About us

Joanna North Associates have been trading over ten years. Through our Ofsted Outstanding Intermediary Services we specialise in reuniting relatives affected by adoption. We offer a service to locate and contact birth relatives.

Meet the team

Dr. Joanna North

Registered Manager & Head of Counselling

Dr. Jo North is our expert on psychological support for Adoption Intermediary Work. She is also our Registered Manager ensuring that we keep our Standards of work to a high ethical standard, taking care of and supporting our clients through this process and managing safeguarding. Jo brings a wealth of experience to the role with 15 years in Adoption support and 30 in the field of psychotherapy and mental health. She has three books published on mental health and her extensive c.v. demonstrates a lifelong dedication to mental health and wellbeing. In 2017 she was awarded the British Psychological Society’s prestigious Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Practice Award for her Adoption Support work. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Chair of Ethics for United Kingdom Council for the Psychotherapy Children and Young People Section and formerly Chair of British Psychological Society Psychotherapy Section.

David Oates

Research Director

Dave has been working as a long-lost family tracer and intermediary for 10 years, specialising in adoption over the last three years. During this time, he has built a wealth of experience to assist in the accurate tracing of lost relatives in the UK and around the world. His work has featured on several TV shows including BBC1s family Finders and TLC’s separated at birth. He has also been invited to speak on the subject on BBC Radio Five Live. Dave has also gained a lot of knowledge and expertise in the sensitivity around intermediary work and how clients and subjects can feel through the process.

Professor Nick Sarra

Organizational Consultant

Professor Nick Sarra – Joanna North Associates

Nick is a Consultant Psychotherapist in the NHS, engaged primarily in supporting healthcare staff particularly for teams after difficult events. He also works privately as an organizational consultant and clinical supervisor and is helping us at JNA with our work together as a team, addressing organizational dynamics and the complex situations that we manage in our work.  Nick is a Qualified Group Analyst (member of the Institute of Group Analysis) and mediator. He has consulted to and mediated for numerous organizational groups particularly within healthcare both in the UK, Europe and USA. He has also been involved in a number of post conflict situations such as South Sudan and the aftermath of the Beslan hostage taking crisis in Ossetia.  Professor Sarra teaches on organizational dynamics programs at two universities including Exeter School of Psychology and Hertfordshire Business School.

Nick lives and works in Devon but has also lived and worked in the Sudan, People's Republic of China and Saudi Arabia.  We are lucky to have him with us in both Leeds and Devon.

Brindley Whyte

Reflective Practice and Safeguarding support

Brindley Whyte – Joanna North Associates
Brindley Whyte M.A. helps our team with regular reflective practice sessions so that we can keep on top of the complexities of our work including Safeguarding. He is a Social worker registered with Social Work England. Brindley is also a Group analyst and member of the Institute of Group Analysis and Psychotherapist and member of United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Brindley has had years of experience in work with children and families including adoption and also children’s mental health services. He has also completed forensic work with adults in prison settings and Young People in the Youth Offending Team. Recently he has worked with University of Exeter for consultation and Group Process work in psychotherapy training.

Lorraine Thomas

Counsellor, Psychotherapist

Lorraine Thomas – Joanna North Associates

Lorraine is a member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy as an accredited Psychotherpist/Counsellor and she has a degree in Creative and Expressive Art Therapies from Anglia Ruskin University (2010).  She has worked in the field of child and adult mental health for twenty years and is committed to the mental health and wellbeing of children, adults and families.  Lorraine is also passionate about helping people get the right support that they need to help them move forward in their life.  She is a committed and energetic support to our team, helping with counselling and consultation.  She loves to learn and in recent years has trained in systemic family work and has qualifications for helping clients with trauma.   

Alison Schofield

Intermediary Administrator

Alison joined us in November 2019 as adoption administrator. Alison brings with her a wealth of experience in Customer Service and Relationship Management built up over many years in the Telecoms industry. As the administrator it is Alison’s role to ensure we stay organised. She does a lot of the unseen hard yards that go into adoption intermediary work. Alison keeps our clients updated and ensures that the agencies we contact get the information they need to help process your search.

Sue Harrison

Intermediary Specialist

Sue is our Intermediary specialist and has many years experience is reuniting long families. She works closely with Dr. North, Alison and David to ensure our service user experience is delivered in line with latest regulations and laws. Sue is also an experienced family history researcher and enjoys this aspect of her role too. Sue loves to learn and has studied many topics to support her work including mental health, data protection and counselling.

Ryan Shaw

Managing Director

Ryan is our Managing Director and Ofsted registered Responsible Person. He oversees all our work along with our registered manager Jo North. Having been involved in the field of People Searching for over fifteen years he is well equipped to help us through the challenges. Whilst the team are busily involved in people searching and customer liaison, Ryan is taking care of the environment and supporting the development of the team. He solves our operational problems for us and keeps the whole organization in a fit state so that we can focus on our work.

Aaron Jomeen

Technical Support and Admin

Aaron Jomeen – Joanna North Associates
Aaron is with us to help on many levels with technical and admin support. When he’s not supporting Alison with admin he’s helping us all to keep up to date with the technological changes we are always making in our industry. Aaron helps us with Marketing and online presence and generally supports the flow of our work. He is also our go to person for data collection so that we keep on top of the analysis and demographics of our agency.