At TESSA we aim to provide a therapy service accessible to adopters throughout Northern Ireland. We have a small group of therapists throughout the province, with their own specialisms and areas of interest, and all of whom fit the TESSA criteria for standards of good practice.

Only you can choose the right therapist for you. Most practitioners are happy for you to phone and ask questions to help with your decision making. At TESSA we recognise that parenting a child with a trauma history can take its toll on us and our relationships. This service exists to validate your role and to provide a supportive space where you can be open about the challenges and the joys of adoptive parenting. After speaking to a therapist ask yourself if you feel comfortable telling this person intimate details about yourself and your family. Do you feel safe with them? Do you like their manner? Could you be completely open with them? When you have made your choice (it may be worth having a second and third choice), please get to myself or Claire so we can arrange for the counsellor to contact you.


Sheila Lavery



Name Frances Armstrong
Location Enniskillen/Omagh and surrounding areas
Registered/Accredited with PTUK
Code of Ethics observed PTUK
My Qualifications ·       Provisional Post Graduate Diploma in Play Therapy

·       Post Graduate Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills

·       Level 1 Award in British Sign Language

·       Diploma in Baby Yoga & Toddler Yoga

·       Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management

·       BTEC Higher National Certificate in Early Childhood Studies

·       NVQ Level 3 Early Years Care and Education

Some other short training courses I have completed are:


·       Designing Programmes for Early Learning

·       Media Initiative for Children – Respecting Difference

·       Facilitative Leadership

·       Caring for Children with Special Needs

·       Working with Parents in Challenging Situations

·       Grief Trauma and the Helping Relationship

·       Transition from Conflict

·       Skills for a Helping Relationship

·       Mental Health First Aid

·       Early Movers: Promoting physical Activity for the Early Years

·       Calm Confident Soles (Reflexology for 0 – 5 years)

·       Incredible Years – Parents, Teachers and Children Training Series

·       DELTA Developing Early Listening and Talking Abilities

·       Elklan and Hanen Speech and Language Support

·       Peep for Practitioners (Supporting Parents/Carers and Children to learn together)

Theoretical Approach Art Psychotherapy, with training in talking mats and play therapy.
I work with: Parents with babies from 3 months old doing Baby yoga or Yoga with babies. Toddlers again with parents or carers for Toddler yoga, both of these can be individual or in groups.

In Play Therapy I work with children from 3 years, individual or with parent/carer. Parents and children, or groups of children.

Special interests and experience:
I have worked with children for over 30 years. I have worked in play groups and nursery. I was a registered childminder, looking after children in my own home. I volunteered in youth club, summer schemes and I was a Sunday school teacher for 24 years.
I develop/provide classes and fun activities for parents/carers and children using the Peep Learning Together Programme. This is an early intervention which supports parents to understand more about how children learn – and to do more of the things at home which make a difference to children’s outcomes, like singing, sharing books and stories and talking about a wide range of ideas, thoughts and feelings.
I facilitate Baby and Toddler yoga classes. These classes enhance playful interaction and communication between parent/carer and child. Promotes their healthy development through touch and movement, by doing simple exercises together, they get to know each other better, increasing their ability to cope positively with new situations and social relations over the early years and beyond. Joint relaxation is beneficial for both the parent and the child as it enhances non-verbal communication between them.
I co-facilitate Incredible years parent programmes for babies (0-1 year), toddlers (1-3 years), preschoolers (3-6 years), and would like to facilitate the school age children (6-12 years). This parent programme focuses on strengthening parent-child interactions and attachment, reducing harsh discipline and fostering parents’ ability to promote children’s social, emotional, and language development. In the preschool and school age programmes parents also learn how to encourage school readiness skills and are encouraged to partner with teachers so that they can promote children’s academic as well as social skills and emotional literacy.
I organise day trips and fun events for families to enjoy some special time together.
I enjoy the outdoors and provide activities for parents and children outdoor as much as possible, as it promotes physical development and well being.
Additional information I am very fond of animals, have lots of pets and I enjoy helping out on the family farm.


