Due to Covid 19, we are available for therapy via online video wherever you may be in the country.
01695 351395 maria@freshthinkingtherapy.co.uk

Thank you. Before, I had tried to cope alone and when I got to crisis point it took up to two weeks before I could get any help. Now I have a plan for the future and access to support if I need it. Adult

Meet the team

With many years of experience working with people experiencing emotional distress and a range of mental health difficulties, we work collaboratively with you or your child to explore which direction the therapy should take and help you achieve the goals and values you have identified using appropriate scientifically approved techniques.

Maria Hoyle

Maria Hoyle

Personal Assistant

Maria’s aim is to support parents and adults at Fresh Thinking Therapy with the vision of making a difference in the mental health care given to children and their families in West Lancashire and Sefton. Maria is a dedicated Mum of two small children and a puppy.

Having supported her friends and family with mental health issues she shares the passion and dedication in improving the emotional wellbeing of children, families and young adults.

Maria a degree in textile design she is a creative person by nature, her passions include crafts, crochet, reading and yoga. She believes giving time to yourself is important for your own mental health and wellbeing. Maria also enjoys getting outdoors with her children and family.

With a keen interest in being environmentally friendly, Maria does what she can to reduce the impact herself and her family have on the environment. She actively seeks to reuse and recycle wherever possible whist avoiding purchasing single use plastics. Maria believes in teaching her children the importance of respecting and protecting the environment.

Elisabeth Thompson

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Director

Elisabeth has a specialist interest in developing compassion and in Compassion Focused Therapy. This form of therapy focuses on developing self kindness, courage, warmth, wisdom and being non judgemental to help people get through difficult times. Her knowledge and experience of compassion focused therapy (CFT) influences her psychotherapy practice.

Elisabeth has worked in mental health and psychology for more than twenty years in a range of settings, including the NHS. Over time she has worked extensively with people experiencing difficulties with anxiety and depression.

Throughout her career she has worked across the age ranges but more predominantly with children and young people who have experienced major life events and difficulties.

She also has experience in working with people who are on the autistic spectrum or have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and have anxiety or depression. Elisabeth is a Psychology lecturer, keeping abreast of the most up to date research. She is a regular presenter at a number of mental health charities.

Elisabeth Thompson PGDip CBT, PGCE, BSc (Hons).

Stephanie Alexander

Stephanie Alexander

Person Centred Counsellor

Stephanie has always been interested in how the mind works and subsequently studied Psychology A’ Level. With a strong background working in education, Stephanie also studied Counselling part-time alongside her job as a Learning Mentor at a Further Education College. From then on, she returned to full-time education as a mature student to complete 3 years specialist training in Counselling and Psychotherapy at University. Here, Stephanie also completed an outstanding piece of primary research and had an article published in an academic peer-reviewed journal. She now runs an established private practice in addition to being an Associate Counsellor for Fresh Thinking Therapy. Counselling is not just Stephanie’s job; it is her passion.

Stephanie works in a person-centred way which means that you are in control of what you wish to explore and the entire counselling process. During sessions, Stephanie provides a safe, relaxed, confidential space to explore your emotions, concerns, past or current experiences. She will support you in developing the confidence to make your own way forward in the direction you choose. She encourages you to work at your own pace, whether you require short or long-term therapy, and assures that will receive her full warm, nurturing presence during each session. Stephanie realises that opening up to a stranger can be daunting and in this respect; a key strength of her practice is her natural ability of allowing people to feel at ease in the therapeutic space.

Stephanie always work professionally and authentically. She is a Registered Member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and adheres fully to their Ethical Guidelines and Framework.


Person Centred Counsellor and Play Therapist

Play Therapy is particularly helpful to children and young people who have experienced trauma, abuse or have attachment difficulties, as well as children who experience delay in developmental areas such as speech and language, emotional, social and cognitive. It offers a safe non-threatening space, working at the child’s level and does not require them to be able to talk about their experiences for it to benefit them and relieve psychological distress. It is suited to children of all ages but is often used for children between the ages of three to thirteen.

Tracey is also experienced in supporting teenagers, looked after children, adoptees, and adoptive parents and adults.

Her practice follows the ethical guidelines of the British Association of Play Therapists, the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and Social Work England.

Jackie Archer

Integrative Psychotherapist

With 7 years’ experience, she has worked in a variety of establishments – including hospices, women centres, primary and high schools. Jackie now runs a successful private practice offering talking therapy, play & creative therapy and animal assisted interventions. She works with adults and children, collaborating with social services and various schools across Lancashire.

Alongside concerns of stress, depression and low self esteem, Jackie specialises in working with bereavement and has experience of managing anxiety disorders, ADHD, autism and attachment. She uses an array of techniques in therapy that target insight into the way people act, think, behave and relate to others. When applied in therapy, these techniques can help individuals develop a better understanding of themselves and their situation.

