MBACP (Reg.and Accr), CYP IAPT, Dip. Couns, & Dip. Sup
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I am a qualified counsellor, registered and accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and a clinical supervisor with 23 years of experience working with adults, young people and teenagers. I have worked as a counsellor in a Secondary School, Further Education and Higher Education. (For more information on my experience counselling young people, please see below).
My private practice in Hitchin, Hertfordshire has been running for 16 years and I have successfully helped adults and young people from a wide range of cultural, religious and professional backgrounds. My counselling method is based on the Person-Centred Therapy approach. My professional development over the last 3 years has enabled me to practice using trauma-informed approaches.
My aim is to enable clients to find their own inner resources for resolving personal problems. I help individuals to identify underlying causes to mental health concerns and find more effective ways of coping. The outcomes you can expect may include a greater ability to handle life’s challenges, manage change, heal trauma, build resilience, and improve one's mental and emotional wellbeing.
I also incorporate mindfulness and CBT approaches which have successfully helped adults to manage negative thoughts, compulsive self-criticism, low mood/depression and anxiety, including OCD, and phobia of being sick (emetophobia).
Please see below for an outline of how I work, based on the philosophy of the Person-Centred Counselling approach.
You can expect three core therapeutic values from me:
Empathy – I will sense what it is like to be in your shoes and communicate this back; this in turn will help you to understand yourself better; Unconditional Acceptance – you will not be judged whatever the circumstances, I accept you just as you are; this in turn will help you to become more self-accepting; thirdly, Genuineness – I will simply be myself throughout the sessions, not detached, but authentic and trustworthy; and this in turn will encourage you to be more real, up-front and honest with yourself.
The non-judgmental, safe space I provide is an opportunity for you to reflect on past and/or present experiences, negative thoughts, painful or overwhelming feelings, to explore the impact this might be having on your life, relationships, work, education, etc, and to give you the start you need to move forward in your life.
I offer short-term (6-12 sessions) or long - term counselling.
Please read below for my experience of working with teenagers and young people.
I was the founder of a youth counselling service based at the young people’s charity Alone in London (latterly Depaul UK-Alone in London) from 2011-2017. My team and I successfully helped hundreds of young people to cope with mental health and behavioural problems in inner-London boroughs. I built and maintained successful partnerships with Secondary Schools, CAMHS, Social Services, Family Support Services and GPs. I reached out to 12 to 25-year olds from a variety of backgrounds including homelessness, leaving care and youth offending. I have 12 years experience as a counsellor in Secondary education. I was a counsellor at Stevenage Education Support Centre (a Pupil Referral Unit) for 2 years.
I have full enhanced DBS clearance for working with children.
I provided counselling at the following education establishments:
- Ickleford Primary School (2023)
- Wymondley JMI School (2022)
- Stevenage Education Support Centre (2019-2021)
- NESSie (2018 - present)
- The Priory School, Hitchin (2018)
- ICMP Music College (2014-2015, 2017- present), see below.
- Highbury Grove School (2013-2017)
- London College of Beauty Therapy (2012-2014)
- Newham Sixth Form College (2012)
Counselling at ICMP Music College (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance)
My role as counsellor at London's leading music industry education provider includes supporting students to maintain their mental health and wellbeing, and to help them to engage and excel in their academic life and studies.
Youth & Community Sector
I provided counselling at the following London youth centres (2003-2017).
- Lift Youth Hub
- Platform Youth Hub
- Independent Futures (Islington Leaving Care Service)
- Elizabeth House
- YOI in HMPS Pentonville
- YOI in HMPS Holloway
- North London YMCA
- Space Kensington and Chelsea
Partnership Work (2018 - present)
I am a counsellor and clinical supervisor for NESSie In Ed CIC, including counselling children and young people, running supervision groups for Arts and Play therapists and one-to-one supervision for staff of a local Secondary School.
Private Practice (2006-present)
I continue to work with young people as part of my private practice receiving referrals from BUPA, AXA and parents.
As a registered and accredited member of the BACP, I work within their Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.
I carry professional liability insurance and Enhanced DBS status.
Training, qualifications & experience
- 2019 Post-Graduate Certificate in Children and Young People IAPT (Kings College, London)
- 2011 Diploma in Clinical Supervision (CPPD, London)
- 2005-present BACP Accreditation (includes 30 hours of CPD per year)
- 1996-2000 Professional Diploma in Person-Centred Counselling (SPTI, Nottingham)
- 1992-1993 Certificate in Counselling Skills (University of Leicester)
Training courses attended between 2001 and present:
- Treating Complex Trauma with Internal Family Systems (PESI, 2021)
- Treatment of PTSD (NICABM, 2020)
- Positive Behaviour Support (BILD, 2019)
- Compassion-Focused Therapy for Depression (Grayrock, 2017)
- ETHOS Clinical Trial Training (Metanoia, 2016-2017)
- Sleep Health – Advanced Therapeutic Techniques (nscience, 2016)
- Seminar on Young Women and Gangs (Abianda, 2016)
- Assessment of Developmental Stages (nscience, 2016)
- Time-limited Psychodynamic Psychotherapy for Adolescents and Young Adults (TAPP) (nscience, 2015)
- Key Developmental Milestones in Adolescence (Camden Safeguarding Children’s Board, 2013)
- Attachment Theory (Youth Access, 2012)
- Outcome Measurement in Youth Counselling (Youth Access, 2012)
- Teaching Clients Mindfulness (Grayrock, 2011)
- Introduction to Play Therapy (PTUK, 2011)
- Working with Art Therapeutically (City Lit, 2007)
- CBT (Primary Certificate) (Centre for Stress Management, 2006)
- Solution Focused Brief Therapy (Brief Therapy Centre, 2003)
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)
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
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
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Attendance issues/truancy, absenteeism, bullying and cyberbullying, burn-out, exam-related stress, insomnia/sleep health, loneliness, low mood, negative or intrusive thoughts, over-thinking and worry, poor academic performance, poor concentration, procrastination, perfectionism, school stress and academic pressure, substance misuse.
I also incorporate mindfulness and CBT tools which have successfully helped adults to manage negative thoughts, compulsive self-criticism, low mood/depression and anxiety (including OCD, and emetophobia, phobia of vomiting).
£55.00 per session
Counselling: face to face, video-call (using Zoom) or telephone - £55 (50 minute session).
I am also a registered provider with health insurers Aviva, AXA PPP Healthcare Bupa and WPA (please find me on their practitioner finder directory via URL https://finder.bupa.co.uk/go/mr_richard_leigh)
Clinical Supervision: face to face, video-call (using Vsee) or telephone - £50 (1 hour); £75.00 (90 mins).
When I work
Mon-Thurs 8am-8pm; Fri 8am-5pm.
Supporting staff members with supervision or counselling
I am also available to offer a reflective practice or supervision to teaching staff, social workers or youth workers to aid them to be more effective in their role, or counselling support help resolve any personal issues that’s encroaching on their professional lives, to help them to manage work-related stress, to mitigate burn-out, or to help them to return to work following a period of convalescence/absenteeism.