Name:   Ellen Bowler-McCartney
Location:       Belfast, Ballymena or Glengormley
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC & BAAT
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC & BAAT
My qualifications are: MSc Art Therapy Dist
Msc Criminology & Criminal Justice
BA Hon Eng Lit & Philosophy
Special interest/experience: Art Therapy
I work with: Children, young people and adults
Additional Information:
Hello, my name is Ellen Bowler-McCartney and I am so happy you are considering me as your Art Therapist. It is a big step to look for support and I’m sure you have lots of questions about me, my experience and qualifications and how Art Therapy actually works.   Let me tell you a bit about me. In 2008 I began a two-year MSc in Art Psychotherapy from Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, in which I earned with Distinction in 2010. Since coming home to Northern Ireland I have facilitated groups and provided one-to-one Art Therapy with both adults and children. To help you decide if Art Therapy might be useful for you and your family I would like to give you some idea of what it is and how I work. Broadly speaking Art therapy is about using art and the relationship between the client and the therapist to support personal growth and expression. A typical session can involve drawing or painting but it can also be about building or destroying, playing and storytelling. Whether you are a child or an adult, it is not always easy to come to therapy or to talk about how you feel, especially when you have no words to describe what you have been through.   So Art Therapy sessions can also be quiet, calming spaces, where we try to find safe ways to deal with difficult feelings. The things made in Art Therapy do not need to be pretty to be meaningful and everything from the smallest drawing to the messiest painting is valued and kept safe. Among other things Art Therapy can help to raise self-confidence and lower stress levels, improve communication and improve self-esteem. The collaborative and spontaneous nature of Art Therapy can be wonderfully freeing to clients. It helps to build trust and encourage choice and decision-making skills, all of which are vital to a positive sense of self. I do my best to encourage clients to connect with me and with the art materials in a way that will be meaningful and beneficial to them. Together we have discovered many imaginative ways to untangle some of the messiest feelings associated with love, loss and attachment. It is always a privilege to work in this way with clients. I hope this has answered some of your questions. Please feel free to get in touch if there is anything else you would like to know.
Name:   Ellish Breslin
Location:       Derry/Londonderry area
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC
My qualifications are: MA Art Therapy
Principles of Art Therapy Cert
BA hons Fine Art
Dip Foundation studies Art & Design
Special interest/experience: Art Therapy
I work with: Children
Additional Information:
I am registered as an Art Therapist with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and have full professional membership with the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). Art therapy offers an alternative way of communicating that allows clients to express feelings that can often be difficult to put into words.   I use a therapeutic approach that is influenced by both client-centred and psychodynamic theory. This puts the needs of the child at the forefront of the therapy, while allowing relevant theory to inform and guide my practice. By building an effective therapeutic relationship in a non-judgmental environment, the child can begin to explore thoughts, feelings and concerns in a safe and playful way. I have experience of working with children, young people and adults, and I have worked in the area of learning disability.


Name: Oonagh Campbell
Location:       Southern Health & Social Care Trust Area
I am registered/accredited with: BAAT, HPC, NISCC & Aura-Soma Academy
Code of Ethics observed: BAAT, HPC, NISCC & Aura-Soma Academy
My qualifications are: Dip Psycho-Social Counselling
PG Dip Art Therapy
Art Foundation Course
BSC Hons Social Work with CQSW qual
Special interest/experience: Art Therapy
I work with: Children
Additional Information: From as long as I can remember making art to communicate has been my passion. Therefore, it is my delight and privilege to have been practicing as an art therapist since 1999 with children, parent(s) adults and groups for greater wellbeing and healing. I am indebted to all of those who chosen to work with me over the years.

Much of my experience has been with children and their families in Looked After Care and Adoption which is where my professional life began as a residential child care worker in 1992. I am skilled at working with participants who are traumatised by identifying the survival patterns they are operating out of and facilitating ways in which they can understand and regulate their emotional states. The need to engage creatively to meet the needs of young people in the care setting was the impetus for me to train as an Art Therapist.

Fuelled by my passion to make art making opportunities available to as many as possible. I established an independent service called, ‘Art – Well-Being for ALL’ in 2014.   The aim of this service is to provide opportunities to make art for therapeutic benefit in settings where this is not currently available. To enable this to happen I do not have a therapy room but liaise to provide therapy in locations that will best serve the needs of the individual or organisation who presents.

My development as a therapist continues to evolve. As a result the services offered by, ‘Art ~ Well-Being for ALL’ emerge from the professional trainings of Social Work, Art Therapy, Aura-Soma®Advanced Practitioner, Vedic Art®, ‘The Just Right State Programme®’ (Eadaoin Bhreathnach), and being a Professional Artist. I have completed training in Capacitar Multicultural Wellness Education which teaches “a core program of energy-based healing practices that awaken and empower people”. All of these methods and techniques are integrated into my art therapy practice in accordance with the needs of the child, parent, adult, group whom I encounter.

I look forward to the journey of working together, witnessing your art and listening together to the promptings and invitations that are beckoning to you at this time.

