About the Old Surgery

How can we help you?

Counselling and psychotherapy can help you with specific issues that may be troubling you. It can also be a longer journey of self discovery leading to lasting change.

The Old Surgery is a group practice of nineteen counsellors and psychotherapists in Leighton Buzzard (some also in Milton Keynes) providing short term and longer term counselling and psychotherapy for individuals, families and couples, as well as professional supervision.

We have several counsellors who specialise in working with children and young people, several who see couples and one who works with families.

All of our counsellors and psychotherapists are members of BACP or UKCP  and work to the highest professional standards. We offer a safe, confidential and flexible service at a range of different rates to suit your needs.

June Simister

BACP Registered Counsellor, Advanced

Advanced Diploma in Professional Integrative Counselling, Kingston College

.June Simister has over 12 years of experience helping clients to explore what they want and need and how to achieve their goals. As an Integrative Counsellor, her main approach is Person Centred, also encompassing Psychodynamic theory.

June says,

“Because as individuals we think, feel and react in different way to the challenges we experience/encounter in life; as an Integrative counsellor I adapt the way I work so that together we can develop the most helpful approach to understand the areas of difficulty you are encountering and to find a better way of coping and moving forward.

During our first session you will have the opportunity to discuss your difficulties and what you feel you want from counselling, in a confidential, non-judgmental place “

June offers six weeks of therapy at £20 a session under our Low Cost Scheme. Her appointments are in the day time only.

Wes Kapon

Placement Counsellor

Certificate in Humanistic Counselling, CPPD Counselling School

Wes is a student counsellor who holds a Certificate in Humanistic and Integrative Counselling, and is continuing his studies at CPPD which is one of the UK’s leading humanistic counselling schools.

Wes says:  ‘Sometimes, we can have a real sense of disquiet within ourselves and feel anxious, insecure, frustrated, angry and inadequate. Or we can just be overwhelmed by feelings that we don’t understand. Talking to a counsellor can really help us to understand ourselves more fully.

I offer my clients a genuine, compassionate and safe space where they will be listened to with warmth and empathy as they explore their experiences.

I have a real interest in the way that early life experiences affect us in later life, in particular, attachment, trauma and abuse. If you’re struggling with ‘your stuff’, I will support you throughout your journey while we explore and work through, perhaps difficult feelings and emotions that you may be experiencing’.

Wes’ normal rate is £30. Appointments are available Monday – Wednesday 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Fridays 1:30pm – 8:30pm and Saturday Mornings.

Jackie Howell 

BACP Registered Counsellor, Advanced

Dip. Therapeutic Counselling (Level 4) Aylesbury College, Dip. Therapeutic Life Coaching, Dip. Counselling Supervision (Level 6) Langley Training, Registered Member BACP

Jackie Howell is an experienced, BACP Registered Counsellor and also holds a Diploma as a Fusion Therapeutic Life Coach. She joined the Old Surgery in 2017 and is also a trained Supervisor.

Jackie says:

I have experience in working with children and young people in alternative education supporting and taking care of their social and emotional needs for over 10 years as tutor, key worker and work skills coordinator. I now work in Further Education supporting young adults with any social or emotional needs. This has given me a love and passion for working with people from a variety of backgrounds supporting them through many challenges that life may bring.

“My counselling experience has been with MIND working with adults with complex emotional health needs, and also counselling adults working through and overcoming addiction with drugs and alcohol in a rehab centre.

I work as an Integrative practitioner with a person-centred foundation with the aim to bring about effective change and enhance wellbeing to each client in my care. Together we can walk the path through life’s difficult and challenging moments.

My aim is to work with you to find resources within, to enable you to be your best self. I achieve this in an environment where you can feel safe to share your thoughts and feelings in a confidential non-judgmental therapeutic relationship. I work with children, teenagers and adults working with self- esteem challenges, anxiety, self-harm, depression, relationships issues and social anxiety. Using art and creative strategies to find the best way to build confidence and hope of change using the resources within that will empower individuals to reach their potential.

