PCU Committee 2020 - 2021

Following the AGM on 25th April 2020, 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 admin@pcunion.org.uk 

Juliet Lyons - General Secretary 

I am an Integrative Child Psychotherapist (IATE), Clinical Supervisor and one of the founding members of PCU with three years’ as Secretary and now, General Secretary. We have worked hard as a committee and Union to create a structure to move forward and have an impact with and on behalf of our members. I am hopeful that we will be able to forge a significant space within the psy organisations and be the go-to organisation for psy professionals regarding workplace difficulties and disputes. 

I feel hopeful that the incoming committee and I have energy and ideas to make significant progress in addressing fundamental inequities in our professions and I am hopeful that our membership will continue to be active in supporting each other and contributing to these conversations and directions. 

I would like to see all decision-making bodies much more representative of gender, ethnic and cultural diversity and a widening of diversity in our profession and in PCU. I would like to see Counsellors and Psychotherapist’s work and contributions to society taken seriously, have a larger impact on public policy and generally, properly valued.

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Michael McDonough (co-opted Treasurer)

Andrew Price - 


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!​



Richard Bagnall-Oakley - 


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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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.


Sarah Cantwell

I’m a humanistic counsellor and cognitive behavioural therapist, currently working in an IAPT service in London. Since 2014, I have been involved in activism around reproductive rights and voting rights issues. This helped me to gain experience and confidence in developing transformative networks and campaigns, as well as growing social media platforms and liaising with traditional media. 


I joined PCU when I was feeling coerced and trapped as a qualified counsellor on an unpaid placement in 2017. I felt supported just knowing the union existed and I promised myself I would give back in the future. PCU is a much-needed movement in the therapy sector in the UK and I consider it a privilege to contribute my energy and skills to developing collective platforms for people working in this sector. 

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Kris Black LLB (Hons)


I am a UKCP and BACP registered Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, an integrative child and adolescent counsellor, / ISN supervisor, independent therapeutic trainer, groupworker and activist.


Founder of Radical* Dialogues – Kris has been providing Intersectional Training and Consultancy to the counselling & therapy field, as an independent Trainer for some years now. Kris has a large and diverse private practice within London’s QTIPOC** and LGTQIA+ communities with clients from diverse economic, cultural, class and social backgrounds including Black African Asian and other marginalised ethnic minority communities within London.


Kris served for 7 years on the Leadership Team of the Black African and Asian Therapy Network, is a Black Issues Masterclass Graduate, and a Clinical Associate and on the training faculty of Pink Therapy. Kris is part  of the Coalition Against Conversion Therapy, and the Free Psychotherapy Network.


Kris has worked therapeutically and politically for over 37 years with traumatised adults, adolescents and children from racialised and working-class communities – working extensively within the education, charity and community sectors.


Kris has previously served as a Workplace Organising steward, a Health and Safety Rep within workplace trades Unions in the Voluntary and Education Sectors as a former member of Unison since the 1980’s. Kris brings extensive experience of trade union organising at a grass roots and workplace level to the PCU Exec.


Kris uses they / them pronouns


*rad·​i·​cal | \ ˈra-di-kəl meaning of going to the root or origin; fundamental: thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted 

or traditional forms, avouring drastic political, economic, or social reforms

**Queer, Trans, Intersex People of Color

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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. 

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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

John Goss


Qualified as a Person-Centred Counsellor in 2015. Since then, I have taken an interest in various other modalities - something which still fascinates me. I have experience in Local Government, as a Councillor - something I feel equips me well to take on a role within the PCU Committee.

I joined PCU because I believe Counselling and Psychotherapy needs a voice, and that is something we are more likely to achieve if we find ways of coming together and supporting each other.

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Sana Zehra

I am an integrative psychotherapy trainee. I have experience of diverse trainings, including clinical psychology and integrative counselling - this variety of training experiences has helped me understand some of the similarities, differences and contradictions in different therapeutic traditions and trainings.

Since 2013, I have worked with children and adults in psychiatric, charity, and special ed settings, in the UK and Pakistan. My interests include working with diversity and trauma, through embodied intersubjectivity. The causes I’m passionate about including racial justice in counselling/psychotherapy and wider society, and ending the exploitation of counsellors, especially trainees. Before entering the mental health profession in 2012, I finished a liberal arts undergrad in economics, tried medical school for 6 months, and worked briefly in a think tank.