Listening Ear

Listening Ear is the counselling support network in the Diocese of Lichfield.

This Service is available to all Clergy and their families, to other licensed lay ministers and to LDBF employees.

Counselling can provide an opportunity to explore concerns in a safe and confidential setting with the support of a trained and experienced Counsellor or Psychotherapist. It enables people to share their thoughts and feelings in a way that can bring new insights.

The professional counsellor does not judge, nor tell people what they ought to do. The counsellor helps people to find their own solutions, to recognise their strengths and weaknesses and to have confidence to take responsibility for their own lives.

There need not be any crisis, simply a need for a listening ear which is both professional and strictly confidential.

This service is available to all clergy and their families and to lay employees of the Diocese and to Readers and other licensed lay workers. Ordinands in training may also access the counsellors by prior arrangement with the DDO.The service is free for up to six sessions (though donations may be made towards the cost); a further six sessions can be arranged within the subsidised scheme, with the client contribution being negotiated with the counsellor concerned. Cost should not be an impediment to seeking this help.

You can contact a Counsellor direct from the information given in this booklet, or through the Bishops Adviser for Pastoral Care and Wellbeing: The Revd Prebendary Dr Jane Tillier:
10 Plantation Park, Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 5NA
Tel: 07530 734079

The information on this page can also be downloaded as a pdf file here.

Any concerns about the counselling service should be addressed to the Bishop of Wolverhampton, The Right Revd Clive Gregory:

The Revd Nest Bateman

21 Christchurch Lane, Lichfield, Staffs, WS13 8BA
Tel: 01543 257681

I am a retired Anglican priest, having previously been a member of the clergy team at Lichfield Cathedral, where my focus was on pastoral work within the Cathedral community and the training and supervision of the Cathedral Lay Pastoral team.  I was a volunteer chaplain in a local hospice and am currently one of the volunteer chaplains for Staffordshire Police.

I have a degree in English Literature and Psychology and a postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Social Studies and Social Work. My first career was as a social worker/senior social worker with people suffering from chronic and/or terminal illnesses and disabilities, focusing on the social, psychological and emotional impact of such conditions on individuals and their families.  I worked as a Relate counsellor for 18 years, with couples and individuals whose relationships were under stress or had broken down.

I am passionate about the importance of good relationships and am aware of the many pressures and stresses which can threaten their survival. Counselling in such situations can provide an important opportunity to explore and understand the factors which may have contributed to these problems, thereby giving individuals a stronger basis to begin the processes of forgiveness, healing and reconciliation.

Angela Blanchard

Dunston Heath, Staffordshire
Mobile: 07443 652095

General area: Dunston Heath, Staffordshire (between Penkridge and Stafford). Person-centred counsellor & supervisor,

I grew up in a Church of England household; although my mother’s upbringing was Methodist, my father was ordained in the C of E when I was 18 months old, and he served as a curate and a vicar in parishes across Cheshire throughout my childhood.  I lived the clergy life, with all its positives and negatives, and consider myself "fluent in church."  Christianity is a warp thread running through the tapestry of my life, and even though I have not always been an active church-goer, Christian values have always informed my way of being in the world.

As a counsellor, I have a small person centred practice, which I feel sits comfortably with Christian principles and values.  I practice from home in a semi-rural location between Penkridge and Stafford, conveniently situated barely a mile Junction 13 of the M6 motorway, yet in tranquil surroundings.  I work with whatever the client brings, and at the client’s pace.  My main offer is a space that feels as free from threat as possible, and I place my trust in the healing power of acceptance and empathic understanding in the context of a congruent therapeutic relationship.  I consider myself a general counsellor, but I do have a special interest in bereavement and loss, working as a voluntary counsellor for a local bereavement charity, and my PhD research was on the experience of childhood emotional neglect.

Helen Bowes

Stone, Staffs, ST15 8XY
Tel: 01785 812317 or 07594554198

I am an Integrative Pastoral Counsellor who is Registered and Accredited with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). I am also a BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor of counsellors and tutor on Counselling Courses. My qualifying training was in Pastoral Counselling which combined the theory and practice of counselling with the study of theology. Since qualifying I have trained in Couple and Family Counselling, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Transactional Analysis.  I attend a minimum of 30 hours of Continuing Professional Development each year. My base for working is humanistic and rooted in relationship. I also offer Pastoral Supervision for clergy and am a member of APSE (Association for Pastoral Supervision and Education).

