Mike Swift

Verified Professional Verified Professional
Verified Professional

Every professional displayed on Counselling Directory has been independently verified by our team to ensure they have suitable credentials to practise.

he/him
Integrative Counselling BACP registered, DipHIC, BA (Hons)
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

Bristol BS1 & BS31
Available for new clients
Available for new clients

This professional is available for new clients.

About me

Hello, I am Mike. I offer individual and couples counselling in central Bristol - Queen Square - and in Keynsham from a designated, private counselling room at my home. I also work online with clients based anywhere.

Information for individual counselling

I imagine you have arrived here because you are distressed in some way, and you want to feel better. While we all experience times in our lives that are difficult and often painful - and we might approach family or friends for help - sometimes that may not feel enough, or we may not feel able to talk to those around us about what's really going on. Does this feel familiar?

​Perhaps you want to explore a specific problem, or the space to look at your life in depth. Either way, I can offer you the support to talk things through to try and make some sense of it all.

​It can feel hard to reach out for help, and the idea of counselling can be daunting. I remember it well myself. If we work together, my aim will be to support you throughout the process in a way that works for you.

I welcome people from all walks of life including LGBTQIA+. I champion and celebrate the uniqueness of every person. I strive to create a non-competitive, inclusive, non-medicalised, non-pathologising space.

I am a down-to-earth and very open-minded person; I welcome you to explore and express all parts of you and your unique experience with me.

Please drop me a line - I look forward to hearing from you.

Here's how some recent clients have felt about their work with me:

"I’m enormously grateful to Mike for helping me gain perspective on some issues that were really hampering my enjoyment of life. He was always open, interested, and non-judgemental when listening to anything I had to say, even on subjects that I was scared to talk about and felt I’d never be able to speak about with anyone. I very soon came to look forward to our weekly session as a place to feel safe and understood."

"Mike created a space where I have been able to experience a healthy, supportive and safe relationship with a man for the first time in my life. This is now beginning to translate into my relationships with others in the world. He has helped me discover the diamonds in the coal mine of life. I will be forever grateful."

"I approached Mike for sessions relating to specific relationship issues/stressors. He really helped me to reframe some of the issues and my behaviour patterns around them. This has really helped me understand the actual emotions I am feeling and allows me to work with/through them. I felt very comfortable talking to Mike about a range of other topics and areas of life. After every session, I came away with an interesting insight into myself and have been able to build and learn from these things. If I choose to go back to therapy I would be contacting Mike first." 

Information for couples counselling

​I think it's important to really acknowledge that relationships are hard work. I imagine if you're looking for couples counselling, things between you and your partner are not working in some sense. Perhaps the feelings you once had have changed. Perhaps this has built slowly over time, or a life transition or event has brought things to a head. Either way - something needs to change between you. Perhaps you're at the stage where it's either - things have to improve, or you separate. Commonly, the situation between a couple has reached crisis point by the time couples counselling is sought. If your desire to stay together is still strong, and you are willing to work at it, my goal as a couples therapist is to notice and to intervene in the patterns and shapes that you are co-creating, to assist you as a couple to re-establish communication and empathy where is has broken down. Often things from the past on both sides come up and end up intermingling in ways that get in the way of the relationship you want. Couples counselling can be a space to start exploring and unpicking these tangles and knots. This can be hard work, and will often require time and commitment to the process. My commitment is to be reliable, fully present and 'in' the process with you.

I am also open to couples counselling being a space for you to come to terms with, and manage, a separation. Couples counselling isn't always about how to stay together.

If you would both like to give it a go, I suggest that we meet for a full initial session in order to get a good sense of what it is like working together. 

The process of getting counselling with me (I try to make things as straightforward as possible)

1) Contact me using the 'email me' button above, or via the form on my website. You can include some detail about why you're looking for counselling, but it is not necessary. Please do include the location you're looking for - either online or face to face in Bristol.

2) I will respond (usually the same day) with my availability (or give you a call if that's what you'd like). I'm happy to answer questions by email, phone, or we can have a quick Zoom to chat about working together, there is no charge for this. 

3) If we can find a slot that works for us both, I will invite you to an initial 50 minute intro session/assessment which costs £60 (£85 for couples)

4) After the initial session, if you decide you would like to work with me, we will agree on a regular slot that will be yours for the duration of our work.

What to expect in the intro session 

The intro session is a chance to meet and see what it might be like to work together, for me to begin to understand what's going on for you. I will ask you to tell me what has brought you to counselling and you are welcome to ask me any questions you may have.

​Often, people are carrying a great deal as they enter into counselling. Although there are some things I will need to ask in the intro session, it is still very much your time and many people find even the first hour of counselling helpful. 

