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Helen Rutherford MBACP Accredited 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 can understand that you have to constantly readjust to do what you can to be as independent as possible. Physical health and mental health are fundamentally linked as one affects the other. I 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

  • Relationships

  • Diagnosis

  • Carer support

  • Negative thoughts

  • Anger

  • Worry

  • Hopelessness

  • Oppression

  • Progressive illness

  • Sexual abuse

  • Psychological abuse

  • Guilt

  • Independence

  • Transition

  • Stress

We also offer support to find practical solutions to everyday problems.

Helen Rutherford Founder of Emotional Respite Disability Counselling Service
BACP Logo Registered member 65042. 
Professional standards authority. 
Accredited register.

Meet The Team


Helen Rutherford

I am the founder of the 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 we hope to offer you a space where you are seen, heard and understood. 

​Helen Rutherford BA Hons,Dip HE, 
MBACP Accred

Clinical Director

Our Team of Highly Qualified Disabled Therapists

Louise Brookes

Louise Brookes MSc, PGDip, MBACP

I have 10 years’ experience working in the field of psychology and mental health and have supported people with a range of challenges including: issues around food and body image; low self-esteem and confidence; identity; anxiety and depression. I also have extensive experience working with the LGBTQ+ community and those with disabilities and long-term health conditions, such as: MS, ME, Cerebral Palsy; Neurodiversity or those who have multiple access needs. As your counsellor, I would provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to be your authentic self, to be listened to and supported. As a woman with a disability, I understand 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.

I use an integrative approach to work with various aspects, utilising techniques to best suit the individual.

Liz Whiteley

Liz Whiteley BSc, PGDip, MBACP, NPCS Accred

I am a Trauma-Informed Psychotherapist and a Registered Member of  the BACP, and an accredited member of NCS.
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.  Trauma-Informed Therapy means I have a complex understanding of the impact trauma can have on the body. I understand that this can affect everyone individually. By working with you to see how it affects you individually, I can then assist you in understanding what the process is and, most importantly, how to reduce those effects. I base my practice on the five principles—safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment.

 I am an Integrative Therapist and Supervisor to therapists in the West Midlands. 

I have lived experience of invisible disability since a very young age. I was born with arthritis, scoliosis and cataracts and I also have fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue. I use mobility aids depending on my pain levels. 

I have 28 years’ experience working in the field of mental health. I have extensive experience working with those with disabilities and long-term health conditions.

I am passionate about diversity and accessible therapy to every client. I believe in a holistic approach to support you, and firmly support you emotionally. 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.


Sanjit Hussain PGCert, MBACP Accred, MNCPS Acc.

Libby Webber

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. . I am passionate about helping others find whatever brings them meaning, contentment and purpose in life.

Hayley Louise Bailey

Hayley Louise Bailey PGDip, MBACP Accred

I am a Post graduate trained therapist and an accredited member of the BACP. 

I did not understand until adulthood that I was neuro diverse, but understanding that has helped me to accept myself and meet my needs better. At 13 I became ill with M.E/Chronic fatigue and was later in life (28) diagnosed with PoTs and Hypermobility spectrum disorder. Although there are challenges that come with long term health conditions/disability, I have been able to make a life for myself. I am so pleased to be able to offer counselling support to others who are on their own journey with disability/ illness and walk beside you in that journey.

I will offer you a safe space to sit and talk through whatever may be weighing heavy on your shoulders. I believe that developing a compassionate way of relating to ourselves and our experiences is incredibly important.

Frances Taylor

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.

Martin Rigby

Martin Rigby, MA, MBACP

I am an experienced BACP registered person-centred counsellor, accredited mindfulness teacher and supervisor.  I am registered blind, a guide dog owner and I have many years personal and professional experience living, working and studying with a disability.  I understand many of the challenges and opportunities many disabled people face in their daily lives.  I have undertaken research and offered group training around disability.  I am trained to work in-person, online and by telephone with clients of all ages, abilities, cultures and background.  I aim to offer a safe, supportive  and welcoming space where clients feel comfortable to bring personal issues or anything which is troubling them.  If you choose to have therapy with me you will find me someone who is down-to-earth, easy to talk to and friendly.  I believe in helping disabled people to find a voice and allowing clients to feel heard, valued and respected however they choose to identify.

All of our therapists are fully qualified and insured to practice. They are all members of Governing bodies and receive clinical supervision in line with ethical guidelines for best practice.

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