Counsellors, Psychologists & Other Workers

Update – January 2021 – this list of counsellors is not complete – we are in the throes of updating our website and have many more counsellors on our books not listed here. Watch this space! In the pandemic, we are putting clients first…all else on hold. Please be patient with us. To get an appointment email [email protected] in the first instance. Elaine

Counsellors and Psychologists

Please note that all our workers have experience of autism in their private lives.  Some workers have elected to be open about their experiences in their biographies (below), while some have not for personal reasons.

Kate Mendez,

BA (Hons), MSc Therapeutic counselling, MBACP


I am trained as an integrative counsellor, which means that I incorporate various counselling models and techniques when working with clients in response to individual needs and personal circumstances.

I have a son on the autistic spectrum and this has taught me about the challenges of living in a world that is not always understanding or accepting of the neuro-diverse.  I have a particular interest in supporting people with autism and their families and my Masters’ research explored the experience of counselling people with Asperger’s.

I am delighted to be working for Action for Asperger’s because I believe that counselling needs to be made more accessible and appropriate for people with autism. Kate will see Action for Asperger’s clients through the medium of Skype.


Dr. Miranda Gaylor,

Chartered Psychologist,

BSc(Hons), PhD, CPsychol

HCPC logo blue [58060]

I am a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council. I have been working as a psychologist for over twenty years and am passionate about working with individuals with ASD.  I have worked with children, adolescents and adults who are on the autism spectrum, in hospitals and in the community, including working oversees. I currently work independently and provide consultancy comprising providing diagnostic assessments for ASD (ADOS) and individual and group therapy, using a variety of psychological approaches which I adapt to meet individual needs. I am excited to be part of the team at Action for Asperger’s and will be providing not only a diagnostic facility but also consultation work.


Gail Wright,

Dip HE Counselling, MBACP


I am a person-centred counsellor who integrates different theories within my work and I am registered with the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP). I am also a mother of 4 young adults.  My 24-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter are autistic, and my youngest daughter has Asperger’s and dyslexia.  I was also married to someone with autism for 19 years, so have a lot of familial and professional experience with regard to autism.  With my eldest daughter and myself being neurotypical this has given me the experience, knowledge and understanding of the feelings and emotions for everyone connected to and living with ASD.  I feel this experience has given me the ability to adapt my work to my clients’ individual needs.  I am very passionate in my drive to enable my children to live the best lives they can and this passion spreads into my work.

My professional experience includes working with the Samaritans, Cruse Bereavement and various other charities in regard to counselling; building on my knowledge and ability to support others. I can offer one-to-one consultations and couples counselling at the charity headquarters in Corby, Northamptonshire.  I can also offer Skype/telephone consultations. I work with children, teens and adults.

As well as counselling for Action for Asperger’s I also run my own private practice in Peterborough, where I have experience of working with individuals who are both on and off the spectrum.


Jemima Gee

Dip Counselling, MBACP


Jemima GeeScreen Shot 2018-10-15 at 09.31.38

I am a fully qualified person-centred counsellor and a registered member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists.  I have familial experience of autism/Asperger syndrome and ADHD.  I therefore know on a personal level of how living with autism can affect lives

Building a good working therapeutic relationship is key to the counselling process and connecting with warmth is something I feel is a strength of mine. I will listen to you without judgement and respectfully explore what is troubling you and together we can look at what issues are affecting your life.  Reflecting on the things that you choose to share, we may gain more awareness and insight in your difficulties.  I have worked with a number of people with autism/Asperger’s (adults and young people) and work at a comfortable pace to suit the individual.

When I’m not working for Action for Asperger’s I see clients in my own private practice that is in Northamptonshire.

I look forward to meeting you soon.

Jemima will see Action for Asperger’s clients via face-to-face in Corby, Northamptonshire and also via Skype consultations.


Sharon Yardley


AfA Wales Counsellor

Bio Picture

My family and work in schools have provided me with the opportunity to support many people whose lives have been touched by autism. Over 25 years I have seen and experienced first hand the joys and sadness of working and being with people on the spectrum.

Always wanting to learn and understand more, I have attended a number of National Autistic Society courses and Research Autism Conferences.  I have recently completed an MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice – a person-centred approach. I am passionate about genuinely supporting people by listening to them, without judgement, and helping them explore how they feel and make decisions in a safe space. I am a member of BACP and work to their ethical code. I also work part-time for a Mental health charity, helping people gain confidence to take their next steps.  I am delighted to be working with Action for Asperger’s in North Wales. Contact: [email protected]


Debbie King


Adv.Dip. Counselling MBACP

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 21.44.44Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 21.58.30

I am a fully qualified counsellor with over 10 years experience working with both adults and children. I am experienced in working with relationship issues with individuals, couples or families. I am a British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) registered therapist and adhere to the BACP code of ethics.

