Ashleigh Gonsalves has been appointed to the role of Group Professional Lead for Therapies. Ashleigh joined Holybourne Hospital in 2017 as a Lead Occupational Therapist and for the last four years she has been in the role of Head of Therapies.
Holybourne Hospital is our acute mental health service for people of all genders with severe and complex mental health conditions based in London. We provide high-quality intensive treatment in a clinically safe, caring and secure environment.
We asked Ashleigh about her passion for occupational therapy, about the therapy team at Holybourne, and what she hopes to achieve in her new role.
Where does your passion for occupational therapy come from?
“Over the last 13 years I have worked for the NHS, councils, and private organisations. I began my career at Holybourne Hospital in 2017.
“I was drawn to occupational therapy because it has a positive focal point. It’s about helping people to live meaningful lives, in whichever way that looks for them. For example, the activities people like to do are completely different for everyone.
“Occupational therapy focuses on the positive aspect of enabling people no matter their challenge or diagnosis. It is very person-centred which I like. It’s so varied and it makes for such an interesting role where you can specialise in lots of different things.
“I have always had a passion for mental health, so being at Holybourne is a great combination of being able to do something quite dynamic in a mental health setting.”
Can you tell us a bit about the therapy team about Holybourne?
“At Holybourne Hospital we have psychology, art therapy, occupational therapy, and we also work with a company called Nordoff and Robbins who conduct music therapy at the hospital.
“In addition, we ‘re located next to Roehampton University, who we’ve established really good working relationships with. We often have creative art therapy students who hold sessions for the patients around dance movement, drama, and art, so we’re quite fortunate.
“We’re really lucky to have a tight-knit team at Holybourne who are consistent and person-centred in their approach. The whole team are all incredibly passionate about what they do. I think in order to have a successful hospital you have to be a team player outside of your specialism and our team does this really well. They are always involved in wider hospital events, as well as discussions and developments.
“I am really proud to have managed and worked alongside this team.”
What do you hope to achieve in the position of Group Professional Lead for Therapies?
“I want to collaboratively establish an effective therapies network across Active Care Group to enable our therapy teams to network and support one another. I want to continue to advocate and support the development of our therapists, and to further develop the amazing work they’re already doing across the organisation.
“I want our therapists to feel valued and empowered. I want them to not just strive for excellence for themselves and their teams, but to also be able to contribute across organisational developments.”
We wish you all the best in your new role, Ashleigh!