Team

 Charles Watkins

My approach to life and therapy has always been guided by the following: "Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world”

Lao Tzu

Charles Watkins

Clinical Psychologist M.Sc. · Licensed Psychotherapist · Founder

Born in 1985 in Osnabrück, Germany
Having graduated with a master’s degree (with distinction) in clinical psychology and completing his clinical training at the world-renowned University Medical Center of Princeton, Charles continued to use his passion to inspire positive change and advance the field of psychology in areas new to the psychological approach. Working in his private practice has been complemented by lecturing on various topics around the world. His devotion towards identifying places of need for dealing with stress and depression has led him to the maritime industry. Through the team’s profound research in the maritime industry, Charles has been able to create training videos and safety plans for the crew and on-shore personnel.

Charles has been researching the area of maritime stresses and psychological illnesses to develop preventive measures for the maritime industry. Charles is continuing to find helpful psychological solutions for real life problems on ships and on shore.

Languages: German, English

Other areas of his expertise include:

  • Systemic therapy
  • Emergency counselling
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Crisis management
  • Self-compassion therapy

Helping to treat with the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Culture specific syndromes
  • Trauma
  • Disproportionate sadness
  • Disproportionate anger

Susann Rüsch

Licensed Psychotherapist · Founder

Born in 1966 in Bremerhaven, Germany
Having started out her career as a journalist, Susann quickly realised her real calling as a psychologist and after qualification set up her own practice in Hamburg in 2007 with a number of medical colleagues. As well as her private client work, Susann has focussed on the maritime sector, in particular dealing with the stresses and demands faced by crew/employees on board and ashore.

Susann has lectured on the above topics and has contributed to various publications and training videos, most recently „Mental Health Essentials for Masters“.

Languages: German, English

Her main areas of specialisation include the following:

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Business Coaching
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Sport and Mental Coaching
  • Trauma Therapy
  • Crisis Management

Helping to treat with the following symptoms:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety / Fears
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Concentration inability
  • Trauma / shock
  • Accident recuperation
  • Family relations
  • Cancer and terminal illness
  • Psychosomatic

The health of the body, soul and mind are inextricably linked. If the soul is struggling because of surrounding  circumstances, it affects the body. More than 50%  of all physical illness is caused by mental health issues. A seafarer who is worried about events at home and/or cannot sleep or concentrate as a consequence, will quickly become physically ill and will be unable to do his job effectively. He could also expose his colleagues to dangers because of his mental and physical ill-health.

Christian Ayerst

Christian Ayerst

CEO

Born in 1986 in England, Christian spent 8 years working as a lawyer in a top London shipping law firm, before moving to become the inhouse lawyer of an international shipowner and logistics company.

Having spent time both at insurers and ship-owners, as well as volunteering with the London police, Christian has seen the day-to-day challenges to mental health and wellbeing of individuals and companies.

He is passionate about effecting change – and using every means possible to achieve this. When not working, Christian travels widely, learns languages and competes in triathlons.

Languages: German, English, Spanish

Sophia Onken

Clinical Psychologist (Dipl.-Psych.) · Partner

Born in 1989 in Hamburg, Germany
Sophia graduated from University of Kiel with a degree in Clinical Psychology (Dipl.-Psych). She has since worked in the field of psychological first aid, as general counsellor, with criminal offenders and as family therapist. Her main areas of interest are emergency psychology and cross-cultural psychology.
With a desire for a deep understanding of the challenges and resources of the maritime industry, Sophia develops preventive measures, tailored trainings and support solutions to improve mental wellbeing for seafarers.

Languages: German, English

Her main areas of specialisation include the following:

  • Emergency counselling
  • Crisis Management
  • Mindfulness techniques
  • Relaxation therapy

Helping to treat with the following symptoms:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety / Fears
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Concentration inability
  • Trauma / shock
  • Family relations
  • Psychosomatic disorders
Sophia Onken
Zoe Busch

Zoe Busch

Business and Product Development Executive

Born in 1998 in Cyprus,
Zoe has spent the last 5 years working in the hotel and restaurant industry but also on a cruise ship.
Having spent 9 months on a cruise ship, she has seen first-hand how important the balance of mental and physical health of the seafarers is and hopes to help them live a better life onboard.
She has a great passion for helping others and making a difference.
When she is not working, you can find her in the kitchen or travelling the world.

Languages: German, Greek, English

Consultants

Atul Kumar Mehra

Languages: English, Hindi, Spanish, Punjabi, Urdu

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Atul Kumar Mehra is an author, international speaker and registered psychotherapist in Ontario, Canada. He participated in panel discussions with Dr. John Gray, spoken at an international event headlined by Dr. Deepak Chopra and a guest speaker on hundreds of TV & Radio shows.

