Counselling Service

Who is the counselling service for?

The Child Brain Injury Trust counselling service is available to all registered Child Brain Injury Trust families and can be accessed by:

  • Parents and carers of a young person with an ABI
  • Children and young adults with an ABI (aged 11 years and over)
  • Siblings of a young person with an ABI (aged 11 years and over)

What does the counselling service do?

Individuals will be offered six to eight, fifty-minute counselling sessions (one session per week) via telephone or video-call.  This will be with one of our qualified counsellors, who have also completed training on understanding childhood acquired brain injury (ABI).

How do I access the service?

To download a referral form please click HERE for the Word version and click HERE for the PDF Version. 

Once you have completed your referral form, please email it to or post it to:

Child Brain Injury Trust
3 Field View
Baynards Green Farm Trading Estate
Baynards Green
Nr Bicester
OX27 7SR

Once we receive your completed referral form, your referral may be placed on a short waiting list. When your referral reaches the top of the list, we will direct it to one of our counsellors. The counsellor will then contact you to make an initial appointment.

For more information or if you need support completing a referral form, please email and a member of the team will get back to you.

In a Crisis:

The Child Brain Injury Trust Counselling Service is not a crisis service. In a crisis:

  • Call 999 if it is an Emergency (if someone is at significant risk of hurting themselves or another person, or of breaking the law).
  • Call NHS 111 if you need urgent help, but it is not an emergency.

You can also call a crisis hotline or text a crisis messenger:

  • Call your local NHS urgent mental health helpline. Find your local helpline HERE.
  • Call Samaritans on 116 123 (or for the Samaritans Welsh Language Line, call 0808 164 0123)
  • If you are under 25, call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (3pm–midnight every day) or text THEMIX to 85258
  • If you are over 25 years old, text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line

Meet our counsellors:

  • Rachel Johnston

      Rachel is an integrative counsellor who began her work with the Child Brain Injury Trust in 2019. Rachel works with both children and adults in a variety of roles, within school counselling services, Child Brain Injury Trust and adult services. Rachel is an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP, Member No. 381880). She holds a BSc in Health and Social Care Policy, Foundation Degree in Counselling and MSc Counselling and Therapeutic Communication. Rachel has also carried out additional training in trauma informed practice with children and young people, amongst a range of other continued professional development. When Rachel isn’t counselling, she can be found armed with a camera looking for her next photographic adventure.
    • Ruth Gillespie

        Ruth joined the Child Brain Injury Trust as a counsellor in January 2021. Ruth has lots of experience working with children and adults 1:1 and in groups within different community mental health settings. Ruth has a foundation degree in counselling from the University of Ulster, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Mental Health Coaching through MindWise, a certificate in Relationship Therapy and level 5 in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) through her Foundation Degree. Ruth is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and has professional accreditation through the National Counselling Society (NCS, Member No. NCS19-08651). Ruth has a private practice called Renew Counselling, where she works with clients aged13+ years old, alongside work with couples as a qualified relationships therapist.
      • Kelli Maguire

          Kelli joined the Child Brain Injury Trust in January 2021. Kelli holds a Level 4 qualification in Counselling Skills. Kelli has also completed a foundation degree in Counselling at the University of Ulster, followed by a Level 5 Post Qualification Diploma in Trauma informed counselling: Children and Young People. Kelli has worked with a number of charities specialising in working with clients with suicidal thoughts and/or self-harm, alongside general counselling. In 2020, Kelli completed Relax Kids training, which allows her to incorporate the mindfulness techniques that she has learned into her counselling sessions. Kelli holds her professional accreditation with the National Counselling Society (NCS, Member No. NCS16-03896). Kelli firmly believes that individuality is something to be celebrated and her aim is to support all the clients that she meets in learning to accept themselves and to be kinder to themselves in the process.
        • Louanne Martin

            Louanne is an integrative counsellor who works with people experiencing a range of mental health difficulties and life events. Louanne began her journey as a counsellor with the Child Brain Injury Trust in July 2021, following extensive experience providing Zoom and Telephone counselling sessions and crisis support. Louanne has professional accreditation through the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP, Member No. 65317), with a diploma in Advanced Reflexive Supervision, a Diploma in Higher Education in Counselling with commendation, Advanced Theory & Practice in Working with Relationships, and Certificate in Online & Telephone Counselling with Counselling Tutor (Association for Counselling and Therapy Online [ACTO] approved). Louanne also has training in trauma, family well-being and safeguarding. Louanne became a counsellor because she hopes to support people to find their voice in the world, to feel a stronger sense of self, and to develop their sense of belonging.
          • Joanne Taggart

