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 and Clinical Supervisor. Helen brings a combination of approaches to the therapeutic relationship, working with the individual as a whole, tailoring the process to meet the unique needs of the client or supervisee.

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 30 years working with adults, children, young people and families. She has worked for children, family and young people’s services, sexual health services, children's services as an assistant manager and in both mainstream schools and specialist schools who support children and young people 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.

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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.

Photo of Chanelle Hummer


Chanelle is a BACP registered Counsellor and Psychotherapist. Chanelle has a Foundation and Bachelors degree in integrative counselling. Chanelle works with an empathic person-centred approach to therapy and can also offer different interventions to find what works best for her client.

Previously, Chanelle has been a volunteer at a charity for the past two years offering counselling and before that owned a beauty salon for ten years. Chanelle is very much a people person and has an approachable manner offering a relaxed, confidential, safe place to explore your emotions, thoughts and feelings to enable growth, change and a positive way of moving forward in life. Chanelle is particularly good at listening and creating a therapeutic relationship and gets great fulfilment in life through offering help and support to others.

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Sarah is a BACP registered therapist, with an adult diploma in humanistic counselling. Sarah works with both adults and children and young people. Sarah’s Humanistic values means she understands the importance of the therapeutic relationship, Sarah feels strongly that the underpinning of therapy is about creating a safe space, where thoughts and feelings can be expressed freely and without judgement. Over the years through experience and additional training, Sarah has developed a more integrative way of working, allowing her to tailor sessions to what clients feel they need from therapy.
Before training as a counsellor, Sarah worked for 17 years in a generic primary and secondary special school, where she supported children with various learning disabilities, including children with neurodiversity. Currently Sarah works as a school counsellor across two primary schools and one secondary special school. She also works in private practice with both adults and children and young people.

Sarah completed play therapy training with a national children’s charity early on in her counselling career and understands that the natural form of communication for children, is play and creativity. More recently Sarah returned to study for a post qualifying diploma in counselling children and young people. This course was informed by the latest neuroscience, and this has helped to deepen Sarah’s understand of how our experiences can not only impact our reactions, thoughts, feelings and relationships, but also our brain and development. Sarah has also completed training on trauma and dissociation and uses this to help inform her practice.

Sarah has counselled children and adults who have experienced a variety of difficulties, including those who have experienced trauma in their lives, have experienced bereavement, suffered from various forms of anxiety, or have low-self-esteem. Sarah aims to help clients to reflect upon and make sense of their experiences and has seen for herself, how creative exploration and new experiences can lead to healing and change.

Sarah is always guided by what feels comfortable and preferable for her clients and the option to work creatively is always the client’s choice. Some young people find talking therapy feels more comfortable, while some adults are open to working with creative materials and find that creativity can deepen their experience of counselling.

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Claire is a person centred therapist who works with clients aged 16 and over.

Claire has an optimistic view of human nature, and believes that, given a safe space in which to gently explore, we can all increase our self awareness and work towards the resolution of inner conflicts.

Claire previously provided therapy at a women's charity, helping clients with a variety of different issues, including relationship difficulties, anxiety, depression, self harm, domestic violence and long covid.

Claire has a Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy from The University of Salford and is a registered member of the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists).

Prior to training as a therapist, Claire’s role involved supporting people who had suffered life changing injuries or bereavements as a result of medical procedures. Seeing the way in which those people found a way to move forward positively with their lives after having counselling was one of the factors that inspired Claire to become a therapist.

photo of Lynda Dempsey

Lynda Dempsey

Lynda Dempsey is a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy with a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. She has been qualified for 11 years and has worked with adults, young people and children presenting with issues such as anxiety; depression; grief and loss; relationship issues; self harm; trauma; gender and sexuality issues; autism and ADHD. Her therapeutic approach is person centred and she offers clients the core conditions of empathy; unconditional positive regard; and congruence.

Once qualified Lynda began to focus on working with children and undertook play therapy training with a national charity. She has worked in many primary and secondary schools in East Lancashire and has spent the last 4 years working in a Pupil Referral Unit. Lynda incorporates the PACE principles of being playful, accepting, curious and empathic into her work and is an advocate of always being curious as to what is underneath a child’s behaviour. She has a special interest in attachment, trauma and special educational needs.

Lynda’s priority is for clients to feel safe in the therapeutic relationship, focusing on understanding their unique self; helping them gain a better understanding of themselves; make sense of their experiences; and work towards a better future. She has been described as supportive, caring and compassionate. Lynda also works in private practice with adults and children.