Mark Howkins Verified Professional Verified Professional
Verified Professional

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MSc, MA, Accredited Member UKCP, Registered Member BACP

About me

I hope to be able to help you …

Please take time to read this short summary of some of the main principles of, and background to, my counselling work. Or look at the bullet-pointed sections below if you need to access basic information about my practice quickly.

If things that I say here appeal to you but you’re not certain it’s what you’re looking for, do contact me by phone or e-mail to discuss your needs and concerns.

I offer private clients an initial one hour session with no charge if they want to take this enquiry and sampling process further. Counselling/therapy is a resource solely for the client’s benefit - not, as I see it, a proof of the value of particular theories.  It’s paramount that you feel you’ve made a good choice of counsellor and are reasonably confident and hopeful from the start about what you can achieve by working with him or her.

… using a range of approaches …

My experience is that different people gain from different psychotherapeutic approaches according to the nature of their problems and circumstances, their temperaments and even their expectations of therapy and of themselves ‘in therapy’.

… but always by responding with commitment to your trust in me.

However, there are common basic features to the way I work, whoever the client and whatever the situation. Most important among these is that I respect clients and reassure them that they are safely and confidentially held in the counselling relationship. I encourage in them realistic hope for change, based on my effort and care in working with them. I explore with them what self-awareness and self-care actually mean for them, and encourage them to bring these new ways of thinking into their ordinary lives beyond the counselling sessions. Clients who can trust and rely upon the ever-presence of the therapist’s professionalism and commitment to them are empowered and enabled. They feel safe to risk challenging their old ways of thinking and behaving, and they start to focus their energies on becoming well and living their lives more fully.

I am an experienced and qualified therapist/counsellor …

There is a very wide range of problems with which people seeking counselling might instinctively feel they need help. These can be doubts about themselves or their relationships. They can be anxieties, perhaps arising from the past, that won’t go away or that seem to multiply and often dominate their minds, sometimes affecting their physical health. Or they are frequent experiences of sadness and a need to avoid life that appear to have no explanation. I often work with clients who, in these and other ways, feel ‘stuck’ with their lives.

Most recently, during Covid, I have been a complex trauma therapist working online for the NHS.  I have had a private practice since 2014.  In the past I have been a counsellor with Mind, both at one of their urban service-user centres and at an eco-project, where I set up a counselling facility for clients with long-term mental health problems. Many of my approximately 4000 hours of therapy have been with people little able to trust anyone – least of all, strangers – at the start of their therapy. These are the survivors of sexual abuse and rape with whom I have continued to work in general and more specialised settings for over a decade.

Every client I see is already at some point on a journey towards change and self-fulfilment, even as they begin their therapy. I hope and believe that all of them advance significantly on that journey by the end of their work with me. Being able to help people in this way is a fantastic motivation to me and strengthens my commitment to counselling as a genuinely beneficial resource.

… with a core Person-Centred approach …

I qualified as a counsellor with a Psychotherapy MSc in Nottingham. The training was in the Person-Centred tradition, and I continue to find that this approach informs much of my work. This is particularly so in its focus on embodied emotion and on helping clients to identify, understand and accept with compassion and regard both their own impulses and their habitual ways of seeing the world and themselves in it, both past and present.

… but also drawing upon Cognitive-Behavioural, Mindfulness, EMDR ...

But I work sometimes in more conventionally Cognitive-Behavioural ways where clients need quite immediate relief from symptoms and a sense of restored control over their lives. They can achieve this through a better understanding of their own routine thoughts, feelings and behaviour that CBT offers. The short-term work that I do would often have this CBT focus. Alongside this, I also increasingly use, and encourage clients to develop for themselves, Mindfulness techniques, often to bring them physical rest and renewed energy, not least to meet the difficult challenge of longer-term therapy, if this is required. For clients who have experienced significant past traumas I have in recent years incorporated Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) into my work.  This is an approach which, if carefully applied, can 'unlock' traumatic memories and enable more rational and healing parts of the mind to access them, thereby removing their stubborn capacity to trigger disturbance.

