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Meet the Assessment & Therapy Team

 Richard Cross Head of Assessment and Therapy

Richard Cross

Qualifications: UKCP Registered Psychotherapist and Child Psychotherapist., BSc Hons (Psychology)., DHP., Adv Dip SMT., PQD Counselling Children and Young People., Certificate in Child Clinical Assessment.

Job role: Head of Assessment & Therapy

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have had the privilege of supporting the work of Five Rivers since 2009 and I am currently a member of the executive leadership team. I have worked with children and young people for over 30 years who have experienced significant adversity. During my career I have focused on developing innovative approaches to address complex needs, such as bringing the first trauma-informed approach to the UK in 2006.

I am a Fellow and faculty member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and deliver training for mental health professionals in the treatment of complex trauma and dissociation. I am also a faculty member of the Arizona Trauma Institute.

I am currently focusing on developing integrated therapeutic approaches such as the ATIC model for Five Rivers, which incorporates understanding around attachment, trauma, and dissociation. In my spare time I help charities as a trustee of various organisations such as the Bowlby Centre, London. 

Laura Garnett

Laura Garnett

Qualifications: Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, BSc Forensic Psychology

Additional training: Story Stem Assessment Profile Training, Level 3 Safeguarding, Person Centred Counselling, Substance Misuse, Bereavement Counselling

Job role: Counselling Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Before joining the Five Rivers team I worked in a range of settings including the NHS, schools and the third sector and have a broad range of experience in terms of client groups and presentations, however, I have always had an interest in working with developmental trauma and in particular dissociation. Prior to starting my current role, I worked primarily with adults and saw the lifelong impact adverse childhood experiences could have. I wanted to be able to intervene earlier to support children and young people to work through and recover from trauma before it could impact their adult life. Within my role, I have the opportunity to support children directly using an integrative approach to therapy in order to tailor an intervention that will meet the needs of each individual. I am also able to work with the significant adults in a child’s life to support them to better understand the needs of traumatised children as well as develop their own self-reflective skills. Alongside this, I have an interest in service development and supporting our teams to become more trauma informed and trauma responsive to impact change in a more systemic way.

charles wells senior principal psychologist

Charles Wells

Qualifications: MSc Counselling Psychology, BSc (Hons) Social Psychology, Diploma in Existential Psychotherapy. BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist, UKCP registered Existential Psychotherapist

Additional training: Systemic Family Therapy, Family Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (FT-AN), Trauma Focussed CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Parent Management Training, Triple-PCBT for anti-social behaviour (Reason & Rehabilitation), Family based treatment for young people displaying problem sexual behaviour (MST-PSB), Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Job role: Senior Principal Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have more than 25 years of experience in working therapeutically with children and adolescents. I am the clinical supervisor and team manager for three Multisystemic Therapy Teams (MST) that provide family-based interventions to parents and carers of children with complex behaviour problems. I have supervisory and managerial oversight and responsibilities for the clinicians working within the residential service. Outside of my work with Five Rivers, I have had several years of recent experience as a Senior Eating Disorder therapist within the NHS. After many years of running groups for men who have been convicted of domestic violence offences, I regularly author reports to criminal courts at the pre-sentence report stage and have been delivering risk assessment and risk management interventions in forensic settings for over 12 years. I have acted as an expert witness in around 38 disputed contact cases and public law child protection cases.

assessment service lead michelle thomas

Michelle Thomas

Qualifications: BA, MSc, Psychol

Job role: Assessment Service Lead

Main areas of interest and expertise: I qualified as a psychologist in 2003 and since then have worked within both prison and psychiatric settings. I specialised in collaborating with individuals who have been given mental health diagnosis and with individuals who have forensic histories. Many of these individuals experienced adversity and trauma in childhood.

I hold the Cardiff University Bond Solon (CUBS) Expert Witness Criminal Certificate (2022) and the Cardiff University Bond Solon (CUBS) Expert Witness Family Certificate (2023). I have experience of assessing both young people and adults using specialist assessment tools. I have experience of writing court ready reports for family court and mental health review tribunals.

