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Meet the team

Our counsellors come from a broad range of backgrounds but they have one thing in common – a specialist knowledge of the bleeding disorders community and the desire to change lives through the provision of quality, informed counselling.

HBDCA’s USP is that the team has a deep understanding of haemophilia and bleeding disorders and the diverse and complex issues the community experiences. Members of the HBDCA team, including our trustees, might have a bleeding disorder themselves, are the parent of someone with a bleeding disorder, or have already worked in the bleeding disorder community.

christina burgess

CEO & founder

Bio

Christina is founder and Director of HBDCA. Formerly Head of Services at The Haemophilia Society, she founded HBDCA having come to realise how essential psychological support is to the wellbeing of a person with a bleeding disorder and their family. She was recently re-elected for a third term as a member of the Inhibitor Working Group for the European Haemophilia Consortium (EHC) and, having been a member of the Psychosocial Working Group for the European Association for Haemophilia and Allied Disorders (EAHAD) since its inception in 2018, was elected Secretary of the Working Group in February, this year. Christina is a committee member and consultant to the newly-formed charity, Local Families with Bleeding Disorders.

From November 2017 to July 2018, whilst setting up HBDCA, Christina was invited to be Interim CEO of CARIS Haringey, a homeless charity in north London. She has remained a committed volunteer ever since and is now a trustee. Christina feels privileged to work in the two areas she is passionate about: bleeding disorders and homelessness.

Christina is exceptionally fortunate to have a wonderful team at HBDCA, including the trustees and their new ambassador, Ros Cooper. She is confident that this exceptional team will, in the coming months and years, fulfil its shared HBDCA vision of providing high-quality, FREE, much-needed,  psychological support to the bleeding disorder community across the United Kingdom.

What inspires you in the work you do? 
Having trained originally as a counsellor with British Airways many years ago, psychological support has always been an important part of my work. I have come to realise, more than ever, how mental wellbeing impacts on physical wellbeing, and vice versa. There has been an increasing recognition, thankfully in recent times, by other healthcare professionals that psychological support should be provided as an important part of holistic care for a person with a bleeding disorder. But what actually inspires me the most has been every single person I have met in this community; whether the Mum and Dad of a newly-diagnosed child, a teenager affected by an inhibitor, a young woman with a bleeding disorder considering motherhood, or a man or woman in the Infected Blood community who has stood up so bravely to give evidence at the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry, no matter what emotional toll that may take on their mental wellbeing to do so, and who then has attended the Inquiry, day in and day out, in solidarity with the many others giving evidence too, disclosing similar deeply traumatic experiences.

Who is someone you admire?
I am inspired by the bleeding disorder community as a whole. But as far as individuals go, two really stand out for me. One is the CEO of the EHC, Amanda Bok, who has always been an inspiration to me, both as a human being and as the compassionate, supreme professional she is. And the second is a wonderful young man, who shall remain nameless here, who has haemophilia and works in medical science. He knows who he is! He spoke at a conference I once attended, telling the audience that when his mother was pregnant with him, and the doctors discussed with her the chances that her child would have haemophilia, as there was history of it in her family, she was strongly advised to have an abortion. Thank goodness his mother did not give in to the pressure to do this, because, in my view, the world would not have benefitted from the brilliant, kind, great young man he turned out to be!

What do you like to do for fun?
I take inspiration from the beauty of nature and its calming influence on me. I love to paint and be creative. And for fun, as many colleagues will tell you, I really love to dance!

What’s an unusual fact about you?

​That I worked in children’s television production for many years! Other than having my two children, my proudest achievement in life was to write and co-produce a documentary for BBC Education which compared the lives of children and young people in Rwanda and the UK affected by HIV/AIDS. I learned so much from the young people I met – being with them literally changed my life!  I took a new direction in my career, and started on the path that led, all these years later, to me founding HBDCA.