              Joanne joined the Child Brain Injury Trust as a counsellor in March 2022. Joanne is an integrative counsellor, and she works 1:1 with children and adults. Joanne holds BA in Youth Work and a Foundation Degree in Counselling. Joanne has also carried out additional training in trauma informed practice and a range of other training courses. She is registered member with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP, Member No. 381449) and is Accredited through the National Counselling Society (NCS, Member No. NCS16-03482). Throughout her career Joanne has worked with a range of clients from various backgrounds and different experiences. Joanne hopes to help provide a safe place for clients to be able explore and find a way forward within their current situation.
            • Catherine Miskimmon

                My name is Catherine Miskimmon and I am delighted to be joining the team at Child Brain Injury Trust. I am an integrative counsellor which means I view my clients in a holistic way, realising that tailoring how I work to the individual needs of my client is extremely important. I would say I am down to earth, warm, friendly, creative and see a real value in humour as a way of connecting people. I have a Foundation Degree in Counselling from Ulster University and I am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP, Member No. 00965834). As well as working with CBIT, I work with both children and adults in a variety of different roles including working as a schools counsellor. I volunteered for a number of years with both Childline and PIPS suicide awareness charity in Belfast. When I am not working or studying, I love to bring my fluffy dog, Alfie, on new adventures and take a million photos of him.


              This is a very important aspect of the counselling relationship. Everything that is discussed with your counsellor in the counselling session is kept in the strictest confidence.

              As members of their respective professional body, counsellors are required to have regular clinical supervision and your counsellor will need to discuss their work with their supervisor from time to time.  However, they will not disclose your name or anything that would enable you to be identified. Any information that a supervisor receives is also treated as confidential and subject to the same ethical criteria as counselling.

              If your doctor is treating you for emotional difficulties, it is important that you inform him or her about your counsellor, and vice versa.  Your counsellor will not confer with your doctor without your knowledge and permission.

              If there is convincing evidence that you intend to harm yourself or others, your counsellor will need to break confidentiality by informing your doctor, or in serious cases the police, emergency services, or other appropriate third party. Wherever possible, and if it is appropriate, you will be informed of this. Your counsellor may also keep brief notes after a session, which will be securely stored.


              The Child Brain Injury Trust takes safeguarding very seriously and believe in the paramountcy principle in that the child’s best interest and welfare is the first and paramount consideration.  When it comes to information sharing with other professionals it is not our intention to share information that is not relevant, necessary, proportionate, adequate, accurate, timely and shared in a secure way, but share information that will protect service users.

              If you have any concerns about safeguarding or the welfare of any child or vulnerable adult, you can raise your concerns with the Child Brain Injury Trust Safeguarding Lead: Gerard Anderson, Head of Brain Injury Services ( or phone 01869341075.

              My therapist isn’t right for me

              You have the option of asking for different therapist. Relationships between therapists and clients are extremely important and if you don’t connect with a therapist, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good therapist. It might just mean that you connect better with someone else. All therapists are aware of this. If you would like to receive counselling from someone different then please speak to either your counsellor or the Child Brain Injury Trust.

              It is also the case that your counsellor may decide that this service is not right for you. This might be because they feel you might benefit from some more specialised support, or that it is not the right time for you in your journey. If you our counsellors feel that this service is not right for you, they may signpost you or refer you on to a different service.

              Make a complaint

              If you’re not happy with how your counsellor is supporting you, you can make a complaint by raising your concerns with Gerard Anderson, Head of Brain Injury Services ( or phone 01869341075.

              Feedback from counselling sessions:

              Thank you so much…. Your listening ear, suggestions and support have helped me so much and in turn I’ve been able to help other family members You really do know your stuff.

              I’m so grateful to of had this service … and I will forever remember how [MY COUNSELLOR] helped me. I felt I was listened to, valued, respected and she really focused on what I was saying to help me through my problems… I feel like I’ve been saved, and I feel like I’m ready to face the world… Thank you so so much, the service saved me.

              I recently finished my 10th session … and I honestly can’t thank you enough for putting everything in place – [MY COUNSELLOR] has been an amazing and, as it turns out much, a much needed support.

              … I was nervous, apprehensive and doubtful that just talking to someone would help in anyway. I remember [MY COUNSELLOR] telling me that our sessions were a “safe space”” to talk, and it was okay to feel sad. Fast forward 10 weeks and I am in a much better place – [MY COUNSELLOR] has helped me put in place a range of strategies to cope how much life has changed.

              What did you learn in counselling?

              So many things, I could write a book. I learned how to be ME, I learned how to deal with situations, I learned the value of life and my life, I learned strategies to cope, I learned how to live again.

              Tools and techniques for dealing with stressful situations and also how to think about events in a different way.

              That its ok not to be ok. To talk about how I am feeling.

              Having had counselling before I’m aware of using strategies to help. Kind of like tools to fix something. This was a whole different level…. A whole new toolbox with new and different strategies. Unique and totally appreciated and they work.