Clinical Psychologist and Assessment and Therapy Service Development Lead

Hannah Wilcox

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Psychology and Doctorate Clinical Psychology (DClin Psych)

Job role: Clinical Psychologist and Assessment and Therapy Service Development Lead

Additional training: Foundation Level Family Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy Introductory Level, Stabilisation in Trauma Therapy

Main areas of interest and expertise: I began working in mental health settings in 2008, having had first-hand experience of using mental health services myself throughout my childhood and into adulthood. Since qualifying as a psychologist in 2018, I have specialised in working with services for young people and families who have experienced adversity and complex trauma. I joined Five Rivers in 2020, supporting fostering and residential, and in 2022 I moved into the role of Service Development Lead. My role involves developing ATIC across the Five Rivers services, but it also involves taking all of the incredible knowledge and expertise we’ve developed over the years out to other organisations too, to help them become more attachment and trauma informed.


Ruth Kibble

Qualifications: BA (Hons) Latin American Studies, Level 2 Certificate in Mental Health Awareness, Level 3 Certificate in First Line Managements

Additional training: Alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women programme

Job role: Assessment and Therapy Business Development Coordinator

Main areas of interest and expertise: My role is to support and expand our therapeutic offerings within and outside of Five Rivers. I coordinate the many moving parts that are involved in developing a new business! My background is in business administration and modern languages, with some experience in the legal and government sectors as well. Outside of Five Rivers I also work as a features writer and proof-reader, regularly contributing to World Finance Magazine and editing book chapters on a variety of subjects.

Referrals and Research Coordinator

Katharine Anderson

Qualifications: MPsych (Hons) Advanced Psychology, Postgraduate Certificate in the Therapeutic Arts

Additional training: Story Stem Assessment Profile Training

Job role: Referrals and Research Coordinator

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have an invested interest in supporting people who are experiencing or have experienced difficulty and adversity. Since completing my integrated master’s degree, I have aspired to work with people. In my current role, I support behind the scenes, reviewing referrals for children and young people, considering their needs, difficulties, and how we can best support them should they enter our care. Additionally, I work in research, collaborating with partners at UCL and The Anna Freud Centre on varying projects to inform, improve, and highlight the work we do at Five Rivers.

Alongside my current role, I am presently undertaking a Masters in Integrative Child Psychotherapy. I have a particular interest in how the arts can be used therapeutically to help process feelings and emotions, reduce stress, discomfort, and anxiety, and how they can help facilitate the recovery from adversity or trauma.


Bethany Burnett

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Psychology (Specialised in Mental health), Level 5 Diploma in Applied Therapeutic Practice

Additional training: Parent & Child Placement/Assessment, Mindfulness in Children, Professional Yoga Teacher Diploma

Job role: Assistant Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Since graduating in 2016, I have worked in a variety of settings with young people who have faced ACE’s or fall under the category of ‘SEN’ including a pupil referral unit and a specialist school for autism. I have also been 1:1 support staff for children with specific diagnoses and taught children’s yoga. I have experience in working with young people therapeutically, holding their sensory experience in mind and adjusting to their individual needs. I joined Five Rivers in 2021 as a Fostering Support Worker. In 18 months as an FSW, I supported young people using resources and therapeutic interventions as well as supporting carer well-being. Now as an Assistant Psychologist, I support the assessment process in Fostering & Residential by attending Integrated Case Management Meetings, assisting in report writing and carrying out and analysing Story Stem Assessments.

assistant psychologist louise hatchett

Louise Hatchett

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Psychology

Additional training: Story Stem Assessment Profile, Standard CANS Comprehensive 3.0

Job role: Assistant Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: I joined Five Rivers in 2021, having previously worked directly providing care for children during my undergraduate studies. I have an interest in attachment and relationships, and so supporting the Attachment and Trauma-Informed Care approach instilled within Five Rivers has been insightful. In my current role, I manage the Five Rivers Baseline Assessment process and produce assessment summaries which the A&T clinicians use as the basis of formulation for each child. I collaborate with the clinicians to host an Integrated Case Management Meeting where the baseline assessments are reviewed with the team around the child, and a Psychological Wellbeing Screening Assessment Report is produced. This report captures any therapeutic feedback and recommendations from our clinicians according to the level of need presented and discussed. Alongside my role at Five Rivers, I am completing a Masters in Forensic Psychology.