Anila Babla

Art therapist

Bio
Anila is a marketing and communications manager, web designer and art psychotherapist. Her skills have been put to good use at HBDCA, helping to create HBDCA’s online presence, and increase awareness of the organisation. She wants to see counselling options available to more people within the bleeding disorders community and believes HBDCA is the way to do this.

What inspires you in the work you do?
I feel we are built for community. Whatever we go through as humans, to share it with someone who understands can make an enormous world of difference.

Who is someone you admire?
Austrian psychologist and holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl was an incredible example of someone who not only talked the talk but really walked it too.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love crafts so I can always be found making something. I have also recently taken up improvisational theatre as a hobby.

What is an unusual fact about you?
I have family on all but two continents.

Angela Johnson

CBT and EMDR Therapist

Angela is an experienced Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist (BABCP Accredited) and an EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner Therapist (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing), with a career of over twelve years in counselling and therapy.   She is also registered with the UKCP as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, having completed psychotherapeutic training in Transactional Analysis.

Angela is passionate about supporting her clients to address their present difficulties and improve their skills and resilience so that therapy has a long-lasting effect.  As well as using EMDR and CBT, she incorporates Transactional Analysis, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and BSP (Brainspotting) into a therapeutic plan that is tailored to the client’s individual needs.

Angela offers brief and long term therapy, across a wide range of emotional and mental health issues that include; anxiety, depression, stress,  OCD, social anxiety, bereavement and relationship problems. She has a special interest in trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Angela sees clients ranging from children (7+) adolescents and adults, and elderly. She is a qualified youth and community worker and is Child and Adolescent EMDR trained.  She is registered with BABCP, UKCP and EMDR UK, all are professional bodies for Psychotherapists.

Marion MacGillivray

Psychotherapist

Bio
Marion is a psychotherapist/counsellor.

What inspires you in the work you do?
I feel inspired to undertake my role as a therapist because I learn so much from patients, clients & peers. Working with HBDCA is a privilege & I hope I can make a worthy contribution to helping support others to feel inspired too.

Who is someone you admire?
I felt most inspired by my own parents who gave me a moral compass & a set of values that I thrive to achieve in everything I do. They also enabled me to live life to the full, to always be kind and to smile a lot!!

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to dance, especially Scottish County dancing & Flamenco. What’s an unusual fact about you? I once parachuted out of a plane for a charity!

Lisa Fowler

Psychotherapist

Passionate about the bleeding community

Bio
Lisa is an MBACP registered integrative therapist who is dedicated to working in the bleeding disorder community. She trained at Buckinghamshire university, focusing on 3 main modalities; TA (transactional Analysis) CBT and the person centred approach. Lisa believes this gives her the flexibility to tailor her work to the needs of the individual, families and groups. This approach aims to facilitate client change, increase general well-being and empower each individual in their unique journey into self discovery, healing and growth. As a psychotherapist Lisa enjoys providing an authentic, safe, non judgemental and compassionate space so that clients and patients can experience, often for the first time ever, an environment that enables them to explore the challenges and life experiences that have influenced how they function both in their internal and external world. She believes that with the right support and the gaining of new awareness and tools, that everybody has the capacity to live the kind of life that’s more connected, fulfilling and authentic.

Lisa has been a founding partner in a therapy practice in the midlands that is the lead referral service for local NHS services and occupational health organisations. Over the last 15 years Lisa has built an extensive knowledge of bleeding disorders and the complex challenges that are faced within the community, both for the individuals and the families that are caring for and supporting someone with a bleeding disorder. She feels this not only informs her work but inspires it. Lisa believes that, although a particular diagnosis can be commonly shared within the community, each individual’s relationship with their disorder is so unique that it requires the space to be supported and heard.

During her career in front line services and private practice, Lisa has specialised in working with individuals, teenagers, couples and families in a one to one or group therapy environment. Outside of the therapy practice, Lisa has run mental health awareness and wellbeing talks and courses for individuals, pupils & parents alike. Lisa is a member of the BACP and her work is governed accordingly. Away from work Lisa enjoys reading, practising mindfulness, walks in the country and other outdoor pursuits.

