Psychotherapy Service photo for Latest News July 2015

Our Staff

Our staff



Dr Simon Graham, clinical service lead, has worked for the Trust for many years, having trained as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. His original training was in individual and group psychodynamic therapy but more recently he has been providing cognitive analytic therapy and mentalisation based treatment. He has an interest in training and also ran an inpatient staff reflective practice group for many years. Simon led the development of personality disorder services within the Trust and was one of the lead authors of the Borderline Personality Disorder policy.


Dr Julie Blakeley is the Service Manager for Psychotherapy with nearly 30 years experience working in the NHS. Previous to working in this Trust she has worked across a number of community mental health and learning disability teams within the North West. Julie has a special interest in working with people who have complex and long standing mental health and personality difficulties. She provides an integrative therapeutic approach and is a practitioner in both cognitive analytical therapy and mentalisation based therapy. Julie also provides clinical supervision and is an examiner and trainer for the North West doctorate in clinical psychology courses.

Jean Challand

Jean Challand works in the Rotunda day programmes interpersonal model of healthcare which is a rewarding and satisfying experience, one that allows time to really listen to others through its containing and holding environment. Her experience is of participating in the network of support and challenge through a highly structured day and predictable timeframe. She has witnessed group members gain insights into their problems and feel enabled to find ways of dealing with their difficulties.

Through the interpersonal life of the group Jean has witnessed and experienced members make changes in learning to contain their feelings, manage their impulses and often change towards taking steps to turn around their lives. The benefits of being part of the group have provided valuable learning on the importance of belonging and the benefit to mental and physical health of feeling connected. It has given Jean space for self awareness in her role as a group facilitator.

Kathy Curtis has been nursing in Mersey Care for more than 20 years, specialising in personality disorder for the majority of that time. She has experience working in various settings including the community and secure services, particularly with complex personality disorder with both males and females. In addition to her role as case manager, Kathy has an interest in working with trauma, is a trained practitioner of EMDR and is also a member of the mentalisation based treatment team.


Richard Curtis is a group analytic psychotherapist and is the clinical lead for the Rotunda day democratic therapeutic community and the PD transition group.  Richard has worked in Mersey Care since 2003 and joined the Rotunda’s democratic therapeutic community in 2004. At Haigh Road, Richard is the conductor of a long term analytic psychotherapy group and also offers brief psychodynamic psychotherapy in individual treatment.

In addition to this practice, Richard is interested in the psychodynamic interpersonal therapy model (PIT) and EMDR as a treatment for trauma. As well as providing clinical supervision for other clinicians, Richard is involved in aspects of service development and innovation, including psycho-education for service users, the growth of the personality disorder hub and promoting service user involvement. 

Alison Dornan

Alison Dornan qualified as a medical secretary in 1985. Alison worked as secretary to six GPs in a busy health centre, before taking up the position of PA to the first consultant psychotherapist on Merseyside based at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 1988. Alison has remained with the psychotherapy service ever since and was promoted to administration manager in 2000.

Elaine Griffiths

Elaine Griffiths initially trained as a general nurse and later completed mental health nurse training in 1986. Elaine has worked on inpatient wards, day hospitals and as a community psychiatric nurse and first joined psychotherapy services in 1991. Elaine completed an MSc in systemic/family psychotherapy and more recently the advanced diploma in supervision.

Elaine is registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and is also a member of the association of family therapy and on the register of the UK Council for Psychotherapy as a systemic psychotherapist and supervisor. Elaine is a member of the DBT team and offers individual psychodynamic and perinatal psychotherapy. Elaine has a special interest in the teaching, training and delivery of family therapy within the Trust and offers systemic supervision to others trained, or with an interest in family work throughout the Trust. 

Kevin Haigh

Kevin Haigh has worked at the Trust for many years. During this time he has worked in both forensic and community psychiatric services all linked to the issue of personality disorder. During tenure at as a lecturer/practitioner with the University of Central Lancashire, School of Nursing he and colleagues validated the UK’s first post-graduate programme in personality disorder. Kevin has worked clinically in both group and individual therapies relating to personality disorder including: MBT, DBT, DTC and psychoeducational interventions. Kevin is presently lead practitioner for the PD Hub where he holds operational and clinical responsibilities for the service.  

Caroline Harrison is a PD case manager at the Hub and has been a registered mental health nurse since 1999. After qualifying she worked for two years in an adult inpatient unit and then joined a community mental health team. In 2016, after 15 years in that post, Caroline joined the personality disorder case management team in the PD Hub.

Caroline has been involved in the development and evolution of the teams and their structures in the unit. Due to her interest in working with trauma and alleviating PTSD symptoms, she has trained and is an active therapist/practitioner of EMDR.  Caroline also runs the PD Hub walking group as she feels strongly that taking therapy out of the clinical environment supports recovery. She is passionate about being a nurse and wants to continue to work and specialise with this client group in the future.

