My Approach

Sarah Paton Briggs

Psychotherapist, psychotraumatologist, executive coach, equine-facilitated practitioner, supervisor. I provide therapy for anxiety and depression, sexual and relationship problems, work stress, trauma and PTSD. I draw from many approaches in a way that's tailored for the client. I'm trained in NLP, hypnotherapy, EFT & Matrix Reimprinting, EMDR, plus several trauma treatment protocols.

What Interests Me Most

I’ve always been interested in developing people and in understanding what makes them tick. More and more in my work, I’m seeking to understand not only what drives my clients but what has wounded them in the past. Then we can have a conversation about what might be holding them back, in order to find out how they can move forward more confidently.

So I see myself as a trusted confidante and guide through troubled times. My role is to walk alongside my clients while offering support and sometimes challenge. From my own experience of counselling as a client I have received profound acceptance of who I am and what I need. I believe it’s a genuinely healing experience.

My Credentials

I have practised as a counsellor/psychotherapist for over 15 years, so now I have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge in order to fulfil the accreditation criteria for multiple professional bodies. 

I also hold a clear record, checked by the Disclosure Bureau Service (formerly known as a CRB check).

I am also registered with several insurance companies, including Bupa, Cigna, Simply Health, PruHealth, WPA, Allianz, Aviva. So please contact me if you’d like counselling to be funded by your insurer.

I have worked on behalf of these organisations providing counselling through Occupational Health or through the employee assistance programme (EAP): Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Fire Brigade.

In my work with serving forces personnel and military veterans, I have provided counselling funded by: Walking With The Wounded as part of their Head Start programme; Help for Heroes. I am also part of the support team for Dare To Live, a veterans’ charity providing equine-facilitated courses for veterans making the sometimes difficult transition to civilian life.

Trauma Therapy

Sarah has trained in various approaches to treating trauma, including BEPP (Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy for Psychotraumatology), and the evidence-based protocol of CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) which falls within NICE guidelines for Trauma-Focused CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Her hypnotherapy and NLP qualifications equip her with imagery-based approaches to treating trauma, including IRRT (Imagery Rescripting Reprocessing Therapy). Sarah is recognised by IATP (international Association for Trauma Professionals) as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional at the higher level (CCTP Level 2) for working with Complex Trauma (C-PTSD).

Having already completed EMDR training through Level 1, 2, 3, and 4, Sarah is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, another trauma treatment protocol. She has also completed a professional training in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) also known as “tapping” along with Matrix Reimprinting. These techniques can be powerful in shifting stuck patterns of emotional imagery or troubling memories, to improve relationships and self-confidence.

She has a wide range of working therapeutically with trauma survivors, including:

  • childhood sexual abuse,
  • rape and sexual assault,
  • developmental trauma (childhood emotional neglect or abuse),
  • military veterans and serving members of the armed forces (Sarah has provided therapy programmes funded by Walking With The Wounded, Help 4 Heroes, The Dare To Live Trust),
  • serving members of the armed forces or emergency services (Sarah has undertaken therapy programmes either privately-funded or through Employee Assistance Programmes including private health insurance schemes for employees of the Metropolitan Police Service, Wiltshire Fire Service, Wiltshire Police, Gloucestershire Police).

Trauma therapy usually involves imagery rescripting to process intrusive memories such as flashbacks or nightmares, along with cognitive approaches to restructure memories and beliefs: all so that the survivor is better informed and resourced to live with the effect of the trauma, moving towards a future that is more manageable and calmer.

She was also invited by one of her former clients to contribute a chapter to his book describing his recovery journey from ritual childhood sexual abuse during his childhood. For a free download of this chapter click here. The book A Small Boy Smiling by Matt Carey is available on Amazon, narrating his long and courageous journey through recovery towards helping others. However, you might prefer to support him by buying the book through his website

My Background

The start of my journey towards offering counselling in Malmesbury was benefiting from counselling myself about 20 years ago for the first time. Then I wanted to share the value of what I’d learned, so I could offer to others the kind of interactive support that I found so valuable. After completing a three-year training and started practising over 15 years ago now. Since then I’ve been awarded further qualifications and accreditations by a number of therapy associations. So you can be sure you’ll be speaking to someone who’s a qualified professional, committed to working ethically and confidentially.

