My nursing exeprience and how this informs my psychotherapy work
Working as a nurse and sexual health adviser in the NHS
I qualified as a nurse at St Thomas’ hospital, London, in 1982 and have worked in the NHS ever since, firstly as a ward nurse and, for the past twenty five years, as a sexual health adviser and counsellor. My interest in sexual medicine began in when I volunteered with the Terrence Higgins Trust (an HIV charity) during the HIV /AIDS crisis in the 1980s and continues to this day.

I am currently employed part-time at Withington Community Hospital, Manchester, as a Senior Health Adviser (nurse/ counsellor role) in a Sexual health and HIV out-patients clinic. I see clients for two and a half days per week, giving treatment and providing advice, support and counselling, mainly for people who are adjusting to a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection or HIV.

My background in nursing has given me an understanding of how we are impacted by our own and others’ health, ill health, and by death. I have also worked with people have been sexually assaulted or suffered abuse and torture.

One of the other benefits of my nursing experience is an understanding of physical and mental health conditions. I have access to medical information and I understand the impact of many medications and treatments on the person. Within my NHS work I frequently work with other health practitioners such as general practitioners, community psychiatric nurses and mental health workers such as psychologists and therefore can help clients access any support services they may need.

Over the years I have become particularly interested in supporting people who feel ashamed of their health or lifestyle choices, such as eating or drinking too much, taking recreational drugs, gambling, returning to dysfunctional relationships, or just not doing exercise! I can help people explore the choices they are making, how they manage their anxiety around these choices, and whether they want to change.