Meet the Staff
Meet the Team
Cath Wakeman OBE
CEO & Trauma Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Cath has been involved in working with survivors of Child Sexual Abuse since 1998 when she completed her training as an Art Therapist. She worked at “Number 28”, Action For Children, firstly as a practitioner and latterly as Project Manager. Cath ran a small private practice prior to establishing Imara and has trained as a Creative Arts Supervisor, EMDR practitioner, Couple counsellor and holds a diploma in Park Inner Child Therapy. She has also provided specialist training regionally and nationally and works as a clinical supervisor and consultant to other professionals. Cath has a Degree in Nursing and worked as a nurse in hospital and community settings prior to becoming an Art Therapist.
Cath was awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to Child Protection and is committed to supporting survivors and their families to move on from the trauma of Child Sexual Abuse. Setting up Imara was an opportunity to respond to the need of children and teenagers to receive immediate help once they had disclosed abuse, recognising that there was no comprehensive support to the individual and their family at this time.
Senior Clinical Therapist – Play Therapist
Christy joined Imara in September 2016. She has a history of working with the Youth Offending Team and both secondary and primary schools for 15 years, mainly leading on Wellbeing and Nurture for children and families in Nottingham who appear vulnerable and would display challenging behaviours. Christy was also the schools Safeguarding lead and an Advanced Designated Safeguarding Lead with Nottingham City Council.
Christy is a registered and accredited Play Therapist (PTUK) and has practised with young people aged 5 years and up since 2009.
Christy will focus on the child’s voice with a view to putting across the child’s point of view to the adults around that child.
Play Therapists use play/sand/objects and art allowing the child to develop their situation or history through metaphor,the easiest and most comfortable way for a child to communicate. Christy also uses this model with adults.
Christy will train further this year in Filial Family Therapy in June 2017
Trauma Therapist – PICT Practitioner, EFT Practitioner & Person-Centred Counsellor
Nicky draws on her knowledge of several different therapeutic disciplines to blend a unique approach for each individual; working together to help them to move towards what they wish to achieve and helping them to progress in a much more optimistic way.
Nicky is a qualified Further Education Teacher and Curriculum Manager, with comprehensive experience of teaching Life and Employment Skills to Adults with Learning Difficulties, predominantly Autism. Using her skills as a therapist, she also teaches Confidence Building Skills to adults experiencing mental health issues and delivers workshops and training to other service providers.
Diploma in Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy
Master Practitioner of Meridian Energy Therapies (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling
BFRP—Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner
Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector
University Certificate in Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Diploma in Hopi Ear Candling
Diploma in Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT)
Creative Arts Therapist – Dance Movement Psychotherapist
Rachael joined Imara in July 2018. She is a registered and accredited Dance Movement Psychotherapist who has worked with children, young people and adults since her training commenced in 2011. Rachael delivers therapeutic support in a creative, flexible and original way including art, imagery, sound and play in her sessions.
Rachael has previously worked for other organisations and in private practice delivering creative therapeutic support for people who have experienced trauma. She has completed additional specialist training in New York and in 2013 was presented with an award for her humanitarian work within refugee communities.
Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) is a relational process which recognises body movement as an instrument of communication and expression. Body movement doesn’t necessarily mean ‘dance performance’ as we often move without conscious awareness of our bodies. DMP supports the integration of aspects of self through increased body awareness and a focus on the inter-relationship between psyche and soma.
Creative Arts Therapist – Dance & Movement Psychotherapist
Verity Danbold is a Dance Therapist specializing in trauma. As both a Dance Therapist and a community dance/social circus specialist, she has extensive experience working globally with survivors of sex trafficking and torture, as well as refugees in the UK.
DMT uses movement as a diagnostic and healing tool, seeing in the body what is “too fine, too deep” for words. She draws from the Sampoornata method, a human-rights based methodology, she campaigns for your rights outside of sessions, while nurturing a creative, nurturing space to grow as your own advocate. She guides her practice as one of “working through the body what is done to the body.’’ Working in the Global South for over a decade, she celebrates the capacity for movement to transcend cultural and language barriers and to connect with non/pre-verbal clients. She integrates practices such as circus, yoga, and crafts to celebrate the creative, reflective and moving self. In working through the body and movement, she nurtures a practice of body-embedded self-care, encouraging people to reflect on themselves as a tool for healing, strength and growth.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Melanie joined the Imara team in August 2018 and is a registered art psychotherapist with HCPC and the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). Her clinical art psychotherapy experience includes work with children in a post adoption support setting and with young adults diagnosed with learning disabilities.