Jackie’s normal rates are £45 per session for individuals and £50 for couples.

Dawn Hodge 

BACP Registered Counsellor, Advanced

Dip. Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Level 5) Bedford College, Registered Member BACP

Registered Counsellor Dawn Hodge is a very experienced counsellor who holds a Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Level 5), and is a Registered member of BACP. Dawn also works as a School Counsellor, and has been in practice at the Old Surgery since 2013. Dawn says:

“I have a passion to help people make changes in a therapeutic way. Do you ever feel stuck with problems and difficulties in your life? Sometimes, it can seem so much easier to just accept things. You don’t have to – you have choices.  Since 2012 I have been working with individuals and couples to help people make positive choices for change. I am a Registered Counsellor with a Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Edexcel Level 5), and a registered member of BACP. I am an Associate Registered Counsellor at the Old Surgery in Leighton Buzzard, where I have been practising  since 2013.

I have experience in working with the impact of domestic and sexual violence, bereavement, anxiety, PTSD (including use of the Rewind technique), self-esteem, issues around pregnancy including infertility, termination, stillbirth and miscarriage, and issues affecting students.

I work with children and young people as a School Counsellor and have also worked for Brook. I also have facilitation skills and facilitate Behaviour Change workshops for CSUK (NLP)”.

What Dawn’s clients say:

“We cannot thank you enough Dawn. And we are both positive about the future thanks to you” (Maria and Neil, not real names)

“We feel you have helped us so much and that we now communicate so much better and will continue to improve on that. We would like to thank you very much for all your time and patience” (Sean and Emma)

“You have truly helped us save our marriage and resolve our problems and we are so grateful for your guidance” (Stuart and Lisa)

Dawn’s normal rates are £40 per session for individuals and £50 for couples.

Alexandre F. Gieseke

Senior Family & Couples Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, BACP Registered Counsellor, BPS GBC Psychologist

Degree in Counselling/ Psychotherapy, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais – Brazil. Masters degree Humanistic Psychotherapy, Instituto Humanista de Psicoterapia (Humanistic Institute of Psychotherapy), Minas Gerais, Brazil. British Psychological Society Approved Certificate in Clinical Supervision, MSc Counselling and Psychotherapy, Strathclyde University, (current study).

Alexandre is a highly experienced Psychotherapist and Family Therapist. He is also an experienced Clinical Supervisor, Therapeutic Manager, and a trainer and consultant to children and families organisations such as Family First Fostering, Sandwell District Council, and Bedford Carers Lounge.

Alexandre offers Family Therapy and Couples Counselling as well as work with children, young people and adults. He has a weekly clinic on Tuesday evenings at the Old Surgery in Leighton Buzzard, and also works from his own premises in Milton Keynes.

Alexandre says,

I have over 23 years (13,300 hours) clinical experience working with children, young people and adults and families. My specialisms include working with learning/behavioural difficulties, physical/emotional/sexual abuse, or previous history of substance misuse. ASD and ADHD traits, LAC (Looked After Children).

I have worked in many different settings, such as: schools, residential care homes, foster homes, foster agencies, secure units, NHS hospitals, Local Authorities (Councils), and privately in clinics throughout my career – paid and as a volunteer’.

Although Alexandre’s core orientation is Humanistic, he is also experienced in CBT and DBT from his work in a number of secure settings where these approaches are normally used.

Alexandre has Tuesday evening appointments in Leighton Buzzard, his normal rate is £55 for individuals, £60 for couples and for family therapy. He also has a wider range of appointments and availabilities in Milton Keynes.

Judy Knight

BACP Registered Counsellor, Advanced

Dip. Psychotherapy & Counselling (Level 6), Temenos, Registered Member BACP

Judy qualified in 2014 as a Person-Centred Counsellor & Psychotherapist, and holds a degree-equivalent Diploma in Counselling. She joined the Old Surgery in 2017. She has been working in therapeutic settings for many years. Judy is presently in Supervision training with Independent Counselling Training in Bedford and in late 2018/ early 2019 will be offering subsidised places for supervision.

