Meet our Birmingham Team of Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT), Counsellors, Psychotherapists & Psychologists
We have an amazing team of skilled and supportive Cognitive Behavioural Therapists, Counsellors and Psychologists at our Birmingham Therapy Centre who can help you work through your difficulties or distress. By talking to someone independent, you can open up while knowing your privacy is protected.
Evidence-based Therapies at Openforwards
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
Learn to think in more useful ways and break unhelpful habits.
Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Learn to let-go of control, be more mindful and live more courageously.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)
Learn to be less self-critical, build self-acceptance and develop true strength.
Eye-Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)
Overcome past traumas, move past anxiety and enhance your performance.
Get our professional insights and discover why you feel stuck, so that we can teach you the relevant coping strategies to help you work, love, play and feel better.
Get in touch
Get in touch to book an Initial Consultation or to speak with a Therapist at our Birmingham therapy centre. Call us on Tel. 0121 523 1108 or complete our secure confidential online form.
Would you like to get to know our therapists a little better?
Before you get in touch, meet our team of Birmingham-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapists, Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Psychologists.
Sarah Benkwitz – EDMR Practitioner, Compassion Focused Therapist, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Sarah Benkwitz is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT), Eye-Movement Desensitisation Re-Processing (EMDR) as well as CBT. She has helped many people during her time in the NHS, and she has taught people how to overcome problems with trauma, depression, anxiety, stress as well as many more.
From Oxford to Rio De Janeiro
Sarah first started volunteering as a telephone counsellor in 2007 whilst studying for her Master’s degree in psychology at the University of Oxford. I was told I had a comforting voice and I should be either a psychotherapist or on the radio!”
Eager to explore the world, Sarah first went to London to work in business, and then on to the favelas of South America to work in international development.
Due to events in her own family, Sarah saw first-hand the impact of emotional and psychological distress and just how beneficial psychotherapy can be. Witnessing these moments brought her back ‘home’ to the field of psychology.
Integrating Research and Clinical Practice
After gaining a breadth of experience in community mental health settings and as an academic researcher, Sarah qualified as a CBT Therapist with distinction in 2014. She has since worked full-time in the NHS which gave her a great professional grounding – before more recently focusing on private practice since having a family.
Sarah loves to learn and use the cutting-edge of science to improve her therapeutic work. She also has additional training and experience teaching others in Compassion Focused Therapy, which works well for self-criticism, difficulty relaxing, and traumatic experiences.
Facing your difficulties is a sign of strength:
Our brains are tricky, so we can all get caught beating ourselves up and going around in circles trying to cope. Good therapy can help us make sense of it, develop self-acceptance, and make practical changes to pursue what truly matters to us. I know it’s daunting, but I think that when you face your difficulties, it’s a sign of strength.”
Caterina Pasi – Clinical Psychologist & Systemic Family Therapist
(Available Tuesday & Friday)
Caterina is an HCPC certified Clinical psychologist with additional qualifications in Systemic and Family Therapy.
By combining CBT and Systemic knowledge, Caterina chooses the most effective psychological path. She believes that by exploring and reflecting on the dynamic of your relationship, you’ll improve your communication skills and so your mental health. Although you don’t have the power to change others, you can always change your approach, values and core beliefs.
Having worked in NHS roles and various other institutions, Caterina has gathered incredible insight into the human experience. Through working in various sectors, she has developed vast knowledge and skills on depression, anxiety, eating disorder, personality disorders, marital and family conflicts, children’s diseases, dementia, learning disability, psychosis, and drug addictions.
From Individuals to Group
Each of us is different and choosing the right approach for you is key to your success.
Besides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Caterina has trained in Systemic therapy, which gives her a unique perspective that focuses on the relationships between a group of people rather than treating your problems solely as an individual’s thoughts and feelings.
“Human beings are social entities; therefore, understanding and treating relationship issues is the key to achieve a peaceful and balanced lifestyle within our network of family and friends. Society is evolving at a rapid pace, diversity and inclusion can suffer in the process. Caterina’s background enhance her commitment to supporting people to be their authentic selves, driving equity and belonging.
Sometimes work, and family environment produces psychological distress that affects individuals and relations; psychotherapy can help retrieve this stress, understanding causes and how to deal with it. Knowing how to identify and respond to stressful situations is the best way to control and improve your life.
