I offer one to one and group therapy exclusively online with men and women experiencing issues around masculinity and child access. I run The Ceasefire Method programme, a 10-week online therapy course aimed at de-escalating conflict over child access between separated parents.
I was inspired to train as a psychotherapist after a breakdown in my late 20s, brought on by work pressures and estranged fatherhood. Through counselling I learnt about what was driving my unhealthy behaviours, and this route of healing through self-exploration is my guiding principle because I know it works. I've seen inspiring transformations in my clients since I began practising in January 2017.
Why online counselling?
I went 100% online during the first coronavirus lockdown. Video calls can overcome some barriers to counselling, such as the time, inconvenience and cost of travelling to see a therapist. Research shows that online therapy is as effective as face to face therapy. Other advantages:
- You might find you're more comfortable online and it's easier to talk
- You'll be in a familiar environment (your home or car)
- You'll have space and time to reflect afterwards, without having to travel
- You have a greater choice of therapists, not limited to your local area
- I can be more flexible with scheduling online sessions
What you need
A private space. A smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and an internet connection that's decent enough to stream YouTube or Netflix. Headphones or earphones increase the feeling of privacy and improve sound quality but they're not essential.
How it works
Learning to respond to our own needs is an indispensable life skill but one that has yet to be learned by many people who are trapped in cycles of self-imposed suffering. Only we have the power to change ourselves from within, lay down healthy boundaries and become more whole. I focus on establishing trust so you can do this important work on your own terms, with me supporting you. Counselling and psychotherapy (two words for the same thing) exist and are in demand because it's usually too complicated and messy to involve close friends and family in these transformations, not least because they can be attached to ideas about us that may not be true for us deep down. With a professional therapist you won't be judged and it's confidential, so you should feel safe enough to change, if you're ready. Having agreed on any changes you'd like to make in your life, I will agree a regular time slot to see you once a week for a minimum of six weeks. Some clients find that that is enough, others continue therapy for long term, deeper therapeutic work.
Drop me an email or call or text me (07546 813284) to book a session. We'll talk about what you want to get out of therapy and how we can work together. If for some reason I can't help you I will do my best to refer you on to someone who can.
Training, qualifications & experience
I've been providing emotional support remotely since 2014 when I began working as a listener at the Samaritans, answering calls, emails and texts. I've been using online video calls as a professional therapist since 2019 and now work exclusively online. I'm registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (qualified 2018).
- FOUNDER AND FACILITATOR (May 2020-ongoing) The Ceasefire Method
Structured online group therapy that addresses the devastating traumatic stress and grief caused by losing access to your child/ren and de-escalates conflict with you ex-partner over child access
- FOUNDER (June 2018-2020) healingguys.com | Truro, Cornwall
Private psychotherapy for men and boys, and referrals from First Light, a charity supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence
- FACILITATOR (2019) Men's group in Penzance, Cornwall
- COUNSELLOR (Jan 2017-Jan 2019) simplycounselling.org | Plymouth, Devon
Teens and adults (private), heart conditions (British Heart Foundation), parent and child & domestic abuse (National Lottery)
- MENTOR (Jan-March 2016) bfadventure.org | Penryn, Cornwall
Supporting disadvantaged young people with outdoor activities in nature
- LISTENER (2014-16) samaritans.org | Bradford, Yorkshire and Truro, Cornwall
Calls, texts, emails from distressed and suicidal members of the public
- Voice Dialogue (Peter Dellenson and Trilby Fairfax)
- Sacred Masculinity (Charles Eisenstein)
- Existential psychotherapy and counselling (Mick Cooper)
- Polyvagal Theory (Deb Dana)
- Shame (Carolyn Spring)
- Trauma (Carolyn Spring)
- Existential courage (Dr Emmy van Deurzen)
- Working with men: Meeting the challenges of orthodox masculinity (Dr Michael Beattie)
- Theory and practice of expert domestic violence risk assessment (Calvin Bell)
- Domestic violence (David Eggins and Denise Knowles)
- Attachment and neuroscience: implications for therapeutic interventions (Dr Lynette Rentoul)
- Trauma informed approaches to therapy (Julie Harmieson)
- Death (Archa Robinson)
- Family constellations (Paul and Carol Zeal)
- Shame (Sue Parker Hall)
- Anger, rage and relationship (Sue Parker Hall)
- Safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children
- Domestic abuse and the effects on children
- Advanced cognitive restructuring (Deborah Williams)
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (Deborah Williams)
- Vipassana meditation (3 x 10-day silent retreats)
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.
