Cathie O'Brien  

  Gestalt Psychotherapy, OD Consultancy, Supervision, Coaching, and Training 

 Welcome to Home & Away Psychological Therapies Service (HAPTS)

Hello and welcome to my website. This home page gives you an insight into my background, my specialism and my experience. If you are interested in Psychotherapy or other areas I work in please go straight to them via the tabs above.

My name is Cathie O'Brien and I am a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer and I am Accredited and Registered with BACP and UKCP as a Child and Adult Psychotherapist and UKCP Approved Supervisor. I also hold a Post Grad Diploma in Relational Organisational Gestalt and offer Coaching and Consultancy to individuals, groups and organisations. 

I also specialise in delivering an attachment and trauma informed framework to organisations in both the public and private sectors,  who work with very distressed and vulnerable people.

I am an independent practitioner and as well as working in private practice I am commissioned to work in both the public and private sectors such as Children’s Homes, SEMH/BESD Schools, Mainstream Schools, Post Adoption Services, Fostering Agencies and Supported Living for Adults.

Home & Away is a relational analogy and represents the dance between Self (Home) and Other (Away).  

I first developed the name Home & Away through many years working with Children in Care and the organisations that cared for them. It represented their difficulties with relationships due to interpersonal trauma, experiencing others as both frightened and frightening. It also represents the difficult process of being 'between' Home & Away and the conflicted emotions and feelings they felt towards themselves and to others, especially their loved ones, leaving their nervous systems in an agitated state. These children are never quite able to relax in relation to self (Home) and others (Away), always being on alert to the situation/environment.

It also represents how many people are feeling in todays fast paced and increasingly robotic world. People are feeling disconnected more than ever before, even though they have constant contact through social media.

The world of work has developed organisational practices similar to the situation children in care grow up in,

becoming    frightened and frightening environments - creating emergencies where there aren't any. This is mostly due to over regulation of services and focus on left brain communication, evidence and function. Over regulation is leaving people feeling fearful and strangled and as a result they are losing their creative capacity, innovation, energy and sense of satisfaction. Stress, burn out, depression and anxiety are on the increase like never before - impacting sickness levels.

What changes this is a relational approach and the development of a secure base. Relationships, generally, help people to calm and this calm energy, sense of team and community, increases resilience, wellbeing, sense of satisfaction and as a natural result, good outcomes and measures. For services that work with very distressed people this is particularly important. When staff's anxieties lower then so does the people's in their care. Thus reducing risk taking behaviours and safeguarding concerns, developing the whole brain organisation and individual.

Cathie O'Brien has over thirty years' experience working with children, families, adults and organisations, across all the statutory services i.e. Social Care, CAMHS and Education. She started her training as a Therapist in 1997 and has been practicing as a Gestalt Therapist since 2001. Over the years she has undertaken various posts from University Counsellor to  Leading a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), in a Children's Secure Unit, as well as working in the community with public sector Children’s Homes and Fostering and Adoption Teams. She then went on to Head up a Psychological Therapies Team in a private sector BESD school and their Children's homes; here she further developed her passion for an organisational whole service approach to emotion-regulation, developing the whole team into an emotion–regulating collective, which had a profound impact on the young people’s ability to regulate emotion and develop psychologically. This was recognised by Service Users, Social Care and Hampshire Police especially due to the reduction in risk taking behaviours. She continues to work in private practice and with organisations in both the public and private sectors in a variety of roles from Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer to Coaching and Organisational Consultancy.

Cathie specialises in the development of attachment and trauma informed organisations who work with very distressed and vulnerable people. Cathie places great importance on organisational health when working with trauma - which has been published in The Attachment Journal and BACP CYP Journal, please see publications.