Helen Rutherford MBACP Acrredited founded Emotional Respite in 2014 to provide specialist support to individuals affected by disabilities and illness. Support through diagnosis, illness, accidents resulting in injury and everyday living - not only the individual but also their family, partners and carers. Helen has brought together a team of disabled therapists to offer this specialist service who have an advanced empathetic understanding of disability and illness-related issues.
As a counsellor with a progressive disability, I am able to understand that you have to constantly readjust to do what you can to be independent as possible. Physical health and mental health are fundamentally linked as one affects the other. I personally believe that managing your mental health is the key to staying as healthy as possible. I think it is important for individuals to focus on what they can do, make goals, have a focus, challenge themselves, keep moving forward, and grow.
This service will tackle issues such as internalised ableism, loss, anxiety, low self-esteem, assertiveness, empowerment, coping strategies, depression, isolation, diagnosis, negative thoughts, anger, worry, hopelessness, oppression, progressive illness, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, guilt, independence, transition, and stress. It will also offer support to find practical solutions to everyday problems.
Meet the Team
Here is our team of highly qualified disabled therapists
Helen Rutherford BA Hons, MBACP Accred
I am the founder of Emotional Respite Disability Counselling Service. I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II and I'm a full-time electric wheelchair user.
I have built this online safe space for people living with disabilities or illnesses to access psychological support from experienced disabled therapists from the comfort of their own homes. We have a wealth of personal and professional knowledge within the team and we are ready to support you through your difficult days.
I am striving to create an online therapy service which promotes accessible psychological services where we look at the holistic needs of individuals and what impacts them. As disabled therapists we "get it" and our hope is to offer you a space where you are seen, heard and understood.
Louise Brookes MSc, PGDip, MBACP
I understand (particularly as a woman with a disability) that talking about your difficulties may feel overwhelming but by providing a safe space and a caring relationship, I offer you a place to be listened to and to see things differently.
You may struggle with anxious thoughts or low mood or perhaps strained family relationships. I use an integrative approach to work with various aspects, utilising techniques to best suit the individual.
I can support you by discussing a range of issues at your own pace. There is never any pressure to talk. Sometimes you might want to write or draw instead and this is often the gateway to helping you share and work on your difficulties.
Libby Webber DipHe, NCS Accred
I became disabled over 30 years ago when I was badly injured in a road accident which stopped me in my tracks for a while, but also led – in part – to me becoming a counsellor. I trained as a counsellor at Southampton University, qualifying in 2008. I have the desire to help people make constructive and positive changes in their lives through change-focused counselling.
I also offer training to other therapists to widen their skills and knowledge of what it can be like living with a disability. My training draws on a wide range of sources - contemporary, historical and theoretical - to give an unparalleled insight into the personal and social experience of living with a physical disability, and an understanding of where some of these experiences are rooted in our culture.
Frances Taylor Mcs, DipHe, MBACP
I am an Integrative Therapist working with clients of all ages.
I have lived experience of invisible disability. I had a fall as a child resulting in a neurological condition and also specialising in women’s gynaecology issues, such as endometriosis. I provide an empathic journey alongside you when you need support, or just need to be heard. I understand how draining it can be to get lost in the system and can help you find a clearer path to continue your journey on.
I’m passionate about diversity and accessible therapy to every client. I believe in a holistic approach to support you, and firmly support emotional rehabilitation. One of the main reasons I pursued my dream to be a counsellor was my own disabilities, and my wish to help others through my experiences. I want to help clients feel empowered.
I believe our unique diversity is a gift, and my aim is to support you to be your best self.
Liz Whiteley BSc, PGDip, MBACP
I am a Trauma-Informed Psychotherapist and a Registered Member of BACP. I originate from Manchester but now live and work in Sheffield. I have Cerebral Palsy, and I am a wheelchair user. I have always wanted to work in this field, and I believe it is important to be able to walk with people on their unique journey. After all, you are the only expert when it comes to your life, and I am merely here to give you a safe space in which to work through whatever you bring.
Hayley Louise Bailey PGDip, MBACP
I am a Post graduate trained therapist and a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
I have lived experience of both neuro diversity and a long-term invisible health condition (PoTs) which greatly affects my quality of life.
I will offer you a safe space to sit and talk through whatever may be weighing heavy on your shoulders. I believe that what helps people, is the experience of being able to process feelings, emotions and memories. I believe that developing a compassionate way of relating to ourselves and our experiences is incredibly important.