Background: Alison Collis MSc. BSc. PG Dip. in TA, MBACP
I'm a psychotherapist, coach and supervisor with 20 years experience, before that I had a successful corporate career. I'm qualified and registered which are essential. Just as important is my innate ability to see the best in others, fascination with personal development and the desire to help others overcome difficulties in order to live happier more fulfilled lives. My particular areas of expertise are: couples counselling, pre-marital/pre-commitment counselling, recovery from an affair and coaching for resilient and emotionally intelligent relationships.
I use proven, practical approaches and a deep understanding of what is happening at the psychological level. I hold both a Bachelors and Masters degree from De Montfort University. I am a Transactional Analyst Psychotherapist, a qualified Coach, a Resilience Doughnut Trainer, a Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner, have a British Psychological Society Approved Certificate in Clinical Supervision and have completed Level 3 training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy as well as Gottman's Atone, Attune, Attach - Affair recovery programme and am a Gottman’s 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work programme leader.
I am a registered member of the Association for Coaching: ALC0816M and the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists: 118342.
Why do people choose to work with me ?
My clients choose me because I provide a genuinely nurturing environment for healing, growth and lasting change. I’m kind, respectful, experienced and qualified. They also appreciate that I follow professional practice ethics & guidelines, I have monthly supervision, I'm insured and I work from safe, confidential premises. I work solely in private practice with all kinds of couples, from those who want to improve and repair troubled relationships, others who are already really happy but want to excel as couples to those who are just starting out and want to build the right foundations for a lasting, fulfilling partnership. I have a particular specialism in working with cross-cultural couples. [Read Testimonials]
I work Online with couples around the world and face-to-face at my premises in Nottingham UK and at my retreat centre on the Silver Coast in Portugal. As well as counselling and coaching sessions I run retreats, workshops and therapy weekends. I have specialist training in Transactional Analysis both as a psychotherapist and as a coach. I have lived in England, Scotland and Portugal and worked throughout Europe & in the USA with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. I have clients in Europe, Africa, North & South America, the Middle East and Australia
What sort of people work with me ?
A wonderfully diverse range of adults of all ages and backgrounds.
They’re in crisis in their relationship.
They’re tired of doing the same negative things over and over again and want to make a positive change.
They’re confused or frustrated about how their relationship is turning out and want to understand how to move forward with greater emotional intelligence and authenticity.
They are trying to recover from the shock of a betrayal.
They’re preparing to commit to a long term relationship and want to build a solid foundation together.
They want to reach their true potential as a couple and live a more fulfilled life together.
How do I work ?
I put my client at the centre of our work together. The agenda is yours, my role is to help you resolve problem areas and achieve your goals. I'm able to do this because I've had very rigorous training both in psychotherapy and coaching and draw on a broad range of theories and tools to make personal change easier.
I offer all my new clients a free 'Explore Call' so that they can explain what they're looking for and I can begin the process of understanding them and what they need at the moment. The next step is our first actual session where we agree our focus, timescale, review points and how we will both know that our work together is complete. Essentially, we make a verbal contract and this gives our work focus and allows flexibility, because we can re-contract. It's transparent to both of us.
I follow the principles and practices of Transactional Analysis (TA) in my work. Over the 20 years that I've used it, I've found it to be extremely effective across the whole range of issues that my clients bring, it's a powerful and a gently respectful way of working. There are a number of TA tools that I use frequently with my clients (alongside the Gottman Method and Prepare & Enrich Couples frameworks), they are easy to learn, easy to remember and support positive, personal change.
I review my clients needs and direct my professional ongoing learning to find additional methods and tools to help. In the last 6 years I've added Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Prepare & Enrich Pre-Marital and the Resilience Doughnut to my core approach.
I also run TransCultural Coaching: for adult third culture kids (ATCK’s), expatriates, global nomads – adding my Intercultural knowledge and practical expatriate experience into the approaches and solutions.
Reviews - Testimonials from clients
"My husband and I have been married now for 28yrs. I was born in Iran and he is English. We have hit difficult times several times in our journey so far and have had marriage counselling twice before elsewhere, though neither have been anything like as effective as what we have done with Alison. This was our final attempt, a make or break, and although it was me who wanted to try counselling once more it was my husband who found Alison. Through her we have discovered and have developed a better understanding of each other and ourselves as individuals. She has taught us skills to both resolve conflict and avoid conflict, and now we also have an understanding of why and how the conflict happens in the first place.
