The Sandcastle Trust is pleased to be working in partnership with Rareminds to offer a new free, Confidential Counselling Service for family members and individuals aged 18+ impacted by a rare genetic condition.

6 – 12 sessions can be provided either via Zoom, or by telephone. Both evening and daytime appointments are available (weekdays only).

As living with a rare genetic condition happens within the context of your everyday life, it’s inevitable that the ‘ups and downs’ of both impact on each other. You can talk to our counsellors about anything that you are struggling with in living with the emotional impact of a rare genetic condition. This might include:

  • Impact on your family, social or work relationships
  • Anxiety or low mood
  • Identity (including feeling different, lonely or isolated)
  • Dealing with difficult, unpredictable or increasing symptoms
  • The psychological burden of being the ‘rare genetic condition expert’
  • Coping with unpleasant tests or treatment
  • Making difficult choices
  • Worries about the future

The Sandcastle Trust Counselling Team are David Phipps (Lead Counsellor), Emma Johnson and Anna Smith. All are trained and experienced therapists who have undertaken additional training with Rareminds on Counselling for Rare Conditions.

David Phipps MBACP, EAC (Accred.)
has many years’ experience working for IAPT, GP surgeries and in hospital/residential psychotherapy services. He has had a long-term interest in supporting those living with physical health conditions to live well, and now works primarily online with rare or chronic condition patients and family members across Europe.



Emma Johnson UKCP (Memb.)
is a systemic and family therapist, and a trained EMDR practitioner. She previously worked for 18 years in the NHS and social care with both adults, children and young people. As well as working with Rareminds to deliver couples and individual therapy, she has a private practice and is a lecturer and trainer for family therapists.



Anna Johnson UKCP (Memb.)
Anna is an Integrative Psychotherapist and a registered member of the UKCP. She has worked predominantly with children and families within schools and private practice supporting them through family issues, developmental difficulties, trauma and living with neurodiversity and other special educational needs. She has a special interest in how the needs of a child impact the family set up and how the needs of a family unit impact a child.


It’s not always easy to access counselling. The Sandcastle Trust Counsellors provide a safe, confidential relationship to work through difficult thoughts or feelings, and explore new ways of approaching your difficulties. If you would like to arrange an Initial Consultation, please contact Lead Counsellor (David) on marking your email ‘The Sandcastle Trust Counselling’.