Our Team

Meet our team of friendly professionals

All of our counsellors are BACP accredited and offer a variety of therapeutic approaches to suit a wide range of issues.  Read on to find out more about them and find someone who best suits your needs.


Joanne Airey

Becoming a counsellor was a very rewarding experience for me, as I have always been interested in psychology, mental health, and how to reduce suffering. I enjoy helping people, meeting new people, and getting to know about them and their world.

I qualified as a counsellor in 2015 and since then I have had the privilege of working with clients of all ages and from all walks of life, in various settings, such as schools, a university, hospices, online counselling platforms and in private practice.

I mostly use the person-centred model; however, if I think it may be useful to you, I may also draw on other theories such as CBT. I have had post-qualifying training in bereavement, bereavement and loss following suicide, severe psychological distress in young adults, transactional analysis, the emotionally absent mother, working with shame and guilt, attachment problems and developmental trauma.

Issues I work with in therapy include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Relationship issues (partner, family)
  • Low self confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Bereavement
  • Loss of any kind
  • Making changes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Stress
  • Chronic health conditions

Counselling with me offers an opportunity to bring about changes that you are wanting to make.  We can explore things at a deep level if you would like to. We can talk about things that are on your mind/causing stress. Talking to someone in confidence, who is non-judgmental can be immensely therapeutic in itself and offers a safe space to truly be heard.

Generally available for online sessions on weekdays through the day.


Simon Asker 

I became a counsellor after having experienced personal therapy, realising the positive impact it had and continues to have on my life. I wanted to become involved in helping others to have the same opportunity.

I have been a Relational Centred Counsellor for 13 years. This particular therapeutic modality has its origins in Humanistic, Existential, Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic principles.

I have worked with clients in both the private and voluntary sectors and I have experience of working with a wide range of issues including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Identity/Co-creation
  • Co-dependency
  • Abuse; sexual, mental and physical
  • Self esteem, self worth and self confidence
  • Sexuality
  • Alcohol dependency

Within my practice as a therapist I am engaged in continual professional development (CPD) studying subjects such as Attachment, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Personality Types and Disorders and Working at Relational Depth. My work with a client is individual, with empathic understanding in a non-judgmental supportive approach.

I feel, in order to build a solid therapeutic relationship, it’s so important for my client to be really heard and understood, safely exploring their issues from the past in the present. Relational Centered Therapy is co-creational between myself and my client in a positive sense. Supporting my client completely as they work towards positive changes in their lives.

Generally available for face to face sessions in Middlesbrough Tuesday to Friday.


Dianne Bowden

Having always found myself to be responsive to others and a respectful listener, I embarked on a search for more understanding on how to better help those looking for support. This led me on to the path into the counselling profession.

As a Counsellor with over 20 years’ experience, I have worked within community, education, voluntary & health sectors (with an NHS IAPT* contract). This has given me extensive experience of working with a variety of presenting problems including historic and current issues of:

  • Depression/Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement and Loss
  • Anger
  • Significant Life Changes (incl. Redundancy, Impact of illness/physical health)
  • Everyday life issues impacting on mental & emotional wellbeing
  • Stress (including work-based stress)
  • Intrapersonal issue (within self – Self-esteem/ Lack of Confidence or Self-worth)
  • Interpersonal issues – (Family/ Relationship or communication problems).

*IAPT – Improving access to psychological therapies

I believe we all can heal & grow from whatever life has put in our way.  Therapy should not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach; so, as an integrative therapist, I adapt every session to meet the uniqueness of what you bring. Through years of continual professional development (CPD), I have within my Counsellor’s ’toolkit’ a wealth of knowledge and experience of different theoretical approaches that can support you to address any obstacles you may be facing in your life.

These approaches include, Person-Centred Counselling, putting you at the centre of the therapy; Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), enabling you to find the answers and not stay stuck (or focused) on the problem; Transactional Analysis (TA), to understand how and why we might interact with others the way we do; Mindfulness, for working to accept our present situations, as acceptance paves the way for change. This list is not exhaustive, as I also have an expanse of coping strategies and self-help techniques that may support you in addressing your issues.

