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Shirley Baxter - Registered Member, MBACP (Accred) Counsellor & ACT Therapist

Portsmouth PO2 & Westbourne PO10
07933 326 157 07933 326 157 Registered / Accredited
Portsmouth PO2 & Westbourne PO10

About me

About Me

Welcome to my profile.  I am a Registered Member MBACP (Accred) Counsellor with 12+ years experience of working with adult Individuals, Couples, Trainee/Counselling Students, and EAP & Insurance Providers.  I have been BACP Accredited since 2009 and have been in private practice as in Independent Counselling professional since 2009. I own Shirley Baxter Counselling Service, and am a Co-founder and Partner of Portsmouth Therapy Partnership  http://portsmouth-therapy.co.uk/

I offer Daytime & Evening appointments in two locations Portsmouth (Hampshire) and Westbourne (West Sussex). Short-Term and Open-Ended Sessions are available in both locations.  Sessions take place on a weekly basis (same time & same location).

How I work

It isn't always easy to open up to complete stranger and talk about the issues that are troubling you or causing you distress.  My aim as your counsellor is to create a safe space in which you can do this.  I work in an open and respectful way, that enables you to find your voice and express yourself in an open and honest way.  It is through the warm and trusting relationship that we build up that you will begin to find your way towards change, growth and healing and ways to regain control over your life.

Counselling can help you to

- Clarify things
- Feel empowered
- See that you have choices
- Increase your self awareness
- Identify your resources & strengths
- Gain a greater insight into your world
- See things from a different perspective
- Decide if you want to make changes in your life

Whatever your reasons are for choosing to have some counselling with me, my aim is to be alongside you throughout your counselling journey and to help to enable and empower you.

Humanistic Counselling

The core of my work is based on the Humanistic counselling model which focuses on, & honours the your individuality & uniqueness.  Your past experiences can impact you in the present day, leaving you feeling stuck & powerless. With greater understanding & self-awareness you can begin to see the choices available and feel better equipped to make changes to move forward.

ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy)

You may be caught up and feel very stuck in the 'stories you tell about yourself' (Content) which can cause you to have very distressing thoughts and feelings in the 'Here & Now' (Process), working with ACT can help you to step back and give you a different perspective (Context) and change your relationship to your thoughts.  Accepting that uncomfortable thoughts or feelings will be present does not mean that you have to agree with or like them. The aim is to enable you to form a different relationship to them so that they don't get in your way as you move towards living a more valued, rewarding and satisfying life.

How does ACT work

  • It aims to create (Psychological Flexibiliy) - ie to free you from the sense of feeling stuck
  • It enables you to identify who & what matters in your life which in turn enables you to identify your (Values) - ie the direction in which you want to live your life.
  • It helps you identify what stops you moving ‘towards’ your values - ie any unhelpful thoughts, feelings, actions & behaviours.
  • It helps you to create distance (Defusion) from your ‘away’ patterns, & helps you gain alternative perspectives.
  • It helps you identify what you are willing to do in order to move in the direction of your Values (Committed Action)
  • Staying present and in the moment (Mindfulness) helps you to not focus on past events or attach to future anxieties.  It creates a space for thoughts & feelings to simply 'be'
  • It helps you to let go of the struggle you find yourself in (Acceptance)

ACT works well for Individuals & Couples who have lost direction, feel stuck & want to move towards living a meaningful & valued life. 


For Couple work my model is based on a Systemic/Psychodynamic approach.  I also incorporate ACT where appropriate.

As your Couple Counsellor my aim is to offer you a safe and supportive space where you are able to express your feelings about each other and your relationship.  Sometimes Couples find this hard to do outside of the safety of the counselling room and you may notice that when you try and talk to each other your conversations lead to arguments and misunderstandings and a difficulty in being open and honest about your feelings.

As a Couple you may be seeking counselling as a way of repairing your relationship, this could be following an affair or possibly as a result of other issues that have impacted on your relationship or you may seek couple counselling as a way of easing the difficulties you are experiencing during the process of separation.

