Respond Website

Who We Are - Who's Who

Noelle Blackman

Dr Noelle Blackman is the Chief Executive of Respond and a registered Dramatherapist.  In 1997 she founded a unique NHS Bereavement Therapy Service for people with learning disabilities this coincided with the closure of the long stay hospitals and the complex feelings that this triggered for many former residents. She is also the co-founder of the National Network for the Palliative Care of People with Learning Disabilities.Since 1998 she has co-facilitated a user involvement group of older people with learning disabilities which began as part of the GOLD research project for The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities.

In 2003 Noelle moved to the charity Respond as deputy to the CEO here she continued to develop staff training and psychotherapy services for adults with learning disabilities focussing particularly on abuse and trauma.  She became the Chief Executive in February 2012.

She is currently a Visiting Lecturer on the MA Dramatherapy course at Anglia Ruskin University and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire.

She has presented papers nationally and internationally. Her published work includes the books - Loss and Learning Disability, Caring for People with Learning Disabilities who are Dying and chapters in Intellectual Disability, Psychotherapy and Trauma, Supervision of Dramatherapy and Understanding and Working with People with Learning Disabilities who Self-injure.

Relevant Qualifications: Post-Graduate Diploma in Dramatherapy; Certificate in Clinical Supervision; currently undertaking a PHD researching bereavement support needs assessment for people with learning disabilities.                                

Richard Curen

Richard Curen has worked as a psychotherapist, counsellor and manager in the sexual abuse field for the last 14 years. He joined Respond from Survivors UK where, amongst other things, he was responsible for managing the individual and group therapy services.

for adult male survivors of sexual violence. Richard has also worked as a group facilitator at the Domestic Violence Intervention Project and as a counsellor at Orexis - a community drug project in South East London. He is currently Chair of the Survivors Trust ? an umbrella group of over 120 survivor organisations across the UK. He is a board member of the International Associaion for Forensic Psychotherapy and Treasurer of the Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability. Richard is also a member of the National Association for the Treatment of Abusers, a member of the Tavistock Society of Psychotherapists and Allied Professionals and a visiting Lecturer at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. Richard sits on the editorial board of Community Living magazine.

Relevant Qualifications: Certificate in Advanced Counselling Skills (Nottingham), Post-Graduate Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy (Gestalt Centre London), Post-Graduate Diploma in Forensic Psychotherapeutic Studies (Portman Clinic).

James Hawkins

James is a qualified psychodynamic therapist. He has been working with Respond since 2011, providing psychotherapy and assessments to young people and adults. As head of the training department he develops and delivers training to staff working in the statutory and voluntary sector. In addition to this he provides consultation and supervision to groups and individuals.

Prior to working at Respond, James spent 5 years working with The Place2Be, a charity that provides school-based play therapy and counselling to young people and their parents/carers in primary and secondary school settings.

During his time there he managed various school-based counseling projects as well as being instrumental in the development of their secondary school service. He then moved onto developing and delivering a series of training specifically designed for clinicians, school based staff and Post-Graduate students working with young people in secondary schools.

Before becoming a therapist James worked for a charity working with substance using offenders. He has also worked as a case worker in a probation hostel, working with serious offenders and in various residential and community settings with adults with substance misuse and/or mental health problems.

Relevant Qualifications: PG Diploma Psychodynamicrn Counselling Universtity of Sussex (2003), MA Psychosocial Studies (Birkbeck University 2011)       




Helen McGowan

Helen is the Office Manager and works part time at Respond. Her past jobs have included the London Business School Library and working for over 15 years at a Management Consultants - she then decided it was time for a change and took voluntary redundancy to explore other avenues.  In this time she did a OCN level 3 distance learning course in Psychology, worked on the switchboard at Childline and volunteered at Bliss where she worked on a project to evaluate all their support units across the UK.

Tina O'Regan

Tina is a part time Admin Assistant at Respond and has held Administration roles for a number of years.  Past jobs have included working as an Administrator at the National Institute for Social Work and working as an Events Organiser at The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.   Before joining Respond she worked for four years as a freelance events organiser for a number of Charities, NHS Trusts and DoH.

Janet Slee

Janet first trained as a nurse which then led to work with the Medical Research Council.
After several  years working with a Textile Company Janet was invited to become a Researcher in a Headhunting Company.  She worked at Armstrong Craven, a Manchester Based Company, she found,  set up and ran their London Office and then established them in New York. In 2004 this Company was bought and became part of a PLC. Janet then ran events for the company. She was a founder member and sometime chairman of The Executive Research, ERA.  

In 2007 she joined the charity Training for Life as Events and External Relationships Manager, which helped the long term unemployed in their own  Restaurants where inthey  trained to become chefs, kitchen and front of house staff. One of these was Hoxton Apprentice which became a very popular venue in Hackney. Janet was Events and External Relationships Manager.

