Dr Joanne Coombs

 BSc, PsychD

 Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Adult Lead ASC

About Me

I am a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with over twelve years’ experience of providing high-quality, personalised clinical psychology services to individuals, couples, families, teams and services. At Hampshire and Surrey Psychology, I lead the adult Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) service and therefore primarily provide assessments and some post-diagnostic and therapeutic work for adults with ASC and their supporters. Historically, in NHS services, I have worked with people affected by Intellectual Disabilities (ID), Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and acute and progressive neurological conditions providing both diagnostic assessments and integrative psychological therapies to individuals, couples, families, groups and teams. I also work in private practice with young people and adults with a range of psychological needs, including mental health, psychological wellbeing, relationship and interpersonal difficulties. I also work with children and young people with backgrounds of complex trauma and who are supported in specialist educational and residential settings which also involves supporting families and wider networks to understand and support the child’s particular needs and leading a multi-disciplinary clinical team who offer specialist therapeutic support to children, young people and their supporters.

I have many years’ experience of working therapeutically with individuals, couples and families and offer both short and medium-term psychological therapies. I have particular expertise in diagnostic assessments of Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) in adults and experience of working therapeutically with people affected by Autism Spectrum Conditions and their families. I have many years’ experience of offering tailored training and consultation programmes to teams and services in the fields of mental health, psychological wellbeing, relationships and neurodevelopmental conditions.

What you can expect

Clinical Psychologists are trained in many different psychological approaches which means we are able to use the ideas that are best suited to helping you make meaningful changes in your life. It is important that we use the approaches that will help you make sense of your current difficulties, change unhelpful patterns and embed new ways of thinking, feeling and relating which will help you in the longer-term.

In psychological therapy, I work integratively, which means that I may draw on a number of psychological approaches, including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Attachment Narrative Therapy (ANT), Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Systemic therapies. This means that we will use the psychological ideas that best make sense of your difficulties and help you move towards change. I am a warm and empathic psychologist and always aim to create a safe space in which we can understand your difficulties and work collaboratively together to help you make meaningful changes in your life. I strongly believe in helping people harness their natural strengths and resources and in reconnecting to their support networks to help sustain changes over time.

If you are coming to see me for a diagnostic assessment of an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), we will spend time together talking about your reasons for seeking assessment, answer any questions you may have and complete an in-depth assessment using the nationally-recommended assessment tools. It is important that we consider the potential ASC diagnosis in the context of your broader life and experiences so we can develop a tailored understanding of your needs. I may also ask your permission to speak with people who know you well, particularly someone who can tell us about your childhood development and experiences. I always aim to help people to make personal sense of any diagnosis made.

Core Training

BSc (Hons) Psychology, University of Surrey
PsychD Clinical Psychology, University of Surrey

Additional Training

Condition-Specific Training
Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC Diagnostic Assessment: Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO).
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Version Two (ADOS-2); Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised Edition (ADI-R).
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD – Diagnostic): Diagnostic Interview for Adult ADHD (DIVA).
CBT and Psychological Coaching for People affected by ADHD.

Assessment, Treatment and Therapeutic Training

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), PsychWire Online Training with Russ Harris.
Attachment Narrative Therapy (ANT), Institute of Family Therapy.
Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), Level One, Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University.
Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR), Richman EMDR Training (planned).
Integrative Restoration Level 1 Training, Integrative Restoration Institute.
Graduate Certificate in Systemic Practice (Families and Couples), Institute of Family Therapy
Neurobiological Approaches to Self-Soothing, Institute of Family Therapy.
Post-Graduate Certificates in Systemic Practice (Families and Couples), Institute of Family Therapy.

Management and Leadership Training

Leadership Training: Leadership Level 5 Qualification: Institute for Healthcare Management.

Professional Registrations

Member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), Full Chartered Member, Membership number: 198463.
Full Member of the Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP), British Psychological Society (BPS).
Full Member of DCP Faculty for Intellectual Disabilities, British Psychological Society (BPS).
Registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), Membership number: PYL05126.
Approved Supervisor on the BPS Register of Approved Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS) Member of the EMDR Association, UK and Ireland