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PCU Committee 2019 - 2020

Following the AGM on 18th May 2019, the Union has an executive committee of 10 people drawn from many parts of the counselling and psychotherapy field.  You can contact the committee via 

Richard Bagnall-Oakley - General Secretary


I work primarily with children and young people, currently in local schools in North London. Before I became a psychotherapist, I worked in play and youth projects (and was a Unison union rep) - play and creativity have always been central to my work and my values. I've been involved in various grass-roots, non-party political and community projects most of my adult life - for me, the most inspiring social movements are those which work in a decentralised, 'bottom-up' rather than 'top-down' way, empowering their members to make their voices heard and take action. I hope the union can also work in this way.

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Juliet Lyons - Secretary 

Having trained as Integrative Child Psychotherapist at the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education, my specialist interest is in children and families and how we care for each other as a society. I have a strong cross-over interest with the expressive and healing potential of creativity and the use of the arts. I would like to see politics in this country being much more representative of gender, ethnic, cultural and class diversity and I would like to see this widening of diversity in our profession as well. I have come to see PCU as an important protective, critiquing and challenging voice for our complex profession. My particular concerns are in the direction economically driven policies are taking us, impeding the quality of in-depth relationships.

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Andrew Price - Treasurer


I was one of the founding members of the PCU and soon after its inception I became a committee member. I am now the National treasurer.Prior to qualifying as an integrative counsellor, I had been an operational firefighter for 30 years and a Fire Brigades Union official. I have experience of being a lay advocate, negotiator and experienced union activist. My practice thus far, includes working with young people as a school counsellor and with a recognise national charity. Currently, I am working at a doctors surgery as their in house counsellor. We need an independent voice for counsellors and psychotherapist so that we can effect change as to how our profession is regarded and rewarded. To take our profession forward we will need to have influence in the workplace, professional bodies and politically.Building the union further is vital if we are to achieve the goals of the founding conference of the PCU. Come join us and be part of making history.Unity is strength!​



Sasha - Member Support Coordinator

I began to contribute to PCU by phone-surveying members about their experience of PCU, & encouraging involvement.  I joined the committee in 2018 and when Jane Clements stepped down as Membership Secretary I took on the member support aspect of that role. 


After training as a social worker I spent 12 years working in a crisis house for women.  Whilst there I studied Systemic therapy & went on to pursue a UKCP Integrative course.  Through those years I was out about all aspects of my sexual identities and lifestyle.   I enjoyed personal-political involvement and scene partying.  A battlesome traumatic exit from my training course radicalised my perspective of therapy organisations, including the hegemony of various bodies & discourses.


Making links with Pink Therapy, and with the Independent Practitioner Network was an important part of self-repair.  During training I became increasingly unwell; afterwards, I was diagnosed with long-term health conditions and now live with a significant disability.  My training placement supported me to survive & thrive as a practitioner.  My experiences root my connection to fighting for rights & against oppression.

Eleanor Lindlar (Health and Safety Lead),

I have worked as a Person-Centred counsellor since 2000 in education and private practice. I have expanded my work with individuals, children and young people over that time to include working within the performing arts, substance misuse and couples. I now work solely in private practice in Stratford upon Avon.

I see Person-Centred Therapy as intrinsically radical in its approach with a potential to bring about not only individual but societal change for the betterment of everyone.


Jayn Crowter

My name is Jayn Crowter (he/him) and I am a trainee therapist currently on the MA Person-Centred Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling Practise at the University of Nottingham. I have over 2 years of experience as an unpaid volunteer counsellor for a local charity. I have been active in socialist and trade union movements from a young age, having been raised by a Union Representative. I am passionate about celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity, stemming from my own experiences as a queer and disabled individual. I am excited by the potential power of a unified voice for counsellors, by counsellors. When I'm not studying I play board games and collect cats. (Left the committee on Nov/2019)

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Maxim Ilyashenko

​I am a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist (BACP), MA Psy, EMDR, Hypnotherapist (CNHC accred), Sandplay and couple therapist. Based in Shoreditch, London.

Victoria Childs (Family Court)

I am a founding member of PCU,  after having been involved with the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2008. ACP formed as a response to the planned State regulation of counselling and psychotherapy via the (then) Health Professions Council. During the formulation of this response, the idea of a union began. I’d already been involved in a number of professional, academic, community and film projects since the 1990s, linking politics with psychoanalysis, which continue to date. I am a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and have been working in private practice for twenty-five years.
Initially forging a link with the Support Not Separation Coalition, my special responsibility is for liaising with the several campaign groups based at the Crossroads Centre, enabling us as a union to support their vital work, which includes campaign launches, regular protests and rallies.
I am particularly interested in a debate around class and the historic lack of class diversity within the psychotherapy profession. I have been involved in politics and campaigning around social justice since my early teens, when I grew up during the miners' strike in South Yorkshire. The union’s work to me is very much a continuation of the political commitment I encountered all around me during those important times and it is therefore something I feel very proud to be involved in. (Left the committee on January 2020)

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Audrey West

I have been a member of PCU since it was newly set up. One of our dynamic first meetings included a circle encounter exploring race and difference through personal experience and professional practice. This had a profound effect on the most present, and we agreed this discussion should continue. I intend to bring ‘race equalities’ higher up PCU the agenda.
I received her Post-Graduate diploma as a Psychosynthesis Counsellor and Psychotherapist in 1998. Following my MA in Cultural Memory, 2002, I pursued post-trauma therapy work alongside other engagements. This was a result of my raised awareness of the reverberation of trauma in subsequent generations of enslaved Africans who had suffered the onslaughts of the transatlantic chattel slave industry.
I am also a qualified PGCE modern languages teacher, a visual artist and writer. Since 1985, I have principally been employed in the not for profit sector in community development. I have worked at senior levels, including as psychotherapist, in this broad range of companies. I add training and life coaching to this prism. I apply creativity and spirituality to her various occupations. I have recently moved from London to North Wales to consolidate this work.


Reem Shelhi

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