About me

Hi, I am Els.Els van Ooijen

Welcome to my website!

From a young age I knew that I wanted to work with people, so first became a nurse and later a nurse lecturer. I particularly enjoyed the areas of nursing where I could build up a relationship with the people I cared for, such as general medicine, rehabilitation, elderly care, chronic illness and those who were terminally ill. My interest in talking with people led me to training as a counsellor and psychotherapist and eventually to a full time therapy practice. See Why I became a counsellor‘.

(See below for my qualifications)


Coffee pot and cupNepenthe

I chose the name Nepenthe for my practice for two reasons: Firstly, it refers to my nursing background, as the meaning of Nepenthe is ‘a drug that chases away sorrow’ (mentioned in Homer’s Iliad), so it is probably the first ever reference to an anti-depressant! Secondly, Nepenthe is also the name for an elegant type of coffeepot. Being Dutch, I am rather fond of coffee, which for me is about rest, relaxation and refreshment – perhaps not that different from counselling and therapy.



  • Doctor in Psychotherapy; Middlesex University/Metanoia Institute (2008)
  • MA in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy; BCPC (Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling) (2005)
  • Somatic Trauma Therapy Training; Babette Rothschild at Cambridge Body Psychotherapy Centre (2002)
  • Certificate Foundation in Dance Movement therapy; Dancevoice (2002)
  • Certificate Foundation in Core Process (Mindfulness based) therapy; Karuna Institute (1997)
  • Certificate in Supervision; Centre for Staff Team Development (1997)
  • Diploma in Counselling Studies; University of Wales (1991)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education; University of Wales (1989)
  • Bereavement studies; CRUSE (1986)


I frequently post articles from journals or newspapers, conference reports and other items of of interest that happen to come my way. If you are interested  ‘Like’ Nepenthe Consulting on Facebook, using the button on the right.

Code of Ethics

  1. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) – the leading organisation for psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling in the U.K.)
  2. Bath Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BCPC ) (http://www.psychotherapy.org.uk/bath_centre_for_psychotherapy_and_counselling.html)
  3. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) (http://www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework/)