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Michael Acton-Coles: Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Author

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Do you or someone you know need help?

Whether you present to me with anxiety, relationship issues, depression, bipolar disorder or a mental health issue, I take the guesswork out of getting effective help. By stripping back to the heart of what is going on in your life, I can help to move you in a positive direction, repairing damaged boundaries, getting you unstuck and anchoring you in your life once more.




Drawing on extensive academic training in psychology and family and couple work, together with more than two decades of counselling experience (learning many lessons from patients I have met with in many settings) and coupled with my own life experiences. I work with mindful awareness throughout our counselling work together. I am always alert to the opportunity of uncovering new layers of understanding which often lead to a profound and necessary shift.


Articles & Writings

I have written numerous articles on psychological subjects including anxiety, codependency, depression, gender dysphoria, parenting and relationships.



I am currently working on the second book from my 'At the Chalkface of Therapy' series, each title dedicated to demystifying the field of counselling therapy, blending anonymised case studies from my clinics with a lucid overview of various psychological issues as well as practical tips. The first book: 'Narcissism & Co-Dependency: Both Sides of the Coin' is available via Amazon and the Apple iTunes store.



I have also recently been honoured to have been granted a chapter in a new book authored by Elizabeth Schwartz, a formidable name in advocacy for family and relationship law.


counselling exeter michael acton-coles

Usually you are reading this column because for some reason you feel that you cannot cope or that things cannot stay the same; there needs to be a change.

The situations that bring us to this point of needing to “do something” include:

  • The loss of someone you love.
  • Cataclysmic trauma.
  • Life-threatening illness.
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
  • Being alone and feeling lonely and unhappy.
  • The break-up of an intimate relationship.
  • The loss of a job and retirement.
  • Coming out.
  • A major life event.
  • Alcohol or substance abuse that has a hold over you.

Or there might not even be a specific reason.




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We are Relate-trained and qualified relationship specialists.
Relationships naturally have their good times and their not so good but if your relationship has become intolerableunbearable or dangerous then you need to consider seeking help as soon as you are able. Even if your partner does not want to access help at this moment we can still do a lot of good work with you!

Sometimes taking the first step to access help outside of your relationship may make you feel a slight tinge of guilt or wariness. These are quite normal feelings. Trusting and sharing issues can be the first time you are cementing the fact that there is something fundamentally wrong and that it is just not working. If your relationship experiences violence or any type of abuse you need to work out a safe way forward to access therapy.



michael acton-coles counselling exeter




There is no book nor film nor special magic that explains why some families work well enough. There is no marking system for good enough parenting or good enough siblings or good enough children or good enough family members. Families are a system of dynamics, personalities and characters mixed in with behaviour, thoughts and feelings. And in this day and age, with partners and family structures ever-changing, there are even more ingredients to the mix

Yep, it is like an organism being fed so many different things it is difficult for the family system to stay cohesive, growing and healthy without occasional issues. This is quite normal and expected, considering. So when does a family need outside help? What governs a family? What can we do to help a family in crisis?


What to expect from me:

I can offer you:

The benefit of 20 years plus evidence-based experience and extensive academic qualifications.

A range of effective therapeutic techniques:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Rogerian-based therapies
- Motivational Interviewing techniques
- Freudian-founded relationship-based therapies (such as psychodynamic, psychoanalytic and Jungian therapies)
- Gestalt
- Systemic Family Therapy
- Psychodynamic/systemic (Relate) Relationship Therapy

I practise out of clinics in Southernhay, Exeter.
Financial assistance is available