Meet some of our team of dedicated and skilled counsellors and therapists:
Andy Sgorbini , 44
High intensity CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) therapist
I am supporting the #NowICan campaign, because I know there are so many people across Coventry and Warwickshire who think they might need help, but don’t get it for whatever reason. I want to help break down barriers, so that more people can address their difficulties and live the life they want. We all have difficult days, but these shouldn’t be every day. It’s so easy to use our services, and they are free – just call the 024 766 1090, tell us what is troubling you and we’ll find the right person to help you.
Every day, I help many people to address difficult situations or feelings that they are experiencing. They might be worrying a lot about things, feel low or unhappy, don’t feel much like joining in, can’t sleep or can’t find their motivation. Sometimes this is linked to something specific like a traumatic experience, but quite often people don’t know exactly why they are thinking, feeling or behaving the way they do.
As a therapist, I help people to make sense of how they are feeling and help them understand their world better. I respect how people feel and what they say to me and I make sure they feel comfortable. I give them time and space to talk through things when they want to and, between us, we create a genuine bond of trust.
I chose this career as a teenager and have never looked back. It is always a privilege and a pleasure to see someone who has been struggling start to make sense of their problems, make changes, feel able to set goals and then work towards them. My aim is always to empower people so they feel able to support themselves and so that they no longer need me - even though I am always here for them, of course.
I was born in Italy, I’m married with two children and, a big fan of football, I split my allegiance between Inter Milan and Liverpool.
Sadia Noreen, 28
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner and Trainee High Intensity Therapist
Based in Coventry
"I am supporting the #NowICan campaign so that more people know it’s OK not to feel OK. 1 in 3 of us faces difficulties with mental health at some point, and so it’s quite ‘normal’ - no individual or group in society is immune from mental health difficulties. When you’re not feeling OK, it’s easy to get support from trained practitioners like me. Our services are free and we provide all sorts of support tailored to the needs of all sorts of people. We will help you address whatever challenges you face, so that you can feel more like yourself again, feel more in control, and get more enjoyment out of life."
There is no single group or individual in society that is immune from mental health difficulties, says therapist Sadia Noreen.
While poverty, homelessness, alcohol and drug misuse can lead to mental health problems, there is no so-called typical client seeking help and support from Sadia and her colleagues at Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust’s psychological therapies (IAPT) team.
“We provide care, support and counselling for anyone from 16 upwards, men and women from all sorts of backgrounds. Conditions can include mild to severe anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression and obsessive compulsive disorder,” she says.
“Coventry has a large student population and we see quite a number of students with mental health difficulties – often feeling low or isolated, unable to cope with exam pressures or not feeling like joining in.
“Our aim is to help people become their own therapists: to have the skills to help themselves. This means they are more likely to have a more meaningful life.”
Sadia, 28, has been with CWPT since 2015. She joined as a psychological wellbeing practitioner and is now training to be a high intensity therapist so she can treat more people with more severe and long-standing difficulties.
“It is so satisfying to see someone, perhaps a younger person, resolve their own issues and go on to live a more meaningful life; or people who have suffered for many years and believe things will never get better being able to turn things round for themselves,” she says.
Felix Ndebele, 40
Based in North Warwickshire
“I am supporting the #NowICan campaign because I would like more people to know that my colleagues and I are here to listen and to help when they need us. So many people struggle with internal challenges that aren’t going away or getting better by themselves, but choose not to seek specialist advice or support. When you find you are having more bad days than good, it will be affecting the quality of your life so it’s important to do something about it. One in every three of us experiences mental health difficulties at some point, so feeling low or like you can’t cope is actually quite ‘normal’. While you probably wouldn’t ignore a bad back or a fever, people often keep mental health hidden away. It’s really OK not to feel OK - but don’t keep it to yourself.”
Listening is the most important part of the job for Felix.
“We are here to give our clients time to express how they are feeling and then we can look at ways that they can help themselves,” he says.
“By the time they are ready to be discharged, we have helped them to understand why they felt the way they did and we have helped them develop the skills to cope.”
A growing number of clients are struggling with their mental health as a result of long-term physical conditions, such as diabetes and heart and lung disease (CPOD).
“It is important that the NHS and care sector treats the whole person and we are here to support people with their mental health,” says Felix, who in his spare time is a member of his local church and leader of a Pathfinder youth group.
“People with long-term illnesses often struggle to maintain their social lives and can become isolated. This can affect their emotional wellbeing, which in turn can lead to them failing to look after their physical health and they can spiral downwards.
Counsellor for depression
Based in Stratford-upon-Avon
"Many people are facing difficult challenges that are affecting their mental health. Some of the people who come to me for help are struggling with low mood or worries that just won’t go away; others are dealing with grief or traumatic memories. I am supporting the #NowICan campaign so that more people will be able to deal with whatever is troubling them, and experience a change in outlook that will help them to move on with their lives."
After a career in the theatre, Sally became a counsellor, retraining at Warwick University.
Four years of studying while continuing to work resulted in a degree in person-centred counselling and psychotherapy and a role as a Counsellor for Depression with us, based in Stratford-upon-Avon.
“It’s an important job because it makes a difference to people’s lives,” says Sally.
“We are here to give people a space to focus on themselves, to open up about their problems and explore the possibility of change. Time and time again you see people’s outlook change, helping them to move on in their lives.
“Getting to know them and what makes them tick and helping them to understand why they are feeling low, or anxious, and how they can change things for themselves.”
Sally says that having been an actor is good training for “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, to imagine and understand what it is like to be them.”
“I still love theatre and dance – I go to see shows and I take part in dance classes – and this gives me a break from the demands of my job. But my working life now is immensely satisfying - it’s very rewarding to see someone change from being deeply troubled to feeling better about themselves and their future.”