 Tom Higgins

Tom Higgins has worked in NHS mental health services for 19 years. He is registered as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with the UKCP. He feels passionately about psychotherapy as a tool to support people in understanding themselves, in managing distress and in helping people to take steps towards making the most out of their life. Along with working from a psychodynamic perspective, Tom also values the therapeutic value of many other experiences such as mindfulness, creativity and spirituality. Tom feels that it is often in relationships that people have been hurt and therefore it is through relationships that healing can happen. Many things can support people in making changes in their lives. Psychotherapy for some people can be a part of that process of change.

Mike Knowles

Mike Knowles gained work experience with adults with a learning disability at an adult training centre run by Social Services. Michael went on to work in the NHS and train as a mental health nurse, qualifying in 1985 and maintains his registration. He has gained clinical experience as a nurse, taking up posts in adult, forensic and older people’s services in both inpatient and community settings. He qualified as a counsellor in 1988 and undertook post graduate training in Cognitive Therapy in 2012 before working in a primary care setting as a cognitive behavioural therapist. Michael took up post as a senior psychotherapist with Mersey Care in 2004 and studied personality disorders at masters’ level. He has developed his knowledge and skills in trauma focused eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and a number of cognitive behavioural therapies namely, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), compassion focused therapy (CFT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). 

Jane Linley is the newest member of the admin team and has worked for the NHS for 16 years. She has qualifications in Medical Transcription but also relies on her intuition and common sense.


Salome Mare-Walsh has worked for Mersey Care as a qualified mental health nurse since 2009 and has worked in various settings including forensic and acute inpatient units, psychiatric liaison based in A&E departments, within community mental health teams and a crisis service. In her role as PD case manager, Salome works psychologically with service users on the structured clinical management (SCM) model of care. SCM essentially comprises mentalisation based treatment (MBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy skills which provide effective treatment for the most complex service users with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Salome is also a psychotherapist trainee doing weekly individual sessions in eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and cognitive analytical therapy (CAT).

Salome has co-facilitated group psychoeducation sessions on BPD and is a keen nurse mentor. She completed the MBT and MBT advanced practitioner courses and delivers weekly one to one MBT sessions. Salome also provides consultation to colleagues and staff support sessions for the management of BPD cases.

Rebecca Mittal is a mental health practitioner in the personality disorder day and crisis service. Rebecca graduated with a BSc in Psychology in 2015 before graduating with an MA in Social Work. Rebecca joined Mersey Care in 2019 and has worked previously within learning disability and mental health services. Rebecca has an interest in personality disorders and is working towards gaining further qualifications in the next year such as EMDR.

Stephen Mulhaney-Clements is a support worker in the PD Hub and safe service team and has been with Mersey Care for several years. He is studying for an MSc in Psychology and has been able to integrate his learning from this into his work with our service users. Stephen also volunteers in other areas of the Trust and is presently writing academic papers on service user participation in treatment groups, and technology in mental health.

Suzanne Roberts

Suzanne Roberts is a senior psychotherapist who was appointed in January 2017. Suzanne has worked in the NHS for 30 years, qualified as a registered general nurse in 1990 and worked in elderly care until 1993. Suzanne qualified as a registered mental health nurse in 1995 and her first job was in a forensic medium secure mental health unit in South London - initially on the inpatient unit then as a community practitioner.

Suzanne was first employed by Mersey Care (formerly North Mersey Community NHS Trust) in 1997 on an acute inpatient ward and from 1999 to 2015 as a community mental health nurse. 2004 to 2016 Suzanne was an honorary therapist in the psychotherapy department and from 2013 was mentalisation based treatment therapist also at the PD Hub. From 2015 to 2016 Suzanne has been a PD case manager within the newly formed PD case management team. Suzanne has a post graduate diploma in cognitive therapy and is BABCP accredited (provisional) -2017.


Jude Sergeant, crisis support practitioner joined Mersey Care in 2017. Jude joined the NHS in 2009 and has worked in a variety of settings, including forensic services, psychiatric intensive care and acute mental health wards, with both male and female service users. Jude’s interest is in personality disorders and she is enjoying the holistic approach that the personality disorder hub provides, looking after the whole person.

Dr Ged Smith has worked as a family systemic psychotherapist for over 20 years, in both children and adult services. In addition to his work in the family therapy clinic, Ged runs the PD families and carer’s group. His interests include working with families to support all family members, as well as issues of power and gender and how they impact on mental health.  

Helen Underwood is day service lead at Spring House. Helen qualified as a mental health nurse in 2009 and since then has worked within NHS female acute wards. Helen has a passion for working with people diagnosed with personality disorder and wishes to develop her experience further within a therapeutic community. She has an interest in trauma therapy and is currently training in sensory motor therapy. She aims to bring a holistic approach to the therapies already established at Spring House.