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About

Dr Alex Penny Lenihan

BSc (Hons). MSc. DPsych. Couns. CPsychol. EuroPsy. AFBPsS.
HCPC Registered Applied Consultant Psychologist. 
BPS and HM Government Registered Gender Diversity Specialist. 

I have over 35 years of experience in psychology, including clinical practice, research, publications and providing professional training. My priority is ensuring the highest quality of care for my clients as individuals, bringing to my work understanding, positive regard and compassion. In our work together I strive to understand their unique needs, experiences and approach to life. I value highly that they have chosen DPL Psychology to support them in moving forward in the next stage of their life towards greater well-being. Together, we work towards further expressing their potential and achieving a more fulfilling life, towards authenticity. I value diversity and inclusivity and creating a safe and accepting space. My interests include wildlife and nature conservation, engaged Buddhism, veganism, music and fitness.

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Expertise

I am a Senior Consultant Psychologist and Senior Gender Specialist, having been the Lead Consultant Psychologist/Head of Psychology at the London NHS GIC, where I set up, developed and managed the GIC Psychology Service and doctoral clinical placement training program. Prior to and alongside this, I have had extensive experience setting up, developing, managing, delivering and researching a wide range of clinical and psychological services. I am an HCPC Registered Doctor of Counselling Psychology, HCPC Registered Practitioner Psychologist and HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologist as well as a BPS Chartered Counselling Psychologist, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Registered EuroPsy Psychologist.

Continue reading for more information on my work and experience.

A Quick Look.

Gender Diversity and Recognition

I am a HM Government recognized expert in the field of gender diversity and have been on HM Government Gender Recognition Panel register of Gender Specialists able to provide reports for legal gender recognition applications since it was set up . I am also on the British Psychological Society (BPS) Register of Gender Diversity Specialists and a full professional clinical member of the British Association of Gender Specialists (BAGIS), the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), and the European Association of Transgender Health (EPATH). I was part of the professional working party who developed and set up the BPS Register of Gender Diversity Specialists and continued work on it reviewing professional applications.

Remote Work

I have completed specific training and certification for remote working in order to provide a high quality appropriate professional service to clients through this practice medium, taking into account a range of factors and issues specific to remote practice.

Counselling and Psychotherapy

I was one of the first Counselling Psychologists to qualify in the UK and hold both HCPC Registration and BPS Chartership as a Counselling Psychologist. I am a Practitioner Member of The Person-Centred Association (TPCA) and a Member of the European Network for Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling (PCE Europe), My therapeutic approaches include person-centred, systemic and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

Holistic Approach and Physical Wellbeing

As an additional interest I am a fully qualified and accredited personal trainer registered with CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity). I bring a comprehensive understanding of psychology and physical wellbeing to my practice. I firmly believe in a holistic approach to well-being, aiming to promote overall health and assist individuals in reaching their full potential.

Neurodiversity and Autism Assessment

I work from a neurodiversity affirming approach, providing autism assessments and counselling. I am trained, accredited and licencesd in well established diagnostic assessment tools such as ADOS-2R, 3di and MIGDAS-2.

Never too Old to be You

If you think that you may be too old to make the changes you really want to in your life, then perhaps reflect further. I have a long-standing interest in Ageing Well (including 10 years as a senior grade lecturer and senior research fellow in ageing at The Royal Free & UCL Medical School). I hold a particular interest in addressing the unique needs of clients over the age of 30. If you would like to discuss your specific needs and requirements for appointments, I encourage you to reach out. I am committed to supporting adult clients in reaching their potential, achieving their goals, and embracing a more authentic fulfilling life.

Insurance-backed patients

I have been registered and approved by the following insurance providers: Aviva, Cigna, Axa PP HealthCare and Bupa. Clients seeking their treatment to be covered by insurance need to check their coverage with their insurer for the type of appointment  and cost, before booking an appointment.

A little more.

Additional Experience

In addition to my expertise as a Senior Gender Specialist, I have had a diverse professional background spanning various sectors. I have worked in the NHS, social services, and the third sector, providing services to a wide range of clients. This includes working with families as a Medical Counselling Psychologist in a Family Service Unit, working with individuals with severe mental health issues, supporting people with learning and physical disabilities, and working in older people's services. I also volunteered for the Terrence Higgins Trust in the late 80s and early 90s. Alongside this I completed specific training (including at Masters level) around HIV counselling. I have decades of experience developing and running training, groups, workshops and conferences at universities, clinics and for charities.

Specialist Interests

Throughout my career, I have developed long-standing specialist interests in the areas of gender diversity, autism, and ageing. I have been a Senior Grade Research Fellow and Lecturer at leading universities, including the Royal Free and UCL Medical School (10 years), lecturing, teaching, conducting research and managing large multidisciplinary research projects. My contributions have been widely published in peer-reviewed journals, books, and national and international professional conferences. My extensive publication record, dating back to my undergraduate days at the London School of Economics (LSE) where I pursued a BSc (Hons) in Social Psychology, has provided a valuable foundation for bringing a broader community and social context to my work. I have also authored multiple key professional clinical guidelines related to gender and sexualities. I actively participate in expert professional working parties in the field, contributing to ongoing advancements.

