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Our approach

We are passionate about using the best approach to enhance your lives and performance, as athletes, coaches and people.

Our work is based primarily on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) principles. ACT is a psychological technique which has over 40 years of research. It is widely recognised all over the world in health care, business and sport. The aim is to help you to accept what is out of your control and commit instead to what enriches your life. It is a practice which is known to have enormous benefits for everyone.

That said, our combined experience of over 20 years in sport and business psychology means that we draw on expertise from a variety of sources. These include neuroscience, NLP, positive psychology, cognitive behavioural therapy, humanism and coaching. We are interested in you as a whole and unique human being. 

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Dr Alison Maitland

photo of sport psychologist Alison
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Alison is a Health Professions Council Registered and BASES Accredited Psychologist.

Alison’s approach combines a deep understanding of human performance with the practical experience of leading in and working in a wide range of settings in sport, the private sector, charities and public life.

As a psychologist, Alison is as comfortable working with individuals taking their first step on their sports career journey to those who feel they’ve achieved much already. She backs up her work with rigour grounded in research, a PhD in the Psychology of elite performance and a Masters degree in Coaching. She was previously Partner and Director, Research & Product for Lane4, a leading people consultancy specialising in the field of human performance.

Outside of work, she’s seen on matchday on the bench as the psychologist with Saracens Mavericks netball franchise. She has two fabulous grown-up daughters and lives near London with her husband and two cats.

Jenna Woolven

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Jenna is a Chartered Sport & Exercise Psychologist.


Jenna has a broad range of experience working with athletes from many different sports, from elite level to school sport. She was part of the team of psychologists at the Football Association who developed the high performance culture within England Football teams. She has led psychology programmes at various schools creating interactive and engaging workshops and keynotes for students, parents and coaches.

Aside from her work in sport, she is a performance consultant in business, an EMCC qualified Coach and has extensive experience coaching leaders across many different sectors.

Jenna started her career in sport, representing England Hockey, playing  semi-professionally in Germany and Australia. She is still a passionate sportswoman, playing hockey in the Premier League, as well as spending her spare time active in the great outdoors. She loves to challenge herself physically as well as mentally, and has completed an Ironman triathlon, climbed Mont Blanc and trekked to Everest Base Camp.


As someone who values calmness and compassion, Jenna also practices meditation and works with multiple charities to give something back to communities across the world through the teaching of psychology.

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The story behind Yellowtail

One sunny day an old woman found a cocoon of a yellowtail moth. Being curious about how this papery shell could transform into a moth, she took it home.  So she sat and waited for the yellowtail moth to emerge from the cocoon. As she waited patiently, she noticed the moth struggling to force its body through a tiny little hole in the cocoon. Then unexpectedly it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if the moth could go no further. It just seemed to be stuck.

Then the woman, being kind, decided to help the yellowtail moth. So she took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings. She expected that the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its short life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly. 

Struggle and challenge are necessary for a yellowtail moth to be healthy, to fly and find freedom.


What the woman in her kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening, forced fluid from the moth's body into its wings — and that meant it would be healthy and ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. 

We know that life and sport can also be challenging. We all have struggles - setbacks, selection, confidence, injury, loss of form, anxiety and relationships to name just a few.


Our mission at Yellowtail  is to walk alongside you, opening your horizons to new ways of thinking and being so you find your wings and learn to fly. 

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