SIANA McGARVEY BTh (Hons), MA (Dist), Reg. MBACP(Accred.)

For 15 years I gained extensive experience working for 4 of the largest counselling agencies within Northern Ireland.  My awareness of diversity and equality issues has been heightened through counselling people from vastly differing backgrounds, with a range of cultural and religious heritages and identities.  I have also worked with a significant number of clients with special needs including ASD and ADHD.


Post primary school counsellor

I have delivered schools counselling for several of the organisations who have held contracts with the Department of Education.  Between 2003 and 2006 this was with Contact Youth, from 2011 to 2014 I worked for New Life, and from 2015 until June 2017 I worked with FamilyWorks.  I have worked in a wide range of schools, including alternative education settings.

Youth Counsellor

I began my counselling career on voluntary placement with Contact Youth in 2002.  For the next 7 years I counselled young people in a variety of settings and across multiple community projects.  For example, I worked in partnership with CAMHS (Down and Lisburn) in 2005-2006, and within the CHILL project in 2007-2009 (within Belfast, North & South Down) specialising in "hard to reach" young people affected by drugs and alcohol.

I continued my role as a youth community counsellor with New Life from 2010 until 2013, firstly based in Ardoyne and then later in the lower Newtownards Road area. 

Telephone Counselling

I provided telephone counselling with Youthline (2002-2006) and Lifeline (2006-2008), offering crisis support to people in despair or distress. 

Adult Counselling

Alongside my work on Lifeline I worked with adults referred through the telephone helpline to community counselling (2007-2008).  I also worked as an Associate Counsellor for Carecall (2010 - 2014).  Carecall (now Inspire) is a large EAP (Employee Assistance Programme), providing access to counselling for employees throughout Ireland's public, private and academic sectors.  I currently work in private practice with adults and also for Lifeworks (EAP).


Date          Provider           Details 

July 1999    QUB                      BTh Theology (Hons) 2:1

Dec 2001    Durham Univ.     MA Counselling Studies(Dist.)


June 2004   OCR                      Level 4 NVQ Learning & Dev.

May 2007   Keele Univ.          Adolescent Addiction Studies

June 2008    NRC                    Gestalt Therapy Introduction

Oct 2015     OCN                     Level 4 Psychological Trauma

April 2016   GCB                      Cert. Clinical Supervision

June 2016   Summit               PQ Diploma in Counselling Children and Young People

June 2017 CAPPNI Child Development Research (1 year module)

Sept 2018 AST Certified Core Sandplay training

Nov 2018 CAPPNI Infant Observation (2 year module)


Approaches / Techniques: Transactional Analysis 101; Motivational Interviewing; Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (intro); Telephone Assessment; Solution Focused Approaches; Creative Techniques in Counselling; The Use of Dreams in Counselling; Jungian Sandplay Therapy; Level 1 Focusing; Somatic Experiencing workshop; Theory and Practice of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (intro); Certificate in Sandplay Therapy Skills (Part 1)

Children and Young People: Introduction to the Children Order; Adolescent Development; Trauma & Recovery with Adolescents;  BACP Counselling CYP conference: meeting the Challenges;  Supporting Young People through Grief; Working with Autism in Counselling; Critical Incidents in Schools  

Managing risk: Suicide risk assessment; Working with Adolescents engaged in risk-taking behaviours, Taking the Lid off (CYP affected by parental substance use); Clinical Assessment, Risk Management & Suicide Prevention; Self Harm and Young People; Eating Disorders & Disordered Eating; Child Exploitation: Online Safety; Child Sexual Exploitation Level 1

Trauma: Introduction to PTSD: Assessment and Basic Interventions; Complex Trauma & Dissociation workshop; Psychological Birth Trauma

Misc: Good Relations; Cultural Competency; Drug Awareness, Essential Law for Counsellors. 


I have recently completed a 2 year weekly Infant Observation module with CAPPNI (Child And Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy NI, taught in conjunction with the Tavistock clinic).  Infant Observation develops and hones therapists' attentional abilities and the quality of relationship we can provide, which research bears out is the single most significant factor for therapeutic change. 


and very importantly, I have engaged in psychotherapy myself over a significant length of time.  I firmly believe that the safest and most competent therapists are those who have significant personal experience of the healing and neurological (brain and nervous system) "rewiring" processes of counselling.  

Kintsugi (金継ぎ?) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い?) (Japanese: golden repair) Defined as “to repair with gold”, is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum … As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
— Wikipedia