Janet is also founder and Chairman of Tigray Trust a charity which supports village communities in Tigray, Ethiopia in finding ways to make their lives sustainable in the face of extreme poverty.

Julie Christie-Webb

Julie Christie-Webb is Respond’s Fundraising Manager and brings with her experience, commitment and passion for the voluntary sector, particularly in ending abuse and violence. She has held diverse management and consultancy roles in the not for profit sector including urban regeneration, community development, ending FGM, women’s holistic wellbeing, play service development and children’s centres. Prior to joining Respond, she was Operations Manager for 28 Too Many, Head of UK Programmes for FORWARD and General Manager for the British Psychotherapy Foundation. She is a Trustee of Voluntary Action Camden and Healthy Generations, and provides pro bono fundraising and communications support to local charities close to her heart. Julie is currently undertaking an MSc in Charity Marketing and Fundraising with the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at the Cass Business School, City University of London.

Jamie Kelly

Jamie is a qualified HCPC registered Drama and Movement Therapist and is also a full member of the British Association of Dramatherapists. Jamie has worked as a teacher, trainer, group facilitator and therapist in various settings in Canada and the UK. In the past, she has taught in primary, secondary and special needs schools. Jamie has worked with adults in secure hospitals, prisons and community settings with people with learning disabilities, substance misuse issues, mental health problems and sex offenders.  She has also provided training for other professionals, including teachers, healthcare staff and prison officers.

Relevant Qualifications: Drama in Education (BA Hons.), Pre-Service Teacher Training Programme (B.Ed), Drama and Movement Therapy (MA), HCPC Registered and Full Member of The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).


Lynne Tooze

Lynne Tooze has only recently started working for Respond. She has been an ISVA (Independent sexual violence advisor) since July 2010 when she was working at Eaves and then Refuge.  She has worked in many different services supporting people made vulnerable by their life experiences.  She began working with children and young people and then with homeless adults with complex needs and with adults who had mental health and  substance use issues.  She has worked with women who have experienced violence and abuse and is passionate about sharing information around healing and life after the trauma of sexual violence. 

Relevant qualifications: Play work/playleadership (diploma) Therapy and Awareness (Bsc Hons), ISVA ( PG cert)

Annie Rose

Annie came to Respond from Rape Crisis via Victim Support. She has worked with victim/survivors of sexual violence for over fifteen years. Prior to specializing in sexual violence she worked  in the domestic violence field for Refuge and Women's Aid.

Diploma in Therapeutic  Counselling (Humanistic).

Julia Dick

Julia has spent many years working on behalf of people disadvantage by society.  She was a criminal defence barrister for much of her working life. She has also worked in education and as a mental health advocate.  Between 2013 and 2014, she was a volunteer on Respond's "Circle of Support & Accountability" (COSA) Project.  Together with 3 other volunteers, over a period of 18 months, they support a young person with learning disabilities away for sex offending towards a positive life in the community.  Since April 2014 she has been employed by Respond to coordinate its COSA service.


Lorenzo Picco

Lorenzo joined the COSA service in November 2016.  Prior to Respond, he worked for years in a variety of roles with vulnerable individuals.  His work experience includes supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, teaching to children and adolescents with behavioural problems, working with young offenders and helping young people with mental health issues, substance misuse problems and those at risk of sexual exploitation.


Liz Gow

Over the past 8 years Liz has worked with children, young people and families as a counsellor, nursery nurse, play worker and teaching assistant within various educational settings. More recently she has worked within a counselling and advisory role on a number of help-lines including Respond, ChildLine, Kidscape and NSPCC and currently works part time as a child therapist for Step up.

Relevant Qualifications: MA in Psychodynamic Counselling; Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling; BA (Hons) Sociology.

Luthfa Khan

Luthfa has worked for over 8 years in domestic abuse, honour based violence and forced marriage.  Prior to joining Respond she worked as a domestic abuse and honour based service coordinator, family development worker and supported housing officer.  In her various roles, she worked with medium-high risk cases, delivered training, raised general awareness and managed volunteers.  Through this work she built good links with grass root organisations and worked closely with faith communities to build better awareness of these issues.  She has also trained male community leaders to champion against gender violence.

Anne Marie Barlow

Anne Marie qualified as a Sesame Drama and Movement Therapist in 2004. She has spent the last eight years working with people with learning disabilities in a variety of different settings including schools and post 19 services.

She is also a qualified creative arts supervisor, and is currently working as a supervisor for  Dramatherapy students on placement alongside having a private practice.

Relevant Qualifications: MA/Post Graduate Diploma in Drama and Movement Therapy (Sesame); Creative Arts Supervision Training (CAST).

Sophie Fernandez

Sophie is a qualified HCPC registered art psychotherapist practicing at Respond clinic with adults and in special schools with adolescents with learning disabilities, sensory and physical disabilities and with autism.  She has an interest in family and group dynamics, cultural identity, early attachment and emotional health.  Sophie is currently completing the Diploma in Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychotherapy and Counselling Supervision alongside being in private practice and working as a clinical supervisor for trainee therapists on placement.

