OUR DISTINGUISHED PATRON AND TRUSTEES ARE LEADING SPECIALISTS IN THE FIELD OF LEARNING DISABILITY AND COME FROM A RANGE OF PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUNDS.
David O’ Driscoll (IPD Chair) works as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist specialising in the NHS loss. This involves individual and group work with service users as well as training and consultancy to staff teams. He is also a Research Fellow at Centre for Learning Disability Research, Hertfordshire University. His background prior to working in NHS has been in social work with over twenty five years of experience. From 2003 David was a director for the charity, Respond. He is joint conveyor for the learning disability section of the Association for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the National Health Service (APP), founder member of the Institute of Disability and Psychotherapy (IPD) and is also a member of the Social History of the Learning Disability Research Group based at The Open University.
Georgina Parkes (IPD Secretary) is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Intellectual Disability working in both inpatient and community settings. She also supervises trainee psychiatrists in psycho-dynamic psychotherapy. She is a co-opted council member for the learning disability section of the Association of Psycho-analytic Psychotherapy in the NHS (APP). She has worked in medical management, is a trained mentor, other special interests include gender dysphoria and intellectual disability.
Angelina Veiga (IPD Treasurer) is a Psychotherapist and Disability Psychotherapist with a special interest in Complex Trauma, Dissociation and early Childhood Development. She is an accredited member of the UKCP and the Irish Council of Psychotherapy. Angelina works as a Consultant Psychotherapist in a service that provides psychotherapy for those who have experienced Complex Trauma. She also works in private practice and with children and families in a school.
Dr Valerie Sinason (IPD President) is an Adult Psychoanalyst and Child Psychotherapist registered with both the BCP and UKC psychotherapy registers. She is currently Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies. She is an Honorary Consultant psychotherapist to the Cape Town Child Guidance Clinic, University of Cape Town Psychology Department and External Consultant Supervisor to Respond. She specialises in disability, trauma and abuse and has been used as an expert in court cases. She has written extensively on psychotherapy, disability and abuse, with over 70 published peer-reviewed papers, chapters and books. She is also a widely published and anthologised poet, with two full-length collections. She was a Consultant Child Psychotherapist at the Tavistock Clinic where she worked from 1987 to 1999; Consultant Psychotherapist at both the Anna Freud and Portman Clinics from 1994-1997; and Consultant Research Psychotherapist/Psychoanalyst at St George’s Hospital Medical School, University of London, Psychiatry of Disability Department 1994-2006.
Shula Wilson was born in a kibbutz in the melting pot of the emerging state of Israel, she started her working life as a teacher in villages of Kurds, North Africans and Iranian immigrants. After graduating in Philosophy and Literature she spent few years teaching in London. Back in Israel she was involved in experiential teaching and setting up the Adult Literary Scheme. Since coming back to London while managing Local Government services for disabled people she qualified as a psychotherapist and became involved in training as a lecturer and course leader in Regent¹s College School of Psychotherapy and Counselling. Her particular interests are in issues of power and equality in systems such as institutions and therapeutic relationships, Personal Narrative and also in the interface between art and therapy. She is the founder and the clinical director of SKYLARK, Counselling and Psychotherapy for People affected by Disability and a committee member of Multi Lingual Psychotherapy Centre, and a trustee- director of The Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability. She has contributed chapters to ‘Lost Childhood and the Language of Exile edited Judith Szekacs and Ivan Ward’ The Freud Museum 2004 and to ‘Difference and diversity in counselling Edited by Sue Wheeler Palgrave macmillan 2006. She is the author of ‘Disability, Counselling and Psychotherapy’ Challenges and Opportunities’ Palgrave Macmillan 2003. Since 2003 she has been involved in developing counselling and psychotherapy as part of the education services provided by Centre Academy and Northway School for children with special education needs.
Melinda Elson MA is a psychodynamic psychotherapist who specialises in working with children and young people with learning difficulties. She works in special schools for pupils with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties and complex needs, autism and ADHD. She was co-ordinator of the Three Wings Trust Special Needs Counselling Service in Richmond. She works with both verbal and non-verbal children and uses PECS and Makaton when appropriate. Before working as a psychotherapist for children with learning difficulties, she was a teacher of children with special needs for 20 years, teaching in special schools for pupils with severe learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties and complex needs, physical disabilities and associated learning and communication difficulties, profound and multiple disabilities and schools for children with autism. Melinda trained at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, where she did the pre-clinical course of the psychoanalytic child psychotherapy training, studying infant and child development, psychoanalytic theory and psychoanalytic approaches to working with children and families. Recently she has completed a clinical training in Psychological Therapies with Children, Young People and Families. She was a member of the Autism Workshop for 5 years. She worked for 3 years on the Tavistock Outreach Program in Schools (TOPS). She has also studied with the Caspari Foundation for 2 years, learning about their approaches to working with children with learning difficulties. She has worked in CAMHS with children who are experiencing difficulties in learning at mainstream primary school. She has studied Functional Learning, which is about the early learning of infants. She has trained in Mindfulness. Before this she trained as an Integrative Adult Psychotherapist at the Minster Centre. She now runs her own counselling and psychotherapy service for children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities. This work is in special schools and children’s centres. Melinda’s work is based in greater London. She also works in New Brunswick, Canada.
Dr. Eimir McGrath is an accredited psychotherapist and supervisor (Irish Council for Psychotherapy; Irish Association for Psychotherapy and Play Therapy, founder member and former chairperson) specializing in attachment issues and complex trauma. She has worked psychotherapeutically with both children and adults with disabilities in a wide variety of educational and clinical settings and was Senior Play Therapist for St. Michael’s House, Dublin (2005-13).
Eimir is in private practice in Dublin and also provides external psychotherapy, supervision and consultancy to various public service agencies and disability services in Ireland. She is a researcher, lecturer and trainer in several disciplines including psychotherapy, play therapy, critical disability studies and dance. Her published works focus on the theoretical application of interpersonal neurobiology to the psychotherapeutic process; the role of creative arts in psychotherapy; and the critical analysis of perceptions of disability within society.