Richard Palmer MNCS (Accred), Eating Disorder Specialist
I help people to overcome the causes of eating disorders, build a healthier relationship with food and with themselves.
Do you struggle with your relationship with food? Or do you have a diagnosed eating disorder?
Does your body image concern you?
Are you a family member, partner or friend of someone who has an eating disorder?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, I might be able to support you. I’m a qualified counsellor and supervisor specialising in eating disorders.
Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses. They can completely take over your life, and your identity. One of the biggest challenges is in working through the fact that an eating disorder can be both your worst enemy and your best friend. And this is true of all eating disorders. They develop from a very deep need. This might be a need to feel more in control or to numb your emotions, or both.
It is important to acknowledge that eating disorders do not exist on their own. They exist alongside other problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. It is often these problems that the eating disorder is "helping" with, by working as a coping strategy.
I want to help you. I don't just want to help you with your relationship with food. I want to help you work through and heal the problems that gave rise to the eating disorder in the first place. This may mean improving your self-worth, healing from bullying, managing anxiety, or anything else that we need to work through.
During sessions, we will work at your pace. Together, we will come up with a plan of what needs to be worked on. The plan will be challenging, but I'll be there to support you every step of the way. We won't go too fast, because rushing the healing process can mean that any changes you make won't be permanent. We also won't go too slowly, which can mean that you lose motivation. We will work together, at a pace that suits you, to achieve your goals so that you can live a happier and healthier life.
Counselling with me typically has five stages:
Stage 1: Assessment - we need to understand as much as possible about what is going on for you.
Stage 2: Coping Strategies - I'll help you to practise and learn some tools and techniques that will help to make life more comfortable.
Stage 3: Underlying Problems - Eating disorders are known as being comorbid, which means that they typically exist alongside other problems, such as low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. We'll work through these problems which will again help to make life more comfortable for you.
Stage 4: Eating Disorder - when, and only when, you're ready, we will start working directly with the eating disorder.
Stage 5: Relapse Prevention - When you're happy with how you're feeling, we'll develop a plan to help you maintain good mental health as much as possible.
I know that reaching out for support can be a daunting, if not terrifying, step to take (trust me, I've been there myself!). I want to reassure you that I am an experienced professional who will do everything possible to make your experience of counselling as comfortable and effective as I can.
Support for Loved Ones
I also work with the family members of people living with eating disorders (please be aware that I do not work with the sufferer AND a family member).
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses which can put added pressure onto relationships. This can be a very challenging time for you, desperately wanting to help the person that you love but not knowing what to do while trying to deal with your own emotions.
I help family members of people living with eating disorders to work through how they feel and to support their loved one as much as possible. Please be aware that I am not offering therapy by proxy. I am unable to tell you how to help your loved one recover from their eating disorder. What I am offering is support for you so that you can support your loved one with their recovery.
I have a private and comfortable room in the centre of Bridgwater. Being centrally located in Bridgwater means that I'm easy for you to find whether you're driving, walking or using public transport. It also means that if you arrive early or someone else is bringing you to your appointment, there are plenty of shops and coffee shops to enjoy.
I am a qualified and professional counsellor, accredited by the National Counselling Society. The National Counselling Society (NCS) is one of the largest professional organisations for counsellors in the UK and, more importantly for you, they are part of the Professional Standards Authority's accreditation scheme. What does this mean for you? There are unfortunately a lot of unqualified counsellors practising in the UK. Being accredited by the NCS means that the NCS have checked my qualifications and have ensured that I am fit to practise. You can be confident that I have the right skills and experience to be able to help you effectively and safely.
Training, qualifications & experience
My qualifications include:
- MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice - Current postqualifying training
- Post Qualifying Diploma in Eating Disorders - 6 months of training
- Advanced Certificate in Relationship Therapy
- Higher Diploma in Counselling Practice - 2 years of training
- Advanced Certificate in Counselling Skills - 1 year of training
- Certificate in Counselling Skills - 1 year of training
It is important to me that I am able to offer you the very best chance to reach your goals. To do this I attend additional regular training sessions throughout the year which include:
- Working with Shame
- Sex and love addiction
- Advanced couples counselling - sex and ageing
- Working creatively with clients
- Treating social anxiety disorder
- Advanced couples counselling - couples in conflict
- Working with anxiety
- Working with clients using techniques from Gestalt theory
- Pregnancy loss
- Working with clients using techniques from transactional analysis
- Domestic abuse training
My main training placement was with New Dawn Counselling Service in Weston-super-Mare. I successfully worked with a variety of clients of all ages, backgrounds and difficulties.
Aside from the experience of working with clients I also:
- I am a director of one of the largest counselling organisations in the South West
- Mentor trainee and newly qualified counsellors
- Give presentations to trainees in colleges
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.
National Counselling Society
The National Counselling Society
This Not For Profit association of counsellors and psychotherapists aim to support the counselling profession, members and training organisations.
In 2013 the NCS register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under the Accredited Voluntary Register Scheme. 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
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Binge Eating Disorder
Our initial consultation lasts typically takes 30-40 minutes but can be up to an hour and is free. The consultation is a chance for us to meet and discuss how you're feeling. I will give you some information about how I work and you will have a chance to ask me any questions that you have.
Fees for individual sessions are £55 for a one-hour appointment.
You can pay by cash at the start of each session or by bank transfer before each session.
Appointments are usually held weekly.
Would you like to discuss working with me?
The first step is to give me a call or text me on 07908 861505 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I may not answer straight away, but I will always reply as quickly as I can. If you don't like talking on the phone that's not a problem, just let me know in your text or email, and I'll make sure that I text or email you back instead of calling.
I'll invite you in to have a free initial consultation with me which will usually be within a week. This consultation lasts for up to an hour but is usually 30-40 minutes. During the consultation, we'll discuss how you're feeling, and I'll give you some information about how I work.
You'll also have a chance to ask me any questions that you want, and you can then decide if you'd like to work with me or not. If you're not sure if you'd like to work with me, that's not a problem at all; I'm perfectly happy for you to take a few days to consider it. It's vital that you work with the counsellor who feels right for you, if I'm not that counsellor then I'll be pleased to give you the details of some other people in this area who may be able to help you.
If you would like to work with me, then we'll book our first appointment which will usually be within a week of our meeting.
I know that the thought of opening up to someone can be scary (if not terrifying!) but remember, you are in control. We'll go at your pace to discuss what is important for you. I work very hard to be friendly and supportive during counselling and so far no one has left because I'm scary!