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As parents, we at Little Hiccups know that it is hard raising a child. We also know that raising a child with additional needs is much harder. There are extra financial worries, worries about health, worries about their education among many, many others anxieties. Parents of a child with a disability or SEN are often under prolonged periods of physical and emotional stress. Research shows that parents with disabled children have higher levels of stress and lower levels of wellbeing than parents with non-disabled children. A report published during Carers Week 2011 found that 75 per cent of carers, including parents with disabled children, had suffered ill health as a result of their caring work. Of these, 76 per cent had mental health problems, mainly depression, anxiety and stress.(*)

For these reasons, Little Hiccups hire a Counsellor to chat to our families if needed. For more information or how to book a session, please email

The Counselling service is in line with the other services that Little Hiccups offer and is not a stand alone services. It is part of our commitment to help build memories and support the Little Hiccups families. We ask that families are known to us, are registered for at least 6 months and use our other services.

There is no cost. 

Criteria for applying for Counselling


Diane Whitehead Maggie Bishop

I am Diane Whitehead, a counsellor with a past! I had an amazing career as a nurse working with children and families, as a manager and Health Visitor, for too many years before retiring from the NHS 5 years ago. So that gives the game away that I am no spring chicken!

In and amongst I trained to become a counsellor as I felt there was a distinct lack of emotional support for the families I worked with, and it helped enormously in many different ways. After ‘retirement’ I worked to develop my private practice, alongside setting up a counselling practice in a GP surgery, and undertaking a project with North Yorkshire police. I now work as a bereavement counsellor for Martin House Children and Young Hospice, working with families who have not been supported by them, which is an innovative project, and is proving to be very well received. I am planning to retire from this in the near future, which will enable me to explore new areas of work, such as the exciting venture with Little Hiccups.

I would love to see you for a chat at one of the Stay and Play sessions, where I will be able to offer a listening ear, support and a safe place if you need to explore, or just let of steam, about anything which troubles you. I love my second career in counselling and am passionate about helping people to look at their problems from different perspectives

My father worked for the UN so we lived all over the world as I grew up which, whilst being very interesting, almost meant that I spent most of it at boarding school in the UK which was not so interesting and is probably one of the reasons we ended up home educating our 4 children! I studied and worked in the UK until Steve and I moved to New Zealand in the 1990s - he is a Kiwi and I lived in Fiji as a child so being in the South Pacific was good for both of us and our kids.  Home education is not uncommon there and school did not seem like it would be a good environment for our son, Gabriel, who is probably autistic (high functioning) although he's not diagnosed so, as his older sister, Rorie, was very unhappy in school we decided to give home ed a go and it suited us as we were both working from home - Steve making musical instruments and I was counselling. It also happened that Rorie developed ME in her early teens and with Gabriel's idiosyncrasies having a home based life worked well for everyone including our two younger girls, Mika and Luca. We moved to the UK 5 years ago as my mother is here and needs care. Rorie is now 24 and finishing her drama degree in London while still managing life with ME; Gabriel is 22, doing an OU Psychology degree alongside his real passion of film music composition and is considering going away to uni in October; Mika is 17 and in ballet training in Glasgow and Luca is in college studying performing arts - oh for a plumber or electrician - I blame Steve for their artistic tendencies!  It might be helpful for you to see that I have some experience of living with children with long term and chronic issues although not of the same critical intensity as most of your families, of course.

My interest in helping work began early and I am pleased that I settled on counselling for how best I could offer this.  The theoretical base I have used for a long time now is loss, change and grief as my experience is that most people needing to work with me are going through some kind of loss whether this be, for example, bereavement, redundancy, illness, relationship, self-confidence or even loss of a dream.   I come from a humanistic training and have developed a style that has relationship at its core as I believe this allows us to understand ourselves and our challenges more deeply.  I hope to enable folk to become curious about themselves and their lives - how come me, how come this, how come now for instance - and to hold a space that enables the expression of sorrows and insights and also joys.  I am also trained in Feng Shui which I have found very helpful when working with clients who are 'stuck' in the counselling process or as a way in for clients who are resistant to counselling. 

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