John Woolner

I have great enthusiasm for the work I do, considering systemic theory as a way of making sense of our social worlds.


I am a UKCP registered systemic couple and family therapist.

In 2000 I qualified with an MSc in systemic psychotherapy, with a distinction for clinical practice. I continue to run a private practice, lecture on the MA and BA Social work programmes at Plymouth University, lecture for the Frontline Social work programme, am a specialist lay member sitting for the Mental Health Review Tribunal service and am in practice part-time as a systemic psychotherapist with the NHS in adult mental health.

For the last eighteen years I have been delivering training in systemic theory and practice. This has included training for Relate counsellors, Frontline social work practitioners, junior doctors/psychiatrists, child protection social workers on behalf of the Institute of Family Therapy, and to consultant social workers in local authorities across the UK, adopting the ‘Reclaiming Social Work’ model, on behalf of Morning Lane Associates.

I am very enthusiastic about systems theory as it applies to human relationships, and to exploring interventions that bring about lasting change at the level of meaning and understanding. I consider delivering training to be a two-way process. We learn from each other. I have supervised, provided training for, and facilitated away days for, various organizations – such as Relate, Action against Domestic Violence and Abuse, Force Cancer charity and Family Matters.

I have great enthusiasm for the work I do, considering systemic theory as a way of making sense of our social worlds. It is at the heart of the way I think and act.

I have delivered workshops in creative writing in psychiatric hospitals, and am a keen writer myself.


Qualifications and Training

  • UKCP registered psychotherapist
  • MSc in family and couple systemic psychotherapy (Birbeck College and University of London – 2000)
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills (Exeter University – 1994)
  • Diploma in Applied Social Studies and CQSW (Bristol Polytechnic 1988)

A Penny for your Thoughts

In June 2015 I cycled my penny farthing bicycle from John O’Groats to Lands’ End (the JOGLE), raising money for ‘Ride – On Cycling for All,’ a charity based in Exeter.

read more

Enduring Lovers

Where to begin? I was encouraged as part of my training as a systemic couple and family therapist to converse with members from my family of origin.

read more

Travel Writing

As I walked out one mid summer morning I was greeted by the roar of waves crashing in white froth on rocks below, whipped into a cool spray by a strong on-shore wind.

read more

There are times during our lives when it can be helpful to talk to someone with experience, who offers a confidential and non-judgemental approach.

The therapy doesn’t direct, but rather seeks to help you have different sorts of conversations, ones which are non-blaming, and which to lead your own preferred solutions. All the work we do together will be confidential.

“As a trainer John is exceptionally good at helping students to connect with the emotional content of the learning. Students always appreciate how he brings himself into the training and are engaged in his teaching ideas far beyond the teaching day itself.”

Liz Bosanquet

Head of Training, Morning Lane Associates

Get In Touch

Please feel free to telephone me direct for a brief and confidential conversation or fill in the Contact Form below

6 + 15 =