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Sarah Worley-James, Senior Counsellor

Sarah Worley-James

How I work

My counselling is based on a Humanistic-Existential approach, recognising that each client needs to find their own meaning and path in life.  I focus on helping you develop your self-awareness, to understand how you relate to yourself and the world around you.  I work flexibly with the needs of the individual client, integrating appropriately from other approaches, principally, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic approaches, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  In this way I work with you to identify your strengths, accept uncomfortable feelings and focus away from unhelpful thinking cycles. We will work together to identify and utilise your inner resources, helping you create and develop more effective coping strategies as you find a positive path forward, based on your values and what is important to you. 

I appreciate each client’s uniqueness, acknowledging and working with the diversity within our relationship and working to create a safe, trusting therapeutic space.  I aim to create a non-judgemental, empathic and collaborative environment in which you are able to express yourself fully, as you reflect on and explore your issues.  I never cease to admire the resilience, courage and strength individuals find to address and overcome their problems.

Areas of interest

When I joined Cardiff University’s counselling team at the beginning of 2009, I took over co-ordinating the workshop programme, revising it and developing new workshops on a range of topics including stress management, general anxiety, exam anxiety, insomnia and anger management. In 2014 I handed over this role to the newly formed Counselling and Wellbeing Team, while I continue to deliver workshops for the Graduate Centre. This enables me to concentrate on the development of the Online Counselling Service, supporting students studying abroad, and my senior role.

As I am particularly interested in working with online technology, and supporting students who are studying away from Cardiff, in the spring of 2011 I undertook training in online counselling and set up the eOnline eCounselling Service here. We provide email, instant messaging and webcam counselling to those students and staff on placement abroad, and outside of Cardiff, or who have difficulty attending face to face counselling due to course demands, caring commitments or physical or mental health issues. 

Focusing on supporting students studying abroad, in line with the Vice Chancellor's vision to have, by 2017, 17% of Cardiff University students having a period abroad, I am working closely with EUROP and the Global Opportunity Centre, developing an interactive Learning Central module - the Student Passport to Wellbeing.

My background and qualifications

I am a BACP senior accredited Counsellor, having worked full time as a counsellor since gaining my Diploma in Counselling in 1999.  I went on to gain my Masters in 2006, focusing my research on how counsellors’ individual perceptions of the CORE Outcome Measure evaluation tool might influence how they utilise it within counselling sessions.  I have ten years' experience in the substance misuse field, both counselling, and writing and delivering workshops and courses, and have over twelve years' experience within employee counselling.  These experiences led me to develop particular interests in working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and issues around anxiety, depression, stress, and anger management.  I also taught for seven years on the BACP accredited Counselling Diploma at Barry College.

Most recently, in 2011, I gained a qualification in online counselling, and subsequently online supervision, enabling me to set up the Online Counselling Service, and enhance my ability to provide supervision for the Counselling and Wellbeing Team's online work.

OCST Certificate in Online Supervision

OCST Certificate in Online Counselling

M.A. Counselling

MBACP (Snr Accred)

UKRCP Reg. ACTO Counsellor

B.A. (Hons)

Cert. Teaching Adult Learners