Name: Sharon Coulter
Location:       Ballymena & 25 mile radius
I am registered/accredited with: I am registered/accredited with: NISCC, HCPC & BADth
Code of Ethics observed: Same as above
My qualifications are: MA Dramatherapy
MA Social Work
BA (Hon) Modern & Contemporary History
Extra Mural Certificate – Community Drama
Post Graduate Certificate – Theatre & Performance Studies
Special interest/experience: Dramatherapy
I work with: children, young people, adults, families and carers, individually and in groups
Additional Information:
I have over 20 years’ experience working with young people, adults and families.
As a mental health practitioner in Child & Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) I have experience in working with parent/child attachment and young people affected by Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
I’m particularly interested in how pre-birth and early childhood experiences affect emotional development and how the effects of negative experiences can be addressed by indirect playful interventions.I am a compassionate and empathetic therapist who believes that people can heal through the use of imagination and creative expression and that therapy has the greatest positive outcomes when there is trust and respect within the therapeutic relationship. My aim is therefore to create a non-judgemental atmosphere providing Dramatherapy structures that promote self-expression and an opportunity for self-exploration and healing.
Name:   Lizzie Devlin
Location:       Belfast/Greater Belfast County Antrim and Down.
I am registered/accredited with: Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
British Association for Art Therapist (BAAT), Member and approved by/registered with BAAT for Private Practice.
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC, BAAT.
My qualifications are:
MSc Art Psychotherapy with Merit (University of East London /Belfast Health and Social Care Trust) 2007-2010
Post Graduate Diploma in Arts Admin (UCD) 1992-1993
BA Honours in Fine Art (Painting, print-making/Art History (Leeds University) 1984-1988
BSL Stage 1, TEFL,Cert Com Dev 1988-1998
Ongoing CPD : Including Art Therapy and Treatment of Attachment Trauma, Level 2 Children Accelerated Trauma treatment and Intercultural Competency.
Special interest/experience: Art Therapy
I work with: Children, adults and groups
Additional Information:
My background is in fine art (painting and print-making) and since 1991 I have worked in many different roles in the arts in Northern Ireland. As an artist I have developed and delivered diverse and inclusive arts programmes with children and young people in schools, community settings in galleries and arts centres. Working in community arts led me to pursue Art Psychotherapy training, as I experienced how exploring creative processes can be transformative, contributing to individuals health and well-being. I bring my strong arts background, knowledge of artistic processes and child development into my therapeutic work. I adapt my practice to meet individual needs, co-creating with each child a safe space to explore and play with art materials and to express and communicate their feelings.

Art Therapy Experience
Voice of Young People in Care (Clinical Placement April 2008-July 2009).
Art therapy sessions with children and young people (ages 5-21years) living in foster and residential care and young carers living in their birth family home, inclusive of young people with special educational needs. Reasons for referral included anger, bereavement and separation, parental addiction, neglect, self-esteem and bullying. Introductory art therapy sessions with VOYPIC staff teams and Art Therapy taster sessions at VOYPIC’s annual young people’s conference.
Probation Board NI (Clinical Placement 2009-July 2010 and New Life Counselling).
I provided individual and group Art Psychotherapy with both male and female clients referred for stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, loss and bereavement, abuse, personality disorder. I also facilitated introductory art therapy sessions with Probation Officers.
New Life Counselling (2011- 2015)
Individual Art Psychotherapy and group-work with children aged 4-16yrs in Primary and Secondary school settings in Belfast and Antrim and through New Life’s Community counselling service. Bereavement, loss and family separation, self-esteem, anger, trauma, stress/anxiety, parental addiction, bullying and abuse. Working with children with special educational needs including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD.
Centre for Autism, Middletown (2015- present)     Sessional Art Therapist
Creative Therapy Training provision
with Parents, Teachers and other Professionals art therapy taster, creative ideas and short interventions to use at home and in the classroom supporting children and young people with autism with emotional expression and regulation, management of behaviours and increasing self-understanding.
Sibling Art Therapy Workshops aimed at providing siblings of young people with autism a supportive environment to share their experiences and increase their understanding of the diagnosis of autism and introduce useful creative coping strategies.
WAVE Trauma Centre (Commencing January 2016) Sessional Art Therapist
One to one art therapy sessions with young people and adults.

Art Therapy Presentations
Seminar with MSc Art Psychotherapy Students, Dissertation Research, the Centre for Psychotherapy, Knockbracken.
2011 – ‘Training for Playing’ NI Group for Art As Therapy Summer-school.

Other Employment:
Arts Facilitator/Educator (1991- 2010):
On pioneering and award winning programmes with all ages and experiences including the Old Museum arts centre, Ormeau Baths Gallery, Wheelworks Youth Arts , Young At Art and the Royal Ulster Academy.
Arts Consultant Belfast Health and Social Care Trust   (2006-2010) : Co-ordinated public art commissions and projects for the Trust’s four new Health and Well Being Centres in North and West Belfast: and Somerton House Residential Unit.
Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of NI (2010-present Part-time): One of the Council’s principal professional advisors on all aspects of community arts including arts in health, and intercultural arts. I have also supported the development of ACNI’s new Young People and Well-being programme.

