Helen BarnesI am a skilled and compassionate coach, coach supervisor and occupational therapist whose work is grounded in academic rigour and experience. have a deep curiosity and intuition about people, and believe that a client’s narrative is the best way of getting to know them, where they are in the context of their lives, and where they might be thinking about going.  I have a particular interest in the relational aspect of being and how we might hold ourselves in patterns that are no longer useful.

I began my career in business and  at 38 embarked on a major career change to train in Occupational Therapy. After qualifying, I worked for the NHS in a variety of psychiatric and physical settings. In 2003 I left London to follow my husband to live in Brussels, Belgium.

Whilst there I completed my European Masters in Occupational Therapy and in 2005 joined the European Commission to work first in the Psychosocial Interventions Sector of the Medical Service assisting staff experiencing difficult life situations and more latterly in an HR role responsible for:

  • Career and personal development coaching
  • Equal opportunities
  • Wellbeing at work

Apart from client work, I helped develop policy for the reintegration of staff following long-term absence as a result of illness or accident. I have experience in assessment of the work environment and the role of work for the individual (WRI and WEIS), both of which I used for the purpose of supporting people back into the workplace.   Through my work with clients experiencing difficulties with transition and reintegration, I observed that often my clients were unable to take action in order to equip themselves with the resources required for successful adaptation and saw coaching as the missing link to help people make positive occupational change. I completed my Foundation and Certificate in Coaching as well as training in career guidance and in 2017 I was accredited at senior practitioner level by the EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council) and in 2018 awarded my Certificate in Supervision by the Tavistock Institute.

Currently I am on sabbatical with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust working as a career coach supporting adults with mental health conditions back into the workplace.  This has been a wonderful opportunity to see the potential of coaching in the field of mental health, and combine my skills in a different context.

My coaching is underpinned by my occupational therapy training, the central tenet of which owes much to the ideals of romanticism, pragmatism and humanism. My approach is holistic, integrating person centeredness with concepts taken from Gestalt psychology.  As a coach, clients describe me as reflective with good analytical skills and a supportive and non-directive approach.

I have Post Graduate Qualifications in Vocational Rehabilitation, am a registered member of the UK Health Care Professions Council; Committee member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section – Work;

Member of the EMCC (European Mentoring and Coaching Council)

I am very excited to be an associate on Jen’s site and invite any interested OT’s to contact me at helenbarnes@skynet.be for an informal chat about how we might work together.