Prior to her art psychotherapy qualification Melanie worked for eight years for an award winning charity, where she pioneered the provision of creative support to unaccompanied asylum seeker teenagers and young survivors of trafficking. She has also completed specialist training in counselling children who have experienced trauma, receiving a certificate in counselling skills with children using the arts, from the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education.
Art Psychotherapy is a safe way for children and adults to explore feelings using art materials, images and metaphor. This therapy can support recovery and the strengthening and reforming of self following trauma.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Hannah Grace graduated as an HCPC registered Art Therapist in July 2018 and is a member of the British Association of Art Therapists.
Hannah has experience working with clients in a school setting, an NHS children’s centre (CAHMS) and with a charity for homeless and vulnerable adults providing therapy for clients with a range of difficulties.
Hannah became an Art Therapist as she believes that creating a safe space free of fear or judgement can empower people, increase self-awareness and self-confidence and build self-esteem through the universal language of art. Hannah uses a largely non-directive approach which allows the young person to be in control of what they bring to the session. Building a relationship between herself, the client and the art enables the client to experience personal growth and a strong sense of self.
Creative Arts Therapist – Person-Centred Psychotherapist
Kim joined the Imara team in January 2020. She is a registered Person-Centred psychotherapist, specialising in working with children and young people (MA) also holding a Creative, Expressive Therapies BA (hons) degree. Kim has over 20 years of experience of working with diverse populations of children and young people and holds the importance of empowerment and equality central to her work.
Kim has previously worked within education and healthcare settings, using the creative arts as therapeutic support for children, young people and adults. More recently she provided a counselling service within a provision for students who have been excluded from mainstream education and are experiencing a variety of issues.
Person-Centred psychotherapy is based on the belief that humans have the capacity to develop themselves through facilitative, empathic communication and expression that form the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. This communication is invited in a variety of ways including the use of arts, movement and conversation. This process is client-led, allowing clients to explore aspects of themselves within a safe and supportive environment.
Sleep and Anxiety Practitioner
Stella joined Imara in February 2020. She is a qualified Advanced Rapid Transformational Therapist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Biology Teacher and soon to be qualified Children’s Sleep Practitioner. She has over 12 years’ experience of working with children in an educational, pastoral and, more recently, a therapeutic setting.
Early on in her teaching career Stella realised that students would often be drawn to seek her advice and guidance on a variety of issues, more often than not around sleep and anxiety. Having experienced sleeping issues and severe anxiety first-hand, Stella could provide pastoral support and empathise, but very little beyond. Consequently, this gave Stella the drive and motivation to gain further qualifications that would enable her to work with children suffering from these issues in a therapeutic setting. Stella now teaches her clients and their families the very same knowledge and tools that led to her own recovery many years ago. Furthermore, where appropriate, Stella uses Rapid Transformational Therapy as a powerful tool to help her clients to free themselves from the root cause of the anxiety and sleep issues that they currently experience
Play Therapy Trainee
An accredited Play Therapist with PTUK and BACP and experienced parenting coach and mentor who have worked with children and families for the past 17 years. Recently also trained as Parent-Child Attachment Play practitioner, she is passionate about the importance of play and creativity as part of a healthy childhood and help parents develop healthy bond with children through play and acceptance. She believes in creating safe space for children to utilise their inner strength and resources to begin the process of healing and self-growth.
She has lived and worked in Indonesia and England, and worked with families with diverse cultural backgrounds which gives her a unique understanding, and respect of the complexities of raising families in a multicultural context.
Prior to her play therapy training, Mala managed and built a school in Medan, Indonesia from a small local school to an internationally accredited school which prioritise play and well-being at the core of the service. She was also involved in a charity that drives the special needs awareness campaign in Medan through school and communities involvements.
Creative Arts Therapist – Dramatherapist
Ellie is a Dramatherapist, working full time at Imara. Prior to joining the team in July 2020, she achieved a First Class Honours degree in Creative Expressive Therapies from the University of Derby, before going onto complete her MA in Dramatherapy, also at Derby, and graduating with Distinction in 2019. She is registered with the HCPC and is a member of the British Association of Dramatherapists.