My interest in autism spectrum disorders and Asperger’s comes from personal experience of being in a relationship with a partner with undiagnosed Asperger’s. My experience has enabled me to fully understand why communication is key in relationships – especially when a neuro-diverse condition such as autism strongly features.

I feel that my familial knowledge enhances my work supporting individuals who are on the autism spectrum and those who are their nearest and dearest. I have worked in the voluntary sector, privately and in educational settings providing support. I am able to offer support via the medium of video and I can also consult in person at our Keep House, Wollaston, Northamptonshire, premises.

Elaine Nicholson, MBE,

Screenshot 2017-05-14 21.59.48     145760_print_logo

More information about me can be found on the  ‘about the founder‘ page. I have counselled in excess of 4,000 lives affected by autism, and have an abundance of personal experience (from a partner and parent perspective) that has been gleaned over a 25-year period. I hold a master’s degree in autism, alongside a post-graduate certificate in Asperger’s syndrome. I am also a BACP registered counsellor and a fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. In 2016 I was awarded a Queen’s honour, the MBE, for services to Education and Asperger’s syndrome. This was the first honour ever awarded by Her Majesty the Queen for Asperger’s syndrome.

Living with someone who has Asperger’s syndrome can at times be heartbreaking, but it can also make you stronger. Similarly, life as an Asperger’s individual can be difficult trying to make yourself understood amongst your neurotypical family and peers. At AfA we get you from both sides! It may be tough to make that first call to our office, but you are promised respect, understanding and confidentiality when you do.

Elaine will see Action for Asperger’s clients via face-to-face in Corby & Wollaston, Northamptonshire, in Llandudno Junction, North Wales, and also via video consultations.


Chrissy Nikel,
BA (Hons), Dip. Counselling


Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.20.00

I studied the Advanced Diploma in Counselling at Tresham College in Kettering and went on to work at the Child and Adolescent Bereavement Service based at Northampton General Hospital for nearly three years. There I counselled children and young people who had experienced loss and bereavement. I trained as a Humanistic Counsellor using a Person-Centred approach and also have familial experience of autism. I have a background of working with children and young people in various settings. I have also worked for many years as a Parent Practitioner, supporting parents with parenting issues and delivering parenting classes and have worked with the whole family to create action plans to solve pressing problems. I also run Laughter workshops.


What is the difference between emotional support and counselling?

Emotional support workers can listen, but cannot give any prescriptive advices, although at times they may share a personal experience to help illustrate a point. Emotional support workers are not governed by a professional body, whereas Action for Asperger’s counsellors are all individually registered with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP).

All counsellors have undertaken a minimum of four years study in counselling.   Counsellors also continue to receive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and work to the BACP code of ethics. Emotional support workers do not have an external agency guiding them ethically, although their work is supervised in-house on a regular basis.

Our counsellors may suggest certain therapeutic techniques for you to try to aid your psychotherapeutic development, whereas our emotional support workers will not. Our rates as follows:-

£15 per hour for emotional support worker

£40 – £65 per hour for counsellor* (lower to higher incomes – client decides where they are on that scale for the relationship is based on trust).

*Elaine Nicholson’s baseline rate is £50 per hour.

Contact: [email protected]


Emotional Support Workers



Louie Hope, BA (Hons)

Emotional Support Worker

My name is Louie, I am an autistic transgender man in my thirties who was lucky enough to be taken on initially as autism consultant for Action for Asperger’s in April 2020, directly as a result of my skills in shouting a bit too loudly about what I believe in. I have, as of August 2020, taken on the role of emotional support worker and I specialise in supporting LGBTQIA+  clients.

I graduated from the University of Birmingham in December 2012 with a BA (Hons) in Childhood Culture & Education. In my final year of University, I was lucky enough to follow my passion and not only undertake a module in Advanced Autism Studies but also complete my dissertation on the topic of the communication skills of young autistic people. Prior to working for Action for Asperger’s, I have worked as a Play & Youth Worker for Resources for Autism across Birmingham, Front line assessment and Signposting for Children’s Services in Birmingham, SEN Teaching Assistant across the West Midlands, as a Community Care Worker, and as a fully trained Lay Chaplain and Spiritual Care Worker for Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. All this work and study happened before I, myself, was diagnosed as autistic in 2017 as an adult at the age of 27.

Being transgender and pansexual as well as autistic, and having experience running social support groups in person and online for people in the West Midlands that identify under the Trans umbrella (i.e. any person that does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth, or is questioning their gender identity), Action for Asperger’s sensibly suggested that I specialise in providing emotional support for LGBTQIA+ autistic clients. 

I will be continuing my autism consultancy work for Action for Asperger’s. Autism, neurodiversity and disability rights have been special interests and passions of mine long before I was diagnosed. I consider it a privilege to be able to provide a voice for autistic people and to advise on up to date research, discourse, language and activism regarding autism and autistic people as part of this work.