The Gottman technique has been very effective. We have found the sessions to be an amalgamation of counselling and coaching which was lacking in our previous counselling. Alison is extremely attentive, sensitive, fair and unbiased. She is highly intuitive and she is knowledgeable in other therapeutic disciplines which she has used with us to compliment the Gottman method when appropriate. She is very good at facilitating a non-judgemental environment where you feel it is easy to speak openly and be heard. Through experience we cannot recommend Alison highly enough. We totally trust her and believe that her methods work. She is worth waiting for.” - WP
"I only have positive things to say about Alison and her approach to relationship therapy. My husband and I are so grateful for the journey we've taken - starting with the relationship questionnaire that provided us with great insight, to identifying our strengths and weaknesses, making a plan and then working on it. It really has been transformational.
Alison somehow possesses the perfect blend of knowledge, communication skills, insight and a tool box of valuable practices. I've recommended her to other couples more times than I can count." - S & J
"Last year my husband and I began (in trepidation), marital therapy with Alison, based on her Gottman training. It saved our marriage. No question.
We had a day with face to face meetings, and the rest of our sessions were on Skype. Alison was perceptive, gentle, non-judgemental and kind. She was able to stay ‘neutral’, whilst expressing empathy and concern to both sides - no mean feat!
For each of us as individuals, she was able to draw out deeply held back fears and pains, and also joys.
We both thank her from the bottom of our hearts." - J & J
"When we first contacted Alison neither of us thought we would be able to find a way to stay together. Many years of too much time spent on work and the kids had found us in a place we never thought we would be. We had tried two therapists previously and found them old fashioned, with methods that drove us even further apart. We were looking for something logical to help our situation, we found the Gottman method, and from there we found Alison.
We have no doubt that without Alison we would not be together. Alison saw things in each of our personalities that the other had lost the ability to recognise, let alone appreciate. Alison explored the challenges of our childhood and how it affected our everyday behaviour as adults, and importantly taught us how to identify these thoughts and behaviours and reframe these more positively. Alison understood the challenges of a modern working family and gave us techniques that would work for our situation. We are now not only much happier together as a family, but also have seen a massive positive benefit in the workplace, in managing challenging relationships with others! Thank you for everything Alison.” - LR
"We needed a therapist who could understand and be mindful of our two different cultures, backgrounds and upbringing. Alison and her approach have been extremely respectful of this and we have always felt that we could speak openly and be understood."
"It's been very useful to have various tools that we could use and adapt to our conversations. The tools and exercises have helped us improve our communication and resolve conflicts in a more empathic way. This in turn has led us to deepen our understanding of each other and to better our relationship.” - R & A
"We worked with Alison in the aftermath of the discovery of an affair and the subsequent fall out. Alison held a space where we could speak honestly and openly about our feelings and examine areas of our relationship that had been suffering for some time. Alison listened carefully to both of us, and helped us to reflect on what the other said, gently stepping in when things became heated or overwhelming. She shared tools and techniques to encourage us to communicate more effectively, and helped us to effectively 'restart' our relationship with clear boundaries and greater openness to the other. Alison has been flexible and worked at our pace, and we don't think we could have made this much progress without her. We highly recommend Alison as a couples therapist.” - x & x (initials withheld)
"When my partner and I began working with Alison we were struggling, felt stuck, loved each other but could not find a way clear of the day to day and we were unsure if anyone could help. 18 months later, and we are so glad we took the opportunity to work with Alison, the transformation in our communication, understanding of and consideration for each other, and in the resilience of our relationship is profound.
It has been hard, and has taken a great deal of work and commitment, Alison provided us a framework, tools for each of us that worked for us, and consistent deep care which gives us confidence to go forward each day and plan for the future together, something which seemed impossible at the start. We still sometimes struggle, but we know and can see the choices, we do not repeat old damaging patterns of behaviour and there is now more lightness, play you and space in our lives - thank you Alison." - H & R
"When my wife and I found ourselves facing serious problems in our marriage, we decided that we needed to seek external counselling advice. It can be a very challenging task finding someone suitable, particularly during the Covid pandemic when so much was only available online, and one of the determining factors in our approaching Alison initially was because of her experience in dealing with trans-cultural issues as this formed at least part of the problems that we faced. We were extremely fortunate to have found Alison who kindly agreed to take us on despite having an already very busy client list. We have been working with Alison on a regular basis for the best part of a year now and I cannot thank or recommend her highly enough.
