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24th June 2019 
About Barbara. Barbarabest


I am the founder and Director of the National Centre for High Sensitivity (2010), this has recently become a CIC (non-profit organisation). I am also the founder of Growing Unlimited HSP Hampshire Meetup (2008) and Growing Unlimited Therapeutic Consultancy (2002). I have worked in the field of personal development for twenty years, based in Hampshire.

About Barbara. childforest

I work mostly with highly sensitive individuals but can also offer work with couples and groups/families and with parents looking to better understand their highly sensitive children. I do not offer therapy, but aim to help clients to manage the changes they would like to make and assist them with information, communication and other skills to help make practical changes and pursue emotional healing and personal development.

At the beginning there is an initial assessment face-to-face. This helps you to work out what type of support you are looking for and whether this is the right setting to help you to achieve your aim. You may even find that our initial meeting gives you enough information and ideas to proceed on your own. Even if you are intending to complete our work by telephone, it is well worth meeting me here at my practice at least once before we begin.

About Barbara. Counselling1a

Mentoring or coaching is not an easy option for solving problems. Part of the assessment session will be to help you check out whether this is the right time for you to be doing this work and whether you are in a good enough place to make the most of it.

Important details about your work here will be kept confidential and I do not make large amounts of notes following sessions. However, do remember that boundaries and processes for mentoring are not the same as counselling or therapy, even though you are likely to find mentoring therapeutic :)


I began my training in 1991 with a 3 year course at a Southampton based psychodynamic organisation affiliated to Westminster Pastoral Foundation. During that time I also underwent training in the counselling of addictions and related issues, worked as a family worker/counsellor within social services and also worked for 10 years in an addictions counselling agency as a counsellor, group worker, counselling supervisor, and client services manager, counselling a large variety of clients in both short and longer-term work including underlying issues, and working with couples and family members where appropriate. During that time I counselled in a variety of settings including hospitals and GP surgeries. In 1999 I qualified as a counselling supervisor and have a lot of experience in supporting and mentoring counsellors and workers from a variety of therapeutic and educational backgrounds with particular experience in facilitating and supporting those working in the addictions and domestic violence fields, supporting change and development. I went into Private Practice in 2002, specialising in highly sensitive people and was a UKRC Registered Independent Counsellor accredited with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals and The National Counselling Society, plus an individual member of BACP, UKRCP & FDAP until I retired from therapy in April 2013. Other trainings I have participated in include: Group Analysis (introductory year); Diagnosis and psychotherapy of dissociative disorders; brief, solution-focussed therapy; motivational interviewing; cognitive beharioural therapy; anger management; anxiety management; Gorski relapase prevention; systemic work in addictions; childhood sexual abuse; counselling for gamblers; dual diagnosis; cultural diversity; men in therapy; freedom programme facilitation, and much more.

In 2008 I launched the first HSP Monthly Meetup in Winchester from my practice at Haven on The Square, this is still going and has now transferred to Andover. In 2010 I founded the National Centre for High Sensitivity and have co-hosted HSP Gathering Retreats in the UK, Santa Cruz and Sweden with Jacquelyn Strickland who co-founded these retreats with Dr Elaine Aron. I have also co-led two, two-day workshops with Jacquelyn in 2013, "My Sensitive Heart" in Colorado USA and "Regaining your Sensitive Power - The Path From Shame to Empowerment".

Currently I run and support meetups, provide workshops and days of community, mentoring and coaching for HSPs and also run training events for professionals who wish to give a better quality of support to their highly sensitive clients. I provide input around career and relationships for HSPs and also Mentor professionals who are developing services for the sensitive population. I am also looking at developing the National Centre for High Sensitivity from its current fledgling identity to that of a larger organisation that will be able to offer links, resources and information for and on behalf of the HSP population and in particular, to advise and educate decision-makers about how we as a Society can ensure we understand and natural needs of HSPs as a culturally diverse group. To that end, our work is national and international in its reach.

About Barbara. Cllgroomcompressed1

Support offered, although in the main provided by Barbara, may also be provided by other trusted practitioners if this is appropriate. All ethical practitioners are supervised and supported on a regular basis so that their work with you will be of a good quality, dedicated and safe. Services are provided subject to demand, financial resources and staffing. Referrals to professionals with different skills may be offered where it is felt they could provide something more attuned to your needs.