Relevant Qualifications: MA in Art Therapy, Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Art. HCPC registered and a full member of British Association of Art Therapists and private practitioner and supervisor.

Anna Lichtensteiger

Anna is an HCPC registered psychodynamic art psychotherapist with a clinical interest in working with people who have learning disabilities and autism.  She has over 9 years experience working with adults and young people who have learning disabilities and autism within the statutory care services, education and the voluntary sector. Anna has facilitated  group work and 1-1 therapy within schools and healthcare and community settings, she  is passionate about expression through art making and believes that giving form to emotions that cannot be expressed verbally is an extremely beneficial process that can help towards self-discovery and feeling stronger.

She has experience working with depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, domestic violence, sexual abuse, bereavement and substance abuse related difficulties.

Relevant Qualifications: Art Psychotherapy (MA) Goldsmiths, London. Fine Art Sculpture (BA Hon’s) University of Brighton. Anna is HCPC registered and BAAT a full member of the British Association of Art Therapists.

Rosie Creer

Rosie is a practicing Art Therapist, with 6 years experience providing therapy and emotional support in both mainstream and Special Schools. Alongside individual and group therapy, she is experienced in facilitating group work, supervision, support to parents and school staff.

She has 6 years experience working in the homelessness sector, working in hostels and in the community, with vulnerable adults and families, both as a frontline worker and as a manager of a Floating Support Service.

Relevant qualifications: Ma (Hons) Art Therapy, University of Hertfordshire. BA in Fine art (Hons), UCL. She is a BAAT member and registered with the Health Professionals Council


Dr Dimitrios Paschos MRCPsych

Dimitrios is a Consultant Psychiatrist with the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust and also runs an independent adult ADHD clinic. His main clinical area of work is the assessment and treatment of mental health problems in adults with neurodevelopmental conditions such as learning disabilities, autism and ADHD.

He has extensive experience in treating people with co-existing behavioural or personality disorders in community or inpatient settings, including detained or restricted patients. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. He teaches medical and psychology students, has published peer-reviewed papers and co-authored book chapters on neurodevelopmental disorders. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, holds a certificate of completion of specialist training (CCT) in Learning Disabilities and is on the GMC specialist register.

Anne Alvarez

Anne has recently retired as Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, and co-conveyer of the autism service at the Tavistock Clinic. She has written numerous papers on psychotherapy with borderline patients.

Publications: Autism and Personality, Findings from the Tavistock Autism Workshops, Routledge 1999 (Co-editor); Live Company, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with the autistic, borderline and deprived and abused children.

Anup Karia

Anup is a UKCP accredited psychotherapist working with individuals and couples for the last 17 years. He also works as a clinical supervisor and consultant for individuals and teams. He has worked extensively in the fields of mental health, learning disability, trauma and abuse including in the NHS managing a psychotherapy team for 6 years working with complex presentations. He?s been a clinical lead for many years in an organization developing psychological and community based interventions for recently arrived refugees presenting with severe war trauma. He has worked with young people affected by gang violence in schools and in the wider community using both individual and group interventions.

In the early nineties he pioneered the first counselling and psychological support service exclusively for gay men and bisexual men from minority ethnic communities in London. He worked for many years in organizations working with men who have been sexually abused as children and adults.

He is the Coordinator of Studies and a long standing faculty member of RSPOPUK (the UKCP accredited Process Work psychotherapy school) , teaches process work and supervises students in the UK and internationally. He is currently co developing training programmes in the Czech republic and Kenya and also consults  with a number of organizational teams working with individuals and communities in the fields of violence, abuse and trauma.


The Board of Trustees come from a wide range of experience and backgrounds.

Neil Myerson

Neil gives strategic advice to organisations in business, education and the arts.
His expertise is based on a track record of establishing and running a large commercial law practice for more than 30 years and on holding a series of senior trustee roles, including governor of a British university and chairman of a theatre company.

As well as being an experienced commercial and corporate lawyer, He is also accredited as a mediator. He takes on a wide range of roles, both paid and voluntary, requiring high-level strategic input and advice; and he can draw on an expert network of appropriate specialists to support his work in achieving the right outcomes for different organisations.

Charles Taylor

Celia Kent

Celia trained as a solicitor at a city law firm before moving to her current role as a Legal Advisor in the fundraising and marketing directorate at Cancer Research UK. Celia has a brother with Downs Syndrome and so has always had a particular interest in people with learning disabilities.

Dr Roger Banks MB ChB FRCPsych FRCGP (hon) FIPD

Roger Banks is a Psychiatrist in Intellectual Disability, Senior Clinical Adviser to NHSEngland, Clinical and Professional Adviser to the Care Quality Commission and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Bangor University.

Roger is a previous Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Fellow of the Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability and a Director of Books Beyond Words.

He is currently President Elect of the European Association of Mental Health in Intellectual Disability