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 help people reconsider stories they tell themselves that aren't serving them any more. These might be to do with what it means to be a man, a woman or a 'good' person. These are all ways of doing the same thing: reconnecting to yourself.
All sessions are online via secure Zoom.
- £40 — half price first session
- £80 — counselling & psychotherapy session*
- £432 — 10% off with 6 sessions
*I offer a limited number of discounted places based on a sliding scale depending on your circumstances so please ask if you would like to work with me but can't afford the fees above.
Groups for men (120mins)
- £150 / £250 / £350 — 10 sessions*
*Sliding scale based on income brackets of up to £15k / £15k-£25k / over £25k
Ceasefire Method 10-week programme
- £1,000 — 10 group and 10 one to one sessions with structured psycho-educational material to de-escalate conflict over child access*
*£35 per hour pro-rata
Is the Ceasefire Method suitable for you?
Some men I know have spent over a decade rotting, allowing their finances, careers, relationships and health to steadily disintegrate because of interminable conflict over child access. I've been there. The cocktail of grief and traumatic stress lays waste to everything good in your life if you let it.
Ceasefire Method outcomes*
- Stabilise your emotions and finances
- Articulate your long term vision for your child
- Stop being a victim and take responsibility for what you can change
- Stop making expensive mistakes from a place of fear, panic and anger
- Clarity on your strategy for de-escalating conflict
- Regulate your nervous system activation states via guided meditations
- Prepare the ground for reconciliation through conscious communication
- Forgive yourself, your ex and move on, even if she still wants to fight
- Take responsibility for your own thoughts, emotions and behaviour
- Have ongoing accountability to your group to stay disciplined
- Hold your men accountable to their highest values in return
- Letter of attendance and syllabus
*Outcomes depend on your commitment to the work. I am committed to providing the best environment possible to support you through the process. You might not be ready for this programme yet but if you are not sure please contact me to talk it through.
Ceasefire Method syllabus
Group sessions begin with guided grounding exercises and end with reflective homework exercises to help you get the most out of your next session.
- Agree on group rules
- The challenges of being a man in this situation
- Your highest vision for your child, yourself and your ex
- Polyvagal theory (how to understand and change your nervous system states that keep you in fight-flight-freeze, fuelling conflict)
- Your childhood
- Timeline of your life
- Your inner child
- Your attachment style and its significance
- Understanding the relationship dynamics with your ex partner and your role in them
- Is your ex using the child to punish or get your undivided attention? Is she trapped in a trauma response to the break up? Are you? If either or both of you are stuck in fight-flight-freeze then you won’t be able to listen or empathise
- Understanding the relationship dynamics with you child
- How to be a good father to a child you can’t see enough of
- What is your child experiencing?
- Understanding conflict
- Systemic and empathic approaches
- Changing one part of an organism will change the whole organism because nature always re-establishes balance. Can you be the part that changes?
- Strategy and philosophy. When is it wise to fight?
- Anger and rage
- Anger is a healthy, protective and respectful emotion that protects our integrity and boundaries
- Rage is unprocessed emotion that can explode in hot rage or become frozen in our bodies in cold rage.
- How haas rage played a part in your conflict?
- Were there unprocessed life events before your separation that contributed to this conflict for you and your ex-partner? Is it possible to begin to empathise with your partner and understand her behaviour in this context?
- The drama triangle
- Conflict de-escalation
- Conscious communication workshop with real examples of emails
- Your self-care plan irrespective of child access
- Principles and practice of self-facilitating your group
- Buddy system to support each other
Concessions offered for
"Zac, you will be pleased to know I am no longer working for Xxxx and am taking time to find myself again. My aim is to rekindle my spark for life which seemed to be sucked out from me a long time ago. I feel I still have a long way to go, it is lonely at times, but I am enjoying the journey so far. Keep doing your good work, it is much appreciated. Thanks again."