​I will ask you what you would like to get from counselling eg, to feel less anxious, to feel happier within yourself, to be less self-critical, to be more confident, to move on from a break-up, to process a bereavement. If you do not know what you would like to get from counselling, that is fine too and completely normal. Defining what the problem is might be part of the work we do.

​Perhaps you are aware of how things that have happened in the past are affecting you now? In the intro session, I might also invite you to tell me a little about your personal history. Essentially, I will just want to start to get to know you.

​Near the end of the intro session, we will discuss how you have found talking with me and whether you would like to continue. If you are unsure you are welcome to take a few days to think about it and let me know. Finding the right therapist is crucial.

The type of therapy I offer

I work relationally within the traditions of Humanistic, Psychodynamic, and Existential therapy. By this I mean that my primary aim is to work with you to understand in as much detail and depth as possible your subjective experience and the potential origins of this. It is through this deep exploration of your experience, that the relief, change and growth you want often occurs. I believe in the power of compassion and how a holding experience with a therapist can help to increase self-compassion, which I see as a fundamental aspect of wellbeing. We are often our own worst critic.

I will offer my real responses to what you bring, which can sometimes be challenging, but I will only do so gently, in the spirit of your growth and healing. I don't offer one-size-fits-all therapy. Rather, I work with you to see what works; in effect, tailoring a therapy to you.

I work within a theoretical framework of how we are shaped by our past experience, particularly our early experience and relationships with caregivers. Neuroscience now confirms that our early experience literally shapes our brain and its neural pathways, encoding responses and patterns of behaviour that can re-occur throughout life. But an amazing thing about us humans is our ability to adapt and change throughout life. In this sense, the counselling I offer might be a place for you to explore your own patterns of behaviour and how these patterns may have come to be. Insight puts us in a better position to step outside our patterns and choose different, more fulfilling ways of being.

I work with mindfulness and breath work if we think it might benefit you. A mindfulness practice can help you to change your relationship with troubling/repetitive/anxious thoughts (via hard work and commitment!). Combined with breath-work, a mindfulness practice, over time, can help you to manage difficult emotions as they arise.

More and more, I am thinking about human problems in terms Internal Family Systems (IFS). IFS visualisations often catalyse connection with deeper layers of feeling, bridging the gap between the intellect and the body. We can explore this together, if you like.

A specialist area I offer is the integration of psychedelic journeys and other expanded states. I have a longstanding interest and broad knowledge in this area, so if you are looking for a space to explore your own experiences with psychedelics, I welcome that. I am currently a psychedelic therapist in training with the Institute of Psychedelic Therapy (IPT).

To find out more about me, please visit my site - where I also have a blog on counselling related topics.

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Mike

Training, qualifications & experience

I trained at Bath Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP Accredited course) and hold the an Advanced Diploma in Humanistic & Integrative Counselling (level 6).

I am currently studying on a relational couples therapy training due to complete in March 2024, and I am also studying on the Depth Relational Process Psychedelic Assisted Therapy with the institute of Psychedelic Therapy due to complete in 2026 (https://instituteofpsychedelictherapy.org/)

Additionally, I have a Philosophy BA from Reading university, 2002. 

I work according to BACP's ethical guidelines for safe practice. My work is overseen by a qualified and registered supervisor.

Member organisations

BACP
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)

BACP is one of the UK’s leading professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy with around 60,000 members. The Association has several different categories of membership, including Student Member, Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP, Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Accred) and Senior Registered Accredited Member MBACP (Snr Acccred).

Registered and accredited members are listed on the BACP Register, which shows that they have demonstrated BACP’s recommended standards for training, proficiency and ethical practice. The BACP Register was the first register of psychological therapists to be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

Accredited and senior accredited membership are voluntary categories for members who choose to undertake a rigorous application and assessment process to demonstrate additional standards around practice, training and supervision.

Individual members will have completed an appropriate counselling or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but they won’t appear on the BACP Register until they've demonstrated that they meet the standards for registration. Student members are still in the process of completing their training.

All members are bound by the BACP Ethical Framework and a Professional Conduct Procedure.

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.

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy

Fees

£35.00 - £60.00
Free initial telephone or online session

Concessions offered for

  • Low income
  • Unemployed

Additional information

Individuals: £60

Couples: £85

I also maintain a number of low-cost spaces and, when I have one of these spaces available,  I am open to discussing a fee with you based on your individual circumstances. Concessions spaces are generally limited to 24 sessions.

When I work

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Morning
Afternoon
Evening
Night

55 Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4LH

Bristol, Somerset, BS31

Type of session

In person
Online
Phone

Types of client

Young people
Adults
Couples
Organisations
Employee Assistance Programme

Key details

DBS check

In England and Wales, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly known as CRB) carry out criminal records checks for individuals working with vulnerable groups, such as children. To find out more, visit gov.uk , or contact this professional directly

Online platforms

Zoom