Valerie Smith, PgDip, MBACP
I am a qualified, BACP-registered 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
- Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling (distinction), Edinburgh University
- Online Counselling Diploma (merit)
- Telephone Counselling Training: working with long and short term clients
- Emotion-Focused Therapy Training (levels 1 & 2), University of Strathclyde
- BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Registered 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: www.valeriesmithcounselling.com
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 Member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy). This means that I have been approved by the BACP as having received appropriate training, experience and supervision as a professional and ethical 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.
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.
The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online
The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online
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
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.
Availability daytime on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
Counselling from Cockenzie Business Centre
I offer face-to-face counselling to adults Tuesdays daytime. * Due to the pandemic, I am currently working online or via telephone only.
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...
Online and telephone counselling are a convenient way of accessing professional counselling without having to leave your home. They are great options for those with caring responsibilities, a disability or suffering illness.
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.
'Remote' counselling can be highly therapeutic. Having undertaken additional, specialist online and telephone counselling training, I have adapted my counselling practice to these remote methods, to ensure that you feel as supported as you would with me in the therapy room.
In my experience, people get used to working via phone or online by the end of the first session. Indeed, some people find exploring thoughts and feelings easier without being seen by the counsellor.