I trained in local lay ministry as a Reader and was authorised in 2004. I currently serve as a Reader in Stone, Staffordshire where I have lived since June 2013. Before that I lived in Shropshire where I was also commissioned as a Workplace Chaplain for Telford Christian Council, a role I had for 7 years. I lead a Pastoral Team at Spring Harvest each year providing pastoral support and prayer ministry.

From 2010 - 2014 I was employed as Domestic Abuse Counsellor for a church-based charity in Stoke-on-Trent. Following that I worked for a short time for an IAPT Service and then for the last 5 years part time at the NHS as a Staff Counsellor at UHNM. I now work with private clients and supervisees at my own home. Clients come through self-referral and various EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) providers.  Previously I have counselled clients for the charity Homestart and in a further education college student services department.

I am able to work with individuals and couples with a whole range of issues – anxiety, self-esteem, anger, depression, stress, trauma, loss and relationships.

Sarah Bruce

Worcester, WR4
Mobile: 07769 655013
Landline: 01905 356477 

In 1980 I did a short counselling course as part of a pastoral care training programme. An opportunity to do an initial qualification in counselling enabled me to understand something of the complex issues Christians face in life.  In 2015 I undertook a Master’s in Counselling psychology and am currently studying on a Doctoral programme in which I am researching Mindfulness and spirituality.  My training has given me a good understanding of two counselling approaches, but I can also draw on insights from a range of others depending on your needs.

Being informed as a counsellor is only part of the story; being able to create a safe and trusting environment where you can explore your difficulties is, of paramount importance to an effective outcome of therapy.  I am registered with the Counselling Directory, so if you wish you can find more information from an extended profile on this site.  I also am registered with the Churches Ministerial Counselling Service so am building more and more experience in working with ministers and their family, enabling them to face the unique challenges of being in Christian ministry. 

If I am not available when you call, please leave a message and I will endeavour to contact you as soon as is possible.

Sally-Anne Bubbers

Centre for Positive Health, 11-13 Whitchurch Road, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 3DS
Community House, 103 Easemore Road, Redditch. B98 8EY
Tel: 07971 349151

I work with individuals in a flexible way, drawing on different psychological approaches and my belief that everyone is a unique individual. I have a particular interest in how the body is able to hold memories of overwhelming distress, which we cannot always find words for. This can sometimes lead us to behave in ways we do not understand, impacting our health and wellbeing.

I have worked in private practice for many years and have a particular interest in clergy wellbeing. Previously I worked as a GP counsellor and in workplace counselling with NHS staff. I originally trained as a bereavement counsellor and later gained an MSc in Counselling Psychology at Keele. I am a Certified Advanced Sensorimotor Psychotherapist.  I also draw on attachment and developmental theory, the 3-phase trauma recovery model, Internal Family Systems and mindfulness (contemplative) practices.

Both offices have free parking and are within 5 or 10 min walk from train and bus stations.

I am UKCP registered and a member of the BACP. I am also trained in Pastoral Supervision and am a member for the Association for Pastoral Supervision and Education (APSE).

Gill Carding

Shrewsbury SY2
Tel: 07885 367120

I am a senior accredited counsellor and supervisor with BACP (the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), working in an integrative way. I also have senior accreditation with APSE (the Association for Pastoral Supervision and Education).  I am a Reader, firstly serving in St Asaph diocese and now in Lichfield.

Coming originally from a background in mental health social work, I trained with Relate (Marriage Guidance as it was then) in the1980’s, which was followed by an M.A in Counselling from Keele University in 1994. Having counselled in primary care and psychological therapies in the NHS, I then became Head of Counselling for Chester Diocese for 10 years. Thus I am well acquainted with the particular pressures, issues and joys of clergy life.

Now semi-retired, I have a small practice in counselling, seeing individuals and couples, as well as offering Pastoral Supervision. I am particularly interested in the ongoing care and nurturing of those in ministry.  