The main idea behind the way Jackie works, is an understanding that you are unique, and what would work perfectly for you is not necessarily what would work for other people. Jackie will work with you to explore what is causing difficulty and develop a programme of therapy that best suits your needs.

Our Services


CBT (or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is an evidence based treatment for effectively treating the most common mental health difficulties. Fresh Thinking Therapy provides cognitive behavioural therapy for a range of emotional and practical difficulties, including anxiety, depression, and trauma.


Person Centred Counselling

A person centred counsellor focuses on helping people reach their full potential.  There are many life events and experiences that block you from truly becoming who you are. A person centred counsellor works to help you feel accepted, better able to understand your own feelings and start to live life true to your values.


Integrative Psychotherapy

An integrative therapist uses all different approaches of therapy so that counselling fits your individual needs and personal circumstances. The aim of this kind of therapy is to help you identify and address factors in your life that are causing your current concerns and perpetuating problems using a variety of approaches.


Play Therapy

Sometimes children develop patterns of behaviour that have an impact on family life and /or school life. Parents, teachers or carers may report concerns about displays of excessive anger, fear or worry. Whilst adults are able to articulate their feelings and thoughts through therapy, children often struggle to do this and can find talking to a stranger quite threatening.  Play therapists use play to help children make sense of their feelings and world and to express them at their own pace and level of understanding. Generally play therapy is short term, usually less than 12 sessions.

NICE (National Institute of Health and Care Excellence) has recommended the use of CBT for children, young people and adults with:

  • Excessive Worry
  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma
  • Fear of Being Judged
  • Issues with Body Image
  • Panic Attacks
  • Who are on the Autistic Spectrum and have anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Phobias
  • Travel anxiety
  • Lack of confidence
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Sleep Issues
  • Anger Management

Research has shown that counselling is highly effective in helping to treat the following:

  • Parental separation and divorce
  • Lack of Confidence
  • Depression
  • Bereavement and Grief
  • Relationships
  • Stress
  • Domestic Violence
  • Children who are in hospital
  • Children who are in Care or are Adopted or Fostered
  • Addiction
  • ADHD
  • Coping with Illness
  • Who are on the Autistic Spectrum and have Anxiety

I am Thinking about Therapy for my Child.

Bringing your child for therapy is a big decision but it doesn’t have to be made alone. You can request a call from Elisabeth who will discuss with you whether therapy is appropriate and how it might be helpful.

How do I tell my Child about Going to Therapy?

Talking about accessing therapy needn’t be a serious conversation, you could just mention it in passing on the odd occasion, or you could have a general chat about it. This is a great way to establish whether your child is ready for therapy or whether they have any worries about it. Your child may even be the one to mention wanting someone to talk to. Involving your child in the decision making can encourage them to become more invested in therapy and therefore more successful at making a change. If you have made an appointment for therapy, be sure to inform your child well in advance.

I am Thinking About Therapy for Myself

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, you may have already tried to deal with it the best you can. However, it has now started to affect your life and it is time to gain some support. It is a big and courageous step, particularly if you have never seen a therapist before.

The phone call

If you request a phone call, Elisabeth will  call you and ask you a little bit about the difficulties you are currently experiencing. She will also discuss which is the most helpful therapy to meet your needs. If you feel you have made a good connection, you can request a suitable time to book an appointment.

Between the Phone call and the Appointment

Maria will ask you to complete a referral form and a contract. She will also send you some information about what you can expect from therapy.

The Day of the Appointment

Give yourself time to get to your appointment, bring your therapist’s phone number in case you can’t find the centre. In our first session, we will focus on the what has brought you to therapy. There will be a number of questionnaires to complete and the therapist will ask questions about your history too. You may share what you feel comfortable in sharing and there is no pressure to give a full and comprehensive background.

Liz always made me feel totally at ease and the conversation always felt completely natural. I have had CBT in the past and have felt as though the therapist was reading from a textbook to me and not truly listening. During my sessions with Liz I always felt like she wanted to help me and each session was led by what I wanted to discuss that week. Liz is very knowledgeable and trustworthy and has really helped me to understand some major things in my life that have contributed to my anxiety. I also now feel equipped to deal with anxiety triggering situations using the skills and tools taught by Liz. I will always be grateful for these sessions. Thank you!

Latest from Twitter

🌳 #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek starts tomorrow! We want to grow awareness of the role nature can play in preventing distress and creating good mental health for all 💚 #ConnectWithNature

Find out more: http://mentalhealth.org.uk/mhaw

A nice reminder of practical grounding techniques by @YoungMinds Activist Kerry. Next time you feel anxious, try one of these.

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