Our Counsellors & Emotional Support Workers

Please note that all Our Counsellors & Emotional Support 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.

Counsellor allocation is done through our main office. If you wish to consult with one of our counsellors please email info@actionforaspergers.org with details of your enquiry or telephone our main office on 01536 266681. 

If you have a preference of counsellor, you are welcome to state this in your enquiry and we will do our best to allocate accordingly. However please note that depending on counsellor availability this may not always be possible. Please be assured that all enquiries and any subsequent counsellor allocation are given very careful thought and consideration.  


Aaron Lawrence

I am a qualified Integrative Counsellor, drawing on a range of approaches to tailor sessions to each client’s need. I believe everyone needs love and acceptance from a supportive other, and therapy is one way to provide it.

I have previously worked as a support worker. In this role I learned more about both those who may be on the spectrum and how families adapt to try and meet the needs of their loved ones. 

Membership Number: 00947963

Alison McLauchlan

BA (Hons); PGCE; MA (Distinction) Person Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice

I am a qualified person-centred counsellor and I work with individual adults or young people. I also integrate other approaches within sessions to meet the needs of each individual client. 

Prior to being a counsellor I taught in secondary schools, where many of the students were neurodivergent. I also have lived experience of autism, with a teenage son who is both autistic and has ADHD. 

Membership Number: 00967691

Alison Smith

I am a qualified counsellor working with adult individuals and couples. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 45.
My approach is primarily person-centred, with elements of other approaches (e.g. CBT or transactional analysis) as required. I am committed to helping clients with ASCs achieve their goals and build the life they desire, offering them safety, support, empathy and recognition of their uniqueness.

Anita Keene

I am a passionate and committed counsellor who tailors my approach to the client’s needs. I currently work with adults on an individual basis.

I have lived experience of autism, having an autistic partner – who was diagnosed as an adult – alongside other family members. 

Annie Warburton

Dip. Integrative Counselling; ACTO Advance Certificate in Online Counselling Level 2.

I am a qualified counsellor with lived experience of being in a relationship with a partner with ASC/ADHD. 

I’m pleased to be working with AfA. I work with couples and individuals. I am qualified in online counselling and a member of ACTO.

Membership Number: 509

Barbara Stevenson

BA (Hons), MA, PGC

I am a qualified counsellor and I use an integrative and systemic approach in Counselling. I am specialised in Couples Counselling having been trained by the Relate Institute and worked for several years in the Relate Centre in the Midlands. 

I have lived experienced of autism as my son has high functioning autism and ADHD. 

Chrissy Nikel

BA (Hons), Dip. Counselling,

I am a member of the National Counselling Society. I trained as a Humanistic Counsellor using a Person-Centred approach and I have lived familial experience of autism and ADHD. 

I have been a counsellor with AfA for 6+ years. Over the years I have seen many clients and have worked with children, young people and adults – including couples, parents and late diagnosed.  

Membership Number: NCS20-00826

Debbie King

Adv.Dip. Counselling

I am a qualified counsellor with over 14 years experience. My Autism experience comes from a neurodiverse husband and family members. 

I specialise in working with couples where one or both partners have identified as neurodiverse. As an NT in an ASD/NT world I help navigate the communication difficulties faced by both AS and NT individuals.

Elaine Nicholson MBE


I founded the charity Action for Asperger’s after close family members received the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, which in turn led to the realisation that I was in a coupledom where Asperger’s syndrome featured most strongly; so intense was this experience that I suffered depression without reprieve. Personal therapists whom I consulted, were “way off the mark”, and the rest is history…Action for Asperger’s was created!

Elisabeth Westerman

I am a qualified Integrative-Humanistic counsellor and I work with adults. Being an Integrative-Humanistic counsellor means I use a number of different modalities.

I have close family members living with Autism and ADHD which have allowed me the opportunity to increase my knowledge through life experiences.

Gail Wright

DipHE, Therapeutic counselling Lvl 5

I am a qualified person centred counsellor, who integrates different modalities within sessions to suit each of my client’s needs. 

I have many years of experience with autism including three grown children who were all diagnosed and a 20-year marriage with somebody who was undiagnosed. 

Gina King

Dip. Counselling,

I am an integrative counsellor for children, teens, and adults. I have trained in different approaches, allowing me flexibility to tailor sessions to individuals. 

Previously I was a nanny – including with autistic children and their families. This gave me invaluable insight into challenges faced by both neurodiverse individuals, and by their families. I’m looking forward to using my experience and this insight to bring a feeling of calm and understanding to our counselling sessions.

