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Families Empowered is a team of dedicated professionals who place children and their families at the heart of our work. We are proud to be recognised as an 'Outstanding Provider' of Adoption Support Services by Ofsted in March 2023.


With understanding and empathy we offer a range of highly effective therapeutic and training services to support children and their families. We are skilled practitioners immersed in the principles of DDP and PACE, with an extensive background in social work and children’s services. We work with agencies and local authorities, including Barnardo's, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Southend, Oxfordshire, Nottinghamshire and various London Boroughs.

We are dedicated to improving outcomes for children and have seen how attachment and DDP-led interventions can positively transform the families we work with. From group programmes to individual support, our experienced team can balance the needs of each family within the context of social care. We understand the challenges. We speak the language. We care.

Who we are

Meet the team

Deborah Sharratt


Deborah is a qualified therapeutic social worker with 30 years of experience working with Children and Families. She holds a MA in Social Work, BA in Social Work and Diploma in Social Work. She has undertaken systemic management training at the Tavistock Clinic, and a certificate in Family Therapy. Deborah is also an experienced practice teacher and trainer. Deborah has completed Dyadic Developmental Practice, Psychotherapy and Parenting (DDP) Levels One and Two and is currently a Practitioner becoming certified in DDP while receiving DDP practice-based supervision from a Certified Consultant in DDP.

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Benjamin Hargrave


Benjamin is a Queer, White, British Therapeutic Social Worker and DDP Practitioner, Consultant and Trainer in Training. Benjamin has worked with children and families for over 20 years in Residential, Youth Work, Education, Social Work and Therapeutic settings. As well as training in Social Work and DDP, Benjamin is a Systemic Practitioner and an EFT Tapping Practitioner. Benjamin is committed to ongoing work in Racial Equity and Social Justice which is pulled through into direct work with families, supervision and training. Benjamin has also worked with DDPI and DDPI Worldwide in several capacities over the years.

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Anne Cunningham


Anne is a Psychodynamic Therapist offering counselling and therapeutic support to explore concerns around parenting, attachment bonds and how to support children who have experienced trauma and loss. Anne has a background in social work specialising in fostering and as a therapist supporting adults experiencing the impact of complex trauma. Anne’s qualifications include BA (Hons) in Social Work, MA in Psychodynamic Counselling, Diploma in Counselling Children and Young people, Certificate in Complex Trauma and DDP Levels 1 and 2. Anne is a registered member of Social Work England and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).  

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Liz Stirrat


Liz has over 20 years’ experience as a qualified social worker, where she specialised in safeguarding and managing the provision of care for looked after children. Her focus is always on keeping children safe and within their families wherever possible. Liz has completed DDP Level 1 and the TLSWi Diploma in Therapeutic Life Story Work. She has attended Theraplay® to Foundational Level and is currently undertaking her practicum towards Intermediate Level.

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Jo Hines


Jo has over 25 years' experience as a qualified social worker and manager where she specialised in adoption and fostering. She holds a BA Hons in Social Work and MA in Professional Practice. She has completed DDP Levels 1 and 2, NVR Foundational level, Neuro Physiological Psychotherapy Level 1 and Therapeutic Life Story Work. Jo has attended Theraplay® with MIM to Level 2 and is currently undertaking her practicum towards Foundational Level. She is also an experienced trainer. Jo believes that parents and carers need to be supported to meet the needs of children impacted by developmental trauma and that relationship is central to all intervention.

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Sonya Harris


Sonya holds a BA in Social Work and has completed DDP Level 2. She is registered with Social Work England. Sonya has over 20 years experience working with foster carers and kinship carers in local authority and not-for-profit organisations. She believes strongly in the benefits of collaborative therapeutic support for children and families.

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Anna Harris


Anna holds a BSc in Applied Psychology and a Master of Social Work. She is a Certified Practitioner in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi), has completed DDP Level 1 and NVR Foundational Level and is an experienced trainer. She is registered with Social Work England and the British Psychological Society. Anna has supported children and families for over 20 years with a specialism in adoption. She feels privileged in helping parents to reflect and bear witness to a child’s inner world, which she feels is central to healing from developmental trauma.

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Hilary Walshe


Hilary holds an MA in Social Work and has completed DDP Level 1. She is registered with Social Work England. Hilary has over 30 years experience working in social care and has completed the accredited course Fostering Changes prior to setting up and managing a therapeutic fostering agency in Norfolk for over 6 years.

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Darren Harman-Page


Darren has been an advocate for fostering and foster carers for over 20 years, working with Fostering Network as a Trustee and Vice-President, and as Chair of an Essex-based foster carer's association. Darren is a former foster carer who has fostered for over 25 years and is also an adoptive parent. He is interested in therapeutic parenting approaches to support children in care, including children with SEND. Darren is keen to develop services for foster carers to improve their understanding of the impact of early life trauma and to help them achieve positive outcomes for the children they work with.

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Lucy Wyatt


Lucy is an experienced integrative counsellor who began her career in counselling in 2014. As an associate of Families Empowered, we may refer families to her services at Light Mind Counselling. Lucy has a broad knowledge of different therapeutic frameworks and works with young people and adults who have experienced anxiety, depression, bullying, relationship issues, trauma, loss and infertility, with particular specialism in bereavement. Lucy is a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Tara Davey


Tara is our team administrator, with a background in care work. Enthusiastic, efficient and always happy to help – she keeps our therapeutic groups running smoothly.

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Anchor Liz
Jo Hines

Theraplay® is a registered service mark of The Theraplay® Institute, Chicago, IL, USA

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