Cathie O'Brien OD Consultant, Psychotherapist, Supervisor & Trainer 

  Specialising in organisations who work with vulnerable people in challenging environments 

Welcome to Home & Away Psychological Therapies Service (HAPTS)

A whole service/systems approach to emotion-regulation


Cathie O'Brien is a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer and is Accredited and Registered with BACP and UKCP as a Child and Adult Psychotherapist and UKCP Approved Supervisor. She also holds a Post Grad Diploma in Relational Organisational Gestalt and offers Consultancy and a whole service/systems approach to emotion regulation to organisations within the public and private sectors.

Cathie offers an independent service specialising in working with organisations that work with interpersonal trauma and complex / worrying behaviours in adults and young people. Cathie delivers Consultancy, Team Development, Reflective Practice, Supervision, Training,  and Therapeutic Network Meetings/Multi-Agency Meetings. She is commissioned to work with organisations in both the public and private sectors, such as Children’s Homes, SEMH/BESD Schools, Resourced Provision within mainstream schools, Post



Adoption Services, Fostering Agencies and Supported Living for Adults.

The name Home & Away represents the difficult process of being both Home and Away for Children in Care, Children who struggle to go to school, Children and Adults residing in secure accommodation, Adults in supported living, Military life, Refugees, as well as the relationship dance 'between' self and other. It also represents the continuum of anxiety, meaning, in general, that anxiety decreases when people are at home and increases the further they move away. If a child has had a stable upbringing, with few traumatic events, their tolerance for separation from home and loved ones increases.

However, Children in Care, or children and adults  who have suffered early childhood trauma, often feel anxious both home and away which has a profound effect on their ability to

calm their nervous system, especially in relationship to other people. Unfortunately people become a source of alarm rather than comfort and this leaves the child (or adult) with an unresolvable problem.

This means that from an early age an individual can struggle to calm their own nervous system and therefore develops a number of strategies in order to do this. These strategies can range from controlling behaviour, school phobia, withdrawing, to self-harm, aggressive behaviour, violence, absconding, risk of exploitation, drugs and alcohol amongst other forms of self-regulating strategies that may cause self-harm - which can continue into adult life.

Early childhood trauma can be anything from prenatal and postnatal trauma, abandonment, hospitalisation, intrusive medical treatment, divorce, death of a parent, domestic violence, war, torture and abuse.

Cathie O'Brien has over thirty years' experience working with children, young people, families 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. She has been the team lead of 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 a whole service approach, 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 currently works in a consultancy capacity with organisations that work with distressed young people and adults  in challenging environments, drawing upon her psychotherapy background,  delivering Organisational Development, Team Development, Supervision, Training, and Multi-Agency Therapeutic Meetings. Cathie is passionate about team work, especially working at a whole service level, including a multi-agency approach, and 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.