ACTO Board of Directors
ACTO BOARD OF DIRECTORS
We invite you to get to know the ACTO Board of Directors a little better. All ACTO directors bring an individual interest and passion for online therapy and give their time voluntarily.
She was a pioneer in introducing online therapy into the UK and has written widely on the subject. For many years, she directed Online Training Ltd, as well as founding the Online Counselling and Therapy in Action Conferences with her co-director, Gill Jones.
She was instrumental in setting up the Association for Counselling and Therapy Online and also worked with BACP to develop guidelines and curricula for Online Therapy and Training.
She divides her time between her homes in the UK and France and loves new challenges.
Chair + International Director
My professional origins are as a clergyman in the Church of England
and I’m an Honorary Canon at Manchester Cathedral
I trained initially as a counsellor in the mid 70’s
- then as a group and individual Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist Registered with UKCP in the 80’s.
I worked in the NHS, heading up ‘Day-Democratic Therapeutic Communities”
and being involved in the training of junior psychiatrists.
I now work in private practice.
I was Honorary Secretary, then Vice Chair of UKCP from 2002-2009.
As part of that, I represented UKCP at the European Association for Psychotherapy
- the professional body of national and modality professional bodies.
I was elected as President of the EAP from 2001-13 - and Vice President two years either side of that.
Although I stepped down from the EAP in 2015, it seems they can’t do without me!
I’m being drafted back to lead a modality body within the EAP.
I am passionate about the development of online therapy
- both generally and as a new, distinct expression of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
And I’m excited by the chance to work across borders or all kinds.
In my free time, I'm a beekeeper, looking after about a dozen hives - at home, on the roof of Manchester Cathedral and elsewhere; and I teach beekeeping too!"
responsible for the website
I did my counselling training in the Netherlands and my diploma is for counselling, coaching and psychosocial work from Academie Gradatim. My online training was done online in the UK with OLT. Both the general certificate and the diploma course.
Right now I have many hats on with my online work. I only work online but with varied jobs. Counsellor, Coach, Tutor and web designer. I am also a member of the OCTIA committee.
Socially I love to read and play boardgames with friends. Cultural holidays are another of my passions and spending time with my cats [Bella and Shadow] and my [part-time] dog. Nina actually belongs to friends but she thinks she has two homes. I also really enjoy spending time on the computer and figuring it out for work and leisure.
My name is Olivia Djouadi and I am a UKCP member and a graduate of Regents University in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. I also trained with IMT Integrative Mindbody Therapy, a type of Body Therapy with Dr. Asaf Rolef Ben-Shahar. I also trained with OLT online counselling for therapists and did the general, diploma and DOTS course so I can practice as an online supervisor. I now also tutor at OLT.
Presently I work a lot with those that have experienced trauma including those who have survived and escaped from cults. I also work with chronic illness as there seems to be a link between childhood trauma and chronic illness in adulthood. In 2019 I gave a talk on captivity at the International Cultic Studies Association conference in Manchester. I have also given talks on DID, polyfragmented DID, Diabulimia, Cultural Therapy, Cults and a range of other topics at Onlinevents. I also spoke on chronic illness/ autoimmune conditions at OCTIA a few years ago where I would meet many of my online counselling colleagues. I contributed a chapter about Working creatively with chronic conditions in the book Online Supervision.
Before my life as a psychotherapist I worked with refugees and spent many years as a keywork at a nursery with young children with severe disabilities. I also helped their parents to come to terms with having a child with additional needs. I also have an adult son with cerebral palsy and I have two unseen conditions which are type 1 diabetes since 1973 and multiple sclerosis since 2015. This is why working online can be really helpful for both myself and others with extra needs both in the UK and worldwide.
- Why you became a counsellor/psychotherapist
- I became a counselling psychologist because of my own and my family’s experiences of mental health difficulties. I wanted to better understand these, their underlying causes and how to help make them better. I became on online psychologist because I was struggling with some physical health difficulties and wanted to explore ways I could work with a disability and still have a flourishing career.
- What you do as a counsellor/psychotherapist
- I work in several roles. I am the team psychologist for South Camden’s Complex Case Drug and Alcohol Service within the Camden and Islington NHS trust. I am the deputy clinical lead for Dr Julian’s Online Psychotherapy Service. I also do private practice for the Priory in Fenchurch St. I occasionally run workshops and courses for various organisations. I also am on the BPS Digital Health subcommittee as a representative of the Counselling Psychology Division.
- Why you agreed to join the Board of ACTO – what you enjoy
- I really love science and I love being a therapist, so it’s always a pleasure when I get to combine the two. Which is why research and development was a role that seemed a great fit for me.
- Any specialist interests?
- I am interested in Addiction, Psychosis, Trauma, Gender Identity, Virtual Reality therapy. I also have a large interest in the systemic causes of mental health problems and how multiculturism has in important part to play in our discourses around recovery.
- None as yet.
- My doctoral thesis is accessible from the British Library. Recovery Processes Inherent in Twelve Step Fellowships: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study.