"You've given me my life back. I can't imagine sticking with it with anyone else. You've changed my life, met me on an intellectual level to make a deep connection. You're brilliant at this. I wouldn't have done the work in a different situation."
"You have a natural relaxed manner and give off a feeling of someone on a mission. It's helped me see what I value most in my life, how I work as an artist, and what I need to be OK. Talking to a man, there was an immediate connection which put me at ease. The videos and what you wrote on your website were very interesting, I connected with the idea of men not having a voice and being lost. In the past we'd go down the pub or let it out in other ways, violent ways. You have really helped me. You haven't stopped me or talked over me, you were never shocked and you knew how to read me and make silences count."
"I like the fact that you remain impartial, so I trust you to give a balanced view. I like that you have a good balance between detachment, so I can be honest, yet I feel like you do actually care about how I am. You’re not fluffy or waffly, but you are kind. Video calls were actually easier and better than I’d imagined - it doesn’t take long to forget that you’re not actually in the same room. It’s kind of like watching a foreign film - once you get into it you stop noticing the subtitles. Once you get into the session you stop noticing you’re not in the same room. If the film is good, you really enjoy it and, as the counselling is good, you still get a lot out of it and it is still incredibly helpful."
"Zac introduced me to Polyvagal Theory so that I could understand where my panic was coming from and get familiar with the physical signs such as a tight chest. Now when I feel that fight or flight response coming on I'm able to detach and observe rather than getting swallowed up and acting out in destructive ways. I thought I couldn't do relationships but I'm in a new relationship now and it feels healthy. I feel more in control of my emotions. I'm not getting the usual anxieties this time or the jealousy. That's never happened before. I used to feel insecure, not good enough. Now I feel more centred, more self-worth, and I'm better at forgiving myself and not thinking of myself as out of control. When I started working with Zac I didn't know what to expect, I had been told for years I should get therapy, and I contacted him when I'd reached rock bottom. I didn't expect the work to go so deep. I explored my childhood with Zac which helped me learn to be more accepting of who I am and my human vulnerabilities. I feel like I understand myself at a deeper level and I am in a better place."
"I knew about person centred therapy as I had trained in it but I had never experienced it done like this, so powerfully. I went through a massive transition with Zac and I wouldn't have made it without him. I wouldn't have been able to break through the barriers. It's been a massive game-changer, with huge changes in my life. I now have everything I set out for in what seems like the blink of an eye. If someone had said to me in January, "This is where you'll be in September," it wouldn't have seemed realistic. I'd hate to think where I'd be now without Zac. It's difficult to express how life altering it's been. I feel I've achieved these things myself but everything Zac did within the person centred model has transformed my life and enabled me to own it for myself too."
"Stress hit me like a ton of bricks and I found myself at breaking point. Zac took me on a very significant spiritual journey exploring the deepest and darkest depths of my mind through psychotherapy and music therapy sessions which helped me find my way to lightness again. Before entering therapy with Zac, I had lost interest in my life's vocation of writing music and was experiencing a block in my creative process. Zac's empathetic, honest and non-judgemental nature was present throughout our sessions which made me feel comfortable sharing my feelings with him. It felt liberating to be this vulnerable with a therapist and this process opened new doors for me. This led on to the crucial work of writing an album's worth of songs together which we plan on recording professionally in the future. Zac's background in journalism and creative writing meant that I could relate to him on a creative and emotional level which as a musician is at the core of my being."
"Oh dear, this is difficult, especially to avoid a bunch of cliché’s. So, overall a big success. I’ve made loads of progress and I’m aware of the things that I have to keep working on. And also, I accept most things about me and I don’t feel the need to change it all. So, well done to me for moving in this direction and thank you to Zac for guiding me through this process. Zac is good at picking up the various strands of my stories and weaving them into a meaningful story, which I can then work on. I have felt welcome to return to each session and have looked forwards to them. Zac has been reassuring and has clearly been on “my side”. And now I’m going solo and I’m optimistic about making the most of everything."
