About the Therapists:

Jan Livesey

Anna Bailey

Rachel Nelmes 

Jeni, along with Jan is a founding member of UANW. She gained her Diploma in the Theory and Practice of Counselling in 2010, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapy with Children and Families in 2012.

Jeni’s personal experience of autism in the family meant she was already well placed to deliver autism specific counselling but she studied for the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism & Asperger Syndrome in 2015, passing with distinction, having decided with Jan that both clients and referrers should have reassurance that the counsellors at the charity have clear knowledge and deep understanding of the autistic way of being.

Jeni has extensive autism specific counselling experience with all age groups and has worked consistently to develop the very best counselling provision for the autistic community.

Understanding Autism North West is a registered charity providing a specialised therapeutic service for individuals and families who are affected by autism.  We believe the autistic community should feel safe and understood in their therapeutic experience at UANW and we therefore demand professionalism and extensive knowledge and experience of autism from all therapists.

Project Director: ​Rob Livesey

Board of Trustees:

Barbara Smith: Chair of Trustees

Claire Lord: Trustee

Kathy McCormack: Trustee.


Anna became aware of autism at an early age, sparking an interest which has developed and been built upon by both personal and professional experience. She studied psychology, gaining a first class honours degree in 2008 from the University of Leicester. She always felt drawn to the counselling profession, but first worked in a number of support roles; with young people and families affected by autism; supporting vulnerable young people; and as an advocate for adults with mental health issues.

In 2014, Anna qualified as a counsellor, becoming a BACP accredited counsellor in 2017, and developing her knowledge of autism further by completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism and Asperger Syndrome, passing with distinction in 2017. She has worked as a counsellor since qualifying, and is committed to helping clients to find their way through their difficulties, using a primarily person-centred approach. Anna was delighted to join UANW in 2017.

Jan’s interest in autism began in 1996 when her son, then 4 years old, was diagnosed as atypical autistic. Since qualifying to be a counsellor 18 years ago, she has welcomed anyone with or without a diagnosis of autism in her counselling room, seeing many hundreds of autistic clients throughout those years and learning from them about the specific skills, abilities and challenges that autism brings.

Jan has a first class honours degree in Sociology (1990), gained her Diploma in Counselling in 2001 and became a BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor in 2010. She gained the Postgraduate Certificate in Autism & Asperger Syndrome in 2008 and the Postgraduate Certificate in Supervision of Counselling and in the Helping Professions in 2009, qualifying her to offer supervision to anyone working in the autism field.

A fortunate crossing of paths with Jeni six years ago provided the opportunity for them both to fulfil their shared passion of establishing a dedicated professional therapeutic service for individuals and families living with autism, which has now become Understanding Autism North West.

Rachel has been working as a counsellor with autistic clients for several years in the Greater Manchester area with a charity called Respect for All and became a welcome member of our team in 2019.

Rachel has a first-class degree in Counselling from Lancaster University and Postgraduate Certificate with Distinction in Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome from Sheffield Hallam University.

Jeni Young

Along with her personal experience in autism she has also gained experience through working in her private practice with clients from all different age groups and backgrounds. Rachel, who is registered with the National Counselling Society, is trained as an integrated therapist. This means she is trained in different models such as person-centred counselling, CBT, solution focused and NLP, she prides herself on being able to tailor her model to your needs.

Rachel is also qualified to deliver online counselling to clients who prefer this method of counselling.