Counselling

Thanks for checking in with me. A lot of my work is training and writing, and I also see a small number of people in 1:1 sessions. Maybe you’ll be one of them. I’m available in person in Shropshire and online from wherever you are.

A cornerstone belief of my practice is that however troubled someone’s relationship with food and their body is, compassion, respect and curiosity  – and nutrition science  where needed – is a recipe that offers something powerful. And also that, within this, it’s important to always recognise how we are each shaped by our unique life histories, identities, and personal, local and global circumstances.

This is different from what I was taught at university about ‘personal choice’, as if eating well and being active was as simple as saying yes to this and no to that. As if! I was taught about ‘personal responsibility’, as if oppression wasn’t a thing and overwhelm never got invented.  The curriculum cruelly over-simplified models of health behaviour change and unwittingly glossed over mental health problems, bad luck, trauma, poverty, identity struggles. It mainly missed the fact that there’s more to health than what gets called ‘lifestyle’. 

What I offer instead is an approach that meets you where you are, with your needs, confusions, desires, goals, unknowns, and helps you explore how what’s going on for you relates to your eating and wellbeing.

At the heart of Well now is respect, including respecting ourselves. Learning to respect and then accept ourselves can get us out of patterns of shame and self-blame that keep us stuck. This can release us to experiment with new ideas about ourselves, and the world, that help us grow in understanding, self-worth and connection. This sort of change can increase satisfaction across many areas of our lives and relationships.

My practice, Well Now, draws on wisdom about healing and transformation that comes from many different sources, such as science, sociology, civil rights, arts. A big chunk of learning comes from my own personal and professional experiences. Professionally I’ve worked in community dietetics and as a specialist dietitian in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and director of two social enterprises, as writer, educator, researcher, consultant. I’ve got a PhD in Critical Dietetics examining ‘body weight management’. Oh, I’m also a poetitian (poet-dietitian).

Personal experiences on the receiving end of ‘care’ have taught me lots about living with mental health problems and managing stigma, what works in a therapeutic relationship and what is downright harmful and disrespectful.  I managed to leave behind eating disorders and figure out how to reduce gut problems. I know what it is to navigate trauma’s legacy and I know something about occupying and not occupying the body from exploring my own queer identities.

Practical Information

My consulting rooms are at the Mayfair Centre in Church Stretton, near Shrewsbury.  There’s a car park very close by and a waiting area and café if you arrive early. The Mayfair Centre is a short flat walk from Church Stretton train station.

If you prefer, we can use our time to go for walk-and-talk together, there’s even a picnic table we can head to.

I also offer appointments online, and some people use a mix of in person and online.

Appointments last for 50 minutes.

You can book and pay online for in-person and online appointments using this link.

If you’d like a free 15 minute phone chat or zoom call first you can book this too.

When you book an online session you’ll get a link to zoom. Clicking the link will open the zoom platform and we’ll be able to see each other here as we talk. You can turn the video off if you prefer.

What to expect

In the first session I’ll ask what you’re hoping for from working together, and answer your questions. We’ll also decide how often we’re going to meet.

Whether we connect in person or online, we’ll spend our sessions in a conversation. You get to talk about your concerns, and I’ll listen and ask questions to help me better understand your experience, and to help you explore what’s influencing your feelings and behaviours around food and eating.

 Sometimes I use worksheets or infographics  when explaining things. I might also ask if you’d like handouts to take home.

At any point in working together, if I feel another approach or practitioner would be helpful I’ll discuss this with you.

Prefer a Small Group?

In addition I facilitate small group education sessions for 2-3  hours for 4-6 people. This can be useful if a group of friends would like a follow-up from a talk I’ve done. Maybe you’re a group of colleagues, or a team, or study group, who want to explore a similar area, such as nutrition for athletes, eating and self-care for performers, coping with binge eating and cravings, body confidence, or an update on what’s what in nutrition science.

Health, Counselling and Social Care Professional and Scholars 

I’ve got your back too! I offer practitioner coaching (which can include clinical supervision) with individuals or small groups.

I also offer coaching for scholars, including students, graduates, researchers  and academics. Here’s some more details.