Our vision

We will promote counselling and psychotherapy as a rightful entitlement for children and young people and work for greater accessibility to services.

Our executive

Sue Pattison, MBACP (Accred), Joint Chair

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.

Maggie Robson, MBACP (Accred), Joint Chair

Maggie is a senior teaching fellow at Keele University and was director of the counselling psychology programme. She is a qualified and experienced counselling psychologist and play therapist and jointly ran a play therapy service for bereaved children. She also has experience of training play therapists in the UK, US and Kenya and has trained play therapy supervisors. Maggie is joint editor of the Sage Handbook for Counselling Children and Young People.

Sandra Bell, MBACP (Accred), Deputy Chair

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.

Edith Bell

Edith is director of counselling for Familyworks - an organisation delivering specialist counselling to children, young people and adults in Northern Ireland. A practising counsellor, she leads a team who also deliver counselling services in schools. Edith was part of the team that piloted school counselling for the NSPCC in Northern Ireland and her research interests focus on anxious children and attachment.

Edith is also a respected trainer. She is a member of the Northern Ireland Training Consortium and co-founder of Summit Training, which is dedicated to delivering excellent CPD for counsellors. She sits on the BACP expert reference group as a practitioner member looking at counselling competences and is also committed to encouraging the self care of practitioners.

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.

Cathy Bell, Past Chair 2012 to 2108

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.

Wendy Hay, MBACP (Accred), Past Deputy Chair 2012 to 2018

Wendy is a qualified and experienced adult counsellor, child and adolescent counsellor, supervisor and trainer. She has worked in charitable and social care settings, as well as private practice. Alongside establishing and running a school counselling service, part of her focus has been within the care system, working systemically to support professionals around the child. Here she offered training and consultation to social workers and foster carers, enabling the child's behaviours to be understood and facilitating attachment. Wendy has been a member of the BACP CYPF executive since 2010 and was Deputy Chair from 2012 to 2018. Wendy is based in Scotland with her husband, children and step children.