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MBACP (Accred), MBABCP (Accred), MSc, BSc (Hons), Dip.Couns,Cert. Ed. Adv Dip CBT, Adv Dip Supervision, PG Cert Couple Couns.

Deb Laxton (Director, Clinical Lead & Senior Tutor)

Deborah Laxton is an accredited member of the BACP, and the BABCP. After graduating from Warwick University, Deborah has since completed a Masters degree in High Intensity Psychological Interventions, a postgraduate certificate in Couple Counselling, an advanced diploma in the clinical supervision of counsellors and psychotherapists and an advanced diploma in CBT. She describes herself as Integrative with a strong Person Centred base in her approach. Deborah is also trained in psychodynamic, systemic and CBT.

Deborah has experience in offering counselling supervision to individuals and groups. She has supported people in their academic study towards counselling qualifications and also in the process of accreditation with the BACP. A member of the BACP for 10 years, she gained accredited status in July 2007 therefore demonstrating that her practice is coherent and ethical. Having over 10 years of teaching experience in Further Education and a variety of other providers such as the Police and HM Prisons, Deborah has taught all levels of counselling up to Diploma, and has experience in working with personal development groups. Not afraid of new challenges, Deborah has often been called upon to use her expertise to devise bespoke programmes of learning and training for groups including; community groups, police, young people and adults in colleges and business.

Deborah's counselling and training experience has invovled her working in primary care, prisons, Relate (couple counselling), Renewal Counselling Service, private practice and with social care staff.

B.A.(Hons) Prince 2 certified

Nathan Laxton (Director of Development & Accreditation)

Nathan has worked in the Health Sector for over twenty years specialising in programme and project management and more recently consultancy for workforce development projects. Working for over 10 years in the Sector Skills Council for Health he has a wealth of experience in developing NOS (National Occupational Standards), creating learning programmes and leading skills reviews. 

Nathan has developed Hope's training courses, ensuring that where appropriate these are accredited with OCNWMR (a national awarding organisation) and courses are informed by the most up to date standards to ensure best practice. Nathan has also developed Hope CIC's social impact measurement indicators.


David Harvey (Director of Finance)

David trained and worked in Financial and Management Accounting for over 40 years. Employed by a large corporate organisation in a variety of roles mainly as a management accountant including being involved in setting up and running small businesses as well as being part of a corporate finance team. Managing change has been a significant aspect of many of these areas of responsibility and working with senior operational managers as part of a multi disciplinary team.

David is also involved with two charities as treasurer responsible for running the financial functions of those organisations.   

BA (Hons), MPhil, PGCE, PgDip

Mary Doyle (Co-Tutor Level 4)

Mary qualified as a Counsellor and Psychotherapist in 2017 after studying for a Post Graduate Diploma at the University of Cumbria and has since worked as a volunteer counsellor for two charities. Although her therapeutic base is Person-Centred, she is developing a more integrative way of working, to incorporate other therapeutic ways of working tailored to the expressed needs of the client. She is a registered member of the BACP and ACC and is currently working towards accreditation and setting up private practice.

After graduating from London University, Mary initially worked as a manager in the private sector but has since worked in the public and charity sector in management and supportive roles. She also gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and spent a short time teaching in secondary schools before completing an extensive piece of educational research, which gained her an MPhil at the University of Lancaster. Her more recent career path has included working with Carers and working for the County Council with Schools, Children’s Centres and Youth Services from within the Children’s Services Commissioning and Contract Management team. She took voluntary redundancy from the Council in 2014 in order to pursue a career in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

 Tracy SpickernellMBACP
FD Integrative Counselling, BEd Hons.

Tracy Spickernell (Tutor - Level 3 Foundation Skills in Counselling)

Tracy is a member of BACP, and has graduated from Newman University with a Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling.  She also graduated from Chichester Institute of Higher Education with a teaching degree.  Tracy has 23 years experience of working with young people in educational and pastoral settings, and 5 years of working with adults in a counselling setting.  She would describe her counselling approach as Integrative, using different models and techniques to suit the individual.


Lucy Belton (Support Tutor)

Lucy has just finished her Diploma in Counselling and is working towards qualifications in order to work with youth and children. She has worked for over 12 years with YWAM in Leadership, training and pastoral work with mostly young adults.


Kate Hayes (Support Tutor)

Kate Hayes qualified in 2000 after training as a Person Centred therapist. Using Person Centred therapy as a framework she uses skills from other approaches when appropriate. Her areas of speciality are abuse, depression, relationships, anxiety, phobias, domestic violence, neonatal death and stillbirth. From personal experience she has a special interest in issues around chronic illness, and low self esteem.

Kate has developed " Open the Box " a visually impacting course that challenges faulty perceptions of self, defences and gives keys to change and move on. This is modified to suit health and counselling professionals to support their work with clients as well as individuals/groups who face these issues on a daily basis. Kate is also experienced at working with adolescents who have challenging behaviours individualy and in small groups, in community settings outreaching and working with diversity and people who are marginalised in society.


Richard Lowe (Associate)

Richard is a trained debriefer, working with YWAM for 28 years and has 30 years experience in missions - training and equipping those within mission and the local church.


Norma Clark (Associate)

Norma is a BACP Accredited Counsellor. She has a Diploma in Clinical and Pastoral Counselling, is a Relate Certified Couple Counsellor, and has also trained to work with Young People and as a Family Counsellor. She has recently completed Mediation Training and is working with Relate and the local councils to offer Mediation with a Counsellor to young people in danger of becoming homeless. She has a private practice in counselling and supervision and has also been involved in training and selecting counsellors for training.

Her original training was as a State Registered Nurse, she then specialised in paediatrics and clinical teaching. She works in an integrative way with a psychodynamic and systemic theoretical base. She has a special interest and awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome and works with couples, partners and children of adult individuals with Aspeger’s Syndrome.


Urmila Desia (Associate)

Urmila Desai is a BACP accredited counsellor having initially trained in the Person Centred approach in 2000. Urmila has worked extensively with ethnic minority groups as part of her therapeutic role in for the City Council as a Mental Health worker for over 20 years. In addition to this Urmila has set up and managed a highly successful counselling service offering culturally sensitive counselling in different South Asian languages (Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, and English).

Group facilitation is another of Urmila's strengths - as she has devised and delivered a number of ground breaking courses in the area of life skills particularly in self development, self esteem building, stress and anxiety management, and assertiveness for Asian women. Urmila is a highly experienced member of the team at Hope.

 Stella Doggett

Stella Doggett (Associate)

Having studied for a social science degree, which included courses in sociology, social psychology and economics, Stella trained as a teacher and specialised for several years working with children with learning difficulties. She has provided counselling and training for C.L.M for a number of years, and previously worked in a NHS counselling team in the West Midlands. She is a qualified M.B.T.I user and has been running workshops for various organisations for twenty years.


Janet Fox (Associate)

Janet is an experienced Organisational Development consultant who specialises in working with organisations, teams and individuals. Clinically trained Janet has gained experience in Risk Management and Equalities prior to moving into Organisational Development and has worked in both public and private sector organisations. Janet is also a level 7 executive coach and an advanced workplace mediator. Janet is passionate about supporting people to be the best that they can be: realising potential to achieve success.