Martin Hillson Verified Professional Verified Professional
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About me

I became a counsellor because I care about people and want to make a positive difference to their lives. I can enable you to discover a better way of living and coping, no matter what challenges or difficulties life throws at you.

My face to face practice is in Sidmouth.  Additionally, I am very experienced in delivering remote therapy by video or telephone, and offer a free 20 minutes consultation. This allows time for you to talk about your situation, and explore whether I am the right person to support you.

"I want someone who will listen without judging"

As a warm, compassionate and experienced therapist, my focus is on my clients, listening to their problems and concerns without judgement in a supportive environment.

I offer a confidential space in which we can talk, and this means that I won't discuss the content of our work with your GP, family or workplace. Therapy works and whatever the issue, my aim is to help you find a way to bring about the constructive changes in your life you are seeking.

I work with clients on a broad range of issues including:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Social anxiety & Panic Attacks
  • Relationship Breakdowns
  • Family Issues
  • Bereavement & Loss
  • Trauma & Complex PTSD
  • Emotional Regulation & Dissociation
  • Rape, Sexual Abuse
    & Domestic Violence
  • Loss of Confidence & Low Self Esteem
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Boarding School Syndrome
  • Retirement Issues

Successful outcomes are born out of achieving a strong trusting relationship between client and therapist. Making the right choice can be daunting and feel overwhelming. I am passionate about the work I do, and really care about my clients.

"Telling someone felt like such a relief, I wanted to stop feeling like this"

I offer traditional "talking therapy" alongside other therapies including CBT, ACT, DBT, Mindfulness, guided visualisation, and creative exercises. I treat each client as an individual working with their differences, and I have a proven track record of helping people become the best that they can be.

"I just didn't know what to do next"

My website provides more information about the many areas I work with.  I am increasingly helping clients cope with the symptoms of Complex Trauma and PTSD (see below for further details), but another area I specialise in is helping clients who are facing Loss & Change which can be experienced in many forms including:

  • Facing a big decision
  • Relationship breakdown
  • Loss of confidence
  • Loss of purpose
  • Change in health
  • Impact of caring for someone else
  • Pre-Bereavement loss
  • Redundancy
  • Relocation
  • Retirement
  • Consequence of Ageing
  • Young person leaving home
  • Change in identity

To find out more about me and how I can help you, I offer an initial 20 minute confidential consultation at no charge. This can take place either over the telephone, via video calling or you can meet me at my private practice in Sidmouth, East Devon.

Contact me for an informal chat about what is troubling you, and together we can begin to explore ways in which you can achieve either positive change, a new way forward, or learn to live with the compassionate acceptance necessary to live your life fully.

Training, qualifications & experience

I qualified as an accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist holding a Diploma in Integrative Therapeutic Counselling and an Advanced Specialist Diploma in Psychotherapy.

I have experience in using a range of therapeutic approaches, including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Solution Focused Therapy, and I am a certified practitioner of Integral Eye Movement Therapy.

I am Registered and Accredited with the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, National Council for Psychotherapy and the National Counselling Society.  I am also an 'Approved Therapist' registered with Anxiety UK, a certified Bereavement Support counsellor, and an accredited counselling professional with the Foundation for Infant Loss.

In addition to running my private practice I have worked for a number of charities and voluntary organisations.  These included a low cost counselling service providing both crisis and long-term support, a charity providing counselling for unpaid carers, and a Rape and Sexual Abuse helpline.

I have many years experience as a trainer and listener for a leading suicide prevention agency. I have also provided counselling for a bereavement charity where I worked with complicated grief.

I continue to extend my training and knowledge through the completion of numerous Continuous Development Courses including: suicide and mental health awareness, supporting survivors of sexual violence and abuse, working with Complex trauma, PTSD, Dissociation & Flashbacks.

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.


National Counselling Society (NCS)

The National Counselling Society

This Not For Profit association of counsellors and psychotherapists aim to support the counselling profession, members and training organisations.

In 2013 the NCS register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under the Accredited Voluntary Register Scheme. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.


The National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP)

National Council of Psychotherapists


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

National Counselling Society

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.

National Counselling Society
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

One client group that I am working increasingly with, are those struggling to cope with the symptoms from Trauma, Complex PTSD and Complex Bereavement.

Feelings of shame, guilt, disabling anxiety, triggered by flashbacks, unwanted memories or nightmares, often leaves clients with physical and emotionally disabling symptoms.

My training and approach in this field is Trauma Informed, and based upon keeping you feeling safe. Trauma recovery must first and foremost improve your quality of life. We begin therapy by ensuring that you have the tools to stay grounded, and concentrate on making your day to day life as tolerable as possible.  This is achieved by prioritising self-regulation and symptom reduction. We then work to increase your self-knowledge around trauma to enable you to take greater control of your life. Only if you are ready would we then attempt to process the traumatic memories to help you see them in a different way and form a new relationship with them. We can often achieve this without you having to discuss and revisit the traumatic experiences in detail – you remain in control of what we do.

Photos & videos


£50.00 per session
Free initial telephone or online session

Concessions offered for

  • Low income
  • Trainee counsellors

Additional information

My standard fee is £50.00 for a counselling hour.

This consists of 60 minutes of counselling and psychotherapy, and includes time in which to ground yourself at the beginning of the session; summarise and review our work at the end of the session, and arrange any subsequent appointments.

I also offer both online video and telephone therapy, which will last for the full hour and is charged at the standard fee rate.

Initial Consultation

It's important to get to know your therapist and feel comfortable talking to them. I offer a free telephone or video consultation which typically lasts 20-30 minutes; and is without any pressure or obligation for you to engage in further sessions. This allows time for you to get to know me, and to reassure yourself that we would be able to work together. It is also an opportunity to ask questions about the way in which we might work together.  After this preliminary meeting I will provide a copy of our working agreement for you to review and sign.  Subsequent sessions will be charged at the standard fee rate unless we agree otherwise.

Low Cost Counselling from £35.00 per hour.

I believe in providing a low cost counselling service for those on a low income, and keep a number of low cost sessions available to meet this need. If your income means that you are unable to afford the full fee, or you are a counselling student on a low income, then subject to availability I am able to offer a reduction from my standard fee. Please enquire for details.

* Unfortunately I now hold extensive waiting lists for these slots, so for a period of time I am no longer accepting additional low cost referrals.

When I work

Flexible Hours including some evening sessions available

Livonia Road, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 9JB

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Older adults

Key details

DBS check

In England and Wales, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly known as CRB) carry out criminal records checks for individuals working with vulnerable groups, such as children. To find out more, visit , or contact this professional directly

Wheelchair user access

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.

My comfortable practice room has a level access with level off-street parking. Please contact me if you require more information about access or have any other concerns about how I can adapt my service to meet your needs.

Online platforms