• Home
  • >Michael Guilding BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor, Psychotherapist & Supervisor

About me

I have worked as a counsellor for 24 years in several agencies, in private practice, and in the NHS where I was Practice Counsellor at the Jorvik Medical Practice in York for 11 years and Head of Primary Care Counselling for the York and Selby area for 7 years.

My initial training was over 4 years with Westminster Pastoral Foundation (WPF), one of the most highly regarded counsellor training institutes in the UK.  My core training was in psychodynamic counselling – an approach which looks at the mind as a dynamic system, often in conflict, in which the impact on our mind of the way we have been related to in the past can trigger feelings, thoughts and behaviours in the present, which can cause us a great deal of upset.

While aspects of the psychodynamic approach still form an important part of my work, I have always been curious about what works in therapy – what is it that helps people to make real and lasting changes. This has led me to explore some quite different approaches over the years, including CBT and EMDR (a highly effective treatment for trauma using eye-movements).   The most effective approach I have yet come across however, is an exciting new development in attachment therapy emerging from the work of Dorothy Heard, Brian Lake and Una McCluskey and I was a member of the first group to be trained in this new approach.

The core of my current way of working is “empathic attunement” – enabling my clients to feel listened to, and affirmed in a way that is often different from their past experience. Many of us have a sense of self that is fragile, because when we were upset or afraid in childhood, our parents or carers were unable to regulate our feelings and either ignored, shamed or punished us, leaving us thinking that there was something wrong with us and our feelings, and leaving us more inclined to keep things to ourselves and sort things out on our own when we were worried upset or frightened, rather than turn to others for help.

In the theoretical system I use (and which I share with my clients) I see this as being stuck in the “Fear System” – the earliest form of self-defence in which we are controlled by automatic responses of the brain characterised by “fight, flight, freeze or collapse”  - being stuck in the Fear System is a very isolating experience.

Using this recent development of attachment therapy I help my clients to understand what is happening to them so that they can move out of this isolation, and get better at seeking care for themselves.   I also help them to treat themselves in a more compassionate manner, and to gain a more solid sense of themselves. The end result of this is that people are not just able to survive threats to the self, but to survive with well-being, and once fear is lessened in their lives, they are able to become more creative and exploratory - either reviving old interests or gaining new ones, and finding new energy and vitality.

For a full article on this approach please click on my practice website www.acombcounselling.com and go to the page "Article - Exploring Wellbeing" or access it on my theory website www.michaelguilding.com

Training, qualifications & experience

  • BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist (Accredited since 1998, Senior Accredited since 2004)
  • UKRCP Registered Independent Counsellor 1998
  • Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling (WPF) 1995
  • Advanced Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling (WPF) 1997
  • EMDR Level II (EMDR Institute Inc) 2001
  • Diploma in Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytic Supervision (WPF) 2003
  • Foundation Training in Systems Centred Therapy (SCT) 2005-2007
  • Training in Exploratory Goal Corrected Psychotherapy (EGCP) ©  2008-2010
  • 24 years post-qualification experience
  • 22 years private practice including employee assistance programme work for a number of major companies
  • 11 years NHS experience as GP Surgery Practice Counsellor
  • 7 years as Primary Care Counselling Service Manager for NHS York & Selby area.
  • 19 years experience as a Clinical Supervisor for counsellors and psychotherapists

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.


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.

Other areas of counselling I deal with

I have a particular interest in working with less easily defined issues such as loss of motivation and vitality. This is part of a wider interest in understanding the mental and physical impact of the Fear System and its connection to energy loss, anxiety, depression, trauma and lack of self-esteem.

I run workshops for therapists focused on understanding and regulating the Fear System - see:


Therapies offered

  • Cognitive therapy
  • EMDR
  • Humanistic therapies
  • Integrative
  • Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Solution focused brief therapy

Photos & videos


Additional information

£60 per session for counselling (may be negotiated if the full fee cannot be afforded)

£90 for 75 minute assessment session

Initial consultation for Clinical Supervision is free. Ongoing clinical supervision is £50 per 1 hour session, £75 for 90 minutes


I work Wednesdays Thursdays and Fridays and I can offer morning and evening sessions.

Further information

As a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, I adhere to the Code of Ethics and Practice of the BACP. This is contained in a document entitled "Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy". 

My work is supported by professional consultancy in accordance with BACP's Ethical Framework.

My Professional Indemnity Insurance is provided by Towergate Professional Risks.

My practice is on Wetherby Road, York, close to the Ring Road on the west of the city with easy links to Leeds and Harrogate, and off-street parking. It is served by the No 5 / 5A bus service - further details on how to get to me can be found on the "Directions" page on my website www.acombcounselling.com.  

I work Wednesdays to Fridays and can offer early morning and evening sessions.

Please ring me on 07932 626919 to discuss counselling, psychotherapy, clinical supervision or training workshops. You may, if you prefer, contact me by email.

17 Wetherby Road
YO26 5BS

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Older adults


I have 19 years experience as a supervisor of counsellors and psychotherapists within the NHS and in private practice.

View supervision profile


Michael Guilding BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor, Psychotherapist & Supervisor

Michael Guilding BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor, Psychotherapist & Supervisor