Information on Local Counsellors and Other Professionals with Eating Disorder Expertise
It can be very difficult to find a counsellor who is comfortable with dealing with eating disorders, and one who will take on both adult clients, adolescents and children, and of course other family members.
This list of local counsellors has been put together by me to provide families with a starting point. They all have different backgrounds, different training, different professional affiliations and different approaches. The thing they have in common is that they have proven success in working with young people affected by eating disorders and their families. These counsellors may be able to provide support whilst you are waiting for an NHS referral, and also after the NHS have discharged the patient. Eating disorders don’t go away over night and good therapeutic support can dramatically improve outcomes and reduce relapse rates. The key is to find a counsellor who your loved one can connect with and I suggest carers call several in the first instance to discuss individual requirements. The list is by no means exhaustive and I am always happy to find new counsellors with eating disorder experience. I have listed the counsellors alphabetically with contact details. There is some background info on each one further down the page.
Please satisfy yourself that the counsellor you are contacting has the correct qualifications to meet your needs – this is something that can be clarified at the assessment session before you start working together or before you meet. The material available on this website is designed to provide general information only. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, it does not constitute legal or other professional advice. This document does not endorse and does not accept any responsibility or liability for the contents of websites referenced by an external link. There is no financial relationship between the Carer Support Group and the counsellors listed.
A Brief Introduction to each professional:
Claire and Jake Boyle - Rye, East Sussex
I am an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Master Practitioner and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Coach whose aim is to enable positive, rapid, lasting change. I am committed to providing a relaxed, professional approach allowing each and every individual to achieve their goals. Claire trained with Ian McDermott, one of the world’s most renowned NLP trainers certified since 1988. Ian McDermott is a best-selling author of many NLP books as well as being a registered UKCP Psychotherapist.
My interest in eating disorders stems from my own journey of recovery from an eating disorder and in recent years I have had had particular success working with eating disorders and negative self talk.
My husband Jake is a talented NLP practitioner whose expertise include public speaking, performance anxiety and success in interviews, exams and auditions. Jake works with CONFIDENCE as a ‘state’ that can be accessed and amplified when needed. Jake allows individuals to know in detail, HOW and WHEN to feel confident. Jake has had particular success in recent years working with carers of young people with eating disorders.
Clare Brooks – Sevenoaks
Tel: 07760 826281
As an integrative counsellor I am able to use several different types of therapy, enabling me to have various approaches to suit different issues. These include looking at the past (psycho-dynamic), the present (person centred/humanistic) and strategies for future change (CBT). I have experience working with adults and teenagers in an NHS setting, children/adolescents in one to one sessions in schools throughout Kent and I have a private practice in Sevenoaks. I also have experience in working at Family Matters (UK Charity for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse). I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
My interest in Eating Disorders developed over the years as a result of exposure to many people with ‘disordered eating’ with several being on the unhealthy end of the spectrum and needing help. Subsequently I experienced a personal loss of a family member who suffered from Anorexia. I truly believe she would still be with us today if she had received help and support when this first emerged in her teens.
Caroline Clarke Wooster - Cranbrook
I am a counsellor offering a range of therapies to clients in Cranbrook and the surrounding areas. In particular I use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) techniques in order to tailor therapy carefully to individual clients, and I am also a clinical Hypnotherapist. I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
I have experience in differing settings, GP surgeries, community settings and in schools. I have worked for the last ten years in schools providing counselling therapy to children and adolescents as well as working privately with children, adolescents and adults.
My interest in working with eating disorders has grown gradually as I have had more young people with eating disorders on my caseload. I have found that EMDR is very useful in changing beliefs about themselves and the food and compliments a traditional CBT approach.
Gwen Davies – Kent Wide Early Intervention Service
I specialise within the field of early interventions for eating disorders as well as working with patients who have a diagnosis. Early signs and symptoms of an eating disorder can often go untreated resulting in symptoms becoming more entrenched and requiring input at the crisis stage. I am delighted to offer a fast, effective service that can support individuals at the early stages of their difficulties. The input can prevent long term deterioration that could lead to a diagnosis or admission into hospital. According to ‘NICE’ guidelines for the management of eating disorders in those over 8 years old: “People with eating disorders should be assessed and treated at the earliest opportunity.” I am a qualified mental health nurse with over 12 years experience, 5 years of which were within eating disorders, supporting clients with early symptoms in the community. I have a 2 year post graduate certificate in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and a degree in Public Health.
