Psychotherapy Service photo for Latest News July 2015.jpg

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 a chartered clinical psychologist with over 27 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.



Paddy Conroy

Paddy Conroy is lead clinician for cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). Paddy trained as a cognitive behavioural therapist in the early 1990s and has worked with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and formerly North Mersey community Trust since 1999 initially as a senior psychotherapist, then a principal psychotherapist. Since 2006 he has been a consultant lead psychotherapist (non-medical) with managerial responsibility for the psychotherapy service.

His expertise is in helping people with a range of problems from long standing trauma and its psychological and emotional effects, obsessive compulsive disorder and mood disorders. Since 2010 he has been part of the DBT team, leading it since 2015, which helps people with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) or emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) where the primary target is reducing self-harming thoughts, urges and behaviour.




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.


Sophie Evans, crisis support practitioner, graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Psychology. Sophie spent time volunteering in various mental health hospitals in Sri Lanka and a UK based charity supporting people in the community. Sophie joined the Trust in 2017 and is part of the personality disorder crisis team.


Holly Gibson, mental health practitioner within the personality disorder crisis team, graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Pharmacology before qualifying with a master’s degree in mental health nursing. As a third year student Holly was placed within the case management team at the PD Hub where she realised her interest in borderline personality disorder. 



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.  



 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). 


Stevi-Lea Horn, occupational therapist assistant, joined the therapeutic day service in 2017. Prior to this role Stevi worked for a private company providing one to one care and support for a wide range of service users suffering with mental health and learning difficulties. 




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.


John McArdle, crisis support practitioner, has worked for Mersey Care since July 2017. John has worked within the NHS for over five years, with various trusts and has had various roles. Before working for the NHS, John had five years’ experience working with challenging young people with a variety of learning difficulties. John is currently studying to become a counsellor, and holds a BA in Educational Studies.



Amy McMeekin

Amy McMeekin, senior occupational therapist and day service lead studied occupational therapy at Northumbria University. Since qualifying, Amy has worked in a range of mental health services, including private and NHS facilities. Amy’s first post was in an inpatient rehabilitation unit for women with mental health and personality disorder difficulties working for a private sector company. In 2015, Amy joined the NHS and has worked in further inpatient units, including female acute wards, wards for males with autism and male forensic mental health services.

Amy was keen to gain experience in a community based team outside of traditional mental health settings and has been working to develop and establish an occupational therapy day service under the PD Hub. Amy has an interest in sensory integration and how this can support those with a personality disorder and wishes to explore the potential for the use of sensory integration alongside other therapeutic interventions within personality disorder services.


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.  


Danielle Thorpe, occupational therapy assistant has worked for Mersey Care as a nursing assistant on two different male acute inpatient wards and is currently working in the PD Hub. Before working for the Trust, Danielle had four years experience working for a charity based company which provided 24 hour care for people with mental health and learning disabilities in residential and supported homes.