Couple Counselling enables each of you to have a space to be heard and understood, to acknowledge your own and your partners needs in respect to your relationship togehter.  To build a picture of the kind of relationship you both want to have.

I work with Couples who are experiencing the following in their relationship

  • Affairs
  • Divorce
  • Separation
  • Impact of life changes
  • Impact of domestic violence
  • Difficulties with effective communication
  • Impact of Step-families on the relationship
  • Couples who are looking to end their relationship
  • Feeling stuck and unsure where their relationship is going

Short-Term & Open-Ended Appointments are available for both Individuals and Couples.


I have been working with Student/Trainee Counsellors since my Accreditation in 2009 and this is an area I feel passionately about.  I offer a supportive and challenging space for student/trainee counsellors to explore and engage in their self-awareness and personal growth.  Having been a counselling student I can appreciate and understand the complexities involved in doing a counselling course and the impact it can have on your life, which is why it is important to have a supportive and enabling Counsellor as part of your journey.

I have worked with trainees counselling students from Chichester University, Guildford College, Roehampton (Play Therapy) and Peter Symonds College.

Please visit my website if you would like to know more about how I work with Trainee/Student Counsellors https://shirleybaxtercounselling.co.uk/counselling/student-counsellors/

Training, qualifications & experience

Professional Qualifications

  • Leicester Polytechnic – Degree BA (Hons) Public Administration (1984)
  • Chichester College – Introduction to Counselling Skills (2002)
  • Chichester College – AS Psychology (2003)
  • Chichester College - Certificate in Counselling Skills (2004)
  • University of Chichester - Diploma Humanistic Counselling (2006)
  • University of Chichester - Degree BA (Hons) Humanistic Counselling (2008)
  • Chichester Counselling Service - Certificate Couple Counselling (2014)
  • Chichester Counselling Service - Diploma Couple Counselling (2015)

ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) Training (2016 - ongoing)

  • ACT - Getting Started with ACT - Lucy Dorey
  • ACT - Understanding ACT - Professor Sue Clarke
  • ACT - Acceptance & Mindfulness for CBT & Psychological Therapists - Dr Joe Oliver
  • ACT - Clinical Skills Building Workshop - Steven Hayes
  • ACT - Matrix - 6 Steps to Flexibility workshop - Benjamin Schoendorff
  • ACT  -For Depression & Anxiety - Dr Russ Harris
  • ACT - ACT With Compassion; using ACT for shame & self-criticism - Jason Luoma & Jenna Le Jeune
  • ACT - Mastering ACT - Dr Robyn Walser
  • ACT - For Trauma - Dr Russ Harris
  • ACT - For Grief - Dr Ray Owen

CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy) Training (2018 - ongoing)

  • CFT - Introduction to Compassion Focused Therapy - Dr Paul Gilbert
  • CFT - Advanced Clinical Skills Workshop  - Dr Paul Gilbert

RFT (Relational Frame Theory) Training (2016 - ongoing)

  • RFT - Relational Frame Theory (RFT) Made Simple - Dr Joe Oliver & Dr Richard Bennett
  • RFT - Mastering the Clinical Conversation - Dr Matthieu Villatte

Other significant training

  • Diploma in (NLP) Neuro Linguistic Programming (INLPTA) (2004)
  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)  (2006)
  • Working with Addiction - Sussex Alcohol & Substance use Service (SASS) (2007)
  • CBT Bootcamp, Core Clinical Competencies – Christine Padesky (2010)
  • Foundation in CBT (CBT with Heart) - Hemmings Field Associates (2011)
  • Cert. Introduction to Trauma Therapy - Wealden Institute - Attendance only (2012)
  • Dip. Trauma Therapy - Wealden Institute - Attendance only (2013)
  • Teaching Clients & Further Teaching Mindfulness Skills - Stanton & Greyrock (2014)
  • Therapeutic Use of Mindfulness - British Institute of Mindfulness (2015)
  • Rewind Technique - Tom Buckland (2016)