Gillian McArthur - Horsmonden, Kent
I am an experienced accredited BACP counsellor working with adults and young people. I am in private practice in my home in Horsmonden and I have also worked across a broad spectrum of secondary school settings. I have specialist training in working with eating disorders with the National Centre for Eating Disorders, an enormously successful approach to eating disorders which uses Positive psychology, CBT, Motivational interventions and Nutritional rehabilitation. I am able to work with Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge eating, Orthorexia and Obesity.
I also have a Diploma in integrative counselling which means that I use different approaches and models of counselling according to the individual needs of each client. I believe that I provide a safe, comfortable and non- judgemental practice and therapy for many other issues which include but are not limited to abuse, anxiety, bereavement, depression, stress, trauma and relationship issues.
Fiona Hooper – Tunbridge Wells
Tel: 07904 920904
I am a trained and qualified counsellor and therapist with more than 10 years clinical practice and a proven record of helping clients move towards change, growth and development. Clients are referred to me from all walks of life with a range of experiences and difficulties. I work with couples, individuals and groups of all ages. I also have extensive expertise in families, young people and children. To supplement my psychodynamic training, I increasingly use Transactional Analysis and Mindfulness in my work. . I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
In addition to working as a therapist, I also have considerable experience training young people, parents and schools towards an understanding and management of a range of issues, including eating disorders, self-harm and bereavement.
Nigel Jacobs – Cranbrook
Family Therapist who works with families, couples and individuals:
I am a Systemic Family Therapist and a Doctor in Psychotherapy (my thesis was on the treatment of anorexia in family therapy). For nine years I was the Senior Family Therapist in the Kent and Medway Eating Disorders Service. I recently left the NHS to pursue other interests, having spent the last eighteen months training Kent NHS colleagues to increase family inclusion in mental health treatment. Prior to working in the NHS, I trained as a couples therapist and was a manager, counsellor and clinical supervisor for Relate.
As well as having a small private practice (specialising in family and couples therapy and eating disorders) I am a Director of the Association for Family Therapy and recently became a Trustee for Dandelion Time, a small Kent based charity that works with children who have suffered abuse and trauma. I also deliver training in family therapy and clinical supervision for various specialist training organisations.
My extensive experience in working with families where there is an eating disorder has left me with a passion for assisting, where I can, with this most complex of difficulties. Family members often feel distanced from each other in a way that, rather than assisting recovery, inadvertently seems to add to the difficulty. Everyone gets caught in a trap of “can’t do right for doing wrong”, in which good intention becomes distorted by the eating disorder. In my experience, (and the substantial evidence base for encouraging family work in eating disorders) collaborative working with everyone (the person directly attacked by the eating disorder and their family) can significantly contribute to the possibilities of life being different. Family therapy often works best in conjunction with individual counselling for the person directly affected by the eating disorder.
Paul Marro - Four Elms, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells & Maidstone
I qualified as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner with the Quest Institute, when I graduated on their world-renowned Diploma in Cognitive Hypnotherapy. Cognitive hypnotherapy is cutting-edge – it was developed by Trevor Silvester of the Quest Institute at the beginning of the 21st century. It uses a wide variety of methods from other psychological disciplines such as NLP, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy, but at its heart lies the belief that trance states are something we all do regularly every day (just think of the trance you enter when you’re driving to a familiar location like work), and that we all have the innate capability to resolve our own life issues in the best way for us.
To help people achieve these positive changes in their lives, cognitive hypnotherapists use many psychological, hypnotic and linguistic techniques, including WordWeaving, a unique and sophisticated toolset that helps us to create specific language patterns for clients which are much more likely to be subconsciously accepted and acted upon. These methods help us to direct our clients towards their solution state, the place they really want to get to.
Jo Pearson – Sevenoaks
Jo Pearson, a new part-time member of the Think CBT team. Jo specialises in the treatment of complex eating and body image problems, as well as working as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist in general psychological practice.