Judy works in a variety of settings supporting clients of all ages in exploring issues ranging from family relationships (including caring for a friend or family member) and bereavement or loss, to surviving abusive relationships and adjusting to diagnosis of chronic illness.

Judy works with clients from teenage to adult and provides a safe non-judgemental and confidential environment in which they can find a way forward. She supports her clients in looking at their problems and helps them find their own inner strength, enabling them to find solutions that are right for them. She has been involved in the field of therapy and personal growth for some 25 years.

Judy says:

“Talking to someone outside of your family and friends can give you the space you need to resolve problems and worries in your life. I will provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental space and work with you to find a way forward that is right for you.

I believe that you are the expert in your experiences, so I will not diagnose and attempt to “fix” you, rather I will come along side you and support you in looking at your issues and help you find answers that are meaningful and right for you. I believe that you have your own inner strength, and that we can work together to build on that, enabling you to find solutions that are right for you, both inside and outside of the therapy environment.

Every individual has their own reason to seek counselling and I am happy to work with you, wherever you are in your life and at your pace.”

What Judy’s clients say:

‘Someone not judging, making me feel comfortable, able to say what I really think. She has made a phenomenal impact. I can’t thank you enough’  (Lianne)

Appointments daytime Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Judy’s normal rate is £45.

Sue Day

BACP Registered Counsellor

Dip, Integrative Therapeutic Counselling, Aylesbury College

Counsellor Sue Day holds a diploma in integrative therapeutic counselling, and is going forward to take a Level 5 diploma in psychodynamic therapy at Langley Training. She has an interest in addiction, and also works in a drug and alcohol agency.

Sue says:

‘I work in a client centred way, helping my clients explore what they bring to the session, and am able to work creatively, if the client wishes.

I provide a non judgemental space where my clients can express their thoughts and feelings and be heard and understood’.

Sue has worked with, and is particularly interested in, anxiety, low self esteem, self harm, bereavement and loss, and addiction.

Sue offers weekday daytime sessions from £40 per hour.

Louise Dawson

BACP Accredited Counsellor

Integrative Counsellor, Louise Dawson holds the Foundation Degree in Counselling with the Open University, alongside her Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling. She offers sessions to individuals at £45.00, and to couples at £55.00.

Louise says “I will offer you a space to talk through whatever may be troubling you in a supportive, confidential and non-judgemental environment. I will aim to help you find a clearer perspective on your situation and consider whether you want to make changes in your life or work on accepting something. Through counselling you can have the opportunity to find a way forward that is right for you.

Louise is not taking new clients now until December 2019

Jo Brown

BACP Registered Counsellor

ABC Dip. Therapeutic Counselling, Level 4, Independent Counselling Training, Bedford

Jo says ‘ My approach to counselling is to empower you to access your own source of inner strength and well being.

Jo Brown holds a diploma in humanistic therapeutic counselling.

It is not a question of me telling you what to do or how to be, because ultimately you know yourself better than anyone else does and, even if you are not aware of this right now, your inner self knows what direction it needs to take.

Jo has a background in complementary therapy

I provide a safe space where you will not be judged, where together we can get to the bottom of what’s bothering you and help you move forward on your life’s path.

I come from a professional background in complementary therapy and body/mind awareness. I am a qualified Shiatsu practitioner and practitioner of mindfulness meditation. My knowledge of these paths to well being inform my counselling practice’.

Jo ’s normal rate is £40 per session. She has daytime and evening appointments throughout the week and at the week ends.

Simonetta Juniper

BACP Accredited Counsellor

BSc Psychology Open University, Dip. Therapeutic Counselling (Level 4) Aylesbury College, Accredited Member BACP

Accredited Counsellor Simonetta Juniper is an experienced counsellor with a degree in Psychology (BSc with Honours) from the Open University, as well as a Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. She joined the Old Surgery in 2014.

