Max Marnau

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MNCPS (Snr Accred)
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

Selkirk TD7 & Kelso TD5
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

I'm afraid I currently have no availability for new clients, but if you are specifically looking for an autistic therapist I am in contact with many others and am very happy to make referrals / give you their contact details.

The longer I work as a therapist the more convinced I am that when I go into the therapy room I do not meet an issue, a problem, or a diagnosis; I meet a human being. And if we are going to work together, then I need to be seeing the client’s world (as far as I can) through the client’s eyes. Carl Rogers said “The best vantage point for understanding behavior is from the internal frame of reference of the individual.” So I hesitate to say that I specialise in any particular issue; I hope I specialise in listening deeply and with attention to human beings. However, there are certain areas in which I do have particular experience and/or training. Some of them are:

  • people suffering from anxiety, depression or low self-esteem, perhaps as a result of past trauma.
  • people with, or exploring, a diagnosis of autism. I am autistic myself and while that doesn't mean we will have the same experience of life, you may well find it helpful to work with an autistic therapist. You can find an interview with me on this at The Squarepeg Podcasts, Series 2 episode 7: "Empathy, feeling 'alien' and being fluent in Neurotypical: being an autistic counsello‪r‬."
  • people who have lost someone important to them, recently or many years ago, by death, disappearance or separation.
  • people who are discovering or questioning their faith/spirituality, or who have suffered spiritual abuse, whether in cults or in mainstream religious organisations.

I offer video counselling through, which is a very secure and straightforward platform that does not require any download or installation. I also offer counselling by telephone and by secure, end-to-end encrypted e-mail.

For in-person sessions I work from the Quaker Meeting House in Kelso and from my house in Selkirk. Sometimes appointments can be arranged in Edinburgh. In addition to my private practice I have worked for the Student Counselling Service at the University of Edinburgh and for several charities. I am a senior accredited member of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society..

The foundation of person-centred therapy is the belief that, damaged, discouraged and desperate as we may be, we all have a natural impetus towards health; as its founder, Carl Rogers, put it, towards “becoming the self that we truly are”. A person-centred counsellor is not the expert in their client's condition; only the client can be that. We are counsellor and client, yes, but first and foremost we are two human beings. What works isn’t techniques or any wisdom the counsellor might have, but the therapeutic relationship between those two human beings: it is the relationship that heals. The counselling room is a safe place to think, say or feel things you need to say, think or feel, knowing that you will be met with respect, empathy and honesty.

Your dog is very welcome to join us in the counselling room, both in Selkirk and Kelso, as long as it is reasonably well behaved. I have a therapy cat in Selkirk for anyone who would find that helpful.

To finish, I would like to quote a few paragraphs from Gene Gendlin which sum up very well the way I work. They are called "The Primacy of Human Presence".

I want to start with the most important thing I have to say: The essence of working with another person is to be present as a living being. And that is lucky, because if we had to be smart, or good, or mature, or wise, then we would probably be in trouble. But, what matters is not that. What matters is to be a human being with another human being, to recognize the other person as another being in there. Even if it is a cat or a bird, if you are trying to help a wounded bird, the first thing you have to know is that there is somebody in there, and that you have to wait for that "person," that being in there, to be in contact with you. That seems to me to be the most important thing.

So, when I sit down with someone, I take my troubles and feelings and I put them over here, on one side, close, because I might need them. I might want to go in there and see something. And I take all the things that I have learnt—client-centered therapy, reflection, focusing, Gestalt, psychoanalytic concepts and everything else (I wish I had even more)—and I put them over here, on my other side, close. Then I am just here, with my eyes, and there is this other being. If they happen to look into my eyes, they will see that I am just a shaky being. I have to tolerate that. They may not look. But if they do, they will see that. They will see the slightly shy, slightly withdrawing, insecure existence that I am, I have learnt that that is O.K.

I do not need to be emotionally secure and firmly present. I just need to be present. There are no qualifications for the kind of person I must be. What is wanted for the big therapy process, the big development process, is a person who will be present. And so I have gradually become convinced that even I can be that. Even though I have my doubts when I am by myself, in some objective sense I know I am a person.

Training, qualifications & experience

  • Certificate in Counselling Skills: Alcohol Focus Scotland
  • Specialist loss and bereavement training: Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling: Persona Training/Stirling University
  • Counselling and Dementia course - Edinburgh University
  • Certificate in Person-Centred Supervision - CounsellingXtra, Nottingham
  • Certificate in Focusing Skills - New Focus Therapy
  • The Psychology of Autism, Liverpool University ContEd Dept
  • Accredited Member National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society
  • Certified Cyber-Therapist, Online Therapy Institute

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 & Psychotherapy Society (NCPS)

The National Counselling and Psychotherapy 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.

Accredited register membership

National Counselling & Psychotherapy 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 & Psychotherapy Society

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Spiritual abuse


£30.00 - £50.00
Free initial in-person, telephone or online session

Concessions offered for

  • Low income
  • Unemployed

Additional information

I don't charge for the first session. Thereafter I operate a sliding scale of fees, from £50 to £30 per hour - you decide where you sit on that scale. This applies more than ever in the current situation in which many people's finances are precarious. While I would not like anyone to miss out on counselling because they can't afford it, I would appreciate it if those who can would pay the full fee.

Further information

I also offer person-centred supervision.

Selkirk, Scottish Borders, TD7

Quaker Meeting House, Abbey Row, Kelso, Scottish Borders, TD5 7JF

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Adults (25-64)
Older Adults (65+)

Key details

There are seven steps, with handrail, up to the counselling room, which opens on to the garden.

Additional languages


Online platforms



In person

I approach supervision very much as I approach therapy: empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard.

View supervision profile


Max Marnau
Max Marnau