Fees vary according to what type of support you require and where it will take place. Generally, individual fees for mentoring or coaching start at 60 per hour pro rata and couple work at 75 per session pro rata and may be more for complex work or if you are seen elsewhere than Barbara's local practice. Please note that time is set aside especially for you. You will need to give at least 7 days notice if you cannot attend, otherwise a cancellation fee of 25 is payable. Full assessments and initial guidance for adults of 2 hours usually carry a fee of 140 - some clients find this in itself is often enough to help them move on and is ideal for anyone travelling a long way. Assessments of children with their parents of two hours, with verbal guidance are 140, written reports for schools or other professionals can be provided for an additional fee. Fees for initial assessments need to be paid for in advance. Call or email Barbara to discuss mutually convenient dates and times.

We have a policy of occasionally offering subsidised work to private individuals in need who are genuinely unable to pay the full rate and where there is no similar statutory or other appropriate service available. This is subject to our financial resources and staffing levels and at our discretion. DO PLEASE ASK - we will help where we can.

(all comments included are with express permission of the client)

"Barbara created a safe space which gave me the confidence to be totally authentic. As a result I am making a transtion that I was frightened of but knew deep down would have to be made. This feels exciting and I am looking forward to working with Barbara in the future. I would recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone looking to heal from traumas or to make inner transitions and personal growth. Many thanks Barbara"

"I joined the Self-Help group to feel supported through a difficult time in my life .......... The atmosphere feels professional yet caring - and definitely non-judgemental. I really appreciate the availability of the additional 1-1 support. Thank you Barbara and Delyse."

"The work you did with us helped us to secure our relationship and we now have a much better understanding of ourselves and each other."

"[The Group] has most definitely helped me to begin to understand the underlying issues that I have been struggling with. It's helped me to understand how events in my childhood have shaped my present and has given me the courage to delve deeper...... I cannot put into words how helpful it has been, I have discovered things that I didn't think possible. Barbara is the first person to see beyond the surface and give me a positive response to what she sees, it's beyond words."

"[Growing Unlimited] is a place that offers a mental detox, a place away from the pain, somewhere that brings some light back into what can seem a dark world. If you show some courage, it can change your life."

"Sessions are held in an appropriately sensitive and professional manner; I generally came away having learned something. I have been helped with regard to my (parental) family relationships."

"[I've been attending Growing Unlimited] with Barbara for almost a year. I wanted to stop feeling unhappy, destructive, depressed and understand why I was unhappy....I didn't feel normal. I learned [about my] lack of connecting with Self and learned more acceptance of myself, gained confidence. Last year I never thought I could feel different. Now I'm more often happy than sad."

"[Counselling] is very supportive - nothing like I'd ever felt before. I could say ANYTHING without being told off or disliked. That's so unusual...."

"Amazingly perceptive counsellor - saw more than I thought existed let alone what I was hiding! Incredibly supportive and insightful, [counselling] fits into your life without any stigma or disruption."

"Participation in the Group helped greatly. [I worked on] inner child work, dealing with ageing parents and how to support my children in a positive way."

"I participated in [joint] counselling for relationship issues. I wanted to resolve issues and set up strategies for dealing with stress points. I identified .... blockages and problems, and clear ways of addressing stress points in the future. I got a generally better understanding of Self and partner issues and the impact of our behaviour, [which I was not expecting]. Barbara was engaging, proactive and extremely positive - although did challenge us both."

"If you have problems and are both committed to addressing these constructively, Barbara enables this process to happen. Thank you for your patience, time and clarity in understanding the needs we had."

"[The atmostphere] was good. Caring and warm. But it was difficult to trust someone when you don't know them. The experience was far more helpful than other counselling sessions undertaken in the past."

"I had 10 sessions. Certainly did help. Explained how to better handle feelings. [It helped me] understand my own feelings as important. Barbara was professional and friendly. Well worth time spent there. The fact the therapist was well versed about recovering alcoholics made it a lot easier."