Simonetta says:

I feel that everyone has the necessary inner resources to work through their own issues but sometimes life events can get in the way of our ability to see the way forward. I believe that counselling can offer the necessary support to regain focus and inner strength to live a happy and fulfilled life.

“I worked within the Social Care setting for over 10 years and this has allowed me to gain a great deal of experience in dealing with people from all walks of life. I am passionate about my personal development and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to help people with the use of talking therapies. I am trained in an Integrative way which gives me the opportunity to use a number of different approaches, according to the need of each individual.”

What Simonetta’s clients say:

“Such a wonderful service and definitely life changing!” (Lianne)

“Sim was great, really flexible in finding the right time, fantastic approach, I was really grateful for the help and support” (Amy)

“Simonetta made me feel very comfortable. She listened carefully, I felt supported and encouraged. Also optimistic for the future” (Caroline)

Simonetta’s normal rates are £45 for individuals.

Janet Joosten

UKCP Reg. Psychotherapist, Senior Counsellor

PG Diploma Existential Psychotherapy & Counselling, Regents College,  PG Diploma CBT, Registered Member UKCP

Janet is a highly experienced Psychotherapist who holds Advanced and PG Diplomas in CBT, Existential Psychotherapy and Integrative Counselling.

Janet also holds a Diploma as a Life Coach.

Janet says,

You are the expert of yourself and define goals accordingly. You have the resources and strengths to solve problems.

‘Psychotherapy can provide a safe place for you to explore your thoughts, feelings and emotions in a non-judgmental environment. My aim is to lead you through a journey of self-discovery and understanding whilst clarifying your life circumstances and where you want to be in your life.

I have worked many years with women survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. I have also worked with people who are suffering loss and older adults. and disabilities’

Although Janet’s psychotherapeutic orientation is Existential, she is also a qualified Integrative counsellor. This means that she is able to include aspects of therapy from a number of theoretical orientations including Humanistic,  Solutions Focused,  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy,  CBT coaching, and Time Limited Existential Therapy.

Janet has worked in many different settings as a counsellor and psychotherapist over twenty years, including Connexions, Youth Information Service, Mind, the NHS, HMP The Mount, BUPA and Rape Crisis.

Janet has availability Monday afternoons, Tuesday afternoons as well as some morning appointments. Her rate is £35-50. Janet is also interested in seeing students for a reduced rate £35-£40 and has worked with students from diverse orientations.

Jean Harding

BACP Accredited, Senior Counsellor

Dip. Counselling Gestalt Centre, Registered Member BACP (Accred.)

Senior Counsellor Jean Harding is highly experienced and has been working as a counsellor since 2003. Jean  joined the Old Surgery in 2015. Jean is a BACP Registered and Accredited counsellor and holds a Gestalt Centre diploma in counselling and a Metanoia certificate in couples counselling.

Jean says: ” I am interested in helping people to develop increased self-awareness, to let go of old patterns of behaviour, to deal with unfinished business and to move forward with their lives.

I chose to train in Gestalt because of its breadth, richness and creativity. I enjoy the holistic nature of the Gestalt approach which focuses on body and spirit as well as mind and emotion.

I have also completed further training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and find that some clients enjoy this more structured approach which explores the connections between thoughts feelings and behaviours.

My background is in health information, as a manager of both a local health helpline and then a national helpline for the RNIB. This gave me experience in helping people facing a wide range of health issues and this continues to be a special interest for me. My other specialist areas include: anxiety and panic attacks; bereavement and loss; relationship difficulties and work related issues such as bullying, stress, or redundancy.  I aim to offer a balance of support and constructive challenge, and to provide you with a safe space where you can slow down and take time to reflect.