Before starting this kind of work, my previous career was in advertising as a client account manager for 15 years. I worked for BBDO, a global agency network, in the UK, Europe and USA, for clients including Sainsbury’s in London, E&J Gallo Wineries in San Francisco, then latterly running GE’s corporate campaigns across the EMEA region. So I understand the demands of working in a fast-paced environment in a demanding yet skilful role for a notable company.

My Professional Status

Professional memberships:

  • Accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP): 541524
  • Accredited member of the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapy (COSRT): 2404
  • Accredited member of the National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP): 202502.
  • Accredited member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP): 1364
  • Executive Coach, Member of the Association for Coaching (ACUK)
  • Member of the UK Psychological Trauma Society and European Society for Trauma Stress Studies
  • Member of EMDR UK & Ireland
  • Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (Level 2 for Complex PTSD) recognised by IATP
  • Member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


  • Ofqual-regulated Level 5 Certificate in Equine-Facilitated Human Development, IFEAL, 2016
  • Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy/Learning Practitioner, LEAP, 2015
  • Advanced Diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling, CPPD 2003
  • Certificate in Working with Survivors of Sexual Abuse, CPPD 2006
  • Diploma in Psychosexual and Relationship Counselling, 2010-2011
  • Diploma in Supervision, 2009
  • Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 2009
  • Certified NLP Practitioner, 2008
  • Diploma in Life Coaching, 2008
  • Diploma in Hypnotherapy, 2008
  • Diploma in Organisational Development and Executive Coaching, 2006
  • Chartered Institute of Marketing Diploma, 1991
  • MA in Social and Political Science, University of Cambridge 1993
  • BA (Hons) in Social and Political Science, University of Cambridge 1989

Continuing Professional Development training attended:

  • EFT Level 1 & Level 2 practitioner certified by, EFTMRA, 2019
  • Matrix Reimprinting, EFTMRA, 2019
  • EMDR Level 1, 2, 3, and 4, EMDR Works, 2019
  • Emergency First Aid at Work, MediK, 2019
  • Assessment and diagnostics, Phase 1 approaches including STAIR and Alpha-Stim, The Grove, 2018
  • CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy), The Grove, 2018
  • BEPP (Brief Eclectic Psychotherapy for PTSD), Professor Berthold Gersons, 2018
  • Transdiagnostic Approach to Treating Complex Trauma, London Trauma Specialists, 2016
  • Introduction to Imago Relationship Therapy, Imago UK, 2014
  • Treatment Interventions for people convicted or accused of sexual offending, STOPSO 2014
  • Counselling partners/family members of people accused of sexual offending, STOPSO 2014
  • Working with Sexualised Trauma, COSRT, 2014
  • The Hero’s Journey and the Creative Self, Field & Field, 2013
  • Margerison-McCann Team Management System accreditation, TMSDI, 2012
  • CBT with heart, Psychosynthesis Professional Association, 2009 

Private health insurance and legal cases:

For therapy funded by private health insurance, Sarah is registered with many providers including Allianz, Aviva 600067240, AXA PPP SB07268, BUPA Global 30003277 (not currently taking referrals from Bupa UK), Cigna 133418,  Vitality/PruHealth/Standard Life SP073548, and WPA 920334556. Sarah is listed on HealthCode’s Private Practice Register. Sarah has also been instructed by solicitors acting for clients in personal injury claims, and trauma therapy treatment funded by employers to support the client in returning to work. Depending on the circumstances or the severity of symptoms, it can also be helpful to work alongside other medical professionals such as a GP or psychiatrist, for a multi-disciplinary approach to client care.

Speaker Events & Corporate Work

From time to time I’ve been asked to present a seminar or workshop as CPD (Continuous Professional Development) for teams in-house or conference attendees. Client companies have included financial institutions and law firms in particular.

Topics have included:

  • Dealing with difficult or emotional clients,
  • Personality clashes at work,
  • What’s your poison: identifying addiction,
  • The science of stress (physical symptoms and neurology),
  • Building resilience at work,
  • Archetypes suitable for collaborative law.

I love this kind of work, so if you think I might be a good presenter for your team or conference, do get in touch.