I work effectively in both brief & longer-term therapy and can tailor the sessions to meet your needs. By engaging in counselling with me, you will have a safe, confidential, and non-judgemental space to explore the issues affecting day-to-day life. I offer a place for you to truly be heard and gain new perspectives and insights for achieving positive solutions, empowerment and improved mental health and wellbeing.

Generally available for online or face to face sessions in Middlesbrough Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.


Mel Dobson

I became curious and interested in the process of counselling during my own personal therapy following the death of a close relative. I wondered how ‘just’ talking could impact so much positive change in how I viewed and understood myself. Yet, subsequently recognised how through this, I had felt truly heard.

I commenced my Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling with the true belief it was the right decision for me and qualified in 2008.

My initial experience of working as a Counsellor was within addiction services. Though often challenging work, this offered me the positive grounding to move forward with my therapeutic practice. I then commenced work within an IAPT (improving access to psychological therapies) service, providing predominately face to face counselling and continue to do so, alongside supporting Realise Private Therapy service; though now have extended to offering online and telephone support, too.

All my clinical work is underpinned by a Personal Centred and humanistic approach, based on a fundamental belief that the client is at the centre of the work. I apply an integrative approach using different theories such as Transactional Analysis, Karman’s Drama Triangle and Solution Focused Therapy. I continue to attend to my continuing personal development (CPD) which helps me develop knowledge of differing theoretical approaches. This enables me to offer the most appropriate support to the individual client. I am willing to both learn and share in equal measure, with motivation, enthusiasm, and total respect to all those I work and have contact with.

I have worked with clients presenting with a wide range of issues including:

  • Anxiety
  • Low mood/Depression
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Bereavement and loss
  • Addictions – alcohol, drugs and gambling
  • Interpersonal issues

I offer a relaxed and open manner to all clients, often sprinkled with warm humour, whilst always having an awareness of holding my boundaries of appropriateness and professionalism.

I believe it is paramount that each client is seen as an individual and as such feel they are receiving the best counselling support I can possibly offer.

Generally available for face to face sessions Thursday mornings, and limited online sessions by request.


Helen Farrell

I’m a qualified Person-Centred Counsellor with training in supporting Adults and Children. I offer a warm empathic approach to counselling. I am here to listen in a very non-judgemental way and to support you to find your inner strengths to make changes or understand why you may feel a certain way. You may notice patterns in behaviours that you may want to explore.  I provide the space and time for you to explore and reflect on your past or what’s going on right now for you.

I have considerable experience in working within primary and secondary schools supporting young people, where I offer art/play therapy to help them explore their feelings and support them through difficult times.

There are times in everyone’s life when things can feel challenging or overwhelming. I value individual difference and believe people can be empowered to help find their own answers with support and time. I am able to offer Zoom and Telephone counselling.

Some of the issues I have worked with include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low Self esteem
  • Bereavement
  • Living with Cancer
  • Stress
  • Narcissistic Personality
  • Life Transactions
  • Parenting
  • Suicide Ideation
  • Trauma
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Childhood trauma

I work to the BACP ethics and guidelines and offer you a safe, confidential space for you to explore and reflect on your past or what’s going on right now for you.

Generally available for online/telephone sessions on Mondays


Julie Freeman

Growing up, I was always the person people came to when they were struggling. I realised that I connected with people well and often had a deep sense of empathy for others. This, along with my curiosity about mental health, led me down the path to therapy training. I started training as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in 2013, working with people experiencing common mental health problems like anxiety and depression and providing coping strategies. I then became a Counsellor in 2019.

I’m a Person-Centred Counsellor but I use a variety of approaches to help suit your needs, from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based approaches, to Transactional Analysis (TA) and Solution Focused Therapy (SFT). Everybody’s different and I like people to feel empowered and involved in discussing what they want from therapy, so I feel able to tailor the support around you.

I’ve worked in a variety of settings: Primary Mental Health Care settings, Universities and Colleges, Hospital and Hospice environments. I’ve got lots of experience supporting people with workplace issues and helping them stay or return to work due to mental health struggles. I’ve also done lots of work in bereavement support at Teesside Hospice.