Ellie has significant experience of working with children and young people in various settings, including those who have experienced complex trauma, abuse and attachment disruption. Additionally, she has worked with adults in mental health services, providing therapy and creative support for clients with a wide range of needs and difficulties. Furthermore, Ellie has completed research into aspects of her work that she is particularly passionate about, predominantly focussing on working with the effects of trauma on children and young people. Alongside Dramatherapy, Ellie is a confident actor, performer and storyteller. As a reflective practitioner, she is also committed to looking within, as she believes that developing personally allows her to develop professionally.
Dramatherapy provides the client with a non-judgmental, playful and empowering space to create, connect, heal and reflect, where what is explored is done so through the safe container of metaphor. Ellie became a Dramatherapist because she is passionate about creating this space for clients and empowering them to give voice to their stories and ultimately live the healthy and fulfilled lives they deserve.
Creative Arts Therapist – Dramatherapist
Ukeila joined the Imara team in July 2020. She is an HCPC registered (MA) Dramatherapist who specialises in working with children and young people. In addition to holding her (MA), Ukeila holds a Community and Applied Performance Ba (Hons) degree. Ukeila has over ten years of experience working with young people within the youth justice system and individuals struggling with identity issues. She believes that life has many end destinations, but through patients and support, we can all learn to re-write them.
Over the last ten years, Ukeila has dedicated her time to providing support to young people and adults. Her recent employment within the healthcare sector consisted of her providing therapeutic support to young people and adults struggling with ill mental health and substance misuse. In the past, Ukeila has travelled internationally and around the United Kingdom, making use of her training at Identity Drama School, National Youth Theatre and Birmingham School of Acting. She has performed as a Spoken Word artist to raise awareness around sexual exploitation and domestic violence, collaborating with known organisations such as ‘Women’s Aid’ and ‘Young inspirations.’
Dramatherapy allows people to express without words, breaking down the divisions of race, culture, religion and Politics. Dramatherapy uses the healing aspects of both drama and theatre within the therapeutic process. It is a method of working and playing, which uses an action to facilitate creativity, imagination, learning, insight and growth. Ukeila uses a person-centred approach, empowering her clients to be in control of their wishes and feelings. Using movement, art, role play and reflective practice, she enables you to start telling your story.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Amanda qualified as an art psychotherapist in 2018 and joined the Imara team in September 2020. Her clinical art psychotherapy experience includes working with adults and children at a charity for people affected by domestic abuse (providing individual and group art therapy) and for an arts therapies organisation providing therapy in primary and secondary schools.
Prior to qualifying as an art therapist Amanda worked as a creative mentor with looked after young people in care, and as a freelance artist providing art workshops within different settings. This included working towards increasing participants self-confidence, social inclusion and well-being with groups in hospitals, art galleries, museums, schools, youth clubs and across the community.
Amanda is registered with HCPC and the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). She is a regional coordinator for BAAT.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses art media as its primary mode of expression and communication. Within this context, art is not used as diagnostic tool but as a medium to address emotional issues which may be confusing and distressing (BAAT 2020)
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist
Sue joined the the team at Imara in September 2020. She is a HCPC registered Art Therapist and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists. Her clinical psychotherapy experience includes working with loss, bereavement, physical and psychological illness with adults, young people and children.
Prior to training as an Art Therapist, Sue has worked as a Pharmacist in various roles within the NHS and has always had an interest in psychological wellbeing and holistic health. She has also been a practising artist since 2011 and has worked and volunteered in schools and charitable organisations in the East Midlands, delivering and facilitating workshops, as well as exhibiting her work locally and nationally.
She became an Art therapist so she could combine her two passions of creativity and health and believes that working in a client-led, non-directive manner in a safe, non-judgmental setting, helps build the foundations of a therapeutic alliance which can help clients to facilitate change and growth in their lives.
Creative Arts Therapist – Art Psychotherapist Trainee
Maja joined the Imara team in September 2020 as an Art Psychotherapy trainee. She is currently studying the MA Art Psychotherapy Practice at the Art Therapy Northern Programme in Sheffield that is run by the Leeds Beckett University and the Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Maja’s entire past career and interest revolves around working with children – she started working with children eight years ago as a volunteer at a street play project in Forest Fields, Nottingham and helped to develop that project into a youth club which was running for a number of years, supporting the children who are most in need in Forest Fields.