- Leisure interests
- I enjoy all sorts of activities when I have spare time. Cycling, singing in choirs, cooking, travelling, theatre, museums, going for walks.
In recent years, I have become interested in training as a supervisor and am keen to support other therapists in their development to provide a high standard of care in their clinical practice. Over the past few years, I have truly enjoyed working with my supervisees and have humbly come to learn a great deal from them in our work together!
I have joined the Board of ACTO as I am passionate about working online and feel enthusiastic about learning from my online peers as well as hopefully making a valuable contribution to the field.
Outside of my clinical and supervisory work, I am enthusiastic about the outdoors and love to go hiking as well as visit the sea as much as possible where I am learning to kayak and bodyboard. I am also passionate about all things related to food and enjoy trying new recipes, as well as foraging what nature provides in my local area.
Should you have any queries or wish to reach out, you are most welcome to contact me at Suzanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Inclusivity and Diversity
Registered Counselling Psychologist and Practitioner Psychologist. I have over 25 years of
experience in academia, multidisciplinary project management, service development and delivery
in leading UK medical schools, NHS and charities.
I have been widely published in peer-reviewed journals, books and professional conferences,
author to key professional clinical guidelines regarding gender and sexualities and continue to
serve on working parties and committees for new developments and guidelines in the field. I was
also Head of Psychology/Lead Consultant Psychologist at Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic
for over 15 years and set up and developed the GIC psychology service and training programme.
I have provided independent clinical care and training for over 30 years and now work full time in
the independent sector. I work closely with my NHS colleagues and am committed to delivering
high-quality care in the private sector.
My interests include a passion for fitness, exercise and resistance training and I am a qualified
fitness professional. I enjoy walking in beautiful natural environments, daily meditation and seem
to be rapidly building up an animal sanctuary, always seeming to have room for one more little
creature needing a home.
Remote working has increasingly changed the face of counselling and therapy and related options
for clients. ACTO are leading in making counselling and therapy, provided by appropriately
qualified practitioners committed to high professional standards, accessible to more people. I am
honoured to be appointed as ACTO Director of Inclusivity and Diversity, having spent my career
promoting inclusion, diversity and service accessibility for all members of society, specialising in
(not limited to) the fields of disabilities, mental health, ageing, autism, gender and sexualities. This
includes highlighting and foregrounding the voices which can find it hardest to be heard and a
significant part of my role is to seek out those voices, within an awareness of intersectionality,
promoting inclusivity and diversity to be a reality for all.
My curiosity eventually led to interest in how therapy and the therapy relationship might ‘work’ online, and I became hooked. Working online, I wanted to understand this new dimension, and wanted to do it well, ethically, and safely. I enjoy a challenge and being a Director in ACTO right now presents just that, another vibrant but challenging time of change - with so much happening and so much more new interest in the field. It is such an exciting opportunity to influence standards in an otherwise unregulated branch of therapy that places the public, and untrained therapists, at risk potentially of harm.
Having worked in mental health and psychotherapy in the NHS and independently for over 30 years I have a breadth of experience to bring. I enjoy working alongside colleagues who have vast experience and skill and hope my curiosity in online work will elicit a reciprocal response from others, in line with ACTO’s aim, ‘to promote, maintain, improve and advance online counselling and ·psychotherapy’.
I trained as a counsellor about seven years ago after a twenty-year career in Management Consultancy working with large corporations internationally, specialising in Supply Chain, Working Capital Management and process reengineering. My first degree was in International business with languages, but as I worked more and more in an executive coaching role with clients, it became clear that I needed additional skills in counselling, so returned to studying and
gained a Masters in Counselling Psychology.
I now run Arboretum Counselling and Coaching, a private practice offering counselling, coaching and supervision working with private individuals, large corporates, Employment Assistance Providers, a women’s aid charity and schools. I have a special interest in working with neuro-diverse clients, particularly those with autism; and working on-line allows more connections in this area.
I am passionate about working online and saw a natural affinity with the ethos of ACTO. I hope to offer the organisation skills and experiences from my commercial background and international work. I am currently a Director Without Portfolio as I settle into the organisation, but see my role developing into helping ACTO connect further internationally.
In my leisure time, I am a keen amateur potter, enjoy playing the piano and walking my Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog, Hector.
After a decade counselling in the substance misuse field I wanted a new challenge, and in 2009 moved in the higher education sector where I immediately wondered why we weren’t utilising online support! The majority of students are digital natives, expecting to be able to communicate online, so it made perfect sense to offer them online therapy.
With a decade of counselling, many years supervising and teaching on a counselling diploma; I was adamant that these experiences were not sufficient to launch into online working. It was important to me to be appropriately trained before setting up the online service at Cardiff University. Without this training and support I would have fallen over many more hurdles than I have!
As Chair of ACTO I want to share my enthusiasm, and learn from others as we move forward. ACTO has a wealth of experience and knowledge amongst its members, from students undertaking their online training, to newly qualified, and highly experienced online therapists. I encourage you all to get involved in ACTO, add to the content of the website and forum discussions in any way you wish – this is your organisation, and your website!