Majid Cheway – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Majid is a qualified BABCP Accredited CBT Psychotherapist with over ten years of history working in the NHS.
Described as having a gentle manner with a soothing voice, Majid is skilled in helping you relax while equipping you with relaxation and grounding skills to break free from old patterns.
With CBT, he can help you recognise the vicious cycles that keep showing up when you’re struggling with your mental health. He’ll guide you towards change to overcome the problematic impact of painful emotions such as shame, guilt, fear and sadness.
Majid is interested in your history, cultural background and beliefs and so he can help you understand the links between your past and your current thoughts, behaviours and situation.
Having worked several roles in primary and secondary care services settings such as rehabilitation, eating disorders, forensic hospitals and IAPT services, Majid has extensive skills to facilitate group therapy sessions. He has helped many people overcome difficulties with work-related stress, anger management, and assertiveness.
Adil Satti – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Adil Satti is a BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural therapist and a trainee clinical psychologist. Having worked in NHS services since 2015, Adil has supported many people to overcome multiple mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and PTSD including those with complex social needs. He has a vast experience of working with people from different cultural backgrounds and those who speak a different language.
Adil gained an undergraduate degree in psychology from Coventry University in 2008. He started his career supporting the most vulnerable people as a support worker and eventually the manager of a floating support service that helped people to live an independent and meaningful life while managing their mental health difficulties. During his time as a service manager, Adil found he was able to build strong, therapeutic relationships with his clients and knew that he wanted to be able to work with clients on a 1:1 basis to offer more in-depth therapeutic work.
Adil trained and qualified as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner in 2015 from Essex University and then went on to train and qualify as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist in 2017 from Coventry University. Adil has worked in a local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) NHS service for almost five years where he successfully adapted the CBT model to offer a person-centred approach to help clients with complex needs from all walks of life. It was a real challenge, but Adil often received positive feedback from clients who felt that he offered a safe, non-judgemental environment where they were able to open up and receive the help that they needed. Adil developed an interest in helping those at the margins of society to access psychological services.
Adil is currently studying a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Coventry and Warwick University. He is researching how to make mental health services more person-centred in their approach. Adil’s practice mirrors this by offering clients individualised formulations to help them understand the root, development and maintenance of their difficulties and uses a variety of therapeutic approaches such as CBT, psychodynamic and narrative therapy to help people make long-lasting and meaningful changes to their lives.
Dr Katie Wilkinson – Clinical Psychologist, EMDR Practitioner & Family Therapist
Dr Katie Wilkinson qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2005 and as a Family Therapist in 2011. She has personal experience of both physical health problems and trauma which has shaped her practice over the last few years.
Resolving trauma and finding new ways to cope
She has completed training in EMDR, which is a powerful therapy to resolve past traumas. Katie’s strengths are in listening to people and helping them to understand / make sense of why they are struggling; and then in finding ways to cope with every day life.
Finding the right match for your needs
Katie uses a mixture of psychological models and ideas (narrative therapy which helps people to connect with their story of survival; EDMR, cognitive behavioural therapy; dialectical behavioural therapy; and mindfulness). This is so we can find the right match for your needs. Katie strongly believes that we cannot treat the mind without also treating the body and learning to care for ourselves.
Farishta Jalal – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist & EMDR Practitioner
(Appointments near Five Ways, Hagley Road)
Farishta is a BABCP Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with a Postgraduate Diploma in CBT from the University of Derby. She has experience of working with adults aged 16+, presenting with a wide range of psychological difficulties in a variety of settings using cognitive behaviour therapy.
CBT and EMDR – Two Powerful Approaches
How does CBT work?
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been proven to help treat a wide range of emotional and physical health conditions in adults, young people and children. According to CBT, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are all interconnected. How you think about or perceive a situation affects how you feel and the way you act. In turn, your actions can affect how you think and feel.
In CBT, we’ll work together to identify any unhelpful thoughts or behaviours that are maintaining the problems and thinking about whether these could be changed. CBT works at different levels of cognition; the negative automatic thoughts, the underlying assumptions and rules for living and the core belief systems underlying more chronic and complex presentations.
Natalie Savage – Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)
Available for Online Therapy Sessions (Video)
Behaviour analysis is a scientific method of evaluating, understanding and changing unhelpful behaviours.
