time 4 You Psychological Services CIC, which specialises in counselling and therapeutic play for children and young people in Tees Valley. While studying for a counselling MA, she set up a schools counselling service and now leads a dedicated team covering 25 schools across the area.
Sandra has developed and delivered training in specialist competences for working with children and young people and has a special interest in therapeutic work with looked after children and adoptive families. She provides training around understanding early trauma and attachment and is passionate about promoting awareness in schools about the effects of trauma and how dedicated staff can make a difference.
Sandra is also an EMDR therapist for adults and young people. She has developed partnerships with services such as ABC Play Therapy and Family Solutions, to strengthen capacity and share expertise.
Sue Pattison, MBACP (Accred)
A counsellor, supervisor and trainer, Sue was Director of a PhD programme at Newcastle University for many years. She is now lecturer in psychology at Arden University Ltd. Sue teaches and researches counselling internationally, and has a busy counselling and supervision practice. She is a founder member of Counselling in Schools Research Consortium and joint editor of the Sage Handbook for Counselling Children and Young People.
Linda-Jayne is passionate about early intervention, working in primary and special school settings. A counsellor and clinical supervisor, Linda-Jayne is also a Regional Manager for Familyworks and ImagineIf School based counselling service in Northern Ireland.
Linda-Jayne has a background in autism spectrum disorders (ASD), working with the National Autistic Society in NI, and is an advocate for young people with special educational needs accessing counselling services. She developed online groupwork for young people and parents, including children moving to post primary schools, during the pandemic. Linda-Jayne is a mum of two boys who are her light.
Rebecca Wemyss MBACP (Accred)
Rebecca currently works for Winston’s Wish as bereavement counsellor for children and young people in primary schools, high schools and up to age 25 and has a lot of experience working therapeutically with children and young people online and adapting to digital / remote working.
Previously, Rebecca worked as a high school counsellor in several schools around Manchester, including as part of a mental health support team (MHST) and has volunteered for a number of charities as well. She is really passionate about the young person’s voice being heard and making sure services intended to support CYP are more led by children and young people themselves.
Having spent some time abroad, Rebecca also has an interest in how culture and language plays a role in children and young people’s mental health and can impact their access to counselling and mental health support. She has worked with children in the USA, Romania, South Korea, Thailand and Myanmar in different capacities and also for a short time with refugees from North Korea, Tibet and Syria.