Meet The Team

Ben Hoff

(he/him/his)

Clinical Lead/ Counsellor/ Mindfulness Practitioner

Hi I'm Ben and I head up our mental health services at Spectra.

I manage a team of six therapists as well as providing counselling myself and running mindfulness groups. I work with people from all walks of life and see people in different locations including youth centres, private therapy rooms, and at our base in St Charles Hospital.

Counselling is a great opportunity to talk with somebody who's not a teacher, parent or friend, about what's on your mind. Sometimes the work can be quite structured with a focus around specific goals or it might be more organic and freeflowing. It's really what you make of it. I love my job because I get to be alongside people as they navigate and work through really important events in their lives, and that's a real privilege.

In another life I used to teach Spanish and Portuguese and spent time living in Spain, Portugal and Latin America and still love to travel back. In my spare time I like watching movies, going to gigs/concerts, practicing yoga and meditation and spending time with my cat Leia.

If you have any questions about counselling don't hesitate to get in touch.

Cat Archer

(she/her/hers)

Young Person's Sexual Health Coordinator

I’m Cat and I lead the work in Merton.

Mostly I provide 1:1 mentoring support in schools and youth centres, but I also deliver groupwork sessions and assemblies across Merton on topics such as pornography, healthy relationships, and contraception.

As well as this I support the team with outreach work offering STI testing, free condoms, and signposting to other services.

I previously worked for a charity delivering harm-reduction work around drug and alcohol use and self-harm, so I have a good base knowledge of these topics, as well as an in-depth knowledge of matters relating to sexual health.

When I’m not working I enjoy watching true crime shows, doing DIY and spending time with my partner, and my pets Munch (a tom cat) and Norman (a giant tortoise).

If you’re interested in mentoring support, or have any questions about relationships and sexual health please get in touch

Javaid Miah

(he/him/his)

LGBTQ+ Youth Worker

I’m Javaid – I run weekly youth groups in Merton and online for young LGBTQ+ individuals.

I identify as queer and cisgender, though I may be seen gender-bending from time to time. Gender binary who?

I lead activities on issues like how to cope with difficult emotions, coming out, creativity and queer history. I am a queer philosopher and think about issues such as sex education, monogamy, and sexual racism.

I am a person of lived ill mental health experience. This has motivated me to do community work to improve the mental health of young people and to challenge the specific experiences of homophobia and transphobia.

In my spare time I listen to audiobooks and watch a lot of Netflix. I’m definitely a nerdy queer.

If you’re interested in joining the youth group please get in touch.


Oliver O'Donohoe

(he/him/his)

Relationships, Sex & Identity Mentor/ Volunteer Counsellor

I’m Oliver, I am a Relationships, Sex and Identity Mentor for children and young adults and a Volunteer Counsellor for adults in the borough of Wandsworth.

I deliver 1:1 and workshop provision in schools and youth clubs across south-west London, and am also experienced in training professionals. I am currently training as a counselling-psychotherapist. I’ve worked in sexual health since 2013, and specialise in working with addiction, bereavement, trauma, sexually harmful behaviours, and much more; particularly with boys and young men, and LGBTQ+ people.

My approach includes exploring emotions as they manifest in the body and the power of human relationships in promoting growth and well-being for the individual.

Outside of work I enjoy playing the drums and swimming.

If you’re interested in mentoring or counselling support please get in touch.

Sam Russo

(he/him/his)

Counsellor/ Creative Therapist

My name is Sam, I am an Italian dramatherapist and I offer free counselling sessions to LGBTQI+ young people as part of StudentSpectra’s Uni-T Project.

I am a cisgender man who identifies with the umbrella term ‘queer’. I feel queer gives me the sense of acceptance that I have been looking for without reducing my individual experience as a human being.

In my work as a therapist, I can explore issues related to gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and anything else that feels important to you. If words don’t come easy, I am trained to work with the art forms; creative writing, drawing or images amongst other forms of expression.

When I’m not working I like walking, drawing, and taking pictures.

If you’re interested in counselling support, please get in touch.