What Jean’s clients say:

“The service was excellent, very helpful, and has helped me on my way to a happier start to my new life” [B – female, age 53]

“A huge thank you for all your help, support and challenging questions over the past weeks. I couldn’t have reached where I am today without it.” [K – female – age 29]

Thank you for helping me to see that things can change…you have empowered me to move forward with my life [F – female – age 40]

Appointments are available Monday-Thursday, from 9am to 6.30pm. Jean’s normal rates are £50 per session for individuals and £55 for couples.

Carolyn Powell

UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Psycho-Sexual & Relational Therapist, Clinical Supervisor

M.Sc Integrative Psychotherapy, Metanoia; PG. Dip. Psycho-Sexual & Relational Counselling; BA (hons) Theology & Counselling, Univ. Middlesex;  PG Cert integrative & Relational Clinical Supervision (Metanoia); Certificate in CBT; Level 1 Internal Family Systems; Level 1 Comprehensive Resource Model trauma training, Senior Accredited Member BACP; Registered UKCP; Accredited Member CORST

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Carolyn is a highly qualified and experienced senior psychotherapist and psycho-sexual therapist. She is also a trainer and clinical supervisor. Her approach is Integrative and relational with an interest in creative approaches and Mindfulness.

Working with couples and individuals, her specialisms are in the psycho-sexual field and trauma. She also has an interest in gender identity with early doctoral studies in gender issues, non binary sexuality and spirituality.

Carolyn has sessions available in Leighton Buzzard from 4pm to 9pm on a Friday. Her fees in Leighton Buzzard are £60 for individuals (50 minutes) and £80 for couples (60 minutes). She also works in Amersham and Chesham.

Julie McMillan

BACP Registered Counsellor

Dip. Psychodynamic Counselling Level 4, Counselling Foundation

Psychodynamic Counsellor Julie McMillan holds a Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling from The Counselling Foundation, and is going on to study for the Advanced Diploma.

Julie says, ‘I will provide a safe space where you will be listened to whatever you choose to bring.

I work with an understanding that there are unique connections between the counsellor and client which are influenced by early experiences. I believe that these connections can be used to bring about a new awareness of present difficulties. I provide a structure that will hold and support you as your awareness grows and you explore different ways of being.

We may work together for a limited time, but I also work with clients who require longer term counselling. Every client is different and you may decide what will work best for you as you discover what brought you to counselling and what you hope to achieve from it.

Julie has worked at HMP Bedford and HMP The Mount, as well as Hitchin Counselling Service and the Counselling Foundation.  She has daytime and evening appointments, her normal rate is £40.

Sonia George

Advanced Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Counselling (Level 5), Registered Member BACP

Sonia is an experienced counsellor who has worked with BLMK Mind as well as the Old Surgery since 2016.

Sonia says:

‘I pursued studies into Counselling as a result of my experience in a helping capacity both in my local church and my role as a manager in the banking industry to widen my understanding, enhance my skills and develop as a Counsellor.

I believe that counselling provides an opportunity for people facing difficult challenges in their lives to talk through their feelings and be empowered to find their own solutions in a safe and comfortable space.

Sonia holds an Advanced Diploma, Level 5

I trained in an integrative way with the person-centred approach as my core theoretical model where I will listen to people empathetically in a non-judgemental manner to assist them to look at their problems”

What Sonia’s clients say:

‘Being able to talk openly and honestly and being allowed to reflect on my thoughts and actions.’ [Male, aged 55 years]

‘Being listened to. Breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques.’ [Female, aged 22 years]

‘Having someone to talk to and help understand why I was feeling so stressed’ [Male, aged 35 years]

‘Being able to just talk and not upset anyone’ [Female, aged 57 years]

Sonia’s normal rate is £40 per session. She has daytime and evening appointments throughout the week and on Saturdays.

Debbie McVey

Placement Counsellor

Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills, Bedford College

Debbie is a counsellor in training, qualified to Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills, and working towards Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.

Debbie says, “I am a member of the BACP and I use a Person Centred approach. I offer a safe and confidential space in which to talk freely about what is

Thembie Mapingire

BACP Registered, Senior Counsellor

Thembie is a counsellor with over 15 years’ experience, as well as a former teacher with over 20 years teaching experience. Her approach is integrative. She works with individuals, couples, and families, and holds an MA from the University of Nottingham in working with children and young people .

