I decided I wanted to be a psychologist when I was 15.
Shortly after realising that my inability to look at blood without fainting meant I wasn’t going to get far as a Doctor.
But life took a more unexpected route and while I studied psychology at university I only completed my therapeutic training in my 30s.
My deliberate choice to return to psychology was rooted in a desire to make available to others the transformative psychological insights that I wished I had been exposed to earlier on in both my personal and professional life. This desire to support and empower people on their journey of discovery is what underpins my work today.
I am a chartered Counselling Psychologist and Executive Coach. I am an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and I am registered with the Health Care Professional Council.
My professional specialism is Bowen systems theory, an approach that focuses on the fundamental impact of relationship and emotional dynamics (both past and present) on psychological health and professional performance. This is particularly relevant in today’s volatile, uncertain and stressful world as its approach empowers you to think clearly and act calmly in the midst of chaos.
The Differentiated Life
Bowen system’s core concept which underpins growth and transformation is that of differentiation.
Differentiation encapsulates our capacity to continue to think, feel and act as an individual while also remaining meaningfully engaged in our relationships under increasing levels of pressure.
Research indicates that individuals with higher levels of differentiation have improved physical and psychological health, more fulfilling relationships and a greater capacity to manage stress than those with lower levels of differentiation. Depending on the type of work I am doing with clients this concept may be explored more or less explicitly.
Bowen Systems thinking and powerful impact of building one’s differentiation are not yet widely known in UK and I am passionate about bringing this to a wider audience. My blog ‘The Differentiated Life’ is one such means.
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
In addition to Bowen Systems theory, I am trained in a variety of psychological and therapeutic models including psychodynamic, person-centred and cognitive behavioural approaches. These models offer a variety of ways of understanding, and of working to enhance psychological health.
In individual therapy I integrate these approaches to ensure that your therapy sessions meets your specific needs. In couple and family therapy where the focus is the relationship system I primarily draw upon Bowen Systems thinking.
I have extensive experience working in the NHS, mental health charity, private sector and workplace settings. This diverse experience includes working with clients from City consultancy, accountancy and law firms in my Harley Street practice to establishing and running the UK’s first onsite therapeutic service for prison officers. Started in 2016 this provision is now an integral part of the prison’s life.
I am a daughter, spouse and mother. I believe in authenticity as a therapist and thus I also seek to live A Differentiated Life. This has included journeying through times of personal and family challenge including significant family members experiencing chronic health problems, severe mental health illness, neurodiversity and untimely death. Such personal experiences have matured and deepened the quality of empathy and connection I offer to my clients.
Executive Coaching & Leadership Training for Business
Bowen Systems thinking applies as much to our professional life as it does to our personal life. Indeed, my experience of work burnout back in 2011 was what led me to discover the transformative power of Bowen Systems thinking.
As an executive coach I equip clients with the insights and understanding offered through Bowen Systems and empower them to raise their personal level of differentiation. Clients experience personal benefits through improved well-being, performance benefits with refined leadership and management skills and they also enhance their capacity to operate insightfully in team environments.
My company The Team Brain Partnership is launching in 2023. This will offer coaching, leadership training and keynotes to bring Bowen systems thinking to the business world.
If you are interested in finding out more, get in touch.
Academic & Author
During my professional doctorate I ran the first UK research project into the impact of Bowen systems coaching on burnout, stress and work engagement. We coached Church of England clergy, professionals whose relational and emotional work means that the concepts of Bowen Systems are highly relevant and beneficial.
Building on the success of these coaching groups I have recently written the book “Flourishing Ministers: Flourishing Communities” a resource for those in Christian leadership which is published by the Susanna Wesley Foundation. This material now forms the basis of well-being coaching groups for clergy.
I am an associate tutor at Ridley Hall, Cambridge teaching BA and MA students and I am also a visiting research fellow at London South Bank School of Business.
Get in touch to enquire about coaching groups
CPsychol BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist
DPsych Counselling Psychology, Roehampton University
MA (Oxon) Experimental Psychology, Oxford University
Professional Certificate in Executive Coaching, Henley Business School
Practitioner Counselling Psychologist registered with the Health and Care Professions Council
AFBPsS Associate Fellow & Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society
“Working with Dr Kissell has brought family systems to life; in the course of 9 months, this theory has moved from an intellectual interest to become a lens for seeing all my relationships in my work-place and beyond.”
“An incredibly insightful and helpful week of teaching, both for my personal life but also for my ministry and placement.”
Ridley Hall Student
“The coaching has helped me to become aware of emotional temperatures in groups and learn how to remain self differentiated to help calm the situation and encourage helpful conversations even if there is no agreement”
Coaching Group Participant
To enquire about individual therapy, couple, family therapy or for any other question.