Jane Hamilton

BSc. (Hons), PGDip. Autism, PGDip. Counselling and Psychotherapy

I am a qualified person centred counsellor, who integrates different modalities within sessions to suit each of my client’s needs. 

I have more than 30 years experience of autism in the family and I have also worked professionally with autism for over 25 years. 

Janette Houghton

HG.Dip.P.(Dist.), MHGI

I am a registered member of the Human Givens Institute, working in a person-centred, solution-focused way with young people and adults.

I believe members of my family have undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome which gives me an insight into the interplay between the neuro-typical and neuro-diverse in today’s world. 

Registration Number: 180989

Jeffrey Samuels

MA Integrative counselling, PGDip Neurodiversity and Narrative therapy. 

I was diagnosed with high functioning autism at the age of 55. Ten years on, I have obtained two post-graduate qualifications in autism and an MSc in counselling. 

My approach is drawn from psychodynamic, humanistic and relational modalities. I offer a completely non-judgemental and confidential process and some solution focussed concepts. 

Membership Number: NCS21-00808

Jemima Gee

Dip. Counselling

I am a person-centred counsellor and I have professional experience in supporting individuals affected by autism, Asperger’s and ADHD, but also experience from a personal familial perspective too.  

I mainly work with adults and teenagers.  I support my clients, giving a space to talk through personal worries, issues and circumstances. Sessions are tailored to the individual, as we are all unique!

Kerry Howard

Dip. Integrative Counselling Lvl 5

Prior to my daughter’s diagnosis at 4 years of age (ASD/complex disabilities), I worked in Education as a teacher. I am now a fully qualified integrative counsellor, experienced in supporting neurodiverse (ASC/ADHD) individuals. 

I understand the challenges faced by neurodiverse people in a sensory, social and changeable world biased towards the needs of neurotypicals. I work with young adults, individuals and couples (where one or both are neurodiverse), online or in person.

Lorraine Childerstone

I am an integrative counsellor working with Person Centred, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis methodologies.

I have familial experience with my oldest son having a diagnosis Asperger’s syndrome.

I am ACTO trained in online and telephone counselling and experienced in bereavement work and I am delighted to be working with adult and older adult clients for AfA.

Sharon Yardley

MEd, PGDip Counselling

A family member is Autistic with ADHD and GAD so counselling autistic clients and their families was a focus of my person-centred, experiential post graduate diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

I work one-to-one with adults and children and offer sessions either remotely or face to face using walk and talk, for clients able to travel to North Wales.

Membership Number: 785

Vicky Meller
Dip. Therapeutic Counselling

I have many years experience of working as a support worker which provided me with a lot of experience of autism/Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD.

I I work with people over the age of 15 and use a person-centred approach, working with clients to suit their own individual needs with the aim of making them feel understood.

Zena Steele

When working I use a person centred approach where I also use incorporate various counselling techniques to suit the needs of the individual.

I have experience with autism through previous work, family and friends. My experience has helped me help others on their journey.

Antonia Teixeira

CSE, FRSA, MAC, BA Hons (Cantab.), MA (Cantab.)

I work with all ages and abilities, as well as both couples and individuals. My speciality is working with those with autism who are suffering from complex trauma and/or anxiety. 

I pride myself on having a strong track record in helping people identify personal goals to revise patterns of behaviour in order to achieve long term and meaningful change. 

Membership Number: NM20626

Student Counsellors

Julie Sander

Student Member of the BACP

I am studying Integrative Counselling and Coaching MSc at UEL. Follow an integrative approach means that I look at what works best for each individual and can draw from different methods.

I have familial experience of autism along with five years experience as a volunteer for a national helpline.

Kirsty Oxley

Student Member of the BACP

I am a student integrative counsellor who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 25 and works with people on an individual basis. 

Being an integrative counsellor means that I draw on different therapy modalities to best support your therapeutic journey. 

Olaf Nixon

Student Member of the BACP

I am studying a Masters in Integrative Counselling. This means I draw on a range of different techniques to help me, help you. I work very much with what is happening in the body to facilitate this.
I have worked with many neurodiverse individuals over the years as a mentor, facilitator, and teacher, supporting and enabling them to understand their process.

Emotional Support Worker

Hattie Cornish

I am an Emotional Support worker.  I support clients not in need of counselling but in need of short-term emotional support. At present I am working on-line.

I have a one-year Psychodynamic Diploma from The Counselling Centre in Kent. I also have lived experience, with an 18-year-old son who was diagnosed at 10 years old with Asperger’s.