Thembie is also a clinical supervisor. 

Thembie says: ” I love working with couples and young people. My special interest in relationships, parenting, stress management, bereavement and loss, self-harm, assertiveness and trauma”

She is available on Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6-8pm, Fridays 9 am – 3pm.

Fees: £50 individuals, £60 couples

Kate Hardy

BA (hons) Theology & Counselling (first class), Univ. Middlesex; MA Health Services, Univ. Leeds; PG Dip Clinical Supervision (Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute);  Foundation Certificate in TA (Berne Institute); Fellow of the Higher Education Academy; Accredited Member BACP; Member UKCP; Member UKATA

Kate is an experienced counsellor, supervisor and tutor, with more than 6000 hours in practice, as well as 10 years experience teaching on the Open University CPCAB Foundation Degree in Counselling. The Old Surgery Counselling Centre has grown out of Kate’s practice over the last decade.

Kate says

“My approach is gentle, positive, supportive and respectful. I work with every individual as a whole person, including feelings, thoughts and behaviour as well as their inner “heart”.

I hope that at the Old Surgery, you will find the right help for you.

I started on this journey more than fifteen years ago and have never regretted it. It continues to be a privilege to accompany and help people finding their own paths through the difficulties of life.

Before training as a counsellor in 2003, I had worked in the NHS and charities such as the Red Cross, Crisis and Macmillan Cancer Care. I already knew that talking with a skilled professional has been shown to make a huge difference when people face difficulties in life.

I now provide Transactional Analysis (TA) psychotherapy, integrated with CBT and Attachment approaches, rooted in advanced clinical training at the internationally recognised Berne Institute. TA is a way of understanding yourself better, moving on from the past and making the changes you need to make in your life and relationships. I work with individuals and couples.

What Kate’s clients say:

“Looking back, I spent my life going from one bad relationship to the next and now, finally, I have broken the pattern – for good! So thank you for all your help and guidance in getting to where I needed – and deserved – to be.”  Jayne, 35

“Counselling helped me to accept myself and be proud of who I am” Simon, 29

“Since the sessions I have started a new project and am feeling excited about the new year for the first time in many years. Watch this space!” Christopher, 51

I saw Kate for a number of sessions to talk through issues causing me to suffer from a high level of anxiety. Her professional, experienced and caring expertise were a massive help in dealing with the things that affected me and allowed me to move on.” Joseph, 35

Emma Alabaster

BACP Registered Counsellor, Advanced

BA (hons) Counselling, University of Greenwich, Registered Member BACP

Emma is a very experienced Humanistic (Person Centred) counsellor, has been qualified since 2010 and holds a BA hons (level 6) in Counselling. A Registered Member of BACP, Emma has worked with many organisations such as Victim Support, Brook, Mind, Bedford Open Door, Youth Information Service and in many schools across Bucks and Beds.

Emma says:  “I am a qualified therapist and I am committed to providing counselling in a safe, confidential and non- judgmental environment. I believe everyone deserves to feel valued and heard. I have a specialist interest and experience in working with clients with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome and learning difficulties.

Since I qualified, I have seen many clients of all ages but I specialise in work with young people (11-21 years), including working alongside parents with parental issues. My work is mainly face to face and one to one. Other clients have come to me with a whole range of issues from Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Issues, Family Issues, Anger issues, and Low self-esteem.

Counselling helps you to explore issues that matter to you. It is being given the time to talk with someone that will listen to what you are saying, fully accepting you. I would not tell you what to do but we can work together through the counselling relationship to help you move forward in life.

My original learning is in the person centred approach, it is a way of being but my journey and how I work now can use other methods, such as creative skills to enhance my client’s experience so we can find the most appropriate experience.

Emma is not taking new clients at the moment. Her normal rate is £45.