I’ve worked with lots of different issues and symptoms, including:

· Anxiety/stress

· Depression/low mood

· Anger management

· Relationship and/or family issues

· Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, neglect, financial)

· Suicide and/or self-harm

· Traumatic life events and PTSD

· Bereavement/loss

· Significant life events (e.g. divorce, redundancy, retirement, starting a family, health issues)

· Self-esteem issues

· Every day stresses

· Work-related stress

· Relaxation and mindfulness


I can give you the freedom to discuss whatever you feel you need to at your own pace, or I can help us work in a way that is focused on a goal you want to work towards. The space I provide will be safe, and the working relationship we can develop can help you move forwards, in your own way.

I’m available on Thursday afternoons (face to face, online or telephone) and provide some online/telephone evening appointments.


Karen Hepburn

I have over 17 years’ experience working as an Integrative Counsellor and over 7 years as an EMDR therapist, working with a diverse range of issues relating to personal and work life. I offer individual therapy and also work as a Couples Therapist. I have a background in health and fitness and work from a holistic perspective with clients to enhance self-care.

Together we can work to explore the relationship between your thoughts, emotions and behaviours, enabling you to progress through the process of therapy to help you overcome your problems or issues, to feel more in control of your daily life.

I believe the client knows themselves better than anyone. I will work with you from your own perspective in relation to your needs, for making positive change within your life to understand and be able to cope in a more constructive and different way that is more conducive to your everyday life and others around you.

I work with the following issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Bereavement
  • Coping Skills
  • Couples Therapy
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Family Conflict
  • Infidelity
  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy, Prenatal, Postpartum
  • Relationship Issues
  • Self Esteem
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Stress
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Workplace issues

I believe it is important to utilise my skills, expertise and knowledge to ensure you address issues that are impacting on your own mental health. I will work with you to empower and enhance your life, utilising your own inner resources to resolve and heal past and present issues.

Generally available for face to face sessions in Stockton on Wednesdays


Margaret Hirst

Having worked as a Manager in Social Services for many years, I gained a lot of experience of working with individuals with mental health and physical health problems. I progressed to be a counsellor and currently work in a school and use play therapy to help the children explore their problems and improve their self-confidence.  I have recently completed a level 5 course for Counselling Children and Young People, to enhance this work. 

In addition to this I work voluntarily, counselling carers that are supporting individuals with a wide range of emotional and physical needs and recently began working for Realise to support individuals to explore their own mental health and relationship problems.  

Counsellors play a crucial role in improving the health and well-being of our society.  Some individuals feel isolated and have no one else to talk to. Even people with supportive families can find it difficult to talk to loved ones about their feelings.  You may find it easier to talk about your personal, family or relationship issues with me, as a professional counsellor. I help people to talk about their feelings, think about their choices or behaviour and make positive changes in their lives.    

 Issues I can support: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety etc. 
  • Stress 
  • Bereavement and Loss 
  • Relationship difficulties  
  • Difficulties affecting the ability to manage life.  
  • Low self Esteem  
  • Negative self-image 
  • Feelings of being different  

I am a Humanistic Therapeutic Counsellor and I believe all individuals have the innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. This approach facilitates the personal growth and the relationship of a client by allowing them to explore and utilise their own strengths and personal identity.  I believe that all individuals control their own destinies, and I can support clients to make their way through that journey.  

As a therapeutic counsellor, I have a respect for confidentiality and professional boundaries.  I am an active listener and offer a non-judgmental approach. I use empathy to support you to identify your issues and work with you to bring about effective change and enhance your wellbeing.  

Generally available for face to face sessions in Middlesbrough Tuesday, Wednesday morning, Thursday and Friday all day. Evening online sessions also available.


 Amy Loughran

I believe that every person should have access to therapy to explore what is troubling them.  Having benefited from personal therapy myself, I want to be able to help others realise their full potential and learn new ways which could empower them going forward in the way that feels right for them.