Work Experience

  • Independent Private Practice Counsellor – 2009 - Ongoing
  • Network Counsellor - Various EAP & Insurance Providers* - Ongoing
  • Telephone Helpline Counsellor - Major EAP Provider - 8 years
  • Counsellor - Carers Support Service, Chichester - 3 years
  • Student & Staff Counsellor - Southampton University - 2 years
  • Addiction Counsellor - SASS - 18 months

    * if you would like to work with me, please check with your Insurer to see if I am listed on their Therapist Network.

    Prior to becoming a Counsellor I was a Project Manager in the electronics sector for over 18 years where I gained extensive experience of working in large, complex multi-disciplined teams and gained an appreciation of the difficulties of working to tight timescales and budgets.

Memberships and Registrations

  • BACP – British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy – BACP Accredited Counsellor – MBACP (Accred) - Accredited since 2009, www.bacp.co.uk
  • BACP – Register of Counsellors & Psycotherapists, www.bacpregister.org.uk.
  • ACBS – Association of Contextual & Behavioral Science www.contextualscience.org
  • Emsworth Business Association www.emsworth.org.uk
  • AVIVA - Registered with AVIVA to provide counselling for eligible policy holders
  • CIGNA - Registered with CIGNA to provide counselling for eligible policy holders

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited

Registered / Accredited

Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.


British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.

Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.

All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Accredited register membership

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Accredited Register Scheme

The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Acceptance and Committment Therapy (ACT)

Relational Frame Theory (RFT)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT)


Counselling for Employee Assistance Programme Providers (EAPs)

Counselling for Insurance Providers - Registered with AVIVA and CIGNA.

Therapies offered

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Couples counselling
  • Family/systemic therapy
  • Humanistic therapies
  • Mindfulness
  • Person-centred therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Solution focused brief therapy

Photos & videos



  • Assessment £50.00
  • Follow on Sessions £50.00


  • Assessments £60.00
  • Follow on Sessions £60.00

Trainee/Counselling Students

  • Assessment £40.00
  • Follow on Sessions £50.00

Please check my website for currently student availability http://www.shirleybaxtercounselling.co.uk/counselling/student-counsellors/

When contacting me by e-mail please state the location you prefer to be seen in, this will assist me in my response back to you.

Further information

It is important that you feel comfortable in the way you express yourself and if you prefer to include exploration through art, poetry or stories, stones or shells, objects or music we can incorporate this into our work. 

You can find more details about me and how I work via the following links

Portsmouth Therapy Partnership
Portsmouth Technopole
Kingston Crescent

Westbourne Osteopathic and Wellness (WOW) Clinic
Westbourne Road
West Sussex
PO10 8UL

Type of session

In person
Home visits

Practical details

Sign language
Other languages Although I am fluent in the Italian language I am unable to offer therapy in Italian


Wheelchair user access

Wheelchair-accessible premises should have step-free access for wheelchair users and individuals who are unable to climb stairs. If a counsellor's premises aren't step-free, they may offer alternative services such as telephone/web-based appointments, home visits, or meeting clients in different location, so you can choose the option that suits you best.

You can contact the counsellor to discuss the options available.

Under the Equality Act 2010 service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that individuals with disabilities can access their service. You can read more about reasonable adjustments to help you to access services on the CAB website.

Wheelchair user access

Please note whilst the buildings I work in are wheelchair-accessible, the rooms are quite small.


PORTSMOUTH (PO2) Monday 10am to 5pm Thursday 10am to 6pm WESTBOURNE (PO10) Tuesday 9am to 2pm & 5pm to 8pm Wednesday 8am to 12pm

Types of client

Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme


Shirley Baxter - Registered Member, MBACP (Accred) Counsellor & ACT Therapist

Shirley Baxter - Registered Member, MBACP (Accred) Counsellor & ACT Therapist