Dining Room Dialogues

‘Dining Room Dialogues’ is a monthly, themed, peer-based group discussion for qualified therapists and trainees or people who work in the health education and social care professions who have an interest in the Person-Centred Approach and a belief in a more trauma-informed and non-medicalised approach to mental health and mental distress. The format is a small group of 7/8 people around a dining room table, with the opportunity to learn together by each bringing our knowledge and experiences.

Each discussion is facilitated by Rachel Yates and Jules Haley. Rachel is a qualified counsellor and mental health trainer with over twenty years of experience of working with alternative “models of madness” (Read & Dillon, 2013). Her career has been at St Mungo’s, a homelessness organisation, within a client-facing role where she has led and delivered psychologically informed and trauma-responsive environments based on the person-centred approach to mental distress. Jules is a qualified therapist with lived experience of mental health issues, including the good, bad and ugly ways of coping.

We will develop new ideas and ways of understanding through our discussion together about specific issues. You will have an opportunity to learn and raise thoughts, ideas or ask those questions that you may have just keep to yourself over the years. It is totally up to you how much you want to contribute and take away, at your pace and perhaps at times based on what is relevant within the discussion to you.

Please be aware that although these groups are a confidential space, they are not an alternative to supervision and/or therapy.


Each of the ‘Dining Room Dialogues’ is held in Walthamstow, East London.
A homemade vegetarian lunch, as well as unlimited good coffee and herbal teas is provided at the dining room table. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements.

Cost is £25 per person/ per discussion group, payment is by BACS. A certificate will be provided for CPD use.

If you would like a place and we expect these will go quickly please email – jules@juleshaleycounselling.com.

A list of relevant and interesting reading such as books, articles or videos will be provided before each session for you to look at these before the discussion group meets, although it is not an issue if you do not get to it before the session.

Dates and themes

‘Exploring Madness’ runs from February to April 2019. Each session starts at 11am, finishing at 3.30pm on a Sunday.

  • Paranoia and Unusual Beliefs – Sunday 3 February
    • We will be thinking about and discussing why and how people feel paranoid and hold unusual beliefs. Ways to support and work with unusual beliefs. Rachel will draw from her experiences of 8+ years running a community peer-led Unusual Beliefs group. PAST
  • Hearing Voices – Sunday 3 March
    • We will be talking about what hearing voices is like, think about where the voices may come from, the impact on people’s lives, and ways to support people with this experience. PAST
  • The label of ‘Personality Disorder’ – Sunday 7 April
    • We will be looking at the diagnoses of personality disorder that clients may acquire – the validity, impact and meaning. How we can support someone through exploring the person-centred work of Margaret Warner (Pearce & Sommerbeck, 2013) looking at the experience of fragile, dissociative and psychotic process. I will draw on my personal experiences of living with difficult processing styles. PAST

‘Exploring identity’ runs from May to July 2019

  • Non-binary and trans identity – Sunday 5 May
    • We will be thinking about and discussing our understanding and language of gender, trans, non-binary and gender expression. The impact of being gender non-conforming and thinking about ways to support non-binary and trans people. FULL
  • Non-monogamous and polyamorous relationships – Sunday 2 June
    • We will be talking about reasons why people are in these relationships, issues that they may bring to the counselling room, our prejudices and understanding, and thinking about how we support them. Past
  • Sexuality – Sunday 7 July
    • We will be looking at how the experience of growing up, coming out and living as gay/lesbian/bi in a ‘straight’ world affects people’s mental health, self-esteem and relationships. We will be thinking about how this can bring them into counselling, and the support they may be looking for. One places remaining.