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 [email protected] 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.  
 

Counsellors

Aaron Lawrence

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

Membership Number: 00947963

Alison McLauchlan

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

I am a qualified person-centred counsellor, though I also integrate other approaches within sessions to meet the needs of each individual client. 

I work with individuals – both young people and adults – and I see clients both on-line and in person. 

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 and member of the BACP who 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 ASD achieve their goals and build the life they desire, offering them
safety, support, empathy and recognition of their uniqueness.
 
I work with adult individuals and couples.

Anita Keene

I am a passionate and committed counsellor who tailors my approach to the client’s needs.

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

I currently work with adults on an individual basis and am happy to see clients online or in person. 

Annie Warburton

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

I am a counsellor and registered member of BACP. I have 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 and generally use video conferencing.

Membership Number: 509

Barbara Stevenson

BA (Hons), MA, PGC

I am a BACP registered counsellor. My son has high functioning autism and ADHD. I have been trained by the Relate Institute and worked for several years in the Relate Centre in the Midlands. I am specialised in Couples Counselling, and I use an integrative and systemic approach in Counselling.

Chrissy Nikel

BA (Hons), Dip. Counselling,

I trained as a Humanistic Counsellor using a Person-Centred approach and I am a member of the National Counselling Society. I have been a counsellor with AfA for 5+ years. Over the years I have seen many clients and have worked with children, young people and adults.  My work with adults includes couples, parents and late diagnosed.  I have familial experience of autism and ADHD.

Membership Number: NCS20-00826

Debbie King

Adv.Dip. Counselling

I am a BACP registered counsellor with over 14 years experience and have been part of AFA for 5 years. My Autism experience comes from a husband and family members with HFA. 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

MA, PGC, DMS, FRSPH

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 counsellor and registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
 
I am an Integrative Humanistic counsellor which 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.
 
I work with individuals using video conferencing.

Gail Wright

DipHE, Therapeutic counselling Lvl 5

I am a BACP registered, person centred counsellor, who integrates different modalities within sessions to suit each of my client’s needs. My experience includes three grown children who were all diagnosed, and I was in a 20-year marriage with somebody who was un-diagnosed. I have many years of work experience with autism.

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.

Irena Campbell

Dip. Therapeutic Counselling

I am a humanistic Gestalt counsellor. I have experience of working with people with autism and their families within a counselling capacity and as a specialist mentor. I currently work with adults of any age (excluding couples). I believe that my familial experiences of autism means that I can relate to, and have experienced first-hand, some of the challenges resulting from neurodiversity.

Membership Number: NCS21-00185

Jane Hamilton

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

I am a BACP registered, 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. 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. I work with young people and adults as well as couples.

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 a registered member of the BACP.  I have professional experience in supporting individuals affected by autism, Asperger’s and ADHD, but also 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 (ASD/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 am a registered member of the BACP, ACTO trained in online and telephone counselling and experienced in bereavement work.

My oldest son has Asperger’s syndrome. 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 offer sessions either remotely or face to face using walk and talk, for clients able to travel to North Wales.

I work one-to-one with adults and children.

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 use a person-centred approach, working with clients to suit their own individual needs with the aim of making them feel understood.

I work with people over the age of 15. 

Zena Steele

When working not only do I use and incorporate various counselling techniques; I use a person centred approach too.

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.)

Although 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 assessing complex socio-behavioural and neurodevelopmental issues, and 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. My experiences with neurodiversity in my family, along with five years as a volunteer for a national helpline, have led me to train as a counsellor and to work with Action for Asperger’s. 

I follow an integrative approach which means that I look at what works best for each individual and can draw from different methods.

Kirsty Oxley

Student Member of the BACP

I am a student integrative counsellor which means that I draw on different therapy modalities to best support your therapeutic journey. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 25. I work with adults on an individual basis. 

Nathan Kilburn

Student Member of the BACP

I have Asperger’s syndrome and am a student counsellor practicing the person-centred approach. There’s also Existential, and Taoist philosophy that underpin my own self development and have been of great benefit in understanding my own way of being.

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.