Mel Bates

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Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1TE
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

I am a Creative Arts Psychotherapist and have been working with individuals and groups for the past 25 years. I have found that the arts, alongside talking, can provide a powerful and insightful language to help people express and explore their feelings, gain a deeper understanding of themselves and what underlies their motivations and actions, and get a greater understanding about their relationships to others.

I work with dramatherapy and creative arts techniques and draw on a psychodynamic understanding, so exploring both conscious and known thoughts and feelings as well as unconscious and unknown thoughts and feelings.  

Some people find communicating non-verbally a helpful way to express themselves, whilst others might value and need to explore issues, thoughts and feelings through talking. I aim to build trust and a relationship with you through talking and listening and together selecting creative ways to work.   This might include: Sand tray, Improvisation, Working with symbols, Puppets, Movement, Art-making, Working with myths and stories, Role-play. Sessions are client-led. You can choose how you want to work and there is no expectation to work in a particular way. There is no need to have previous experience in drama or art.

Experiences, feelings and relationships can be explored in therapy. Sometimes the arts can offer a way to more easily express yourself, or see things from a different perspective to what solely talking would bring. It can be a helpful therapy for children as well as adults and families.

How can it help?

By developing greater awareness and understanding of ourselves, therapy can support living more fully and with more choice in how we live. It can help find and develop ways to be aware of emotions and a language to express them. The different roles we play in our lives and relationships can be explored as well as the different aspects of ourselves which are often played out internally in our minds. eg. The critic, the child, the sabatour, the rescuer, the victim. Therapy and the therapeutic relationship provides a space to explore and experience trust and communication and what might feel difficult. It can be an opportunity to develop confidence and to think about how we value ourselves.

I have worked with people who have come to therapy with a wide range of issues such as:

  • Low self-esteem and confidence
  • Emotional difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Depression
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Sexual abuse and trauma
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexuality
  • Anxiety
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Stress
  • Panic attacks
  • Self harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Autism and ASD
  • Learning Disability
  • Child related issues
  • Attachment disorders
  • Family issues
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Being at a time of transition and change
  • Personal development and well being

Family work

When I work with families I draw on both my systemic therapy training and my dramatherapy training and experience. Sometimes it is helpful for families to talk and hear each other and understand a little more about each other's positions, feelings and thoughts. Sometimes working creatively together can offer a different language for communication and understanding. After an initial assessment, a contract of work is made with the family which is reviewed regularly. I am experienced in working with families where there are mental health issues, learning disabilities, substance misuse, domestic violence, separation and divorce, and anxiety and worry about a child. All families are welcome including same sex families.

Please do contact me if you would like further information on:

  • Individual adult work
  • Individual child work
  • Family work
  • Groups

I am LGBTQI affirmative.

MIND recommend Arts Therapy as 'helpful for any kind of mental health problem. This includes conditions which are given the label 'psychosis'.'


'Thank you for your help, for your calm and constant way of being and for understanding.'
Adult client.

'She seems so much more in herself and able to manage the challenging moments'.
Parent of young woman with eating disorders.

'Thank you so much for your kindness, wisdom and support. You have helped me so much and I really appreciate all you have done. I would recommend you to anyone.'
Adult client.

'If you are concerned that your child might be getting stuck in a point of their life and not able to go forward - arts therapy is a good way / easier for the child to express what they are feeling without feeling that they have to talk or answer questions or be in the spotlight.'

'I have seen positive changes in my daughter. She has said that she has found the space given to her very helpful and has appreciated going into counselling short-term."

'Therapy has helped me express my emotions in a clear and concise way.'
Adult client with learning disabilities and ASD.

'I've looked at the dark and the light and am not so frightened of the dark times anymore.'
Adult client with autism.

Training, qualifications & experience


Drama and Movement Therapy Postgraduate Diploma
, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London.1996

Creative Arts Supervision Training validated by the British Association of Dramatherapists and The Sesame Institute; The Central School of Speech and Drama, London. 2005

Applied Systemic Theory Postgraduate Diploma,
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London. 2011

Psychodynamic Organisational Therapist, APPCIOS, 2020

Significant Continuous Professional Development Training in Psychoanalytic Infant Observation, Attachment Theory and also in Working with Trauma.

Registrations and Memberships

Health and Care Professionals Council Arts therapist (Drama) (HCPC)

 BPC Registered Psychodynamic Organisational Therapist

Registered Clinical Supervisor with the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADTH)
Member of BADTH
Full Member of APPCIOS

Approved Clinical Supervisor for Play Therapy UK (PTUK)
Approved Clinical Supervisor for IATE

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.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC are an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for 16 professions.

They keep a register of health professionals who meet their standards, and they take action if registered health professionals fall below those standards. They were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions Order 2001.

Registration means that a health professional meets national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.

Other areas of counselling I deal with

Outdoor psychotherapy
Currently, due to the pandemic, I am offering work in a private outdoor setting.

Photos & videos


£65.00 per session

Concessions offered for

  • Low income
  • Unemployed
  • Refugees

Additional information

My fees are:
£65 -  per session for individuals.
£85 -   for family sessions.
£25 - £50 for groups

When I work

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Monday - Friday. Daytime and early evening according to availability.

Further information

Clinical Supervision

Please do contact me if you are interested in clinical supervision, either as a creative arts therapist or a counsellor / therapist who would like to explore client work using creative techniques as well as discussion and talking.

I offer supervision for individuals and also group supervision.

My fees range from £60 - £80 for individuals and £25 - £50 for group supervision.


'The support, guidance and collaborative enquiry within my supervision sessions have been critical to my progression and development.'

'I find the use of creative arts in supervision really valuable for exploring material from different perspectives, gaining different insights and developing hypotheses.

''Mel provided me with clinical supervision over a few years during which time, she supported me through a number of changes within my professional development.  My time with her provided an empathetic and compassionate space where I could explore and express challenging and complex cases.  My growth as a therapist has been enriched through Mel’s support, to the benefit of myself and the young people I provide therapy for.  The children and young people I brought to supervision felt safe in the hands of Mel and she always held them well.'

'Thank you for your support and guidance - I have felt very held and cared for. Thank you for your shared knowledge and input into my work.'

Phoenix Therapy Practice, 2 Osmond Rd, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1TE

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Children (0-12)
Young people (13-17)
Adults (25-64)
Older Adults (65+)

Key details

DBS check

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Wheelchair user access
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Online platforms



In person

I provide supervision for therapists, counsellors, arts and play therapists and people working in the helping professions.

View supervision profile