Dr Caroline Vermes, Director 

Hello, I am the Director of Oakwood Psychology Services, and a Chartered HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologist.

Oakwood Psychology Services provides counselling and CBT services by contract to public and private corporate customers including the NHS.  We strive to provide personalised, knowledgeable psychological therapies for our clients to help improve emotional and relational health and wellbeing. We also provide well-supported training placements and supervision for trainee psychological therapists. The Oakwood team comprises caring. dedicated practitioners, administrators, support staff and trainees. Oakwood is proud to be a BACP Accredited Service.

Education

2018: D.Couns.Psych, Manchester University

2012: LEAD, Manchester Metropolitan University

2010: MA, Counselling Studies, University of Manchester

2000: NJ Licensed Professional Counsellor (LPC), US Nationally Certified Counsellor (NCC)

1994: M.Ed, Counselling Psychology, Rutgers University, New Jersey

1988: BA Art History (Cum Laude), Drew University, New Jersey

Memberships

Accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS)

Full Member of the Division of Counselling Psychology of the British Psychological Society

Awards

1997: Lifetime membership of Psi Chi, the International Honour Society in Psychology

1992: Kings scholarship

Work history

I qualified in Counselling Psychology in New Jersey, USA in 1994.

In 2000 I was amongst the first 300 counsellors in New Jersey to earn State Licensure as a Professional Counsellor (LPC – NCC).

From 1994 –2000 I held staff psychotherapist positions on psychiatric units at St Clare’s Hospital, Boonton, NJ, and the University Medical Center, Princeton, N.J. During this time I also worked as an associate counsellor in a number of private practices, most notably the Center for Optimum Living in Kinnelon, NJ, with Dr Sal Benanti from 1995 to 2002.

In 2002 I moved to Manchester, my second mother, where I still live to this day.

In 2003 I commenced work with Dr Barbara Douglas at the North West Centre for Eating Disorders, based in Stockport. This service was first commissioned as a community eating disorder service by the NHS in 1997. I took on its leadership in 2006 and focussed my work at that time on developing and researching a stepped care model for eating disorders within the service, including lower intensity guided self-help and group therapy options, as well as tailored family and individual therapy approaches. I also established a successful intensive outpatient treatment option, including a supported meals club. This programme offers a practical approach to helping people with more severe or enduring eating disorders.

In 2006 I developed a selective placement programme for counsellors and counselling psychologists in advanced training.  To date, we have mentored around 50 counsellors studying at universities including Manchester, Salford, Derby, Teesside, Keele, Wolverhampton, Chester, Bolton, and City University, London.  Our trainees do excellent clinical work while building their practice portfolios towards qualification.

In 2011 I was awarded a grant by the Northwest Regional Development Agency to undertake the LEAD SME management programme at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. I subsequently published a BPS guidance document and a textbook chapter on the practicalities of social entrepreneurship in mental health service delivery.

In 2011-2014 the Oakwood team partnered with Dr Sheena Bedi and ABL Health to train and develop multidisciplinary staff teams, and to deliver group and individual psychological therapies for health-related behaviour change programmes within NHS-commissioned Specialist Weight Management Services (SWMS) in Manchester, Salford, Tameside, Oldham, Bury, Stockport and Blackpool.

Most recently, in 2018 I completed doctoral research in Counselling Psychology at the University of Manchester. My study investigated how clients make therapy work through social and experiential learning.

Current research includes an investigation into rates of weight restoration in anorexia care in community eating disorder services around the UK.

Beyond my responsibilities in counselling service leadership, I have since 2018 been a Lecturer in Counselling Psychology at University of Manchester.

Outside my paid work, I am a Trustee of Home Café, a charitable social space affiliated with St James and Emmanuel Church in Didsbury, Manchester. I am also a curator with the Didsbury Oral History Project through St James and Emmanuel Church and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Publications

Vermes, C. (2013). An Introduction to Bidding for Public Sector Contracts for Counselling Psychologists. British Psychological Society.

Vermes, C. (2016). Becoming an Entrepreneur-Practitioner. In Douglas, B., Woolfe, R., Strawbridge, S., Kasket, E. and Galbraith, V. (Eds). The Handbook of Counselling Psychology (4th Edition, 616- 639). London: Sage.

Vermes, C. (2017). The individualism impasse in counselling psychology. Counselling Psychology Review, 32(1), 44-53.

Vermes, C. (2017). Eating disorders. In C. Feltham, T. Hanley and L. A. Winter (Eds). The Sage Handbook of Counselling and Psychotherapy (4th Edition, 421-426). London: Sage.