"Two or three months ago my future looked terrible. I'm doing better than I thought I would be. I wouldn't have predicted this. I was ready to avoid dating for years but that's changed. I've left a job that was holding me back and gone into one that is feeding me and makes more sense long term. This is a new feeling for me."
"I started sessions with Zac over a year ago. I decided that I needed help and wanted to commit fully to the counselling process, I just needed to find the right person (after two previous failed attempts). Zac made me feel comfortable straight away with his warmth and kindness. I felt that he connected with both me and my story. He was genuinely interested and committed to the process. He has a way of caring and guiding that has enabled me to fully open up and explore for myself where my problems stem from. This has been a revelation to me and is not what I originally thought at all. I have only discovered this through sticking with the process long term. I am finally starting to see my way through. At long last I am beginning to understand why I have not felt able to cope with what life has thrown at me. Through putting my faith in Zac, and the clarity I now have, I can start to put all the pieces back together, but this time, in the right order. It’s been worth every penny, what I am gaining through this process is priceless to me. I couldn’t recommend Zac highly enough. Either face to face or online, personally I find it makes no difference to the outcome of the session. I’m not there yet but with Zac’s help I now have faith in myself that I can do this and am starting to glimpse a future that I can look forward to."
"I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed (the right word?!) the experience and meetings with you, and have found the time useful."
"My previous therapists were too soft and flakey for me. You have challenged me in just the right ways and I feel like we're working together, which I have never felt before. Over the past year my life has changed for the better or, rather, I've changed, and I know it's down to the work I've been doing with you."
"I didn't understand why I was behaving destructively and I needed to get a handle on what was driving it before my baby came along. I did the work with Zac quickly. I hadn't looked at my past in that way before. He supported me as I understood my childhood. I took what I needed from my past and then let go so I could protect my partner and child from my demons."
"Zac has a way of being there for you. He was there for me once a week for six months and changed my life. Best investment I ever made."
"It hasn’t been what I expected. I never felt this understood before. I didn’t understand myself."
"For years I’d been carrying around things that weighed me down but I wouldn’t look at them, it was too scary. I hated feeling vulnerable. Zac gave me the patience and safety I needed to break through at last."
“Through your challenging questions and gentle support you helped me reevaluate my priorities and face the blocks that I had been avoiding — the issue was larger than I realised.”
"You've been able to tease from me why I get frustrated at work, and I've realised I've been feeling disappointed. I've been able to evaluate things and conclude that there's nothing wrong with me, it's more about my environment. I've got perspective and feel happier, stronger, younger. Video calls took some getting used to for me but worked really well."
Ceasefire Method testimonials
"I really appreciated being in a place where I could talk about these very tough issues with other dads in similar situations and where there was room to talk about feelings and stratagies and not just one or the other. That you are in a similar situation as facilitator was very useful too as you could relate to all of us and us to you too."
"I love it when Zac explains the theory and biological reasons why we behave in a certain way, which helps me understand why I do the same thing over and over again. I find these incredibly fascinating and helpful. I think all separated dads need a support group. While the FNF groups are good for actionable advice (but no emotions), I feel there needs to be an emotional support group for separated dads. We are never given the opportunity to be vulnerable and show or even explore emotions – so this gives us the safe platform to do so."
"I've managed to understand how to open up in these sessions. It's not just me alone, it's with others experiencing similar feelings. It really helped me to understand myself. Thank you Zac, I needed these sessions to understand."
"We narrowed down the problem to two things: look after number one and find a way of doing it that works for me; and work on accepting what is hard and makes me unhappy, finding a way of living with sadness, grief and loss."
"Before I thought my priority was the kids, but I've realised I need to be here so I can help them. I was suicidal. I haven't seen my youngest child for 10 months. One day I am going to see that child. I want to be positive and focus more on myself to make sure that happens."
"I've enjoyed the grounding exercises and the feeling of belonging in a small, tight group where we all understand and respect each other. Life often feels overwhelming, there is fear and a lot of stress, so the group became safe place for me in the week."