Name: Tina-Frances Enlander
Location:       Whitehead and beyond; Greater Belfast, Co Antrim and L’Derry
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC and NISCC and CETSW
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC ,NISCC, BAAT
My qualifications are: MSC Art Psychotherapy with Merit
Certificate Qualification in Social Work
Diploma Social Work with Commendation
BA(Hons) Eng Literature
Special interest/experience:
I have worked with children for over 40 years from summer schemes, playgroups, residential to statutory and voluntary settings. I have had direct experience in the area of adoption having assessed, trained and supported adoptive parents and placed children for adoption. I have an understanding of some of the traumatic pasts, relationship difficulties and developmental problems experienced by adopted children and their families including the impact of contact.
As an Art Therapist I use a wide range of media from paint to clay. I have trained in Sand Tray therapy which provides tactile and play opportunity using models and objects. It also allows storytelling and narratives.
I also use weaving, sewing and felt making to make connections and explore relationships in a visual and three dimensional way.
I work with: Children and young people. I have also worked with groups including siblings and their parents.
Additional Information:
Hello, I trained as an Art Therapist at a time in my career as a Social Worker when I had become increasingly anxious about the therapeutic needs of children and the lack of resources available to them or a real understanding of their trauma. I have always used art when communicating with children and find that children often communicate more effectively through symbols and making marks than through words.
In my career as an Art Therapist I have worked as a
Locum Creative Therapist for Contact NI, providing individual and group Art psychotherapy within community and school contexts,   working primarily with children referred through Northern Trust teams and CAMHs.
I have also worked in the area of loss with Cancer Focus and the Southern Area Hospice providing direct Art Therapy to patients and their families.
I completed a pilot project in a school for children with special needs, which included physical disability, sight impairment and autism. Much use was made of messy materials and texture.
I have been a sessional Art Therapist with the Prison Arts Foundation based in Hydebank Wood Young Offenders and Women’s Prison. Clients used Art Therapy as a means of self-expression, communication and stress reduction. Clients were able to increase their personal knowledge and skills base, and improve pro-social behaviours, relationships and attiitudes. Often young offenders had experienced the care system.
Sessional Art Therapist commissioned by a Trust to provide direct one-to-one work with Looked After Children. This work, which was governed by Child Protection procedures, focused on enabling children to explore feelings and experiences in a safe confidential space and build up therapeutic relationships
Commissioned by Northern Health and Social Care Trust to provide day training about Attachment and Art Therapy to its Therapeutic Team for Looked After and Adopted Children and its Ballee Therapeutic residential unit for children and staff.
I presently work as a Guardian ad Litem- to safeguard and promote interests of children by providing independent social work investigation and advice in specific proceedings under the Children (NI) Order 1995 and adoption proceedings under Adoption (NI) Order 1987 and to provide the effective representation of the child/children’s view and interests. I am due to retire from this role in June 2017.
Name: Eithne Gfeller
Location:       Derry/Londonderry area
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council)

Baat (British Association of Art Therapy)

Code of Ethics observed: HCPC
My qualifications are: MSc Art Therapy
BA Fine Art
Special interest/experience: Art Psychotherapist
Art Group Facilitator
I work with: Children & Adults
Additional Information:
My approach to art therapy is person centred. I encourage the child and adult alike to use the process of art making and play, to help integrate difficult experiences without the need to talk about it. Through the process, and at their own pace, each person can come to identify and explore their strengths, helping them to develop a sense of control and safety.
Since 2008, I have worked as an arts psychotherapist/arts facilitator with:

  • Looked After Children Therapeutic Services, Derry
  • Foyle Child Contact Centre: Individual children involved in court ordered parental contact
  • WELB LAC services in schools
  • New Life Counselling Ardoyne, Belfast
  • Locum art therapist working with individuals within Probation Services NI
  • Cancer Focus and cancer support groups throughout Western NI
  • CAMHS child & family team. (Western Trust)
  • WHSCT traveller Health and Well Being Project
  • Arts & craft workshops for mental well being
  • Folk art workshops for Strathfoyle Residents Seniors Group
  • Rainbow Project, Derry-Mural projects with young people and transgender
  • various art workshops to support LBGT, homeless communities and those coping with alcohol and drug addiction.
  • I have also volunteered for eight years with Foyle Cruse Bereavement as a bereavement support counsellor and supervisor
Name: Andrea Harbinson
Location:       Belfast, Holywood
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC
My qualifications are: PGDip Music Therapy
LTCL – piano performance
Special interest/experience: Music Therapist
I work with:
Additional Information:
My Music Therapy Experience

