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Brenda - The Olive Tree Counsellor

Brenda is a Counsellor/Psychotherapist and works as Clinical Lead at a school for children with special needs and heads a team of multidisciplinary therapists.

In 1999 Brenda joined what was then called, Crawley Cancer Contact, whilst working at the local hospice as a Counsellor. She was approached by a member of the nursing staff who knew about a small support group that needed a Counsellor. This small support group developed into a team of professional volunteers creating what is now known as The Olive Tree.

At the onset, Brenda provided all the counselling for the patients, their families and loved ones, not just 121 support, but also facilitated group sessions. When volunteers or staff struggled with their emotions, Brenda was and still is on hand to support them. Brenda’s passion and commitment for supporting those touched by cancer developed over the years, later identifying there was an increasing demand for counselling in different capacities, so in 2003 she qualified as a Clinical Supervisor. This opened the door for student Counsellors to have a clinical placement at the Olive Tree and to therefore be clinically supervised in-house - a part of their training.

Brenda now has strong links with colleges, universities and training bodies who recognise her and The Olive Tree as a safe environment for their students to have a placement. Currently Brenda successfully supervises a team of nine counsellors at The Olive Tree, and will also see clients herself.

Alongside this, The Olive Tree is occasionally approached by parents and carers of children and young people. More often than not, we liaise with Brenda on how best to support them as a family. Brenda has a qualification in counselling and Psychotherapy with Children and Young People.

Brenda’s ongoing professional support, passion and commitment is an integral part of the volunteer team and has never faltered over the 20 years she has been at The Olive Tree.