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Queen’s Birthday OBE honour for York St John University’s Professor Lynne Gabriel

Published: 01 June 2022

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A close up photo of a woman in a dark jumper and patterned scarf

Professor of Counselling and Mental Health, Lynne Gabriel, has been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours list. 

Recognised for her services to the nation’s mental health and the development of the UK counselling profession, Lynne is a trailblazer in her field. For more than a decade and half, she has been a leading figure in her professional body, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), as well as an inspirational university teacher and supervisor of student trainee counsellors. Her unstinting commitment to the improvement of the nation’s mental health, and to the training of the next generation of counsellors, goes way above and beyond what might be expected of a person in her role.  

Since 2016, she has been at the forefront of the design, and the strategic leadership, of mental health services to the local community that are both evidence-informed and affordable through the York St John Communities Centre. The Centre has provided accessible, evidence-based interventions to over 1,000 clients, positively impacting their relationships, families and work and is a model that has been replicated at several other UK universities. 

The Communities Centre is a closely supervised collective of trained, paid counsellors; trained volunteer counsellors; and over 100 York St John undergraduate and postgraduate students of Counselling on placements. The Centre offers a programme of collaborative research that is relevant to the University’s local community, while at the same time developing students’ expertise. Work includes a range of mental health and wellbeing issues including bereavement, trauma, domestic violence and anger management.  

As Chair of her professional body’s Ethics and Good Practice Guidance Committee, Lynne has long been a guiding light in the production of resources for counsellors and psychotherapists. Her ‘Good Practice in Action’ resource is one of the BACP’s most downloaded documents ever. In early 2020, she organised related events aimed at upskilling practitioners during the COVID-19 crisis, these were attended by over 2,000 UK-based and international members of the Association. 

Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor of York St John University said:  

“Throughout her career, Lynne has advocated tirelessly for improvements in mental health support and provision for members of our local community and beyond. She has shown incredible commitment and compassion in her work, which has benefited generations of students and countless members of the public. As Director of our Communities Centre, Lynne and her team have enabled public access to affordable, quality counselling services which have been crucial in supporting recovery over the past two years. We are delighted that Lynne’s work has been recognised with an OBE and look forward to continuing to support the work of the Centre.”  

Upon receiving her OBE, Lynne said:  

“I am delighted and honoured to be awarded an OBE.  I have been privileged to work with great colleagues and collaborators and I just love working with the amazing team at York St John Communities Centre. I have especially loved working with our fantastic placement students and committed volunteers, who work tirelessly with us to provide excellent mental health services." 

In 2019, Lynne was recognised by Universities UK as a ‘nation’s lifesaver’; the top 100 individuals whose work is saving lives and making a life-changing difference to our health and wellbeing. 

Find more information about the Communities Centre 

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