  • I set up the QUB – SSC Module ‘Music as Medicine’ on the Year 1 undergraduate medicine degree in 2013 with a view to educating the doctors of the future on the benefits of music as a therapeutic tool, but also for trainee doctors to work with the benefit of music for themselves as students in a very challenging environment seminars.
  • Crawfordsburn PS/Bright Sparks PreSchool – I hold sessions with three specific groups: early intervention group for children with speech difficulties, behavioural group, creative group for mainstream children. I run a therapeutic music making class with key stage 1 children, focusing on social interaction through music and the use of rhythm and rhyme in song to help with speech development and hearing specific sounds.
  • Riverside Special School – I set up and currently run a music therapy service for individual children and groups with a wide spectrum of disability (PMLD, ADHD, Autism, Development delay).
  • Singing for Health (BHSST) is a therapeutic choir made up of patients and healthcare professionals from a wide range of backgrounds. I established the choir primarily as a singing group to improve the lung capacity, socialisation and mental helath of patients with repiratory problems. It has expanded to include patients with general health conditions.
  • NI Music Therapy Trust – I have worked as a senior music therapist with         several patient/client groups developing experience in a wide range of clinical situations: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit – individual therapy with children newly diagnosed with Autism; group therapy with adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders (eating/behavioual); Royal Sick Children’s hospital – individual therapy work in Neurology/Haematology/Burns unit/cardiac surgical ward. Group work in Neurology with children post brain injury.
  • NI Children’s Hospice – individual & group therapy for life limtied children; family work with children with end stage cancer; work with adolescents with end stage cystic fibrosis.
  • Threshold Mental Health Charity – group work with young women suffering from borderline personality disorders.
  • Erne & Elmbrooke Special Schools – individual/group music therapy with children who have moderate/severe learning difficulties.
  • Glenveagh Special School – individual/group music therapy with the autism and special needs unit.
Name:   Meabh Ivers
I am registered/accredited with:
Code of Ethics observed:
My qualifications are:
2016 – I am currently studying a PG Diploma with the Tavistock & Portman on Working with Children and Families.
2014- 2016 Certificate in Clinical Supervision of Play and Creative Arts Therapists PTUK
2012- Certificate in Non Directive Play Skills- Children’s Therapy Centrre
2002-2004 Masters – Drama and Movement Therapy
Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, London.
1996-1999 BA Hons Theatre Studies
University of Ulster, Coleraine
Special interest/experience:
My work involves integrating the client’s emotions, body and imagination in a therapeutic process. I have 13 years of particular experience working with people presenting with attachment, trauma and communication difficulties. I use a variety of approaches depending on what the client is comfortable with in order to build a therapeutic relationship and encourage expression and resolution of internal conflicts. I like to support family members also to think about how they can best support the child.
I work with:
Additional Information:
I currently work in private practice providing one-to-one and group therapy for adults and children, clinical supervision for play and arts therapists, training and consultancy.
Name: Louise Kelly
Location: Coleraine
Willing to travel: As far as Derry/L’Derry and surrounding areas, as far as Antrim and surrounding areas
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC Code of Ethics
My qualifications are:
BA Hons Music and Sociology
PgDip Music Therapy
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader
Special interest/experience:
  • Children with learning disabilities
  • Child development
  • Autistic spectrum
  • Behavioural & emotional development
  • Language development
  • Brain trauma
  • Adult with learning disabilities
  • Stroke & dementia rehabilitation

I work within a mainstream primary school within a dedicated special needs unit. I also work on the school’s transition programme supporting pre-schoolers transition to primary school. I have worked with bereaved children and with the WAVE trauma centre.

I work with: Children, Adolescents and Adults
Additional Information:
I am an independent Music Therapist who has been working in this field for over 15 years. After gaining extensive experience as a member of the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust (NIMTT) where I worked across all client groups I became an independent therapist delivering services in both private and educational settings. My areas of expertise includes child development, behavioural and emotional development, language development, working within mainstream education and with children with learning disabilities. I consult and liaise with parents throughout all interventions with service users.