In addition to being a qualified and BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Jo has worked as a Psychiatric nurse within an NHS specialist eating disorders unit. Jo has extensive experience and specialist training in complex eating problems and works with adults and young people in the NHS and private practice.
Caroline Romaine – Tunbridge Wells
I am an accredited BACP therapist with over 20 years experience in the profession. I am primarily a cognitive behavioural and systemic therapist although my training has taken in many of the recognised counselling techniques and theories. This means that I can fit my approach to best suit the clients needs. Clients are all individuals and so we work together to find the best way forward. I work alongside my clients in an active and involved way and am transparent in my style so you always understand where I am coming from and how I am working with you. Counselling does not need to be lengthy – sometimes even just one session can be useful. I work with a variety of problems including depression, anxiety, abuse, panic, stress, trauma, obsession, eating disorders, couple and family relationships.
Bernadette Wright- Tunbridge Wells
I work as a BACP (Accred) Therapist and Qualified Clinical Supervisor. I work in an integrative way which is my deliberate choice after many years of working in this field, as fundamentally it draws together distinct models of counselling and psychotherapy which are used together in a converging way rather than in separate pieces. I use different approaches directly tailored to suit the individuality of my clients and yet mainly draw from Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy all of which I have training in.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy in particular I find is very effective for dealing with Eating Disorders and Personality Disorders both of which are my particular areas of expertise.
I work as an Emotional Freedom Therapist (EFT) which often supports my work when needed and I also run groups for people suffering with eating related issues and have taught other therapists to work within this field.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Counsellor:
As you all know the NHS is very under resourced and often there are long waiting lists, appointments get cancelled at the last minute and patients are often discharged when they still have a long way to go on rebuilding their confidence, developing new more healthy coping strategies and improving their overall emotional wellbeing. In addition there are times when other members of the family can become extremely tired, depressed, angry etc and for them a little bit of therapy can go a long way.
I have compiled a list of possible questions (in no particular order) you could ask when approaching a counsellor for the first time either for your loved one or other family members. You could pick and choose questions relevant for your situation and of course put them in your own words:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What kinds of issues do you normally see? Do you have a special interest in eating disorders?
- Have you and do you normally see clients with eating disorders?
- Can we discuss your position on confidentiality? (eg: my daughter is 18 but is happy for me to be included in the process OR my 16 year old daughter doesn’t want me involved, but I need to understand the process)
- Under what circumstances would you break confidentiality?
- Are you part of any registered associations? Which ones?
- What is your educational background?
- Where is your office located?
- When are you available?
- Do you work year round? Do you have any extended breaks planned?
- How much do you charge per session?
- Do you have any package deals for your sessions?
- Do you offer reduced rates for special situations?
- How often do you suggest I (or my son/ daughter/ other family member) see you?
- If I come to see you, am I covered under my medical insurance?
- Do you give receipts for your sessions?
- What is the minimum time you need for me to cancel an appointment? Will it cost me?
- How much in advance do I have to book an appointment with you?
- Do you just have your private practice? Where else do you work?
- What is your availability for emergencies?
- What type(s) of therapy do you use?
- Do you do group sessions or family sessions?
- What is your position on pharmaceutical therapy and naturally based therapies?
Please feel free to add to this list.
After you’ve chosen a therapist, it’s completely fine to have a trial run. If after the first few sessions you/ your loved one doesn’t feel that the relationship is working, it’s okay to keep looking. Remember that this working relationship has to start somewhere, and the therapist/ client get to know each other better over time. The best method of choosing a counsellor is to listen to your gut reaction.
There are many benefits of other family members accessing therapy (role modelling self care, acknowledging the stresses of caring for someone with an eating disorder, to help build confidence and resilience in the face of the eating disorder, to consider making small changes etc) Apart from the private counsellor route it is also worth asking your GPs of the availability of free counselling for adults, and all schools should be able to provide counselling for siblings. These counsellors do not need to be experts in eating disorders as they will be working with the client who hasn’t got an eating disorder to help build coping strategies to deal with the stress of living with and coping with caring for someone with an eating disorder.