Alix McCardie

Emotional Support Worker

Alix McCardie Support Worker

My background is in teaching information technology (IT), but due to bringing up a family who are all diagnosed with Asperger’s/autism, including myself, my career path changed to supporting families by using the knowledge and understanding that I gained (and continue to gain) through my personal experiences, including accessing support groups and courses.

In my spare time I run a group called ASD Diversity in Corby, Northamptonshire. It is for young people and adults with autism and co-related conditions to learn life skills and socialise. They are an amazing group of people whom I love working with.

I am happy to be working for Action For Asperger’s as an emotional support worker so that I may continue to support families who live in the world of autism.



Other Action for Asperger’s workers


Jo Ferraro

Personal Assistant to CEO

Jo joined Action for Asperger’s in June 2019.

It’s pretty simple: Executive assistance is my passion”.

As Action for Asperger’s personal assistant to Elaine Nicholson, I provide support with all administrative tasks, have an eye for detail and a passion for excellent customer service.

Prior to this, I worked at Church’s English Shoes (part of the PRADA global enterprise) as a PA to the CEO.  I am a seasoned personal assistant with over 25 years of experience in the field including the medical industries.

My five key strengths:  restorative, winning others over, harmony, includer, and achiever.

Email: [email protected]


Kate Pode,
BA, MSc Special Ed, PGC Autism 



My interest in autism was first sparked when my son and nephew were diagnosis with Asperger’s.  Thanks to them I identify with the thought processes and sense of difference; understand and enjoy the unique view of the world; the pattern of logic and sense of inter-connectivity that is sometimes exhibited.

One of my strengths is my ability to assess and review individuals, to identifying the motivation behind behaviours exhibited and to assist with coping strategies.

Whilst gaining the necessary qualifications to help my family I have built up over twenty years of experience in supporting children with learning difficulties.  I possess a strong understanding of intellectual impairments and learning styles and have a keen understanding of how these difficulties manifest as co-morbitants for individuals on the continuum.

I continue to attend conferences and keep current on research in the field in such things as dietary developments, sensory integration difficulties, medical advances, including neuro-imagery, and the best way to design and deliver the social skills and communication courses.


Ailsa Lomas

Volunteer – administrative support/reception


I got to know about Action for Asperger’s (AfA) through social media. The people are very welcoming friendly and I look forward to working with everyone associated with the charity.

 My interest and experience of Asperger’s syndrome (autism) comes from my being told that I could very likely be autistic from an early age – although diagnosis has not been formally confirmed yet. I also help out with a group called ASD Diversity that meets on the second Wednesday of every month at Oakley Vale Community Centre in Corby. It is a social group for adults with autism to get together.

I am an outgoing person and I like to meet new people. I hope that by volunteering with AfA, I can learn more about myself and come to understand myself a bit more whilst also helping other people. It’s a comfort to me to be working in an environment where people understand you and they don’t judge you. Contact: [email protected]


Lorna Hession,


Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 14.04.15

Originally from Manchester, I moved to Northamptonshire 5 years ago. I started my career as a PA and took on some finance duties, the roll developed further which lead me to becoming an accounting technician. I have worked in Finance for 12 years.

As a mother of two young children, aged 8 and 5, child welfare is a subject close to my heart.

Contact: [email protected]


Rachael Gartland, 


Paediatric Occupational Therapist

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-22-08-13HCPC logo blue [58060]

Since being a young child I have always enjoyed helping others and supporting those with disabilities. I particularly like the rewarding outcome of watching children with disabilities learn to achieve daily skills which others may take for granted.

I have been working in the NHS as part of a Child Development Centre since qualifying as an Occupational Therapist (OT). I am now working as an Independent Children’s OT specialising in 0-19 years. I have experience with a range of physical disabilities and neurodevelopmental difficulties including ASD and ADHD. I have worked as part of the Multi-Disciplinary Team assessing for Autistic Spectrum Disorders and providing therapy for children post-diagnosis. I have also been working in schools and nurseries to provide strategies and interventions that aid learning and promote access to the curriculum.

I have a special interest in Sensory difficulties and the impact this can have on behaviour and daily living.  I have recently attained a PGC in Sensory Integration.

Within my role I offer various training sessions for parents and other professionals to help them gain a better understanding of the difficulties faced by their child/children and how best they can support them. I believe that empowering families and those working with the child is the key to a successful outcome.

I am very passionate about supporting children and families and I understand this from my own lived experience of autism, not just academically.

I can support children/teenagers and young adults to maximise their participation in daily life, this can include: self care (dressing,eating,toileting, sleeping, washing; leisure (playing or hobbies); productivity (school/ college work). Contact: [email protected]