Name: Lauren Lamberton
Location: Belfast and Lisburn, County Antrim, Omagh and North Coast area
I’m registered/accredited with: NISCC and PTUK
Code of ethics observed NISCC, PTUK
My qualifications: Certificate in Clinical Supervision of Play and Creative Arts Therapists
PG Diploma in Play Therapy
PG Certificate in Therapeutic Play Skills
Certificate in Filial Coaching (ongoing)
Theraplay Level 1 and Level 2
Accredited in Sensory Attachment Integration and Just Right State Programme
Professional in Practice Specialist Award (Mental Health for Children/Young People)
Professional in Practice Consolation Award (Children and Families)
PhD in Social Work (ongoing)
Masters in Social Research Methods (MRes)
BSW Social Work 2012 1st Class Honours.
BSc (Hons) Geography 2005 1st Class Honours.
Certificate in Counselling 2004, Distinction
Special interest/experience in: I have worked with children for 16 years in a range of settings including CAMHS, residential homes, statutory services and voluntary settings. I deliver training on parenting, mental health, working with children therapeutically and play therapy. I currently work in a CAMHS Step 3 service delivering mental health support to children and their families.
Additional information: My main areas of work include:
• Attachment focused work with parents and children using Theraplay and Filial Coaching
• Enabling self and co regulation through Sensory Attachment Integration approach.
•  Therapeutic parenting support to families
• Direct therapeutic work with children
I see: Individuals, Couples, Families.


Name: Claire Martin
Location:       Comber
Willing to travel? Yes within a 10 mile radius
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC
My qualifications are: MA Art Psychotherapy (Distinction)
PT Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector Certificate
MA Business Studies
BA Hon Visual Communication
Special interest/experience: Art Psychotherapy
I work with: Children and parent and child dyad where appropriate
Additional Information:
As an Art Psychotherapist I have been moved and inspired by the creativity and resourcefulness of the children I have worked with, often despite their difficult circumstances. I want to use my skills and experience to work more closely with this client group to provide a regular safe and confidential space in which they can play and use art materials to work through difficult experiences and feelings in order that some understanding and transformation can occur.

Therapy Experience
Sessional Art Psychotherapist Cancer Focus NI, Belfast – Running weekly group sessions to support those affected by cancer. Providing a safe, confidential and relaxed space with peer support to encourage the expression of experiences and emotions and improve wellbeing.

Sessional Art Psychotherapist  Barnardos, Schools Based Programme, Belfast – Delivering individual Art Therapy to two primary-aged children presenting with behavioural and emotional difficulties in school.
Stretching over a six- month period this was based at a local primary school.

Trainee Art Psychotherapist on Placement | Barnardos East Belfast Family Connections/ PBNI Programme Development Unit/ Cancer Focus NI – Accruing 400 supervised client contact hours working with a diverse range of client groups, with differing and unique needs.

· 18-month placement with Barnardos working with primary-aged children and parents presenting with behavioural, emotional and sensory issues resulting from loss, trauma, social issues, family divisions, attachment issues, ASD and sensory disorders.

· 12-month placement with the PBNI, working as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing a safe mode of expression for difficult feelings and emotions.

· Cancer Focus placement delivering group Art Therapy in a less formal setting.

Community Arts Partnership, Belfast – Delivering a seven-week digital photography project with 14-16 year olds as part of the ‘This Is Me’ initiative.  Delivering an eight-week mask making project with physically and mentally disabled children at Harberton Special Needs School, as part of the ‘Masque Making’ initiative.

Skills Coach in Creative Crafts, AMH New Horizons, Ards – Design and delivery of a number of accredited and support Creative Craft subjects.  Responsible for monitoring Client progress and evaluation through a two-year Creative Crafts Programme.  Supporting Client development and progression towards further education, training or work placement.

Artist Facilitator, Down Community Arts – Various arts and crafts projects within the Downpatrick and Saintfield area.

Name Ashleen McCormack
Location Derry/Londonderry
Registered/Accredited with Health and Care Professions Council


Code of Ethics observed HCPC
My Qualifications • Master of Science in Art Psychotherapy
• Mental Health First Aid
• Certified in Talking Mats
• Certified in designing and using social stories
• Bachelor of Design
• Diploma in Foundation Studies Art and Design
Special Interests/Experience in Art Psychotherapy, Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Theoretical Approach Art Psychotherapy, with training in talking mats and play therapy.
I See Children and young people in individual and group therapy sessions.
Additional Information
Emotional experiences that prompt negative feelings or memories can sometimes be difficult to express through words alone.
As an Art therapist I use the creative process to help clients, who include children, adults and families to find a way of expressing these feelings so that they may begin to heal.
I know that in therapy no single approach is right for everyone, therefore I work with clients to create sessions that are unique and tailored to suit the needs of each individual.
As a therapist I have worked with people who have experienced trauma, bereavement and abuse.   My most recent work includes working with families and young people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I understand that choosing a therapist can be an overwhelming process. So please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have.
Willing to Travel Yes


Name: Orla McKeagney  
Location:       Belfast
Willing to travel? Yes
I am registered/accredited with: UKCP
Code of Ethics observed: UKCP
My qualifications are: Drama Psychotherapist (group and individual therapy practise)
Diploma in Child and Young People’s Counselling
Diploma in Infant Observational Studies
Certificate training in Play Therapy
Certificate training in Sand Tray Therapy
Certificate training in NLP
Diploma in Playback Theatre Performance
BA Hons Theatre Studies
Special interest/experience: Drama based therapy work with children and young people
Creative therapy work with adults and groups
I work with: Children and Parents
Additional Information:
I consider that the insights acquired during my training in child counselling and infant observational studies have supported my understanding of contemporary research relating to the impact of trauma on a child’s development while equipping me to consider alternative strategies to support change.