What inspires you in the work you do?
The patients and clients inspire me through their bravery, determination and commitment to survival and growth, they continue to inspire me to connect and be the best version of myself.

Who is someone you admire?
Glennon Doyle is someone who has been such a powerful source of light who through her honesty and commitment to embracing being so fully human, flaws, struggles and all reminds me every day to be more forgiving and embracing of myself.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love keeping fit and lifting weights with my teens whenever I get a chance, they certainly put me through my paces!

What is an unusual fact about yourself?
Unusual fact is that I love courgettes! I eat them every day, raw cooked, it doesn’t matter as long as I can have one!

 

Clare Nield

Psychotherapist

Bio

Clare is a very experienced BACP Accredited Psychotherapist, and EMDR Europe Accredited Practitioner with an MSc in EMDR Psychotherapy, Post Graduate in CBT, and a degree in Psychology. For over twenty years she has worked to deliver support using an integrated approach tailored to the needs of her clients. Clare is passionate about supporting individuals and families living with bleeding disorders.

Clare offers brief and long term therapy to a wide range of clients, she has many years of working in Higher Education counselling, in General Practice, and working as a private practitioner. She is a trained trauma specialist who has worked extensively with PTSD and phobia. Clare has run many psycho educational groups as well as therapeutic groups and talks.

In her spare time Clare likes to run with her dog, grow things and sings in a choir. She volunteers as a Childrens chaperone so that children with additional needs are able to enjoy performing, and has sung on a charity single for Papyrus.

 

Jon Stringer

Peer Mentor

Bio

I’m Jon, 47 years old, married, living in West Sussex, England with a cat and two daughters, aged 8 & 6. They definitely keep my wife and me very busy with school runs, clubs, long family walks and bike rides.

I’ve spent the last 25 years working in engineering for an airline but as a result of the recent Covid 19 pandemic, I moved on and I now spend time as a gardener at a local primary school. I never would’ve thought of doing this, but I’ve had great fun, at the same time finding it very rewarding.

What inspires you in the work you do?
I was put in touch with the HBDCA via the medical staff at Guy’s & St Thomas‘s hospital London. Having spent a while talking with Christina, I was left feeling extraordinarily moved and inspired by her work and the incredible services she and her hand-picked team provide. I only wish something was available when I was young, during my formative years as a teen and going into my 20s. This has led me to want to be involved in something amazing and that offers real support to someone in a similar position as myself.

Who has inspired you?
Living with my bleeding disorder I have met many wonderful doctors, nurses, consultants, physios and psychotherapists. There are too many to mention by name, however there was one such individual in particular who I will never forget. Dr Graeme Thomson was a very special person who always went the extra mile and could always be relied to offer me the help and support I desperately needed at the time. He continues to be in my thoughts everyday and I’m left feeling extremely fortunate to have ever met him.

What do you like to do for fun?
I play club tennis several times a week and I’m also a keen cyclist. I’ve also rediscovered a love for drawing which I am now doing as part of my work with the kids at school, as well as in the evenings.

What is an unusual fact about you?
There is one thing I can’t live without and that is listening to old BBC radio programmes before going to sleep such as Steptoe and son and, of course, Hancock’s half hour

Sarah Lemiech

Integrative Therapist

Bio

Sarah is a registered MBACP integrative therapist. Over the years she has
volunteered for Cruse Bereavement Care and worked within an organisation who
specialise in working with clients with physical disabilities. She now also works
within her own practice in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

What inspires you in the work you do?
I just really love what I do. I like working with people.

Who has inspired you?
My husband Anthony for supporting me from the beginning when I decided to retrain
as a therapist 12 years ago, and his continuing support now.

What do you like to do for fun?
I’ve always had dogs. At the moment we have two Jack Russells called Dolly and
Arthur. I like to start the day with an early morning walk with them. I would like to
say that it’s me connecting with nature, but in reality, it’s meeting up with my doggy
walking friends and having a natter.

What is an unusual fact about you?

 

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