Valerie Smith Verified Professional Verified Professional
Verified Professional

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PgDip, MBACP (Accred)

About me

I am a qualified, BACP Accredited Counsellor, with a private practice based in East Lothian.  As well as seeing people face-to-face, I am a specialist online and telephone practitioner.

Many things bring us to counselling...

For some of us, it is overwhelming emotions, such as loss or anger.  For others, it is painful or restrictive marital or family relationships.  Some of us seek counselling because day-to-day life feels pointless or it’s dominated by anxiety.  We may feel there is no way out.

A commitment to understanding you

Whatever your struggle, I can offer you a safe, non-judgmental experience and a wholehearted commitment to understanding you.  Witnessing people emerge from emotional difficulties, places where they previously felt stuck and limited, is a privilege.

Taking the first step

Making the first step to seek counselling however may be daunting.  I hope that this page and my website help explain what you can expect in working with me.  If you would like to know more or to arrange an initial meeting, please give me a call or email me.  Finding the right counsellor is crucial; therefore I offer a half-price initial 60-minute session.  It is an opportunity for us both to assess whether counselling with me is right for you at this moment.

Training, qualifications & experience

Counselling Qualifications

- Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling (distinction), Edinburgh University
- Online Counselling Diploma (merit)
- Telephone Counselling Training: working with long and short term clients
- Internal Family Systems Therapist (level 1)
- Emotion Focused Therapy Training (levels 1 & 2), University of Strathclyde
- BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Registered Accredited Member
- ACTO (Association for Counselling and Therapy Online) Professional Member


My training is in person-centred and psychodynamic counselling practice.  If you would like to know more about this, please visit my website:


Prior to retraining as a counsellor, I worked for many years as a change manager in the Financial Services industry.  My role was managing teams and individuals through the tasks and uncertainties of changes to working practices.  It gave me a wealth of experience in supporting people through the impact of change.

As well as running my own private practice, I have worked in the charitable and public sectors.  I counselled adults for the PF Counselling Service in Edinburgh for six years.  PF is a charity providing counselling to adults of all ages regardless of their ability to pay.  I have also previously worked as a primary and secondary school counsellor for Place2Be, a nationwide charity which provides emotional and therapeutic services in primary and secondary schools.

Memberships and Insurances

I am a Registered Accredited Member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).  This means that I have been approved by the BACP as having achieved their higher standard as a competent, ethical and independent practitioner.  It also means that I work to their Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice.

I am a Professional Member of ACTO (Association for Counselling and Therapy Online).  ACTO is the national professional body for qualified, professional counsellors and psychotherapists working online. The organisation is committed to setting and maintaining the highest standards of therapy in online work. 

I am fully insured with Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurances in place.

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)

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.


The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO)

The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online

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

Other areas of counselling I deal with

I specialise in working with younger adults 18-25, face-to-face, online or via telephone.  This period in anyone's life is one of huge change whether we feel we are on the right path or not.  Leaving the family home or feeling that we 'should', finding a way socially at the same time as starting work/further education may temporarily strain our ability to cope.

Counselling offers a really helpful space to make sense of these difficulties and to adapt to these changes in a way which leaves you feeling in control of the experience, rather than at the mercy of it.


Additional information

Fees are £50 per 60 minute session regardless of method.

When I work

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Availability daytime on Mondays (in person).  I work online or via phone Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Further information

Counselling from Cockenzie Business Centre
I offer face-to-face counselling to adults Mondays daytime.

Cockenzie Business Centre is a multi-use building with discrete access.  Free parking available.  It is on the Lothian Buses 26 and First Bus 129 route from Edinburgh.

Online and Telephone Counselling...wherever you are...
I offer online counselling in the following ways:
-   Webcam (video counselling) using secure, free-to-download technologies such as Zoom or VSee (similar to Skype).
-   Voice only – using Zoom or VSee with video off.
-   Text-based online counselling using Instant Messenger (Signal or VSee chat) and e-mail.
I also offer telephone counselling.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about working in this way or if you would like to make an appointment for an initial session.

Valerie Smith Counselling And Psychotherapy, Unit 11, Cockenzie Business Centre, Edinburgh Road, Cockenzie, East Lothian, EH32 0XL

Type of session

In person

Types of client

Older adults
Employee Assistance Programme

Key details

PVG Scheme

In Scotland, criminal records checks are carried out by Disclosure Scotland. Professionals working with children or vulnerable adults must join the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme. You can learn more at , or contact this professional directly.

Online platforms