If you struggle with anger problems, social interaction, or communication, then Natalie has the knowledge and skills to help you out. She’ll show you how to tackle issues with anxiety, depression, confidence and self-esteem, as well as post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Natalie is exceptionally proficient in supporting adults, children and families who have an additional support need such as learning difficulties and those that show up when you’re on the autism spectrum.
Natalie qualified as a BCBA from the University of Bangor in North Wales, She completed Dual Masters Exchange Program, from which she received an MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis, from Bangor University and a MA in Psychology with a focus in ABA, from CSU Stanislaus.
She had the pleasure of studying and working in not only in the UK but Poland and California too. Natalie has a BA (Hons) degree in Childhood Studies and Psychology where she first developed her interest in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Over the years, Natalie has held multiple roles around the world, delivering applications of behavioural science. She has developed training programs and supervised others to implement ‘Intensive Behavioural Interventions (EIBI / IBI), Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) and Organisational Behaviour Management (OBM) in schools and adult support services
Natalie is also the Director of Rainbow Behavioural Therapies in the North-West of England, which specialises in providing, IBI, PBS, OBM, ACT and Supervision services.
Natalie is passionate about doing her best to support others to be motivated to grow and strive towards their values and their highest potential.
Jim Lucas – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist & Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Trainer
(Available Monday, Tuesday & Thursday)
Jim Lucas qualified in 2005 and he’s worked in the NHS including addiction services and psychotherapy.
Finding meaning by making a difference to people’s lives
When Jim first went to University, he didn’t know what he wanted from working life. His gap year sorted that out when he took on a volunteers post supporting people with long-term mental health problems back in to work. It was a real challenge that sparked his ambition to do something meaningful that would make a real difference to people’s lives.
He had a hand in setting-up one of the first social firms in the UK – a Garden Centre. From that moment on he found a new vitality to his education and when he got a 2:1 Combined Hons Degree he knew that health and social care was where he wanted to work.
Helping the homeless and learning about Addiction
Jim’s next big break came when he was working in a homeless hostel for single men. A colleague he’d come to know asked him to apply for a job as an Alcohol Support Worker. He was chuffed to bits at being asked and he didn’t hesitate to go for it. He got the job and this opened up new possibilities.
Within two years he was working as an Addictions Specialist in one of Birmingham’s inner city community drug teams. There he completed his training in CBT and he was the first to complete the Diploma level in his whole directorate.
Jim’s confidence grew and he had the best line manager that he has ever had and they are still mates today! Jim took on more responsibilities and supervisory roles, and he pioneered the role-out of a service-wide training initiative and coached others in developing their practice.
Taking risks to open up new opportunities
After 6 years he decided to move to a full-time Psychotherapy role, which again brought new challenges.
Working with the NHS for ten years has been so helpful because it gave me a great start to my professional development. While I remain proud of our NHS, I knew that I needed to make a change. I was striving for greater variety and creativity in my work, and I decided to leave the security of paid employment and an NHS pension to start up my own business. I am so glad that I made that choice, and today I have the chance to achieve so much more.
Charlotte Mooney – Cognitive Behavioural Therapist
Charlotte is a BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist with a warm and empathic approach to therapy. She is dedicated to destigmatising mental health problems and engenders a compassionate method to understand why and how we can all struggle.
Charlotte will help you learn skills to understand why you’re feeling stuck, clarify what you really want your life to be about, and help you learn strategies that will help you get there. She has helped people with many problems, including social anxiety, PTSD, health anxiety, panic disorder, relationship problems, depression and low self-esteem.
Charlotte has always felt drawn to helping others, and her professional career spans over ten years. She has enjoyed a variety of supporting roles, including:
- Volunteering as a facilitator of a relapse management group for alcohol addiction
- Running an out of schools club for children with autism
- Working as a mental health support worker for adults with enduring mental health difficulties.
Her experiences, and university qualifications (BSc in Psychology), ignited an ambition to work as a psychological therapist and paved the way for Charlotte’s training in CBT. She has worked in the NHS since 2015, first training and working as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, delivering low-intensity CBT interventions, and secondly as a high-intensity CBT therapist, delivering high-intensity interventions.
Charlotte has completed additional advanced level training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and uses mindfulness approaches to help people develop more awareness and control over their reactions.
Charlotte has helped many people break free from unhelpful patterns, and she will help you do the same so you can lead a more fulfilling life.