I am a qualified person-centred counsellor with seven years clinical experience.  I also use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for issues such as anxiety and depression.  I have extensive experience working with individuals who are experiencing work related stress and support them through the issues they face within the work environment.  I consider myself to be an integrative therapist, whereby I draw upon different approaches to support an individual, I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach.  We are all unique.

Life can throw us curve balls when we least expect it, which can be really destabilising and overwhelming.  Issues can happen to us at any given time and therapy is a great space for you to just take a breath, regroup and make sense of your experience.

I have extensive experience of working with the following issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bereavement and loss.
  • Disordered eating
  • Relationship issues
  • Work related stress
  • Health related issues
  • Low self-esteem/confidence

I offer a welcoming, safe and non-judgemental space where we can explore together the areas you want to focus on.  I understand how daunting it can feel to begin therapy, especially if it is a new experience for you, but with the right support, I believe we can all make the changes we desire, to live the life we want.

Generally available for face to face sessions Friday mornings. Online sessions can be available by request depending on availability.


Helen Lynas

I am a Person-Centred Integrative Counsellor, with over 10 years’ experience. I am also a trainee Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) Therapist.

Life can be challenging and uncertain at times and relationships can be tough. Sometimes we can get worried and not feel very good about ourselves. At these points in life, we may need extra support and time to look after ourselves. I am here to listen and help you make sense of your experiences. I believe in the importance of the therapeutic relationship and together we can work to help you set realistic therapy goals for making the changes you want.

I work with a range of issues that you may wish to discuss further.

These include

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anger
  • Losses in life
  • Trust issues & difficulties in relationships
  • Self-esteem & confidence
  • Trauma and other distressing issues.

I also work with any issues that affect our well-being and day to day lives.

I offer a person-centred approach and integrate psycho-education, to focus on coping techniques and self-care. I often integrative Solution Focused practice and the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach, where appropriate. Sometimes we may feel we need a more directive approach. IPT focuses on how difficulties in relationships can fuel our depression, and vice versa. It is a directive approach where we can look at how we communicate effectively in our relationships, or the impact of loss of change on our mood.

I work with both short-term issues and long terms concerns, with both young people and adults. I am experienced working with complex mental health issues and personality difficulties. I have previously worked with in Prison Counselling Service and in secure settings. I have worked in schools and colleges and also within NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.

Generally available weekday late afternoon/evenings for online sessions.


Linzi Seed

Hello, my name is Linzi and thank you for looking at my profile.

I am an integrative counsellor currently working with children, young people and adults within schools, colleges, companies, and my private practice. My integration consists of Person-Centred approach, CBT and Psychodynamic allowing me to adapt and provide a service that is tailored to meet my client’s needs.

I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP) and I adhere to the BACP ethical framework for good practice.

I provide a warm, empathic and non-judgemental approach to my therapeutic work and offer a confidential, safe environment for clients to explore and gain an understanding of any issues affecting their well-being.

I believe everyone is unique and has the ability to better their own life and my aim as a counsellor is to help them gain self-awareness and encourage self-development.

I have a specialist interest in Autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and complex needs. I am more than happy to work on any issues impacting your life.

I am a friendly, bubbly and caring person. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and exploring the outdoors.

Generally available for online sessions by request.


Norma Williams

My own personal experience of counselling and the positive impact it had upon my life   influenced my decision to train to become a counsellor so that  I could support and be there for others on their counselling journey.

I have extensive experience of providing counselling support, having qualified as a counsellor over 13 years’ ago.  I have worked in a variety of primary care settings and have experience of volunteering as a bereavement counsellor and primary school counsellor.

Underpinned by the Person-Centred Approach to Counselling and participating in extensive continued professional development, I adopt an integrative approach to counselling supporting the unique needs of each person.  I offer counselling support covering a wide range of emotional   issues.

I offer support around:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Issues around Bereavement and Loss
  • Relationship Issues
  • Managing Anger
  • Trauma Related Issues
  • Relaxation and Stress Management

I understand that making the first steps to contact a counsellor can sometimes be challenging. I am friendly, approachable, non-judgemental and am happy support you on your counselling journey.

Generally available for face to face sessions on Thursdays in Stockton. Online sessions available at other times by request.