celine allder child psychotherapist

Celine Allder

Qualifications: Masters in Integrative Child Psychotherapy, Advanced Diploma in Therapeutic and Educational Application of the Arts, PGCE (QTS) with PSHE specialism

Additional training: DDP, Counselling Children and Adolescents

Job role: Integrative Child Psychotherapist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Over the last twenty years I have worked across a variety of settings with children and young people ranging from mainstream primary, secondary special schools to working in organisations offering bespoke therapeutic support to children in care and adopted children.   I originally trained as a teacher and quickly realised I wanted to learn how to support children and young people who are finding life more challenging. My training, based on an integrative approach with a focus on using creative methods, helps me to find the right support for the individuals, teams and networks within which I work.

reena chauhan counselling psychologist

Reena Chauhan

Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Psychology, DProf Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology

Additional training: Serious crimes training, Domestic and Sexual Violence training, Safeguarding, Mindfulness and Meditation

Job role: Counselling Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Prior to joining Five Rivers, I worked in a number of professional settings including the private and public sector such as the NHS. My main role consisted of providing one-to-one therapeutic care to several clients with various presenting difficulties and diagnoses. I also had a particular interest in providing online training to professionals to encourage and develop their psychological understanding and skillsets.

Within my current role, I have the wonderful opportunity to support foster carers, supervising social workers and staff to become more therapeutically minded in their understanding and approach towards our looked after children. Through the use of supervision, reflective practice meetings, weekly progress meetings, consultations and more, we collectively endeavour to better provide attachment and trauma informed care.

eoin donnelly psychotherapist

Eoin Donnelly

Qualifications: Art Psychotherapy M.A., Counselling CertHE

Additional training: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy L1&2, Theraplay®L1

Job role: Psychotherapist

Main areas of interest and expertise: I joined Five Rivers having worked for over a decade in therapeutic services in the Third sector, Social Care, Schools, and NHS services. My work has focused on using creativity via the therapeutic arts and play-based therapy, supporting the mental health of young people and their families that have had an interaction and involvement with social care, across the spectrum, from early support to children in need, through child protection, fostering, and post-adoption support. I acknowledge and values the difficulties of life, and this is key to my approach to work. I view my work as holistic and systemic, working with young people and carers to recognize and strengthen the areas of most need and value to the young people as we all work to support emotional health and growth.

Claire Friday

Claire Friday

Qualifications: UKCP registered MSc in Psychotherapy, Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counselling, Diploma in Adult Psychotherapeutic Counselling.

Additional training: Emotional Freedom Technique

Job role: Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have worked with various charities supporting both children and adults and more recently I have worked as a psychotherapist with adults within an Enhanced Primary Care team in an NHS setting. Before training as a Psychotherapist, I worked for over 15 years in the adoption field and through that work and becoming an adoptive parent myself, I have been passionate about supporting children who have experienced early trauma.  A key aspect of my role is supporting those caring for a child to understand the language of developmental trauma.


Adam McCartney

Qualifications: Doctorate in Education, Child and Community Psychology, Chartered Educational Psychologist, BPS Associate Fellow

Additional training: Learning Assessments, Systemic Consultations, Multi-Professional Consultations, Complex Problem Solving, Person Centred Approaches, Research & Publications, academic journal editor

Job role: Educational Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Before joining the Five Rivers Team I worked in a range of settings including Local Authorities, community interest companies, the third sector and multi-national companies. My experiences in these organisations have allowed me to build up a knowledge of the impact systems have on our children and the families that support them. I learned that systems are made up of people and that I needed to help those people feel confident in their abilities. From this belief I developed a consultation model that values the views of everyone involved in the child’s life when helping them. My experience of working with leaders in schools to support children with emotional needs gave me the fillip I needed to join the Five Rivers team when I learned of their vision of a trauma-informed approach that is threaded throughout the entire organisation to support children, young people and their families to thrive in their communities and live fulfilling lives.


louise bartel clinical practitioner

Louise Bartel

Qualifications: MA Transpersonal Child, Adolescent and Family Therapy, Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling with Adolescents using the Arts, BSc (hons) Applied Psychology & Computing

Additional training: Diploma in Sandplay Studies, Diploma in Anger Management, Transactional Analysis 101 Certificate, Family Support Worker Certificate

Job role: Clinical Practitioner

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have been working with children and adolescents with complex needs since 2002, in a variety of roles within Residential Care, Education and Mental Health.

