Abby has worked with a wide range of clients with complex psychological difficulties. She was the clinical lead for the Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) service at a privately-run hospital, before moving into NHS forensic inpatient services. She has particular expertise in working with people with severe and enduring difficulties in emotions and relationships, including people who might have had a diagnosis of personality disorder from services, or who experience complex difficulties related to early trauma. She also has an interest in autism and has provided consultation, training and advice to professionals on this topic. She is particularly interested in the interaction between our sensory experiences, our emotions and our relationships and how an adverse environment can affect our ability to self-regulate. As a forensic psychologist, she also has extensive experience of assessing and managing risk and delivering interventions to help people turn away from offending.

Some of Abby’s clients have come to her because they were struggling to manage very intense emotions including overwhelming shame, guilt, anger, rage, anxiety or sadness. She has also worked with many people who described themselves as feeling emotionally numb or empty inside, who perhaps had difficulties with dissociation or feeling cut off from their bodies.  They might have used self-harm or other harmful strategies to cope. The aim of the work has been to develop a therapeutic relationship that would allow them to explore their emotions safely and learn strategies to notice and manage them without becoming overwhelmed by them.

Abby is registered with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist (forensic) and has an additional qualification in the therapeutic use of the arts.

Abby will often support clients to use the arts and other creative approaches to explore their thoughts and feelings. She recently completed an Advanced Diploma in the Therapeutic Use of the Arts at the Institute for the Arts in Therapy and Education (IATE), London. The course teaches an integrative approach (drawing particularly on Gestalt therapy, Attachment and Transactional Analysis models of psychotherapy) to using arts media in therapy, including poetry, clay, music, movement, drama, body work, puppets and sand tray as well as visual arts (painting, drawing etc.).

As well as working as an associate therapist at Beacon House, Abby continues to work in the NHS and is also a specialist member of the Parole Board for England and Wales. Abby has also worked as a social researcher and has skills in service evaluation. As such, she has an interest in, and commitment to, evidence-based practise.  However, she also understands that people don’t fit into neat boxes and treatment needs to be flexible. Abby believes that people are unique and creative in how they experience – and adapt to cope with – life’s problems, in order to survive and thrive as best they can. As well as the approaches already mentioned, Abby’s work is informed by her knowledge of schema therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).  Abby knows that what works for one person, may not work for another and she will take time to explore your needs with you. She is warm, collaborative and brings an integrative and thoughtful approach to therapy drawing on all of her knowledge and experiences.

  • Advanced Diploma in the Therapeutic Use of the Arts
    Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education (IATE), 2020
  • BACP Endorsed Certificate in Creative Therapies
    Lisa Britton and Martin Chester, Creative Play Ltd, 2014
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Intensive Training Parts 1 & 2
    British Isles DBT Training Team, 2013
  • Qualification in Forensic Psychology, Stage 2: Supervised Practice
    British Psychological Society, 2012
  • Diploma in Forensic Psychology, Stage 1, Part B: Research
    British Psychological Society, 2006
  • Diploma in Forensic Psychology, Stage 1, Part A: Professional Exams – Distinction
    British Psychological Society, 2004
  • BSc Psychology (Hons) 1st Class
    University of York, 2002
  • Developmental Trauma for Professionals
    Beacon House Online Training, October 2020 (12 hours)
  • Supervision Skills (For eligibility as a BPS registered supervisor)
    Dr Linda Charles, 5th June 2019, 24th July 2019 & 26th February 2020
  • The Parole Board Annual Members’ Conference
    The Parole Board for England & Wales, 8th-10th July 2019
  • “Guerilla” Neuropsychology For Offender Personality Disorder Pathways Staff
    Dr Keith Scholey & Dr Robert Halsey, 20th June 2019
  • Inauguration Speech On Gangs Research & CORE-FP Mini Conference
    Professor Jane Wood, University of Kent Centre for Research and Education in Forensic Psychology, 18th April 2019
  • Schema Therapy In Forensic Settings
    Dr Kerry Beckley, 8-9th April 2019
  • BIGSPD Annual Conference
    British Isles Group for the Study of Personality Disorder, 2nd-4th April 2019
  • Treating Complex Trauma
    Dr Georgina Clifford, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, 5th December 2018
  • Assessing Risk In Mental Health & Criminal Justice Settings Conference
    Healthcare Conferences UK, 5th October 2018
  • Introduction To The Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI)
    Dr Anne Sheeran, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, one day, January 2018
  • The Parole Board Annual Members’ Conference
    The Parole Board for England & Wales, 29th November -1st December 2017
  • Sexual Oppression & Its Impact On Mental Health & Well-being Conference
    School of Psychotherapy & Psychology, Regent’s College, 29th October 2016
  • DBT Skills Top-Up
    Prof. Marsha Linehan, BehaviourTech LLC, five days, June 2014
  • Introduction To The Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS)
    Partnerships in Care, one day, 2014
  • HCR20v3 Assessment Of Violence Risk Train the Trainers
    Dr Chris Webster and Dr Adrian Cree, two days, 2014
  • Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy For Disorders Of Overcontrol
    Professor Thomas R. Lunch, Grayrock & Stanton Psychological Services, 16th November 2013
  • Sexual Offending Risk Assessments
    Dr Jackie Craissati, Partnerships in Care, 2013
  • ‘Developing New Me’ Foundation Group Facilitator Training
    Dr Maxine Daniels, 19th-22nd November 2013
  • Prolonged Exposure Trauma Therapy For High Risk & Complex Clients Engaging With DBT
    Dr Melanie Harned, British Isles DBT Training & Behaviour Tech, 8-9th July 2013
  • International Personality Disorder Examination
    Partnerships in Care, three days, 2013
  • HCR20 Version 3 Violence Risk Assessment
    Prof. Kevin Douglas, IoP King’s College London and St Andrew’s, 25th January 2013
  • Behaviour Change Research Mini-Conference
    Government Social Research, Summer 2012
  • Victim Impact Assessment – Promoting Mental Health Recovery While Tackling Crime
    Dr Ian Gargan, British Psychological Society DFP, 29th March 2012