PCU Committee 2021- 2022

Following the AGM on 8th May 2021, the Union has an executive committee of 09 people drawn from many parts of the counselling and psychotherapy field.  You can contact the committee via email with the Subject field FAO (CommitteeExecutive Member Name)  admin@pcunion.org.uk 

Juliet Lyons - General 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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Mike Shallcross, Treasurer

 

I have been working mainly as a therapist for about 15 years now, and I try to avoid getting drawn back into accountancy. However, I am in fact a qualified accountant, and I worked for one of the big accountancy firms for quite a few years. So the reason why I volunteered to be Treasurer of PCU is that I believe strongly in the need for a union for psychotherapists and counsellors, and in the value and importance of what PCU is doing. And I see my role here as facilitative, helping to keep PCU’s finances running smoothly so that the organisation can focus its energies on the things that really matter.

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.  

Richard Bagnall-Oakley 

 

I'm an integrative child, adolescent and adult psychotherapist and supervisor, working in primary schools and various other settings across North London. Before I became a therapist I worked in youth and play services and was a union rep in the struggles against local government cuts during the 1990s. I have a long history of involvement in local campaigns and decentralised initiatives seeking social change.


I was a founding member of PCU, a member of the Committee from 2016, and Chair/General Secretary from 2017-20. I'm proud to have played a part in establishing PCU as a recognised trade union - the need for the work we are doing is abundantly clear. There is a lot more work to be done and I hope we can find ways of involving more members in participating as we continue to grow.

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James D West

I am an individual and group art psychotherapist with 30 years of experience working in the NHS, charities and private practice, and as a supervisor in a wide variety of practice contexts and modalities. I have a broad insight into the current state of health, social care, education, third sector provisions and private practice for both therapists and clients.  

 

In the 80’s I witnessed the race ‘riots’ in Brixton and subsequently joined the anti-apartheid movement as the global impact of colonialism, past and present, became apparent to me.  In my twenties I joined the Labour Party. I also lived in a number of countries as a child (Spain, Gambia, Nigeria) and later Mexico. I remain an active member of the Labour Party and have been a member of the Unite Union since qualification. I support parliamentary democracy and rigorous debate.

 

At University I studied Fine Art and Art History and after voluntary work in a Lambeth homeless hostel, I trained and qualified as an Art Psychotherapist in 1994 before completing an MA in Applied Psychoanalytic Theory and later a Diploma in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy. I am also a qualified clinical hypnotherapist.  

 

More recently in 2011 I co-founded the British Association Art Therapy‘s Addictions Special Interest Group following many years of work in rehab, and for nine years I coordinated BAAT’s Self-employed, Independent and Private Practice Special Interest Group through face to face meetings, workshops and online groups.  

 

At a time of rising austerity, I am very concerned about the directions of therapy, training and research, and value the PCU’s forums to think and reflect about this rapidly changing, often confusing and contested landscape. 

 

This year a number of PCU members and I set up the PCU Arts Therapies Group as a resource for Arts Therapists (and other PCU members with overlapping interests) and we are currently working on clarifying the aims of the group.  With first-hand experience of receiving PCU support, I am also committed to membership support services.

 

I am also a published author/editor: 

‘Aquellos Ojos Verdes’, Third Text. An article was written in response to my experience of the racial apartheid in Mexico City.
http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232940601_Aquellos_ojos_verdes


and two collaborative practice-based research books: 'Art Therapy in Private Practice; Theory, Practice and Research in Changing Contexts' (2018) 

 

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Nathan Dean

Since November 2019, Nathan has been recovering from his own health scare in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Whilst the world turned on with its own crisis, Nathan was forced to sit back and experience it from hospital wards and his own bedroom office for the foreseeable. In this time, he has brought together what he learnt from his theatrical days, his days working for TedX, and his bedbound research in anarchism, chaos magick, counselling & therapy, and integrative practices, so he can yell at clouds on Twitter. Now it is time to take that theory and turn it into practice. He cannot wait to help, listen, and support the PCU community in any way he can. As a Union, we are stronger against the powers that be that lack in the radical empathy necessary to move past our global crises. 

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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.

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Roxy Birdsall

I am a qualified counsellor who currently works with children aged 5-11 and a DProf Student in Counselling and Psychotherapy Studies at the University of Chester. My previous research centred around the experience of feeling like an outsider, and my current research interest is that of the prevalence of unpaid work in the counselling profession and its effects.

Outside of counselling, I was an elected committee member of the Keele Postgraduate Association which represented the Postgraduate study body of Keele University.
 
I am interested in being a part of the committee because I am passionate about bringing about change in the counselling profession for the betterment of counsellors and psychotherapists. I have experienced first-hand the barriers and injustices qualified and trainee counsellors face, and frustratingly continue to face. Post qualification it has become increasingly obvious to me how undervalued we as professionals are, despite our work being demanding, imbued with responsibility and potentially transformative to people’s lives. When I discovered that the PCU existed I was excited to see other people talking about the issues I was railing against, and to see those who are involved dedicate their time and energy to the cause.

In my academic work, I believe in the power of research to platform the voices and experiences of counsellors/psychotherapists, and through my own research hope to challenge the current oppressive structure. I think this is a strength and knowledge I could also bring to the committee.
 
I want to see change, I want to see diversity, I want to see respect and a genuine valuing of what our profession does which is reflected in the way counsellors/psychotherapists are treated in employment and training. Change can only happen if action is taken, and I want to be a part of that action. I am privileged enough to be able to survive as a counsellor and to undertake DProf studies, therefore I want to use this privilege to help to make the profession one that is equally accessible to all.

 

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John Goss - Social Media Coordinator

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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