Time to Listen logo


We specialise in working with children, young people and families, but also provide counselling for adults

Social Need

Mental health and life scripts are developed in childhood, so a child with good mental health is more likely to carry this on in to their transition in to adulthood and beyond.  Unfortunately society today involves family breakdown, financial worries, unemployment, high expectations from family, school and society, peer pressure and consumerism 24 hours a day.  Three children in every classroom has a diagnosable mental health issue and one in twelve use self-harm as a coping strategy; in addition to thousands of children and young people being diagnosed with severe depression. 

Hull is an example of one of the hardest hit cities to be affected by cuts, and has some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country, and the financial challenges are still continuing.  The requirement now is for all local authorities to develop and manage resources effectively, which involves reducing the demand on specialist provisions and avoiding an escalation of problems requiring multi-agency intensive support.

There is a clear connection between early intervention and positive mental health of children and young people and their academic achievements, relationships, prospects, ability to contribute to society, reduction in anti-social behaviour, substance abuse and positive parenting.

Therefore by investing in early intervention there can be a huge financial saving in terms of personal and public spending and the cost to the taxpayer but more significantly a huge investment in the ‘Adults of Tomorrow’.

Gail Thornton – the founder of Time to Listen

Gail Thornton MA, Registered MBACP counsellor
Senior Accredited Counsellor for Children and Young People.

Gail is an experienced Person-Centred psychotherapist/counsellor and supervisor with children and young people. Her first degree is in Psychology, which she achieved through the Open University, going on to gaining her Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling at York St John. Gail went on to study for her Certificate in Supervision with Jenny Biancardi in Newcastle as well as training in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) a trauma and phobia therapy. More recently she has achieved her Masters in Counselling Children and Young People at Nottingham University in addition to gaining her Certificate in Therapeutic Play studying with Margot Sunderland at The Institute for Arts, in London. She is also a registered Adoption Counsellor.

Gail has been instrumental in the setting up of the YPSS Counselling and Therapeutic Service for Hull City Council, working with children and young people living in Hull. She was also responsible for the service gaining BACP Accreditation, the first independent service to do so in Hull and East Riding.

Working with Children and Young People is Gail’s passion and has led her to set up this ‘Not for Profit’ organisation. With the access to free specialised counselling services being withdrawn Gail felt that it was important to continue this essential work. She is very self-motivated, enthusiastic and committed; she enjoys being involved in projects and different types of Counselling. She is able to positively encourage and empower others in a meaningful and non-tokenistic way.

“Gail has a genuine, positive, polite, honest and fun personality and is always approachable and is a great asset to counselling. A lot of the young people she works with have very complex and challenging needs and often includes having to work with dysfunctional and extended family members. She has a very good understanding of the challenges and risks faced in terms of social exclusion, depravation and isolation so is able to gain their trust and build up a good rapport to form very positive relationships.”

Gail treats all clients with respect and adheres to strict confidentiality. Gail is a member of the BACP and follows their guidelines and Code of Ethics — Registration No. 016081 on the BACP Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists.

Julie Branton – Psychotherapeutic Counsellor

I have worked with young children in a nursery environment for 20yrs. Throughout my childcare career I have continued to be passionate about working with children. Play was and still is for me a gift for all children. I believe play is an important media which enables a child to make sense of their outer world. As children play they have the opportunity to understand and explore self, others and the world. The skills and knowledge I have developed whilst working with children has helped me immensely with my therapeutic work.

It was through a training course that I first became interested in psychotherapy. The course covered aspects of psychotherapy, in particular Berne theory. It sees autonomy as the key to developing personal growth and change. I trained as a psychotherapist specialising in Transactional Analysis and gained my Diploma in Psychotherapy.

I feel I am a warm, kind, trustworthy counsellor who values individuality. My caring nature contributes to providing a safe environment for children to address their concerns and issues. As an integrative counsellor I focus on the therapeutic relationship as I believe it is key to effective change for the client. Within my work I am aware to meet individual needs as one therapy does not fit all. I believe working on how we communicate with each other can only improve our relationships. If we can give children a safe space to explore their internal thoughts and feelings, they are then able to express their needs with confidence.

I have a positive and enthusiastic approach to counselling children and young people. I strongly believe early intervention for children can be a powerful tool to improving self-worth and self-belief.

Registered with UKATA and adhere to their Code of Ethics.

Our history...

We are former public sector employees who have spent many years providing a counselling and therapeutic service for Children and Young People funded by the local authority (YPSS Counselling and Therapeutic Service). In 2010 we were instrumental in the service becoming the only independent British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapist (BACP) accredited counselling service in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire.  The BACP is the leading professional body for counselling and psychotherapy and participates in the development of this profession at a national and international level.  

The service was committed to meeting the needs of children and young people in Hull by providing an approach that was respectful of and responsive to the clients preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that these principles guided all decisions.  In addition to our person-centred counselling, we specialised in providing play therapy, with a dedicated play therapy room, as well as offering Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprogramming (EMDR), a specific approach for resolving the symptoms of traumatic and other disturbing life experiences.  

As the local authority has brought the YPSS Counselling and Therapeutic service to an end we have set up, Time to Listen, a ‘not for profit’ organisation, which continues to be committed to children and young people.  Their mental health remains a priority ensuring support and early intervention to enable and maintain their emotional wellbeing.  We are staying in the same city centre premises, to ensure continuity for referring agencies.  It is also a discrete location to ensure the clients autonomy and confidentiality. 

We are unique in that we are able to provide access to a wide range of therapeutic interventions with one simple request.  The ‘one-stop-shop’ approach ensures that there is a fast response and eliminates the problem of searching around for a therapist to meet the needs of the individual.