Mary Hunter

Masters in Counselling IFS levels 1 & 2 PG Cert. CBT MBACP.
Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2
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About me


I see my job, at least initially, as being to create a safe, therapeutic space in which issues can be explored at depth, and to act as a guide to help you navigate that exploration. I used to say I am not wedded to any one approach, but I'm leaning further and further towards using the Internal Family Systems model to inform my practice. This is a wonderful, imaginative, experiential approach to exploring  problems  and conflicts.  If you're curious about this there are a lot of excellent videos on You Tube where Richard Schwartz explains the model.  

In my counselling work I often see people with anxiety, depression, relationship problems, unresolved grief and trauma. Sometimes difficult and abusive pasts have shaped how people feel about and treat themselves now; also shaping what they feel they can expect from others. Even in more benign circumstances the past can cast a shadow over how we live our lives in the present and it can be useful and enlightening to explore it.

Counselling provides a confidential space where you can explore things in your life that can feel too personal or difficult to discuss with a friend or partner. Sometimes we don't think that we 'should' feel as we do because other people have bigger problems, or it's too negative or other people will judge us. It can be tempting to try not to feel what doesn't seem to fit with who we want to be, but this approach can leave us stuck. Really taking the time to explore what hurts in your life can pave the way for seeing things differently and making positive changes.

What I have noticed in my practice is that as people explore their issues they start to feel increasing self-respect and self-compassion. It's almost as if we have listened to gossip about ourselves our whole lives instead of finding out what is really true! As we start to feel differently about ourselves, and see ourselves differently, we make different choices for ourselves and our relationships change. It can seem almost magical at times. As we change our attitude towards ourselves, the world around us also changes.

I have also been (and continue to be) a mental health nurse since 2002 - I  now work in the community as part of a team delivering psychological therapies in primary care.  This has given me a breadth and depth of experience in working with all kinds of problems. I don't think you necessarily have to have a "problem" or a diagnosis to come into therapy though. Often people just have a sense of dissatisfaction or want to explore issues in a safe, confidential place.

My training as a counsellor was at the University of Edinburgh. It encompassed both person-centered and psychodynamic approaches. Prior to this I studied group work for 3 years with the Institute of Group Analysis. I have since completed the post-graduate certificate in CBT.

I have now (May 2021) completed the foundation level 1 training, and a level 2 training of an approach called Internal Family Systems which was created by Richard Schwartz. It has been used successfully with many problems including trauma, eating disorders and chronic pain.  I have reduced my practice during this training but plan to increase my hours of practice during 2021, incorporating this new approach. I will be doing a further Level 2 training in November which is about combining IFS therapy with other approaches to healing trauma and complex trauma.

I have also completed 2 out of 3 modules of a training in EMDR and am considering taking on a "case" in July. I'll put up more detail about this nearer the time.

I'm a keen runner and wrote my Masters dissertation on the subject of running, how central it can become in peoples' lives and the difficulty of adjusting to illness or injury.

I have had a regular meditation practice for more than 20 years. It is a strong foundation stone for building a good relationship with yourself.

I currently do my counselling work on  Thursdays; afternoons and early evenings.

Training, qualifications & experience


  • EMDR parts 1 & 2                Richman Trainings          Jan & March 2021
  • IFS level 2.                            Internal Family Systems UK    March 2021
  • IFS level 1.                            Internal Family Systems UK      2019-2020
  • PG Certificate in CBT              QMU and South of Scotland CBT 2016-2017
  • Masters in Counselling with distinction. University of Edinburgh. 2010-2014
  • Advanced Certificate in Group Analytic Psychotherapy.              2007-2010
  • Diploma in Mental Health Nursing.         Napier University.        2000-2002
  • Certificate in Counselling Theory           Telford College              1996
  • Certificate in Counselling Practice         Telford College               1997
  • MSc in Information Technology             University of Stirling       1991-1992
  • Ba (Hons) in English Studies (IIii)         University of Stirling       1984-1988


  • I have had my own private counselling business since January 2015
  • I also work for the NHS as a nurse-therapist in a psychological therapies team.
  • I worked as a tutor on the PG Diploma Course at Edinburgh University from 2015-2017.
  • I provided counselling in the voluntary sector from 2012 - 2015.
  • I worked as a Mental Health Nurse in the Royal Edinburgh from 2002 - 2010. While still working in the Royal Edinburgh I facilitated and co-facilitated more than 200 groups.
  • I was a support worker with people with physical disabilities 1993 - 2000

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.


Concessions offered for

  • Students

Additional information

I charge £25 for a first exploratory session.
My full fee is £40 an hour but I will negotiate if this is too much. My time in therapy has been dependent on working with therapists who were willing to work for less.


I currently have no availability but will update as soon as this changes.


Type of session


Types of client

Older adults

Key details

My counselling room is up three flights of stairs.

Mary Hunter

Mary Hunter