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Think Therapy 1st is owned and managed by three highly experienced professionals, one from occupational therapy, an ex-military nurse and the other from social work. You can find out more about our Directors and office team below.

Meet the Team

  • Mark Willis

    Mark Willis

    Chief Executive

    Mark Willis is a qualified social worker with over 30 years experience. He began social work in 1984 as a residential and day care worker with learning disabled adults. In 1994 he qualified with the Diploma in Social Work. Following this he worked as a social worker, senior practitioner and team manager within local authority social services departments.

    He also spent a year co-ordinating child protection training for a large social care department, developing two academically-accredited training programmes on risk assessment.

    In 2000 Mark became a self-employed independent social worker and in 2004 he set up WillisPalmer, now the largest provider of independent social workers, consultant psychologists and therapists in the UK.

    He holds a BA Honours degree from the University of East Anglia, a Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Practice with Children and Families and a Postgraduate Certificate in Management from Nottingham Trent University. He is also an Accredited Practice Teacher in Social Work.

    Mark remains as Chief Executive of the WP Group, incorporating: WillisPalmer, Think Therapy 1st & WPCM Services.

    + Contact Mark

  • Rob Warren

    Rob Warren

    Clinical Director

    Rob Warren has worked within health and social care for the past 20 years, initially working as a care assistant working with adults with profound physical and learning disabilities. He progressed to working in a day centre for people with physical and mental health difficulties and this led him to move into occupational therapy in 1996.

    Rob qualified as an occupational therapist in 2002 gaining a BSC Honours degree from London South Bank University. During his qualifying studies Rob developed a keen interested in neurological occupational therapy, pursuing this interest, he worked for the NHS for 10 years specialising in neurological occupational therapy in both acute, community and specialist services.

    Rob’s final position within the NHS was as the lead occupational therapist and Clinical Specialist for Stroke and Neurology.

    Rob has been a regular guest lecturer for Essex University on both the Bsc and Msc Occupational therapy courses and has been a clinical member of the Essex Cardiac and Stroke Network which actively works towards the promotion of good practice throughout the county.

    Rob now works as Clinical Director and Independent Consultant Occupational Therapist and provides expert support, knowledge and experience for people with neurological impairments.

    + Contact Rob

  • Helen Merfield

    Helen Merfield

    Managing Director

    Helen trained as a Registered General Nurse in the British Army and was founder of HCML and of AIG Medical and Rehabilitation, both case management companies. She won the British Insurance Awards ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ in 2000 and won the “Outstanding Individual Achievement Award” at the Rehabilitation First awards in 2008 for her work in rehabilitation.

    Helen joined us in April 2016 with a focus on helping the company deliver Occupational Therapy led innovative and cost effective rehabilitation case management services to the insurance and legal markets. She accepted the role of MD in Jan 2017 and has plans to grow and expand the business in a number of different sectors.

    + Contact Helen

  • Penny Wosahlo

    Penny Wosahlo

    Head of Operations & Finance

    Penny Wosahlo is the Head of Operations and brings a wealth of experience to the team.  A highly skilled and experienced Occupational Therapist with expertise in leadership, innovation, product and service development and specialist palliative services.

    Penny comes from a large family of siblings with various learning and physical disabilities; giving her experience of the day-to-day challenges faced by people affected by injury or illness but still intent on living their life, their way. This very naturally led her to a career in Occupational Therapy with its ethos of enabling people to participate in their lives on their terms through therapy, rehabilitation and when necessary adapting what they do or how they might do it.

    Penny gained her BSc Hons degree in Occupational Therapy from Oxford Brookes in 2002 and initially worked in learning disabilities and mental health services. In 2005 she moved to work in various physical inpatient and community health settings including burns, trauma and orthopaedics, neurology (long term conditions and acquired/traumatic brain injury), cardiology, respiratory, oncology and palliative care. Penny specialises in physical and cognitive rehabilitation and particularly the management of chronic and on-going symptoms that people experience following disability, illness or injury such as fatigue, anxiety, breathlessness and pain management. For the last nine years she has held leadership roles for large multidisciplinary services.

    Penny completed her MA in Leadership in 2013, focusing on rehabilitation in palliative care – she is passionate about people having the opportunity to live fully, right up until they die. She went on to publish in this area and has also presented at National Conference.

    + Contact Penny

  • Natasha Bruce-Jones

    Natasha Bruce-Jones

    Head of Clinical Services

    Natasha Bruce-Jones has always had a passion for design and creativity, with her heart in helping people achieve.  This lead her to study for her BSc in Occupational Therapy at Canterbury Christchurch University College, graduating with First Class Honours in 2002. She initially specialised in acute care, with more than a decade of experience in Trauma and Orthopaedics, Cardiorespiratory and Long Term conditions.

    In 2008 Natasha’s exposures to challenging clinical situations gave her a keen interest in Oncology and Palliative Care, at which point she commenced an emerging role to develop a specialist therapy service in this sector, representing Therapy Services at local and national events.

    Alongside her role in the NHS, Natasha provided lectures to Essex University and Independent Consultant Occupational Therapy services to large commercial enterprises as well as local care providers.

    Natasha also holds qualifications in British Sign Language and has Diplomas in Management and Leadership, as well as Complimentary Therapies.

    + Contact Natasha

  • Sonia Porritt

    Sonia Porritt

    Regional Clinical Lead For Pain - North East

    Sonia lives in the North East of England, She graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2002 with a degree in Occupational Therapy Bsc (Hons). Since then she has had a long career in the NHS and Social services, mainly focusing on Neurology. Working extensively with people with both acute and rehabilitation needs in the Northern Regional Specialist Unit based at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.

    Since her first leadership courses in 2011 (Institute of Leadership and Management and Leading an Empowering Organisation) her interests expanded into mentoring and leadership. Sonia has completed courses in Coaching, all of which are skills she continues to develop at Think Therapy.

    Since leaving the NHS to work for Think Therapy Sonia coordinates the Functional management of Pain programme across the UK. She has found a key interest in helping people with Chronic pain and mentoring Occupational Therapists in this area. This client group are complex and tremendously satisfying to work with.

    + Contact Sonia

  • Julie Warren

    Julie Warren

    Office Manager

    Julie has been working with Think Therapy 1st since June 2018. Prior to this she worked as a Senior Social Worker, specialising in working with Children and their families. Julie has 20 years experience as a Social Worker. She qualified with a Diploma in Social Worker in 1998 and has worked in a number of different fields including Child Protection; Children and Families; Adoption and Fostering; Parenting Assesments and Children with Disabiities.Julie has also worked as an Independent Social Worker supporting Social Care Departments.

    Julie has been a mentor for Social Work Students for the last 2 years where she has provided them with the training and skills required to become a qualified Social Worker. Her most recent post was working in a local primary school where she supported children and families within the school.

    + Contact Julie