A valued member of our team since 2019, Rachel previously worked as a counsellor with autistic clients for several years in the Manchester area with the charity Respect for All.

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.






Tony Hall


Rachel is a trained integrative therapist. This means she is trained in different models such as person-centred counselling, CBT, solution focused and NLP, and she prides herself on being able to tailor her model to suit your needs.
Rachel is also qualified to deliver online counselling to clients who prefer this method.

BSc Speech (1977) 
HCPC Reg No: SL22513

Sandra Youlden 

Jeni’s personal experience of autism in the family meant she was already well placed to deliver autism specific counselling. She is especially interested in the educational experience of autistic children and adults. Jeni works closely with local schools, improving the educational experience of autistic children and helping staff better understand, accept and support them. Jeni has extensive autism specific counselling experience with all age groups. 

We were pleased to welcome Adela to the team during the height of the covid pandemic in 2021. The demand for counselling was high when she offered to dedicate her counselling training placement hours to help us provide therapeutic support for the many on our waiting list. With her scientific background, natural understanding of autism and passion for all things relating to therapy, her extensive knowledge has already made her a valued member of the team. 

Joining us in 2022, Tony is a welcome addition to our team. Like us, he regards autism as a difference, not a disorder. His interest is in supporting adults who are struggling to come to terms with what it means to be autistic. 

Jeni Young

Rachel Nelmes 

​​UNDERSTANDING AUTISM North West

    Person-Centred ​Counselling and Psychoeducation for Autistic Individuals & Families 
                                                           
Registered Charity 1176215
Jan and Jeni are the founding members of UANW, 
establishing this dedicated professional therapeutic service in 2012 for the autistic community.


BSc (Hons) Psychology
Dip Counselling
Mentoring Cert

Ongoing study and training:
Integrative Psychotherapy
MSc Autism Spectrum

intervention plans. She has also worked in schools with learners of all ages with a variety of communication difficulties associated with their autism. As well as providing support plans for learners, she has trained staff and supported parents with home programmes.

Child & Family Specialist

Dip Theory and Practice of Counselling in (2012)
Postgrad Cert Therapy with Children & Families (2014)
Postgrad Cert in Autism & Asperger Syndrome (2015)
BA (Hons) Children, Schools & Families (2020) 

Jan’s interest in autism began in 1996 when her son, then 4 years old, was diagnosed atypical autistic. Since becoming a qualified counsellor in 2001 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.

NCS Accredited Counsellor 

BA (Hons) Counselling (2017) Postgrad Cert in Autism & Asperger Syndrome (2019) Certified online Therapist (2019)

Tony first trained as a counsellor almost 20 years ago and has since worked with and managed projects for organisations including National Schizophrenia Fellowship, Hearing Voices Network and Mind. He has run city centre drop-ins, telephone support lines and has worked on in-patient psychiatric wards.

Project Director: ​Rob Livesey

Board of Trustees:

Barbara Smith: Chair of Trustees

Claire Lord: Trustee

Kathy McCormack: Trustee.

Trainee Counsellor
​BACP Reg No: 00965143 

Jan Livesey

​PhD Isotope Geochemistry
MSc Marine Geotechnical Engineering
BSc Geological Science
PGCE Secondary Ed
                                L3 Counselling

We are grateful to be joined by Sandra in 2022. Sandra has worked as a Speech and Language Therapist for many years and has a wealth of experience from her work with the Together Trust, where she supported autistic pupils, parents and support staff with training and 

BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor

BSc (Hons) Sociology (1990)
Dip Counselling (2001)
     Postgrad Cert in Autism & Asperger Syndrome (2008)                        Postgrad Cert in Supervision of Counselling & Helping Professionals (2009)

We believe the autistic community should feel safe and understood in their therapeutic experience at UANW.

We therefore demand professionalism and extensive knowledge and experience of autism from all therapists. ​​


Dr Adela Fazel