Ann-Marie McKiernan – Stars service coordinator & lead counsellor
After a career in social work, I trained to become a child and adolescent counsellor at WHCM Counselling and Anglia Ruskin University, qualifying in 2012 and becoming BACP registered in 2013. I joined Stars in 2011 as student volunteer counsellor.
I chose Stars as my placement because I was keen to work with children and young people who had suffered, or were likely to suffer, a significant bereavement. My interest came from working with children in care who had lost a family member – I witnessed the devastating impact this had on their lives.
In 2013 I took on the role of Project Leader for Stars, developing and delivering a three-year child and adolescent bereavement counselling project in Peterborough. Two years later I became Service Coordinator and Lead Counsellor for Stars.
Outside of work I enjoy travelling, spending time with my family, going to the gym and taking leisurely walks with my dogs.
Stars employs two additional part-time counsellors Paula Thexton and Michelle Parr who are able to provide both pre-bereavement and post bereavement counselling. Michelle is a qualified Therapeutic Counsellor and a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP) with a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice. Paula has a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and is also a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MBACP). Paula has specialised in Bereavement and loss since qualifying in 2014.
In addition, we have a team of qualified or near-qualified Volunteer Counsellors who focus on post-bereavement counselling. These volunteers are allocated appropriate cases based on initial assessment of the young person by one of our paid counsellors. Some of our volunteers are currently completing their Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Practice, but work under professional supervision.