Helping Adults, Adolescents and Children Live Better Lives
Hello and welcome to my counselling practice in Kingswood, Surrey. My name is Sharmaine O’Keefe and I provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space to support adults, adolescents and children with warmth, kindness and empathy.
Experiencing difficulties or changes in life can sometimes feel incredibly distressing and overwhelming. Life challenges, grief, trauma, unhelpful thought patterns, relationship problems with friends and family or worries about work issues, school, college, university, the future or major life changes and decisions may be holding you back from living your best life and being the person you want to be. Sometimes you might not even know what is making you feel so low, but for some reason you are simply not feeling yourself. If you are a parent, your child might not be verbalising their worries but manifesting their anxiety through their behaviour, making it very difficult to know how to help them or even understand what their anxiety might be about. However, with with the right professional support, you can feel better and life can be easier.
It is really important to look for a counsellor who not only holds the right qualifications, but who you feel comfortable with. I understand that opening up to someone you don't know can feel very daunting but with the right therapist, you will feel a sense of safety and trust and most importantly feel heard and understood. Together we can work through issues, uncover insights, reach goals and find solutions. Having time and space dedicated just to you with a trained therapist can truly be life changing. As for qualifications, I achieved a Masters Degree in Counselling after previously working in education and law, careers which have added an invaluable proficiency to my practice. I am qualified to provide counselling to all age groups and have acquired skills and expertise in several contemporary evidence-based counselling approaches. My practice is integrative which means that I draw upon many counselling theories as each client is unique and not one approach meets all client needs. I use a holistic approach to different therapeutic models but mostly use:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
and Mindfulness Techniques.
I am a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) and adhere to both the BACP Ethical Framework and the ACA Code of Ethics and Practice, including undertaking regular supervision and ongoing professional development, ensuring the highest professional standards. I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, have an enhanced DBS certificate and I am fully insured.
WORKING WITH ADULTS
I offer counselling for adults in many areas, several of which are listed below. However, most of my work focuses on anxiety which includes generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, phobias and social anxiety. Anxiety can also co-occur with other issues such as eating disorders and grief, making anxiety far more common than many people realise. However, the good news is that therapy can significantly help reduce anxiety and manage its symptoms.
WORKING WITH CHILDREN, ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS
I also have a special interest in counselling children, adolescents and young adults after working as a teacher and lecturer in schools and universities in Australia and the Middle East. I later gained specialised training for working with children and adolescents with learning difficulties including dyslexia, ADHD as well as students with autism spectrum disorders. This has provided a thorough understanding of the developmental, emotional, social and educational issues experienced by children and young people, many of which are included in the list below.
school anxiety including separation anxiety
social anxiety disorder
learning difficulties including dyslexia and ADHD
alcohol and drugs
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
Australian Counselling Association (ACA)
Master of Counselling
First Class Honours
Graduate Diploma in Education
University of Western Australia
Awarded the UWA Graduates
Association Prize in Education for
the Most Ability and Promise shown
by a Student in Education
Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
Awarded Honours by The Faculty
of Law for Academic Achievement
Bachelor of Arts
First Class Honours
Admitted to the Supreme Court as a Barrister and Solicitor of Victoria, Australia.
There are several ways of working with me, including virtual and in-person options. Together we can decide which form of therapy best suits your needs.
Face to Face Therapy
I provide face to face counselling in a private, relaxed and peaceful space in Kingswood, Surrey. I find this form of therapy enables a trusting and warm therapeutic relationship to develop quite quickly.
Please note, I always provide face to face therapy for younger children.
Walk and Talk
I provide walk and talk therapy in the beautiful, leafy Kingswood streets or in an agreed location.
On Line Therapy
I am also trained to provide online counselling via video, email, instant messaging, text and phone calls. This type of counselling is often convenient for clients due to accessibility factors.
WORKING WITH ME
I offer a free 20 minute telephone conversation to discuss the reasons for seeking counselling and to answer any questions. I will also share how I work and we can talk about your expectations so you can decide if I am the right therapist for your needs.
All other sessions will be 50 minutes and will cost £60.
The first 50 minute session will be more structured than usual. In addition to some documentation to read and sign, there will be a series of simple questions to answer which will assist me in gaining a greater understanding of your issues. There will also be plenty of time for you to discuss the issues being faced and to ask questions. We will also discuss confidentiality and privacy, both of which are vitally important in the counselling process.
The number of counselling sessions needed varies between clients and depends on the issues being faced. However, the counsellor-client relationship is a collaboration, so we will constantly review our progress together and you will be very much in control of how many sessions are needed.
If you need urgent help or feel that you may harm yourself, please know you're not alone. There is help available:
Samaritans – Tel: 116123 (open 24/7)
Childline (under 19s) – 0800 11 11 The number won’t show up on the bill.
Papryus (for people under 35) – 0800 0684141. Mon – Fri 10 am to 10 pm, weekends 2 – 10 pm, Bank Holidays 2 – 5 pm. Text 07786 209697 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Silverline (for older people) – 0800 4708090.
The Hub Of Hope – Google this website and enter your postcode. All the support services in your area will appear.
"We all look for people in life that touch us in some way, who enrich our lives and make them better. Sharmaine is one such person. She has been like a godsend for me, my wife, but especially my daughter. From the very first telephone conversation to arrange the sessions, I immediately knew here was someone, a good person, who would help my daughter.” N.W
“Sharmaine was almost immediately a revelation for our son with his confidence growing weekly.” P.G
“Sharmaine is extremely personable with a depth of knowledge and experience.” S.G
"A highly talented counsellor, Sharmaine holds herself to a high standard of performance and professionalism and is a committed advocate for her clients."J.H
GET IN TOUCH
If I am with a client, I will not be able to answer the phone. If this is the case, please leave a text message or a WhatsApp message (it will be confidential) with your contact details including an email address. Please let me know if it is ok to call you back and if necessary to leave a message or if you would prefer me to email you. I will get in touch as soon as I can. Alternatively, please send me an email. I check my emails daily and will respond within 24 hours.