Though I am someone who was initially somewhat sceptical of the possible benefits that counselling could bring, it did not take very many sessions with her before I became convinced by Alison’s experienced and knowledgeable approach that she could help us with many of the problems that we were experiencing. This certainly proved to be the case and though when we first approached Alison we had pretty much already decided to separate, with her help we managed to find a way to ‘step back from the brink’ and put in place a variety of changes and processes designed to help us overcome many of the problems we faced. Much of this was by use of the Gottman Techniques to couples counselling but Alison was also always willing to adapt and introduce other methods whenever they seemed more suitable for our specific issues or when we asked for help on a particular topic.
It has not of course always been an easy process to have to go through, nor is it intended to be I imagine, but Alison’s calm and non-judgemental approach has made it as comfortable as it could be whilst at the same time ensuring that we still addressed the issues rather than side-stepped them.
Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can pay Alison is simply that my wife and I are still together and now both have a far more positive outlook on our future together. Though we of course remain a ‘work in progress’, I am fairly sure that this would not have happened without Alison’s help and that instead in all likelihood we would not have remained together.” - AW
"My wife and I began seeing Alison approximately 18 months ago and since our first online session, we both feel that the decision to work with her has been life changing.
We initially contacted Alison because of her repertoire of skills, knowledge and level of education and it was the best decision we could have made for our relationship. We originally asked Alison to help us deal with conflict as we both recognised that we worked in very different ways and to Alison’s credit, this has drastically improved and now we are stronger, happier and more secure in our marriage than ever before.
Alison provides real life, practical steps based on theory and practise that we can use as a framework to resolve conflict as well as bringing us closer together. We have always felt that we are in safe, capable and very knowledgable hands with Alison and this makes even the most challenging of sessions feel secure and nurturing.
We have no doubt that Alison has an extremely good understanding of how we work as individuals and as a couple and she adapts her techniques to suit us both. Alison’s skill base and ability to relate to us has facilitated open, honest conversations and conflict resolution skills that we couldn’t have found without her. Between us both, we have thrown a lot at her, often unexpected and she has handled it and given us a way through it every single time. Alison continually offers up short and long term solutions and also ways in which we can prevent conflict from happening again or to minimise the impact of it.
Alison has a phenomenal amount of patience, understanding, education and expertise and we would not hesitate to recommend her to anyone seeking a couples counsellor." - K & A
older reviews with individuals and groups
"Your words and advice mean more than you know. Thank you for helping me through this extremely rich but confusing journey.
You pointed out the good aspects of my personality and your advice will follow me… well forever. I can’t thank you enough for being part of my journey! The right time, the right place! - Thank you Alison.”
"Working with you individually was a really validating experience for me as I was in a position to not only share my personal experiences, I was also open to hear your input. You helped me to realise that I already had all the answers, I just needed to see them, accept them and move forward.”
“Alison has extensive professional knowledge plus personal experience as an expatriate, and this coupled with her gentle manner and expertise as a consultant, facilitator and coach on the issue of moving countries provided the kind of support I needed at a time when I was in transition from one culture to another.”
"The Transition Group came into my life, as a gift, the right time.. after our move from France to Portugal. In my head it was not an engagement, but a necessity for my well being. I enjoy the exchange between you and us, the camaraderie that we have created, the support and the good ambiance. I feel blessed to be part of an excellent group like ours! "
The only way I can describe this experience would be transformative. I came to you expecting very little, but hoping that even just that little would allow me to get some clarity and peace of mind. What I have received from these sessions is so much more than I could have hoped for. Your patience, compassion combined with the frameworks you used were just what I needed. Yes, it took some work on my part to implement some of the ideas, but to be honest, once I understood them I was able to apply them almost instinctively, oftentimes without even knowing it. In every area that is critical to my happiness, I have seen marked improvements and gained greater insight into myself, my relationships and my work. You asked me a question early on in the process: what do you deserve? I was, frankly, stunned by the question because for so long, I hadn’t really focused on my own wants and needs. I know the answer to that question now and I thank you for asking it and helping me find my way to answering it.
"Alison supported and guided me through my journey from anxiety and worrying about everything to the destination of believing in my capabilities, and happily delegating future problems to my future self."
"The Transitions Group workshops were very satisfying and comforting. They kept my "run-away" feelings somewhat grounded resulting in a sense of calm and well being at the end of the sessions.”
What I liked about the workshop was the sense of shared challenges and meeting others feeling similar. There was no one right answer but identification of specific potential challenges for TCK's. Some of the tools to use to frame challenges, particularly the timeline exercise I will bring home and use.