Head of Psychology and Clinical Care.

For over 15 years, I served as the Head of Psychology and Lead Consultant Psychologist at the London NHS Gender Identity Clinic. During this tenure, I established and developed the psychology service and training program, further enhancing my expertise in the field. Over the course of my career, I have amassed more than 30 years of experience in gender-related care and training. While currently working full-time in the independent sector, I maintain close collaboration with my NHS colleagues. I remain dedicated to delivering high-quality care in the private sector and maintain positive professional referral relationships with my Gender Specialist colleagues from the GenderCare network.

Privacy

1 / Confidentiality

We maintain the highest standards of confidentiality, but we have a professional obligation to disclose if a client or others are at risk, if a court order is received and a legal obligation arises. Please be aware though Dr Lenihan’s services are not for emergencies or urgent help. If you are ever in a state of crisis or emergency, please contact a crisis line such as Samaritans, call 999, or go to your local Accident and Emergency Department.

2 / Communication with colleagues

Dr Lenihan has regular supervision and also consults selected colleagues around client care, in accordance with good professional practice. The content of  counselling sessions will not be disclosed outside of anonymised discussion in peer consultation without client consent, unless there is a professional requirement to disclose as above. Dr Lenihan’s service manager and administrator have access to client data as required for administration of care and arranging appointments. Assessment and review appointments may require MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) discussion with selected clinical colleagues or second clinical opinions. 

3 / Data Protection

We take reasonable steps to ensure personal information is secure, in line with General Data Protection Regulations, British Psychological Society, Health Care Professions Council guidelines on confidentiality, but email, text, telephone, video, online platform messaging and online systems can never be made 100% proof against professional data theft. Letters or reports are sent via first class post or encrypted via email to clients, and agreed outside agencies. We communicate information with selected colleagues using Protonmail, egress or WriteUpp.Please see https://protonmail.com/privacy-policy and https://www.egress.com/legal/website-privacy and WriteUpp information below for further details on how Protonmail, egress and WriteUpp manage and process user data. We provide relevant information to other health care providers involved in client’s care (such as the NHS or private organisations) and discuss clinical care as agreed with the client. Email communication with other agencies (for example, client’s GP or themselves) cannot be guaranteed the same level of security after the information has left our service. Consenting to continued communication by email and platform messaging, confirms client understanding that this can be an insecure method of communication. Clients are advised to use an encrypted email service provider such as Protonmail for greater security of emails. We use Protonmail and Writeupp (see WriteUpp details below) for email and direct message communication. Email communication of details relating to client care may be required with other agencies, where emails received relate to care with them and need immediate attention and if the client consents for their details to be passed on in this way.

Clinical records are stored electronically on encrypted media and a GDPR compliant practice management system WriteUpp, with a high level of security, for at least the minimum legal period following completion of care. Records on all management systems may be needed to be lawfully retained for a longer period as required by Dr Lenihan’s professional registration bodies or insurers. Clients have the right to ask for a copy of their personal information free of charge and to ask for any incorrect information about them to be amended or erased. They have the right to ask for any information to be erased, which is no longer held for legitimate interests. This includes personal information that is no longer relevant to original purposes. In all cases and when considering such requests, these rights are obligatory unless it’s information that we have a legal obligation to retain, such as above. For the purposes of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018, the data controller is Dr Lenihan. In proceeding with booking an appointment, clinical clients are consenting to the transfer of their data to WriteUpp as a data processor, please see http://www.writeupp.com/privacy for details of how they manage data.

 

We use client contact details for the legitimate purpose of arrangement and provision of professional  services and communication in relation to those services. Clients consent to provide contact details for communication by email and platform messaging, post and mobile phone (for Two-Factor Authentication). Clients can contact us via enquiries@drpennylenihan.com to discuss this further at any time.

4 / Zoom

Remote appointments are provided via the Zoom platform and clients consent to their initials being entered on it, for an appointment to be scheduled and entering their registered chosen or legal name when attending an appointment. Clients are asked to read the instructions for using Zoom that are provided prior to remote appointments, for information on their privacy policy, further data they require from users and how they process user data, see https://zoom.us/privacy. Please be aware that remote communication cannot be considered absolutely secure. Clients are not permitted or allowed to permit recording or publishing in any format of any appointments, in person or remote. Each person attending a group appointment must register separately as a client and give individual consent. Consent cannot be given on someone else’s behalf and only booked in attendees can attend appointments.

5 / Website Hosting

Dr Lenihan’s website is hosted by  Wix.com. Please see  https://www.wix.com/about/privacy for details of their privacy policy. 

6 / Payment

Payment for services is via Bank Transfer. The receiving bank is Barclays, see https://www.barclays.co.uk/important-information/privacy-policy for their privacy policy. Clients can check with their own banks details of their privacy policies.

7 / Further Information

We hope that clients are happy with any service provided and are encouraged to contact us in the first instance to resolve any concerns and provide any positive feedback. The professional body for statutory regulation of practitioner psychologists is the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).

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