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Hesther Somerville, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, MBACP

About me

Skype/Zoom/Whatsapp/'Phone support during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Taking therapy outside is also an option - we can discuss.  I am a qualified, professional and experienced BACP-registered Therapeutic Counsellor and Psychotherapist, working (normally) one-to-one in Dartington.  I draw on a range of modalities (Integrative, Transpersonal, Gestalt, Psychodynamic) to suit individual needs in therapy. Sessions take the form of exploration through talking confidentially, incorporating where appropriate creative mediums such as imagery & visualisation, dreams, drawing, sand-play, body awareness, mindfulness, archetypes, myth and story.  I work relationally and soulfully to develop a safe, non-judgmental therapeutic container with trust and integrity.

My area of particular interest:-

If you excelled in any of these subjects at school: music/sport/creative-arts/dance/acting/engineering... and yet underachieved in other subjects despite being conscientious and working hard, it could be that you are amongst a group of people who are neurotypically 'wired' differently.  The repercussions can be catastrophic and devastating, involving misunderstandings, ridicule and bullying, loss of identity, low self-esteem, family break-ups, loss of self-worth, putting on an act, depression and anxiety, and loss of sense of direction and purpose - to name just a few of the symptoms from trying to fit in to a neurotypical world when you think differently: often described as creatively, and 'outside the box'.

People who are highly intelligent and highly talented, but who under-achieve and under-perform, may be diagnosed with any of the following: Dyslexia, Aspergers, High-Funtioning Autism, High-Sensitivity, ADHD, Borderline Personality Disorder.  They are often people who find it hard to fit in, who feel overwhelmed by the world, and they're often big thinkers who find it hard for their voice to be heard.

Whether neurotypical or atypical, sometimes life's problems and issues wear us down and prevent a sense of moving forward, and they call for us to take a few sessions of short-term counselling where what's needed is a confidential and empathic listening ear to 'sort the wood from the trees'.  Sometimes what's needed is a longer-term and deeper psychotherapeutic relationship which allows the opportunity to explore the shadow areas of the fertile unconscious where we find new seeds of hope waiting to take root in the nutrient-rich composts of those hidden areas we'd rather keep buried deep in our unique and private pandora's box.  Those seeds are often not easy to find, and need the right conditions to begin to produce new shoots.  Our work is not to avoid the depths and keep pushing the dark and ugly back down, but to find the courage to take a peek and shed new light on what's waiting to be learned and grown from the depths.

My clients describe their experience of working with me under 'Testimonials' below.

Further information about me and about how I work can be found on my website: www.hesthersomerville.co.uk

Training, qualifications & experience

My initial training was in a Gestalt-based Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling at Heartwood in Dartington. My further training is a Post-Diploma in Integrative Transpersonal Psychotherapy at Re-Vision in London. I use myth, story and archetypes to integrate and synthesise the split from the conscious of those parts of Self which are hidden. I aim to work soulfully with an understanding of the neuroscience of the brain and the autonomic nervous system, and how the body regulates and disregulates from trauma.

During my counselling training I became a Samaritan, supporting people in times of crisis and deeply painful distress. I developed the skills to stay calm, focused, patient and non-judgemental in allowing space and time, one-to-one for someone on the other end of the 'phone in desperate need of support. My training as a Cruse Bereavement Volunteer gave me insight into the wide and varied responses to grief and loss, and sometimes buried related issues that can arise because of a death.

In my current clinical practice I work with people who come to me with a vast and wide range of issues from shame, despair, depression, loneliness, anxiety, bereavement and loss, suicidal thoughts, sexual-, mental-, emotional- and physical- abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, addictions, stress, anger issues, loss of direction in life, life transitions, personal development, finding meaning as life unfolds, and so on...