He published his International Best-Selling book on Amazon, "The Unseen Wisdom of the Unborn," and the second one is under editing "The Need for Disease." He is currently working on two others, "Addiction is Survival and not Guilt" and "My Unconscious Self," to share his experience and wisdom from more than 20 years of working with the unconscious mind. Since childhood, he was intrigued by the mind's power, which led him to start meditating at the age of four years with guidance from his father.

Benjamin Low C.Y.

Languages: English, Mandarin-English combinations

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Having studied psychology in Australia, Ben is an alumnus of the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, and James Cook University. His professional training is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council. In addition to receiving his honours degree in psychology, he furthered his knowledge of Clinical psychology completing his masters in Singapore. Having lived in three multicultural cities, Ben works well with individuals of different backgrounds and his biggest passion is to help people live more fulfilling lives, both on individual and corporate levels. Ben has run educational programmes for employees, doctors, and university students. He has also been commended for his service to various portfolios under the Singapore Psychological Society and received multiple awards for his research in the field.

His main areas of specialisation include the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT),
  • CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I),
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT),
  • Behavioural Activation
  • Schema Therapy,
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT).

Karen Gail C. Ibanez

Languages: English, Filipino

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Karen started her career in the mental health service in 2007 as an assistant psychologist focusing more on assessment and diagnosis. She is a licensed psychologist and psychometrician and is currently affiliated with a local government university in the Philippines as an Assistant Professor. She is also an academic officer since 2012 at Careerline Courses Ltd., an online education provider in Australia.

Ming Yin

Languages: English, Chinese, Japanese

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Ming graduated in Applied Psychology. Her expertise lies in understanding the pathology and psychological treatment of depression as well as bipolar disorders, which she has been studying in patients for 11 years. Additionally she completed the Psychological First Aid Training from Johns Hopkins University, as well as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) training from the Associations for Psychological Therapies (ATP).

Munavvar Karimli

Languages: Azerbaijani, Turkish, Russian, English

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Born in 1995 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Munavvar graduated from the Middlesex University London with the degree in Counselling Psychology (BSc Honours). She also graduated with the degree in Business Psychology (MSc Honours) from the Heriot-Watt University. She also obtained certificates from the Professional Therapeutic league of Russia. At the same time, she took part in different psychological conferences, workshops and trainings that focused on Business Psychology, Coaching, Counselling skills, Neuro Linguistic Programming, General Psychotherapy and EMDR Psychotherapy. She has since worked as a counselling psychologist and conducted Psychotherapeutic sessions with adults to improve their psychological well-being. Her main area of interest is to provide psychological first aid in a cross-cultural setting to individuals who need mental health support. She is constantly learning and practicing new psychological methods to maximize the positive effect of emergency psychological counselling on seafarers.

Shar Gupta

Languages: English, Hindi

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Having spent over a decade studying, living and working in multiple multicultural cities overseas in Europe and North America, Shar’s journey to develop her own sense of self has played a significant role in her desire to help adolescents and adults navigate their unique issues around cultural identity, adjustment, assimilation, and multicultural families and relationships.
Shar earned a dual Masters in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University and her primary clinical experience has been treating a range of conditions including but not limited to anxiety disorders, depression, Autism, ADHD, body image, relationship concerns and multicultural issues.
For her impactful work, she earned the title Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New York after several years of inpatient and outpatient work with children, adolescents and adults from diverse backgrounds.
Shar is also passionate about social justice, and believes that the therapeutic process is a unique, powerful, collaborative and professional relationship that has the potential to help foster awareness, change, and growth. She is hoping that her practices will have a positive impact on those in maritime industry who need help.

Alexander Dimitrevich

Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English

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Alexander is a Clinical Psychologist, who did his master’s degree scientific work at Odessa National State University, and is also candidate for a PHD in Clinical Sociology.
Since March 2016, he has been working for Sailors’ Society as Regional Crisis Response and Wellness Programme Co-ordinator. Alexander is trained and experienced in organising and providing support for trauma survivors, helping seafarers affected by piracy and their family members. He has a Maritime Lloyd’s Academy Diploma in Crew Management and is a March on Stress associate. Alexander is qualified in Trauma Risk Management (TRiM Practitioner/Manager) and previously worked as Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme (MPHRP) Regional Director in Eastern Europe.
Alexander is co-author and trainer of Three Layer Psychosocial support system for trauma survivors which has been utilized as a basic training model for non-psychologists in Ukraine.

Lucy Courtney-Brisbane

Languages: English

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Born in Birmingham, Great Britain, Lucy is a HCPC registered Forensic Psychologist with a deep interest in organisational and systemic wellbeing and functioning and in therapeutic work supporting those with complex needs. Over the last twenty years, Lucy has worked in a range of settings including prisons, secure mental health services, community substance misuse services and criminal justice systems. Her work has deepened her commitment to supporting the development and growth of policies and systems that enable healthy functioning and performance in workplaces and organisations where high stress, challenge and trauma are inherent parts of day to day work life.
Outside of work, Lucy has a keen interest in writing and in music.

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