Having started as a youth worker, Maja has gained a broader range of experience of working with children since – she volunteered and worked at a circus pedagogy organization in Slovenia as a circus skills tutor, and supported individual children with their language learning as a language tutor, she worked for Nottingham City Council’s Shortbreaks services that provide support to children with additional needs and their families, she was a Play and Youth Worker for the Nottingham City Council in St Anns and Sneinton for a few years and later on took on a role of a Play and Youth Senior in Forest Fields, Hyson Green and Radford area. Three years ago she combined her love for working with children with her love for nature and started working with Wild Things, an Ecological Education Collective, that provide learning experiences in the natural world for children in need in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
Maja has also worked for SOS Telefon, a not-for-profit organization in Slovenia who work with women and children who are survivors of domestic abuse, as a translator, wanting to contribute to services that offer such vital support and are proactive in changing the legislation and legal practices that often retraumatize rather than support survivors of abuse.
She is now working in the woods and is alongside training to become a qualified Art Psychotherapist, hoping to bring into her work her third love, love for art and creative expression. Art therapy, with the use of our innate imagination and creativity can help to create a supportive and healing environment for children who have experienced abuse and are suffering from traumatic symptoms. Maja is hoping she will be able to contribute to the work Imara are doing with the children they are working with.
CHISVA Service Lead
Stephanie joined Imara in April 2018, where she worked alongside Cath to get the Children and Young People’s Independent Sexual Violence Adviser (CHISVA) service up and running. After two years working as a CHISVA at Imara, she has taken the plunge and is now the Senior Lead for the CHISVA service. Steph qualified as an ISVA in July 2017, and qualified as a CHISVA, the children and young people’s specialism of ISVA, in March 2019.
Steph’s career has focused supporting on children, families and adults who have been affected by crime or the actions of others, and she is experienced in providing practical support, emotional support and advocacy in this area. Steph has worked in the criminal justice specialism of the charity sector for over 10 years, with an interlude in the middle to train and work as a Social Worker.
Before joining Imara Stephanie worked as the East Midlands representative for a national project, where third sector representatives supported the Police to develop and deliver the prevention element of their child sexual abuse and exploitation plan. In this role she also wrote the East Midlands CSE Prevention Strategy, alongside a toolkit to support agencies working with boys and young men at risk of or experiencing abuse and exploitation.
Trauma Care Practitioner – ISVA and CHISVA
Zoe joined Imara in October 2017. She has previous experience of providing advocacy support to vulnerable adults with mental health issues, who are also at risk of homelessness. Zoe has volunteered and fund-raised for a number of charities who support vulnerable people such as Hope Nottingham, Tea & Company and Framework. She is passionate about supporting and empowering vulnerable people to speak out and have their voices heard.
Zoe has a B.Sc. in Psychology with applied Criminology and an M.Sc. in Forensic and Criminological Psychology (by research). Whilst studying for her masters, she volunteered on the women’s ward of a secure hospital, risk assessing and co-facilitating groups for offenders who have mental health issues. In September 2016, Zoe co-published a paper raising awareness of how low self-esteem can increase a person’s vulnerability to abuse.
In July 2018, Zoe qualified as an ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Adviser) which provided her with the knowledge and specialist skills to support victims of sexual violence to access the support they need, including throughout the criminal justice process. In October 2018 Zoe qualified as a CHISVA, the children and young people’s specialism of ISVA.
Trauma Care Practitioner – CHISVA
Kyle joined Imara in August 2018 with years of experience working with vulnerable children and young people, both in the UK and in humanitarian roles abroad. From being a Deputy Manager at a children’s home in Nottingham to having a crèche class and working with vulnerable teenagers in South Africa. Kyle taught English in China and enjoyed supporting local youth and a women’s rights group in Honduras.
Kyle volunteered with the NSPCC for 8 years within the sexual abuse theme. Here he worked as an advocate, a campaigner, as a voice for young people, and got to go to the Houses of Parliament to launch a campaign.
Kyle completed a BA (Hons) in Philosophy and always remained committed to his passion of working to support and empower children and young people.
In March 2019 Kyle qualified as a CHISVA (ISVA with the children and young people’s specialism).
