Carolyn Exley MBACP (Accredited), UKRCP Registered Independent Counsellor

Carolyn Exley MBACP (Accredited), UKRCP Registered Independent Counsellor


023 92822492

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About me

I have over 30 years experience working as a counsellor and supervisor.  I see individuals, couples, adults and young people struggling with relationships, stress, anxiety, self-esteem, bereavement, confidence, anger, parenting, gender, sexuality, sexual abuse, rape, phobias, disordered eating and personal development. I am an Accredited Counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and am a registered UKRCP Independent Counsellor working in the Portsmouth/Southsea area.

It was working as a house parent on a self-sufficient farm, along side adult men with learning disabilities, that the seed was sown for me to become a counsellor.  Every day was idyllic, digging in the fields for potatoes, tending plants in the garden, working in the woodwork or weaving rooms.  My particular responsibility was to take a small group of men into the pottery to shape clay into plates and pots to be used in the bungalows we lived in, or sold to raise money to buy the things we couldn't provide ourselves.  Although I loved my work, I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of time available to listen if someone was in distress.  Being there for someone in emotional need became paramount for me and I began to think about a career in counselling.

When I began counselling training I found that receiving my own personal counselling was a requirement of the course.  I was filled with trepidation. I wasn't used to talking about 'my stuff' and certainly not to a complete stranger.  I worried that I would have nothing to say and that the counsellor might think that what I had to say was not important enough.  I was wrong. I felt valued and respected and was able to work through unresolved issues from my past, as well as current difficulties I was experiencing.  It was probably one of the most significant things that I have done in my life, as now when faced with problems, as we all are from time to time, I have the ability to work them through by myself.  Nevertheless, I have never forgotten the courage it took for me to make that first appointment.  That is why I have great respect for every client I see who has recognised that their life might not be quite what they would like it to be and has taken the decision to enter into counselling to do something about it.

I am now a Humanistic Integrative Body Therapist believing in the body/mind connection. I believe that what happens in the mind is played out somewhere in the body, often producing physical symptoms. On the other hand, prolonged exposure to illness, disability or pain directly effects us at an emotional level, altering the way we think and feel. Our bodies and emotional states express our life experiences. I have often found that counselling heals both the mind and the body, bringing about a healthy feeling of well-being throughout the whole self.

I work humanistically and creatively bringing early experiences, past and present relationships and dreams into the client's awareness to be worked with here and now.

I see my role as offering a warm, sensitive and professional relationship within which clients can begin to feel safe enough to work at their own pace and depth. My fundamental belief is that everyone deserves the right to be heard and enabled to be all they can be.

Please contact me on Portsmouth (023) 92822492 to arrange an appointment or for further information.

Training, qualifications & experience

I hold a Diploma in Gestalt Counselling (which included body work and spiritual exploration)

Degree in Psychology

Masters Degree in Transpersonal Arts and Practice

Qualification in Gender Dysphoria

I have in excess of 30 years experience working as a Counsellor and Supervisor. For 13 years I worked with issues of rape and sexual abuse at the Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service (PARC's) I also worked at 'Chrysalis' where I counselled individuals as well as being part of a team, setting up and facilitating support groups for those going through gender transformations. I have co-written and presented courses on assertive communication at Highbury College. I have been a visiting lecturer at Portsmouth University, covering a range of counselling issues.

I hold a qualification in Parenting Skills and have facilitated a number of courses for Social Services enabling parents with children described as having 'challenging' behaviour. In my private practice I draw on these skills when working closely with couples, individuals or family groups.

Member organisations

Registered / Accredited


Accredited register membership

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Personal Development
Gender Issues
Supervision & Assertiveness


My fee for individual counselling is £50. I charge £55 for couples/family counselling. I occasionally have concessions at a lower rate. If you feel you may be eligible for this and depending on availability, you are welcome to discuss this with me on the telephone.

My fee for supervision is £55 per hour.

Further information

The Supervision I offer to counsellors/psychotherapists

Supervision is a professional relationship between the supervisor and counsellor-psychotherapist.  It is an environment within which different therapeutic relationships can be explored in depth, new skills and alternative perspectives acquired and professional and personal development enhanced.

Thirty years working as a counsellor, seven years facilitating the supervision group at Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service, along with over twenty years working as a supervisor and counsellor in private practice has reinforced my belief that regardless of experience, all counsellors and psychotherapists need supervision.  Moreover, adhering to the BACP code of ethics, it is an ethical imperative.

The supervision I offer is integrative, offering a warm and professional relationship, drawing on a range of skills and techniques that I have gathered over a number of years.

I never forget that you are the counsellor in the room with your clients.  You will ultimately know them better than I do.  My role is to oversee your work and to highlight areas that you may have been too close to see clearly.  I will want to know your strengths and to understand any gaps in your experience and training.  In this way we will be able to create our own unique way of working together that best suits your individual needs.

My fees for supervision are £55 per hour.

Maps & Directions

Southsea, PO4

Type of session

Online counselling: Yes
Telephone counselling: Yes
Face to face counselling: Yes
Home visits: No

Practical details

Sign language: No
Other languages: None


Accessibility information
Wheelchair user access: Yes

Ground floor counselling room


Weekdays and limited evening availability

Types of client

Young people
Older adults

Supervision & training

Supervision is a professional relationship between the supervisor and counsellor-psychotherapist.  It is an environment within which different therapeutic relationships can be explored in depth, new skills and alternative perspectives acquired and professional and personal development enhanced.

Online supervision:No
Telephone supervision:Yes
View supervision profile