I graduated in Psychology at the University of Wales, Bangor in 1978. After this I gained relevant experience for three years, working with children in Care, and with adults with learning disabilities. In 1983 I qualified as a clinical psychologist after an MSc course in Clinical Psychology at the University of Birmingham.
My first post as a clinical psychologist was for Liverpool Health Authority where I worked in the field of Adult Mental Health. At that time my principal interest was in anxiety management and I ran numerous anxiety management groups. Following on from my MSc research project I developed a particular interest in the therapeutic use of meditation. Together with a colleague, I founded the Special Interest Group in Meditation, a nation-wide group of psychologists and helping professionals with an interest in meditation. I also started to develop skills in family therapy and worked in a family therapy team together with a social worker and a psychiatrist.
In 1987 I started work for Chorley & South Ribble Health Authority, as a Senior Clinical Psychologist and later Principal Clinical Psychologist, also within the Adult Mental Health field. I continued my interests in anxiety management and family therapy and was instrumental in setting up a family therapy support group within the district. Between 1988 and 1990 I was the acting District Clinical Psychologist for the Health Authority with responsibility for the Authority’s Clinical Psychology Team.
After the British Psychological Society received its Royal Charter in 1988, I became a Chartered Clinical Psychologist.
In 1990, I left the Health Service. Initially I had a part time post with the Brothers of Charity who provide services to adults with a learning disability. During my two years with this service I built up my work as a freelance clinical psychologist, and by 1992 I was fully self-employed.
For the first few years of having my own business, the work was mainly from contracts with local Health Authorities (now NHS Trusts) to provide adult and child services. In this capacity I worked at various times for NHS Trusts in Chorley, Wigan, Warrington, Ormskirk and Lancaster. I also developed a private practice, taking referrals mainly from GPs. In addition I organised and ran courses on such topics as anxiety management.
During the initial years I developed an expertise in assessment of adults with dyslexia and worked in this capacity for the University of Lancaster, Blackpool & the Fylde College and St Martins College, Lancaster.
My work has involved consultation to organisations and during the early 1990s I attended a certificate course on Systemic Consultation to Organisations at the Kensington Consultation Centre, developing my interest in family therapy in order to apply it to organisational work. I also developed an interest in Stress Audits for organisations and in providing stress management services to organisations. In 1995 I presented a paper on an aspect of this work to the Fifth International Conference on Stress Management in the Netherlands.
For many years I have worked with individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), particularly following Road Traffic Accidents. For some time I worked for the Centre for Crisis Psychology. In 1997 I trained in the use of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) which is particularly effective in the treatment of PTSD and other problems caused by trauma or adverse life events. I am an Accredited EMDR Consultant and Trainer with EMDR Europe and Past President of the EMDR Association UK & Ireland. I provide basic training in EMDR as well as supervision and training to EMDR therapists, privately and through the NHS.
For more than 25 years I have acted as an ‘expert witness’ to the Courts in three main areas. Firstly I have carried out over a thousand assessments in personal injury claims, mainly in relation to the psychological effects of Road Traffic Accidents. Secondly, I have been requested to assess both parents and children regarding proceedings relating to the Children Act. Thirdly I have provided assessments for criminal cases, for example on an individual’s ‘fitness to plead’. This legal work involved frequent attendance at Court.
In spite of all these developments I have continued to provide psychological therapy to children, adults and occasionally couples. My therapeutic approach tends to be fairly eclectic and is tailored to the needs and requirements of the individual client. It may consist of psychotherapy, a cognitive behavioural approach or a more systemic approach. However my specialism is in the use of EMDR. I receive referrals from GPs, psychiatrists, employers and solicitors, but increasingly clients have been referring themselves after finding my details on the internet.
In 2000 I returned to my old alma mater, the University of Wales, Bangor for a part time course to ‘upgrade’ my MSc qualification to a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy), which is now the standard qualification for newly trained Clinical Psychologists. The principal component of this course was a qualitative research project, interviewing the mothers of children with Conduct Disorder. The research was completed in 2005 and I was awarded a DClinPsy degree.
As my interest in EMDR has developed over recent years, I have been very involved in teaching and research in the field of EMDR. I have developed a particular interest in the use of EMDR in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and an EMDR technique called ‘Flashforward’ which is particularly effective for OCD. I have published an article in an international journal and a book chapter on this subject (see publications). I have also been a member of a team carrying out research on EMDR in the treatment of psychosis linked with the Universities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster. I have developed a special interest in EMDR supervision, particularly in groups, and regularly teach on this on courses for EMDR Consultants as well as having presented on the subject at an international conference in The Hague and the EMDR Association of Belgium.