Member organisations


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

Testimonials from Clients:

"The sessions gave me a much needed opportunity to reflect on my relationships (especially parental) and on my life's journey. Your ability to really listen and grasp the essentials and at times offer an objective 'outsiders' reflection was very helpful in this process, as was your willingness to show and share who you are ('just' by being so). Above all your integrity stands out in my memory and I really felt that we were working together, rather than my being 'done to'." MV

"You gave me all the time I required and I feel your time with me was invaluable. I appreciate your time and kind nature. I told you all my thoughts and feelings and due to your nature I felt absolutely comfortable trusting you. Being able to express my feelings to someone who didn't know me was extremely helpful. You allowed me to speak, and you are a brilliant listener. I feel it has made a huge impression on me and given me more peace than I thought I could have received on my own. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Hesther. Giving me your time and being so kind was a true gift. I truly appreciate it." HS

"Thank you for listening, much appreciated." ME

"Thank-you for all the help you've given me. It's been a big comfort to me." PS

"Because boundaries were put in place this helped to feel I could trust sharing whatever I needed to. I felt safe and comfortable to speak my mind. Not having to sensor what I felt or needed to say was really helpful. Always felt comfortable and safe to share confidential matters, which helped me to move forward. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised to be able to discuss things at such a deep level, and to find such openness. I needed to be able to work from a 'spiritual' standpoint and to gather a depth of understanding to be able to move forward. The sessions were intense, but I was (and still am!) very grateful for that. The way you asked questions helped me to find answers in myself. Also I felt really supported during the sessions and felt helped to see that I was actually doing ok, even pretty well. Sharing all kinds of family issues with someone not remotely connected to them was very valuable. I was able to see my patterns, family patterns and really work with you to come through them. I enjoyed really getting to the nitty gritty of things even though it was sometimes painful and difficult. Working this way enabled a lot of emotions to be released and shed quickly. I'd long since felt frustrated and unable to create a 'new' picture of myself, one that was up-to-date with who I am now. After each session I felt more and more confident to be able to do this, ultimately feeling safe enough to bring the sessions to a close and move on. The process is of course ongoing, but without these sessions I think I would have felt very unsupported or perhaps lacked the confidence I began to experience. I'm really grateful for that!" FW

"I felt very comfortable discussing everything. I feel more confident and able to deal with the 'bad' day much better. The benefit counselling was to me was amazing. I was beginning to feel that nothing mattered and talking it through without judgement made all the difference." DS

"Felt safe to express my feelings without fear." MH

Therapies offered

  • Cognitive and behavioural therapies
  • Existential therapy
  • Gestalt therapy
  • Humanistic therapies
  • Integrative
  • Jungian therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Person-centred therapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychoanalytic therapy
  • Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psychosynthesis
  • Transactional analysis
  • Transpersonal psychology


My fee is £45 per session which lasts for one hour.I offer some low-cost concessionary places.

The fee you pay me maintains the professional standards I adhere to:-  my professional memberships, indemnity insurance, continuing professional development, supervision and online listings.  Please only ask for a reduced fee if you are really in financial hardship.  I reserve a few reduced fee spaces.

Free initial half-hour informal chat, which is not for process work, but to get a sense of each other and the nature of the work you wish to focus on.  To arrange an informal chat via skype/zoom or face-to-face, please call me on 01803-762 703 / 0777-950 0905 where it is safe to leave a confidential message with your name and 'phone number, if I'm unable to answer straight away and I will call you back as soon as I am able.

Concessions offered for

  • Keyworkers
  • Low income
  • OAPs
  • Students
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Unemployed

Room 8
Park Road
Dartington Hall


Type of session

In person
Home visits

Practical details

Sign language
Other languages None


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 Unspecified


Weekdays and some evenings, one-to-one inside (covid-19 permitting), outside (weather permitting and after discussion to find out if it's appropriate), or skype/zoom/'phone.

Types of client

Older adults


Hesther Somerville, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, MBACP

Hesther Somerville, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, MBACP

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01803-762 703 01803-762 703


0777-950 0905 0777-950 0905
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