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I attended a counselling taster course and basically got ‘hooked’!

I had experienced counselling myself in the past and found it helped me, and felt that I would like to be able to ‘be there’ for others. I am trained to degree level in Person-Centred Counselling, having previously studied counselling skills over several years. I now have several years’ post qualification experience with a wide range of clients.

I also have some experience of working with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing and Solution-Focused therapies. My experience though, backed up by research, is that what is most relevant to effective counselling, is the good working relationship that builds between counsellor and client. Sharing how you feel and being understood by your counsellor, who is trained to listen professionally, can be very validating. Having the opportunity to share how you are feeling with someone outside of friends and family, can help immensely.

My experience

I have experience of working with many kinds of problems, including low self-esteem or confidence, stress, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, addiction, bereavement, relationship problems, sexuality, financial problems and childhood trauma amongst others.

I worked as a volunteer counsellor both with Age UK and a drug and alcohol recovery service in Brighton & Hove.

I currently work with Sussex Alcohol Counselling Service an independent counselling service in Sussex for issues relating to alcohol use including work stress, relationship issues, family breakdown, domestic violence, severe depression and anxiety.

Whether you are concerned about your own drinking or drug use, or someone else’s, we offer the support of a team of specialist experienced counsellors.

Until recently, I managed a well-known local charity's counselling service where I have gained a wealth of experience of older people and their needs.

In the past, I worked at The Carers' Centre and understand the difficulties unpaid carers face. I have worked in education and in health, and in both statutory and voluntary sectors.

Member of professional organisation/Insurance

Registered Member (31260) of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy* (BACP). I abide by the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in all aspects of my work. *BACP is accredited with the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care

My counselling practice is fully insured including Public Liability insurance.

My qualifications:

Degree in Person-Centred Counselling, University of Brighton 2010 - 2012

Counselling skills at levels 1-3 2008-2010

NHS Health Trainer Course (Understanding Health Improvement) 2008

NVQ Level 3 and Foundation Certificate Award in Health Promotion skills 2008

My training:

Additional counselling training I have undertaken has covered many areas such as couples and relationship counselling, specialist adoption training (adoption counsellors are required to be trained and registered by law), suicide, self-harm, common mental health disorders, including eating disorders and Asperger's.


Challenges of working with the adoptive couple 2018
Barnardo’s adoption attachment focused therapy training 2016

Barnardo’s specialist adoption training 2014

Couples & Family Relationship Counselling

Affective Neuroscience & Attachment Theory - considerations for person-centered practice 2016
Person Centred couples counselling 2014

Sexual Violence, Rape & Trauma

Resilience in the face of Trauma: Working with Clients’ Coping Resources in Therapy 2019
Working therapeutically with survivors of sexual trauma 2014
Working With Sexual Violence, Rape & Trauma 2013
Basic Awareness Training in Sexual Violence 2013
Working with Trauma 2013

Other Counselling approaches

Introduction to Existential Counselling 2013
Introduction to Transactional Analysis 2013

Motivational Interviewing Enhancement Therapy 2012
Using the body in existential psychotherapy 2018

Creative/Art Therapy

Finding creative ways to relate when words fail - working therapeutically with the arts with older people 2012

Working with the Body and Imagery in Counselling 2012

Sand tray Workshop 2012

Addiction training

Drug & Alcohol Training 2013
New Year New Beginnings 2013
Coping with Christmas 2012

Working Effectively with Ambivalence and Resistance 2012

Dual Diagnosis 2012

CRi ‘Drug and Alcohol Counselling’ 2011

Mental Health related Training

Recognising & assessing forms of mental disturbance - issues for therapists 2013

Mental Health Awareness 2011

Suicide & Self-Harm

Understanding & Working With Self Injury 2015
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training 2012
Safetalk Suicide Alertness 2011

Loss and Bereavement

Loss and Bereavement Training 2012


Safeguarding Children & Young People 2014

Safeguarding Adults 2012

Working Together to Safeguard Children ‘Developing a Core Understanding’ 2010

Equality and Diversity

Understanding Unconscious Bias 2016
Lesbian, Gay & Bi Sexual Awareness 2015

Race Equality 2009
Equality and Diversity 2008


Working with shame (Christiane Sanderson) 2017
Heart Intelligence Certificate (Gill Wyatt) 2012

Meditation and Relaxation 2012

Needs Assessment and Support Planning 2010

Emotional Intelligence for Frontline staff 2010

Influencing and Negotiating skills 2009

Mary Saunders                                          07890 806501

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