… Existential, Neuroscientific …

Two other strands that feature in my work with clients are Existential Therapy principles and basic Neuroscience. Existential ideas bring realism and a recognition of the need for a sense of life-purpose beyond the completion of the therapy, itself. Neuroscience, properly applied, can help to explain to clients the awkward and puzzling aspects of their own physical feelings and reactions.

… and Language-focused ways of working; …

Finally, I cannot ignore in my work with clients the generative and transformative power of language. Our often unthinking reliance upon story and metaphor, particularly, to create and express meaning is impossible to overlook in therapy! I am able to draw upon my teaching background and quite wide literary resources and understanding to focus on aspects of clients’ language where this might be appropriate and helpful.

… and always encouraging you to discover and control the means to your own wellbeing.

Though very different in some ways, the methods briefly described above can also complement each other. My aim, always, is to offer clients as much information and choice as possible as their counselling progresses, so as to equalise our relationship and invite them to take control in finding solutions to their own problems.

I offer Zoom counselling with:

· Individuals

· Couples

· Clergy

· Young People

· Students (including Counselling Students)

· Pre-Trial Clients

... and also:

· Counselling with Interpreters

· Prison and Probation Counselling

· Telephone and Online Counselling

Training, qualifications & experience

Current Memberships

· Accredited Member, United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

· Registered Member, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

· Graduate Member, Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute (SPTI)

Academic Qualifications

· MSc (Person-Centred Psychotherapy) The Sherwood Institute/Coventry University

· MA (Education) University of Nottingham

· BA Hons (English/Philosophy) University of Birmingham

· PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate in Education), University of Nottingham (I am a qualified and experienced teacher of English and Drama)

Professional Training in Recent Years

· Intergenerational Trauma

· Telephone Counselling

· Online Counselling

· Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

· Pre-Trial Therapy

· Mental Health Awareness

· Counselling Work with Interpreters

· Wellness Recovery and Action Planning (WRAP)

· Safeguarding

· Sexual Exploitation of Children

· Sexual Trauma

· Suicide Intervention

· Mindfulness

· Challenging Cultural Stereotypes

· First Aid

· Trauma: Dissociation and Somatization

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.


UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is a leading professional body for the education, training and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.

As part of its commitment to protect the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.

UKCP standards cover the range of different psychotherapies. Registration is obtained by training or accrediting with one of its member organisations, or by holding a European Certificate in Psychotherapy. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.


British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)

BACP is one of the UK’s leading professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy with around 60,000 members. The Association has several different categories of membership, including Student Member, Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP, Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Accred) and Senior Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Snr Acccred).

Registered and accredited members are listed on the BACP Register, which shows that they have demonstrated BACP’s recommended standards for training, proficiency and ethical practice. The BACP Register was the first register of psychological therapists to be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Accredited and senior accredited membership are voluntary categories for members who choose to undertake a rigorous application and assessment process to demonstrate additional standards around practice, training and supervision.

Individual members will have completed an appropriate counselling or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but they won’t appear on the BACP Register until they've demonstrated that they meet the standards for registration. Student members are still in the process of completing their training.

All members are bound by the BACP Ethical Framework and a Professional Conduct Procedure.

Accredited register membership

UK Council for 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.

UK Council for Psychotherapy
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.

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Pre-trial clients
Prison and probation therapy


£35.00 per session
Free initial telephone or online session

Additional information

For individual work my usual fee is £35 per one hour session. If you call or e-mail me to arrange it, you’re welcome to a Zoom or telephone session completely free of charge to talk about what you need and how I might help you.  The more you really 'engage' with the therapy, the greater the chance that it will help you, and a 'taster' of this kind could be the start of that engagement. Or it might be that, having spoken with me, you have a clearer idea of what you want but choose to look for a different therapist.

When I work

I work with clients online or by phone mainly during the day.

Further information


I am currently seeing private clients ONLINE only, by Zoom.  This follows a recent house move - to Louth in Lincolnshire.  I expect to have a counselling room set up by the Summer of 2022, and will then resume my in-person work. I have substantial training and experience working online, including two years with complex trauma patients for the NHS.  Please contact me through Counselling Directory if you think I can help you, initially, at least, online.

Utterby, Louth, LN11

Type of session


Types of client

Young people
Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme

Online platforms