Caroline Bickerton MBACP (Accred) RSLI
Hello, my name is Caroline Bickerton and I have been working with Deaf people and their families in various roles for more than 40 years.
My family were from Leicester and I had an older sister who was deaf through meningitis. The whole family were involved with the local deaf school, church and social activities. My parents supported the local NDCS and were members of the BDA.
My sister had learning difficulties which meant she only acquired some basic sign and gesture but I was keen to learn BSL in my teens and to get involved at the deaf centre.
From the early 1970’s I was first a volunteer then employed with Deaf organisations and later with Social Services – I have worked with all age groups from 0 to 100 years old! in social and community and youth work.
In 1985/6 I was involved with early interpreter training and became a qualified BSL/English interpreter – registered with CACDP.
My experiences as an interpreter through the next 15 years led me to a lot of work in the legal system. Interpreting with the police and solicitors and in courtrooms and even visiting prisons. I was also interpreting for those involved with mental health services.
Both these areas of work led me to think about what support – such as counselling – would be accessible to a BSL user. For most situations the only choice was to access therapeutic support through an interpreter.
So I applied to the University of Salford and trained as a person-centred counsellor – I qualified in 2001 and worked regularly at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston where there were many Deaf students. I became an accredited therapist with the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) in 2008.
I have worked all over the north east and north west as a counsellor/psychological therapist on behalf of SignHealth. From 2006 to 2009 I had my own private practice in central Manchester and had Deaf clients from a wide area that travelled to see me one to one without needing to use an interpreter.
I am an accredited member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), and a member of NRCPD (The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people) and VLP (Visual Language Professionals).