Emily joined the team in June 2020. Emily is a registered Social Worker and a trainee CHISVA. Emily holds a BA Honours in Social Work practice and has studied at post graduate level in Advanced Child Care Practice and is a level 2 Social Work practice educator.
Emily has been practicing child protection social work for 14 years and has extensive experience in safeguarding, family court work and working directly with families and their children who have suffered significant harm. Emily has worked in a variety of settings over 20 years and this includes being the Senior Practitioner at Nottingham City’s Children and Families direct, the Domestic Abuse Referral Team and the Children Services representative at MARAC.
Recently, Emily was head of Youth Development and Engagement at a local alternative education provision, working the hardest to reach young people.
Emily is a strong advocate in supporting the needs and rights of children.
Lucy joined Imara in June 2020 after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a B.Sc. degree in Psychology and Mental Health. During her time at University, Lucy completed a placement year as a research assistant. She worked on multiple developmental psychology projects including sleep, ageing cognition and pregnancy trauma. In 2019 Lucy attended the American Psychological Conference in Chicago where she won an international award for her work. Lucy also completed a summer placement at a mental health facility as a health care assistant working with vulnerable adults.
Whilst studying Lucy volunteered as a personal and academic mentor to children in underfunded schools as part of the ‘children in classrooms’ scheme. Lucy also volunteered as a core support and data analyst for Operation Orphan, a charity who improve quality of life for orphans and vulnerable children.
The research and volunteering sparked Lucy’s interest in the charity sector and consolidated her passion of working to empower children and young people
Business Support Team
Business Support Lead
Alice first joined Imara as a student intern in the summer of 2016 before becoming Imara’s Project Coordinator in November 2017.
Alice graduated from the University of Nottingham with a First-class Honours degree in Psychology in 2016 before completing her Master’s in Health Psychology, for which she achieved a Distinction in December 2017. Throughout her studies, Alice gained experience working within a range of charities, non-profits and services including Nottingham Nightline, Hope Nottingham Foodbank and an Abbeyfield Society care home for the frail elderly. She is passionate about the charity sector and using the skills she has developed in research and statistics to enable worthy causes to better understand the issue they are tackling, tell their story and evidence their impact in order to access the funding and resources they require.
Alice’s role now as Business Support Lead involves overseeing monitoring and evaluation, marketing and communications, fundraising and systems to ensure Imara’s sustainability and smooth running, enabling the practitioners to provide the best service possible for children and families.
Vimbai joined Imara in May 2020. She graduated with a bachelor’s qualification in Law from the University of Reading, a master’s in management from NTU and has a CMI Level 7 Diploma in Management and Leadership. While completing her bachelor’s degree she gained experience within family and criminal law while supporting solicitors, barristers and clients. Vimbai also engaged in volunteering activities during her undergraduate studies which ignited her passion for the charity sector. Since then she has volunteered with various charities working to provide business support to local and international teams. During her master’s studies, Vimbai focused on helping private and public sector organisations devise corporate, business and functional strategies and use resources effectively to create profit and social value.
In her role as Imara’s charity administrator, Vimbai is part of the business support team. She is a friendly port of call for our service users and external partners and provides resourceful support to our team of staff, volunteers and interns.
Helen joined Imara in June 2020. She has been working in Accounting and Finance for over 10 years in a variety of roles. Initially working in the corporate world, Helen made a move towards working in the charity sector in 2014.
Over the last couple of years, as a Freelancer, Helen has had the pleasure of working with a number of local charities. She is now looking forward to developing the Bookkeeper role and supporting the team at Imara.
Helen enjoys volunteering with a number of organisations. In addition to assisting with accounting queries and recruitment she has also run online children’s quizzes and helped at events. She currently assists a musical director with the running a community choir and is launching another community choir in 2021.
Michael became involved with Imara back in 2016 when he did his first fundraising walk for the charity. He started volunteering for the organisation when Imara moved into the current premises.
Michael has a Zoology BSc and an HND in Applied Bioscience. These are reflected in his passion for gardening and his ability to carry out technical tasks. Michael has cleared the courtyard and turned it back into an enjoyable and usable space. Alongside the outside premises Michael also maintains the building, carrying out DIY and helping to make the project an inviting and comfortable place for clients and staff.
Michael has now transitioned from being a volunteer to a paid employee with Imara. He has continued with gardening and maintenance but has also progressed to running garden and craft groups for families supported by Imara’s therapeutic practitioners.