Our vision

We aim to promote and support:

  • patient choice
  • accessible services
  • clinical excellence
  • competent, professional therapists
  • effective and efficient service delivery

We deliver our aims in partnership with BACP by providing:

  • information to the public
  • information to members
  • consultation with government departments and associated agencies in the four nations
  • publications - including a quarterly journal, best practice guidelines and commissioned research
  • training and CPD for counsellors
  • support to regional networks of NHS counsellors and interest groups

Our executive

Satinder Panesar, Chair

Satinder is a Punjabi-speaking, integrative counsellor/psychotherapist who has worked in the third sector, NHS GG&C and private sector over the past 25 years. She is also an individual and group clinical supervisor. Her work includes working with young people and adults who have experienced forced marriage; honour-based violence, child sexual abuse, rape & sexual assault, and cultural identity.

Areas of responsibility: trauma, tradition, culture, Scotland

Rachel Johnston – Deputy Chair

Rachel is a counsellor, mentor and clinical supervisor working in primary care and private practice since 2007. She recently established a social enterprise with the aim of making a range of therapeutic services more accessible at point of need. A specific area of interest is developing therapeutic services for adoptive parents, foster carers and parents of children with complex needs.

Areas of responsibility: operational and clinical lead for delivery of services in primary care and private practice through Connect2Counselling CIC, a social enterprise. 

Zubeida Ali – Past Chair

Zubeida has been a counsellor for over 20 years. She worked in the voluntary sector before joining the NHS in 1998 as a counsellor in Primary Care and continues to work in this setting within an IAPT service. In this time she has managed counselling services and is currently professional lead for counselling for an NHS Mental Health Trust. Zubeida is also on the Executive Committee of North West Psychological Professions Network (NWPPN) Workforce Board and chairs its special interest group for Counsellors Working in the NHS.

Areas of responsibility: primary care counselling - employment, placements, training and education.

Toby Sweet

Toby has worked as a counsellor in primary care and substance misuse services. For the last 10 years he has been chief executive of a voluntary sector organisation providing counselling and IAPT services in the North East of England, including specialist services for survivors of sexual abuse and assault and counselling for people with life-limiting health conditions.

Areas of responsibility: primary care, IAPT, trauma and abuse, management

Vicki Palmer

Vicki has been a counsellor for over 25 years. She has a specialist interest in primary care counselling and has experience of working in third sector organisations and private practice as a counsellor, supervisor and trainer. In 2012 she set up a social enterprise, Oasis-Talk CIC, as a way of navigating the local challenges of maintaining a good quality talking therapy service in the NHS in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, following the consequences of the Health and Social Care Act, March 2012.

Areas of responsibility: primary care, IAPT, management of counselling services, training and social enterprise

Kerry Nair

Kerry currently works as a counsellor for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust in an IAPT service. She's also managed and worked in young person’s counselling services in two settings. She has seen therapy delivered using a different cultural model when she worked as a bereavement counsellor in Sydney Children’s Hospital, Australia.

Kerry was introduced to BACP Healthcare by the Psychology Professions Network. She wanted to venture out of the NHS trust she worked for and meet other counsellors who work in NHS settings, and those who provide commissioned IAPT services. She finds the process of attending the meetings and joining the BACP Healthcare committee has allowed her to see her own service from a different viewpoint. Taking this insight out and back into where she works allows another perspective for her colleagues and management, and herself.

Joanna Benfield - Editor Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal

Joanna is a psychosexual and couples therapist working in private practice in London. She also has a thriving online practice, working with clients worldwide. Joanna has a specialist interest in sex addiction, and is editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Sex Addiction. She has also written Three in a Bed: Conversations with a Sex Therapist, published by Harper Collins in 2016.

We welcome feedback on the articles and columns featured in our journal. Please send your comments and opinions to Joanna at hcpj.editorial@bacp.co.uk.

If you would like to submit an article yourself please see Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy journal.