For the past 15 years I have adopted creative interventions in therapeutic work with children and young people through the use of a variety of toys, puppets, sand tray miniatures and play figures to facilitate the process while ensuring that all those I am dealing with feel safe and empowered throughout.

I feel that my training in adult psychotherapy has enhanced my ability to work more empathically with adoptive parents while competently providing them with suitable practical tools and play based strategies to support their children at home.

Therapy Experience
Currently practising as a:
Creative Psychotherapist working with children and their parents in private practice,
Barnardos School Counsellor working in three primary schools in North Belfast.

Creative Psychotherapist for New Life Counselling, Belfast – Over a three year period I delivered therapy support to children and their parents within primary school and community settings.
Creative Psychotherapist Contact NI, Belfast – Over a two year period I provided therapy support to children and adolescents at risk (part time).
Psychodrama Group Work for Wave Trauma Centre– Over a six month period I provided therapeutic group work to young adults recovering from traumas related to the N. Ireland conflict.
Creative Group Worker at Foster Green Hospital– For six years I provided weekly therapeutic drama support to children with mental health issues.

Adult Psychodrama Work
Part time placement at The Centre for Psychotherapy, working with three adult patients with psychological disorders over a period of three years.
Group work at a day centre in South Belfast over a period of two years

Name: Lynda McGill
Location:       Co Antrim
I am registered/accredited with: NISCC , NAGALRO
Code of Ethics observed: NISCC, NAGALRO
My qualifications are: Diploma in Social Work 2002, DIPHE in Social Work 2002, BSC Professional Development in Social Work 2007. PQ 1-6, Specialist Social Work Award completed and Strategic and Leadership Award ongoing.
Dyadic developmental psychotherapy (DDP) Levels 1 & 2
Theraplay Level 1
Accredited in Sensory Attachment Integration and Just Right State Programme
Trainer in the Foundations for Attachment programme by Kim Golding.
Currently undertaking further SAI training with Éadaoin Bhreathnach as a coder of arousal states.
Special interest/experience: Narrative work with children and families, sensory attachment integration approach, parent/child attunement, Theraplay, exploring contact issues.
I work with: Children
Additional Information:
Since qualifying as a social worker in 2002 I have worked extensively with children and families. From 2007 I worked as a Senior Practitioner specifically within the   area of Looked After and Adopted Children. I currently work as Team Manager for the Therapeutic Team for Looked After and Adopted Children (NHSCT). Main areas of work have included:
· Therapeutic parenting support to adoptive and fostering families
· Direct work with children around adjustment to care or adoption
· Parent/child attunement through PACE
· ‘Talking through the Tough stuff’ a narrative approach with children and families
· Enabling self and co regulation through Sensory Attachment Integration approach.


Name:           K Mosley
Location:       Belfast/Lisburn
I am registered/accredited with: BACP, PTUK, IACC
Code of Ethics observed: BACP, PTUK, IACC
My qualifications are: Dip Counselling Supervision
Cert Child Parent Relationship Therapy (filial therapy)
PGDip Play Therapy
PGCert Therapeutic Play
Cert Integrative Counselling
MA Pastoral Care and Counselling
Special interest/experience: Filial therapy
I work with: Children and young people ages 2-18, parents, young adults, therapy students and supervisees
Additional Information:
I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to offer filial therapy via the TESSA project!  I had the privilege of training in Child Parent Relationship Therapy under Sue Bratton all the way back in 2007 and have always found it to be the highlight of my therapy practice.  I have over over 20 years experience working with children and families in the helping professions, 13+ years supervised counselling/play therapy practice, 9+ years experience in filial therapy and 2 1/2 years experience as a clinical supervisor.
I have worked in the voluntary sector at the Oasis Counselling Service as a play therapist/youth counsellor and Children’s Project Co-ordinator and New Life Counselling as a play therapist/youth counsellor and Assistant Community Team Leader with both the OKAY (Only Kids and Youth) and Family teams. I have also run a small private practice called Shepherding Lambs Counselling and Training service since 2008.
I have worked with individual children and young people and groups using play therapy and counselling and do love training as well but the reason I love filial therapy so much is that it combines psychoeducation and practical sessions to teach parents how to do therapeutic play with their own children.  It enhances attachment, helps repair developmental trauma, and builds resilience in children and parents.  And it is all based on parents conducting play sessions with their children for just 30 minutes a week!
The best bit is that because it involves having such a fun, positive experience together, it can significantly reduce the impact of any difficulties you might be experiencing as a family unit.  I have used it not only as a therapist, but also as a mother with my own children so I have seen the positive results first hand.


