Who are we?

Essere is an Italian word meaning ‘To be’. We wanted to choose a name for our business that conveyed the inclusiveness of the service we want to offer. We believe that by providing an atmosphere of acceptance and curiosity, along with our desire to explore alongside another, we can offer a therapeutic experience that supports movement towards a more peaceful and positive state of being.

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Helen is a BACP Accredited Therapist who brings a combination of approaches to therapy, working with the individual as a whole, tailoring the therapeutic process to meet the unique needs of the client.

Helen is aware that there has been a shift in recent years, and we now have a much clearer, more specific understanding of how unresolved adverse experiences shape us and our beliefs about life, and how they can be healed. Helen is passionate about the integration between mind, emotion and body awareness using focusing and other somatic techniques as a gentle way to deal with trauma.

Helen has also trained in Filial Therapy which supports parents/ carers as they learn key therapeutic skills which equip them to engage with their children (for more information please read about our Filial Therapy)

Helen has worked in the area of trauma for over 25 years working with adults, children and families. She has worked for children, family and young people’s services, sexual health services and in both mainstream schools and specialist schools who support children and teens with a range of social, emotional, behavioural and specific learning difficulties . A large part of Helen's work has been to provide therapy for young people and adults who have experienced trauma, neglect and sexual harm.

Helen holds a strong belief that when you enter an unknown inner world of another person; exploring and trying to gain some meaning and knowledge beyond the initial purpose; you begin to gain a sense of freedom, a stronger sense of who you are, which can bring a desire to try new experiences or return to experiences that may have been lost through trauma, fear, depression, or repression, bringing a whole new meaning to our lives.

Photo of Catherine from Essere Therapies


Catherine is a BAPT trained and experienced Play Therapist, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. She has additional training in the family therapy models of Filial Therapy and Theraplay®, and in Lego® Based Therapy.

Previously, Catherine was a primary school teacher and over the years she met a lot of children who had had difficult life experiences that were affecting the way they felt about themselves and the world around them, adversely affecting their capacity to learn and thrive. Catherine could see that these children needed a specific kind of support and help before they were going to be able to fully focus on fulfilling their potential. Recognising this situation led Catherine to return to university to train as a Play Therapist.

Since gaining her Master’s degree in Play Therapy, Catherine has worked with children and families experiencing a range of issues and very differing histories. Some clients have experienced multiple traumas and losses in their lives and are experiencing a range of difficulties when they begin therapy. Other children are referred because they are experiencing specific issues, such as separation anxiety or low self-esteem. She has worked with children and their birth families as well as those in foster care and those who have been adopted. Her services are sought by schools, social care and parents who seek support privately rather than via. the organisations mentioned.

Please visit the Testimonials page to read about client’s experiences of working with Catherine.

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Gemma has a foundation degree in Integrative Counselling. This means she is able to use different models of practice to suit each individual whilst maintaining a person-centred core approach to therapy. Gemma has worked as a childcare professional in many different roles such as nursery nurse, teaching assistant and one to one support for children with additional learning needs and children who struggle with behaviour.

Gemma's love and passion for working with children continues and after working with children who had experienced trauma in the roles described, she developed a strong wish to be able to understand and do more to help them further. This is what led Gemma back to university to study counselling.

Gemma has been a counsellor at Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Domestic Violence (HARV) team. She also has experience of working with children and teens with complex needs in school settings. Gemma’s personal experience of domestic abuse, which was an incredibly difficult time in her life, has informed her deeply about this struggle and inspired her to work alongside women and children who have had similar experiences. She has a particular knowledge and expertise in this area.

Photo of Helen Jane

Helen Jane

Helen Jane is a BACP registered psychotherapist experienced in working with both adults and children. After enjoying a 20-year career in teaching and education, Helen Jane retrained to gain a postgraduate diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy and is currently studying towards an MA. Helen Jane’s insight, from working with children and young people, enables a deep understanding of the significant impact of our early experience on our potential to learn and to feel happy and valued as adults in everyday life.

Helen Jane works as a school counsellor supporting children using play therapy. In therapy sessions, children have time to focus on emotions and life events, often difficult to access purely through talking, helping them to explore and better understand themselves and the way they relate to others.

Helen Jane works with adults through her private practice and the voluntary sector. Through therapy and counselling, Helen Jane provides a warm and caring environment where thoughts, feelings and concerns can be shared in an honest and non-judgmental way.

Helen Jane understands the importance of being listened to and she works openly with each client. She designs therapy to include appropriate interventions which provide ways for feelings of anxiety, low mood, anger and stress, and relationship issues to be explored. Her aim is for each person to regain a sense of self or a deepening sense of becoming closer to the “real you”.

Photo of Maxine


I have a background in applied Psychology and am a trainee Practitioner in Therapeutic Play (PTUK.) I previously worked as a children’s play-worker for Women’s Aid and then as teacher in mainstream and alternative settings.

Working at a centre for children recovering from bullying, I witnessed the power of providing safe spaces for children to share their experiences and holistic education to foster self-confidence and belief.

I have worked as an Educational Psychologist in different Local Authorities using collaborative approaches to support development, growth and change with individuals, groups, and settings.

It is important to me to be ‘visible’ about the perspectives I bring and where they come from. I believe that change is enabled by acceptance and self-discovery, and in my work I seek to be playful and curious enabling children to create their own narratives about their lives and who they are becoming.