Michael Forrest BACP Accredited Counsellor and Psychotherapist
I am an Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist who has been working with individuals and couples since 2005. In the same year, I gained certification as a Trainer in Nonviolent Communication (NVC). I have since worked in a hospice as a Bereavement Counsellor and the NHS as a Psychotherapist. I also worked for Social Services (out-of-hours emergency duty team) for 12 years, supporting families in crisis through conflict resolution and mediation.
I have over 30 years’ experience in Mindfulness practice. This training in mindfulness started in my mid-20s to early 30s as a Theravada Buddhist monk. It now enables me to work with a subtle body-based awareness of what’s happening, moment-to-moment, in the therapeutic relationship.
I endeavour to live and work in an embodied and relational way using a synthesis of approaches that I have learnt and trained in. Initially, this was to heal my own trauma and childhood abuse. Subsequently, these approaches have become an integrated part of me and my therapeutic work.
I specialise in trauma, anxiety, depression, bereavement and relationships.
I offer a safe empathic presence, for you to explore whatever challenges and difficulties you may be facing.
I meet each person in their uniqueness and I support you to orient and and make sense of your inner experience in a way that allows for deeper understanding and insight to arise.
My approach recognises that early life experiences and relationships often shape the ‘lens’ through which you see the world and can profoundly impact your sense of ‘self’ – for better or worse. Sadly, this may lead to you feeling at times disconnected from the world and, perhaps, your ‘self’ as to survive you may have ‘armoured up’ emotionally. This is a common and natural survival mechanism but, if left in place ongoingly, can prevent you from living more flexibly and fully. Having been through the de-armouring experience myself, I recognise that connecting to your ‘felt’ experience during this process may be challenging. To support you, I offer my presence as an anchor as I guide you into an awareness of your inner experience. Over time, I help you to build the capacity to stay with this and what you meet there. Experiencing at a bodily felt sense level what has hitherto been avoided is the key to resolving trauma and may be the gateway to deeper understanding and insight – re-connecting you back to a more whole self.
Presence is a powerful force to bring forth naturally that which is most calling your attention for healing. This may be something you are already aware of in your life or it may manifest from something that has hitherto been held just beyond the edge of your awareness. Either way, throughout the session I can offer skills to help you learn how to track and navigate your unfolding experience in the body – this skill is called ‘interoception’ – it comes more naturally to some people than others.
The relationship we establish is fundamental to the work we do and can be a rich ground for learning and understanding. It can sometimes mirror or shed light on patterns of how you ‘do’ your other relationships in your life and through this understanding the possibility of making more conscious choices arises.
I make no assumptions about what skills, abilities and knowledge you already have for this kind of emotional work, nor what you want from each session. Throughout the session I support you, if needed, to develop tools and skills to learn to track and navigate this unfolding inner landscape and its direct experience in the body. For many people this way of experiencing themselves is completely new, where as for others it is already familiar.
I am an accredited member of British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). As such, I adhere to their code of ethics and they have a formal route through which complaints can be heard, if they cannot be resolved in the first instance by talking to me - more information is available on their website: www.bacp.co.uk
Training, qualifications & experience
Certificate in Relational Therapy (2020 - Relational School of Therapy)
Embodied Dance Journey Facilitator (2015-2017, The Dancing Heart Path - Guy Barrington)
Advanced Diploma in Integrative & Humanistic Counselling (2009-11, Dartmoor Centre for Counselling & Psychotherapy)
Certified Trainer in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) (2001-05, CNVC.org)
Certificate in Focusing Skills (2001)
Foundation in Core Process Psychotherapy (1998-99, Karuna Institute)
Over 30 Years Mindfulness Practice, also Co-Facilitator of Mindfulness Courses for Devon Recovery Learning Community (2014)
Trainer in NVC (Nonviolent Communication), working with individuals and small groups (2005 - 2014)
12 Years - Torbay Social Services, Emergency Duty Service, providing mediation, conflict resolution and crisis support for families in need, as well as supporting individuals with mental health issues (2002-14)
Bereavement Counsellor, Rowcroft Hospice - Torquay (2010-13)
NHS Psychotherapist for Devon Partnership Trust - Torquay (2009-11)
Facilitator of Trauma Skills Training for Counsellors - Battiacaloa, Sri Lanka (2005-07)
Co-Founder of Floatation & Complementary Health Centre - Exeter (1996-98)
Buddhist Monk, Thai Forrest Tradition, Mindfulness Training - English Sangha Trust (1988-95)
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.
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
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.
Areas of counselling I deal with
I offer a 1 hour initial meeting: £25 for individuals and £30 for couples
My follow up sessions are: £50 an hour for individuals, £60 an hour for couples
More information available at: www.embodiedrelationalliving.com
Currently working online via zoom