Margaret Cox

Lichfield, Staffs, WS13
Tel: 01543 300101

I am a Jungian analytical psychotherapist and work both with individuals and with couples. Following my original training as a Relate Counsellor in 1980 I worked in a GP Practice for a number of years and also part-time in the NHS. I offer short term counselling and longer term psychotherapy. I am registered with UKCP and the BCP and now maintain a private practice.  As the widow of a clergyman, I am particularly aware of the strain and stress of parish life which I know can precipitate very painful situations for all involved.

I trained as a Clinical Supervisor with Relate in 1990 and then in 2006 with the Society for Analytical Psychology. Since then I have supervised many counsellors and therapists.  In the last few years, through my work with clergy, I have had a growing interest in Pastoral Supervision, supporting myself in this by becoming a member of the Association of Pastoral Supervision and Education  Providing a safe space where Clergy and other Christian workers can think about their work can often be a lifeline, enabling many to maintain their creativity and joy in the work and even prevent burnout!

Jane Knight

Nantwich. CW5
Tel: 07855 385278

I have been practising as a qualified counsellor since 1999, initially spending ten years working in medical settings within GP surgeries offering time limited counselling for a wide range of presenting issues. 

In August 2019, I retired following ten years as Head of Counselling Services for the Diocese of Chester where I managed a counselling service for clergy, their families and church members.  I now continue to maintain a small private practice from my home near Nantwich offering one to one counselling and counselling supervision. I also offer Pastoral Supervision to clergy and continue to maintain an interest in seeking ways to support clergy in their ministry.

My initial training was in the Person-Centred approach and my philosophy is still deeply grounded in this approach, which honours the uniqueness and agency of the individual.  Today I would probably characterise myself as Person-Centred integrative as I may draw from my awareness and training in other approaches, albeit from a Person-Centred perspective. 

I hold a diploma in Person-Centred Counselling and an M.A. in Counselling Studies from Chester University.  I also hold a diploma in counselling supervision and am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and as such am bound by its Ethical Framework for Good Practice.

Bethany Thornton

Stafford ST16
Tel: 07954 848542

I am a BACP Registered and Accredited counsellor in private practice in Stafford.  I hold a DipHE in Therapeutic Counselling, which incorporates Person-Centred Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Transactional Analysis.  I also hold a British Psychological Society Approved Certificate in Third Wave Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (which incorporates therapies such as: Compassion-Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness). I have over 5 years of counselling experience working with many clients on a range of mental health and life issues.

I am a graduate of Moorlands Christian College and in the final year of my Applied Theology degree I completed a module ‘Perspectives on Christian Counselling’.  This module was part of the inspiration for my next career step.  During my counselling training I worked with clients voluntarily at the local NHS Service and this soon turned into a full-time paid position.  After 3 years I decided to open my own private practice and I also receive referrals as an Affiliate Counsellor with a number of Employee Assistance Programmes.  I am a member of Rising Brook Community Church in Stafford and serve on their Prayer Ministry Team.

The Revd Prebendary Dr Jane Tillier

Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme ST5
Tel: 07530 734079

I have over thirty years of experience in ministry in a variety of settings including parishes, a cathedral, a university and a hospice.  In order to further develop my capacity to journey with groups and individuals in their seeking of wisdom and understanding, I have recently been studying Psychotherapy at the Metanoia Institute in London, working towards an MSc in Relational Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy.  I am a UKCP-listed psychotherapist in training and I am at a stage where I can see people for counselling and therapeutic work. I am also a member of APSE and I am interested in the contribution supervision can make to health and wellbeing.

I can be contacted with a view to arranging counselling sessions with me and/or in order to have a more general overview conversation about pastoral care and wellbeing as outlined above.


Bishop’s Visitors

Visitors act on behalf of the Diocesan Bishop in cases where a clergy spouse may need practical help and emergency financial provision because the couple are separating. The Visitors are usually the first port of call in such a crisis. Visitors are appointed by the Bishop: they do not offer counselling but are selected for their skill and experience and always maintain strict confidentiality. If you need this kind of support, for which there is no charge, contact your Area Bishop in the first instance.

Page last updated: 14th April 2020 7:59 AM