Counselling Partnership at Headway Sussex

Headway Sussex works with a group of expert independent partner Counsellors who all offer support to client members and family carers. Sessions can be taken in person, by phone or online. Please contact us to discuss this further.



Headway is here to help

Speak to one our team for guidance or information on our services, your own rehabilitation and wellbeing, referral or anything related to brain injury. Send us an email, give us a call or fill out the form on the contact page and we will get back to you.

We work with a network of independent partner Counsellors who are all very experienced in the field of brain injury. Based around Sussex appointments are available face-to-face, online or via telephone.

Clients are welcome to contact the Headway Manager to request counselling. Subject to an initial screening six sessions are offered with the possibility of extending to twelve by agreement between the client and counsellor. We need to limit the number of sessions to give access to as many clients as possible. After a gap of six weeks clients are welcome to make a request to go back onto the waiting list.

This service is partly-funded through fundraising and kindly subsidised by our independent partner Counsellors. The fee you will be asked to pay can be discussed at the time of referral.

Meet our Independent Partner Counsellors

Michaela Alton

Michaela has been a counsellor for 8 years. Having volunteered for Headway over 6 years she has strong understanding of the impact of a brain injury gained through interaction with clients and family members. She specialises in biography work, bereavement and topics related to brain injury.

Michaela comments that in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. People can change their destiny. Everyone given the right conditions and circumstances has an innate tendency towards positive growth. The role of Counselling and Psychotherapy in moments of difficulty is to provide support to discover opportunities and create new narratives for life.

 She practices in East Grinstead, Forest Row and Newick and can offer phone, online and face to face counselling.

Arlette Foster

Arlette has been a Counsellor for over 30 years. She has also been a Carer for her brain injured son for 27 years and has acquired extensive knowledge of brain anatomy and brain function. She understands the cognitive, psychological, emotional and behavioural challenges that people may face following brain injury.

Arlette draws on her own life experiences to enable her to help others to re-build their lives and overcome the struggles and obstacles along the difficult journey to recovery. She adopts a person-centred approach to walk alongside her clients, guiding them towards acceptance and enabling them to develop coping strategies and find their own way forward.

Gill Richards

Gill is an experienced BACP accredited counsellor and group facilitator and has worked with Headway since 2011.  She has personal and professional understanding of managing the challenges of acquired brain injury and works with both clients and family carers. Her voluntary work with Headway achieved a national Headway award in 2019.

Gill works holistically and creatively, incorporating various trainings such as Biographical Counselling, Anthroposophic Psychotherapy (holistic understanding) and EMDR (Eye Movement Therapy).  Her work includes counselling people who have experienced trauma; life-changing events; loss; anxiety; depression; long-term chronic illness; and anybody who feels ‘stuck’ and is looking for a new direction.

Gill works in Brighton but can offer online and phone counselling more widely.

Pete Seymour

Pete holds a BSC with Honours in Person-Centred Counselling. As a Headway volunteer for 3 years he gained understanding of the impact of a  brain injury. He also has personal and professional experience of mental health challenges.

Pete volunteers within the wider charity field supporting people living with or recovering from cancer and family and friends affected. He has also had training and experience counselling clients with addiction issues.

Pete practices in Newhaven and can offer phone, online and face to face counselling in the area.

Bobbie Thorogood

A person-centred Counsellor with over 21 years of working experience, Bobbie is a specialist in neurological rehabilitation and brain injury both acquired and traumatic. She offers focused counselling with a view to clients reaching their full potential and enablement.


How counselling from Headway Sussex helped me

We were touched when Andy got in touch to share his story of brain injury and the benefits of counselling. He wanted us to share it in case it would motivate someone else to try counselling. Thank you Andy for allowing us to share this.


When I was eight, I was hit by a car. I hit my head and was placed in a medical coma. I recovered but my personality had changed. I was more frustrated, angry and lost all interest in school. I became less sociable and outgoing.

I didn’t realise at the time, no one did to be fair, that this was the start of a life long struggle. My anger, frustration and feeling of isolation followed me into my teens, often in fights, often getting hit in the head as a result. I had no interest in my education, no purpose and no ability to look at a future. I was totally impossible to live with, having severe mood changes and frequently lashing out. After an overdose I slowly went downhill, drinking, trying to see a way forward.

Another head injury at a training exercise for a charity caused more issues and I became obsessive with trying to bring order into my life. I finally met a lovely lady and we started dating, which surprised me as I was impulsive, loud and,  probably, slightly obnoxious. One month after our relationship began I started to suffer from seizures. At first diagnosed as epilepsy, then non-epileptic, then a mixture of both. Years went by and the seizures continued, causing another induced coma, along with severe anxiety and depression.

Three severe head injuries later, one about four years ago, one in 2020 and one in 2021 along with hospital stays due to seizures and long covid  meant I couldn’t work, read, do mathematics or play console games (my one safe retreat). I developed a bad stutter and brain fog, not even being able to get my kids names right. I lost my ability to keep my balance and required a stick to walk. My GP suggested Headway UK. I contacted Headway Sussex, in Newick, not expecting anything as I didn’t think I had brain injury.

They accepted me and a fantastic counsellor helped me take my life apart and make sense of all the head injuries, the impact they had on my life and the stress they were causing my family and myself. I finally accepted I had had traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries even though the CT and MRI scan found no damaged cells.
She patiently explained neural pathway damage and how the brain tries to fix itself.

I started to accept my ‘smaller’ world and realised I could cope when things went wrong and how I could deal with the fatigue, forgetfulness, terrible impulsiveness and clumsiness. We worked on understanding the problems I face, how to approach the negative feelings and work to my strengths. I now live within these boundaries as best as I can.

Arlette, the counsellor helped me apply for PIP and I got the movement part (sorry can’t remember what it’s called) but got turned down for the living part . She helped me get them to reassess and I got the living part as well. I live within my capabilities now, can’t cook, make a cup of tea, shower, read or game but I can enjoy each day with my dog and someone watching and helping me.

Thank you Headway Sussex. An extremely huge thank you Arlette.

If you would like to contact us to discuss counselling, please email us and we will get back to you.