Name: Norma Patterson
Location: Castlerock and Belfast
Willing to travel? no
I am accredited with BACP
Code of Ethics Observed BACP
My Qualifications are Degree in Psychology
Diploma in Person Centred Counselling
Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy
Diploma in Play Therapy
Certificate in Creative Supervision
Special interest/experience Play therapy/ counselling adolescents/ suicide/bereavement.
I work with Parents and children
Name: Tania Watson
Location: Dromara/ Dromore Co Down
I’m registered/accredited with: The National Counselling Society
Code of ethics observed NCS Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling
My qualifications: Diploma in Trauma & Addictions Counselling Level 4 MNCS (Registered Accredited Member )
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Certificate
Level 6 Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator
Child Protection Training
Special interest/experience in: Fostering & Adoption (Parents & Children)
Adults & Young People
Attachment & Trauma
Additional information: My main areas of work include:
• Attachment focused work with parents and children using Theraplay and Filial Coaching
• Enabling self and co regulation through Sensory Attachment Integration approach.
• Therapeutic parenting support to families
Direct therapeutic work with children
My theoretical approach: Person-Centred, Integrative
I see: Children and Adults
Any other information:
I am registered as a Counsellor & Equine Therapist with the National Counselling Society (NCS) and have full professional membership with NCS. Equine Therapy is an innovative approach to counselling for social emotional & behavioural difficulties in individuals who find room based counselling all too much.   EFP/EFL supports clients of all ages in addressing therapeutic goals, with horses as co-facilitators and teachers, in this process.   Horses are non-judgemental and honest; these are invaluable qualities to have for people who have been through traumatic experiences.
Equine Therapy offers an alternative way of communicating verbally & non-verbally, better understanding & building on relationships, develop self awareness and gain a better understanding how our behaviour impacts on others around us.   Equine therapy also allows clients to express feelings & emotions in a non judgemental & safe environment while enjoying the outdoors.
I have extensive experience working in the Fostering and Adoption sector, working with children and families. I also work as part of a team with other professionals from the Northern Health & Social Care Trust. I have 40 years horse experience, I have enjoyed riding horses out bush in Africa and the outback of Australia.What is the difference between EFP & EFL
EFP uses equine-facilitated activities to explore the way a client sees and relates to themselves and others, their patterns of behaviour and survival as well as their gifts and strengths, and may include the exploration of past experiences and traumas.
EFL uses equine-facilitated activities as a tool for self development and education, with a focus on the present moment. Skills include non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, relationship skills, confidence and resilience.


Name: Julie Virtue
Location:       Portrush
I am registered/accredited with: HCPC
Code of Ethics observed: HCPC
My qualifications are: Currently completing CPCAB Level 5 diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Skills and Theory
Currently completing MSc Autism Spectrum Disorders
Fundamentals of Equine Assisted Growth and Learning
MSc Art Psychotherapy
UU Diploma in Counselling
Level 3 OCN Community and Drugs Awareness training
BA Hons Art and Design
Special interest/experience: Art Psychotherapy
I work with: Children and adults
Additional Information:
I have been working as a counsellor and art psychotherapist for the past seven years. I am particularly interested in working with difficult-to-engage client groups using creative approaches.  I use the art materials to provide a safe and supportive environment for clients to safely express difficult emotions and work through problems.
Therapy Experience:
Sessional Art Psychotherapist and counsellor with Wave trauma centre
– providing counselling and art therapy sessions to individuals affected by the Northern Ireland Troubles.
Art psychotherapist and counsellor with Contact NI – manning the crisis helpline and providing one to one short term counselling and art therapy sessions to adults and children affected by suicide or self-harm. I also work on the ART project, which is a longer term service, supporting children affected by aggression related trauma.
Trainee art psychotherapist HMP Magilligan – as a trainee art therapist I provided an art therapy service on a one to one and group basis.
Trainee Threshold – As part of my training I provided group and one to one sessions to adults with long term enduring mental health issues as part of a therapeutic community.
Support worker SHAC – Supporting vulnerable tenants of a housing association to maintain their tenancy.
Part-time outreach worker and youth council coordinator – working in the community with young people to encourage engagement in youth programs and prevent antisocial behaviour.
Currently available to cover Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and Ballymoney