I have a passion for working directly with young people and the wider system around them. This integrated approach involves sharing knowledge and understanding regarding trauma, attachment and associated needs through reflective practice and more formal training opportunities.

I have presented at various national and regional conferences, as well as delivering trainings to various childcare, mental health and education professionals. Training topics have included Managing anger; Supporting grief and bereavement; Understanding self-harm; Working with developmental age; Managing anxiety; Working creatively with trauma; Young people and the digital world; Multi-disciplinary practice and systemic thinking in Child Psychotherapy; and many others. In 2012, I contributed a chapter to Margot Sunderland’s book ‘Helping Teenagers with Anger and Low Self-Esteem’.

In addition, I contribute to the Child Psychotherapy MA teaching programme at the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education (London), as a lecturer, tutor, examiner, and marker.  I also have my own small private practice. I am a registered member of the UKCP and BACP.

kelly brackett child adolescent psychotherapist

Kelly Brackett

Job role: Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist

Main areas of interest and expertise: I am an Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist working in Therapeutic Residential Care. As a ‘child in care warrior’ my passion is to strengthen the voices of society’s most vulnerable children.

My professional journey includes roles supporting adults, children and families through adversity, trauma, and poverty within the domains of homelessness, alcohol and substance misuse, residential care for looked-after children, and supporting mothers to breastfeed and bond with their babies.

As a counsellor I worked with adults including asylum seekers and ex-offenders. However, I was deeply touched by my relationships with the children in care and qualified as a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, where I undertook research – my cathartic attempt to ‘make sense’ of residential care, the ‘care system’ and understand how it serves the child. I have further studied in Leadership and Management under senior roles and Analytic-Network Coaching.

woman with glasses

Josie Cuckow

Qualifications: MA Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling, Post Graduate Diploma Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling, Post Graduate Certificate in Adult Counselling

Job role: Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Counsellor

Main areas of interest and expertise: I have over 30 years’ experience of working therapeutically with children, young people and their families/carers, in a variety of different settings (child protection and family support, family homes, schools, hospitals, respite care, residential, domiciliary home care and fostering services) and organisations (private, voluntary, health and local authority), individually or part of a team. This includes multidisciplinary and multi-agency working. I am experienced in working with the impact of complex trauma and adverse childhood experiences. I consider myself to be creative and use the expressive arts, meanwhile having a holistic and systemic approach and using different modalities according to the individual needs of the child or young person.

Pete Russell

Qualifications: Art Psychotherapy M.A. PG Dip B.A. Hons, Systemic Family Therapy PG Dip PG Cert

Job role: Psychotherapist

Main areas of interest and expertise: My strengths are working directly with children and carers, I have a toolbox that looks like EMDR – Mindfulness – Art Therapy – Systemic Thinking and Counselling. I draw upon my training and experience of over twenty years working with looked after children and carers.  I am very creative and I am a practising artist and also practice mindfulness in my free time.

Clinical Psychologist

Heidi Thompson

Qualifications: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, MA Psychoanalytic Studies, BSc Psychology, PGDip CBT with Children and Adolescents

Additional training: Brief Solution Focused Therapy, EMDR Level 2 and Child

Job role: Clinical Psychologist

Main areas of interest and expertise: Before a career break to raise my family I spent over 10 years of working with children, families and adults, across the NHS, Social Services, the private sector and school settings. I have a specific interest and experience in working with attachment and trauma, using interventions such as CBT and EMDR to help individuals and families regain a sense of control, find meaning, and experience a sense of hope for the future again. Having worked as part of multi-disciplinary teams and in an advisory capacity to external teams I know the importance of having time and space for professionals to reflect on the experience of living with and supporting children who have experienced traumatic events. I am excited to be a part of the Five Rivers process of developing the use of attachment and trauma informed care in residential care settings and beyond.

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