Michael Acton-Coles has over two decades of clinical and counselling experience with individuals, couples and families; reputable academic and professional qualifications and an ongoing commitment to professional development.
Whether you are looking for face-to-face help in our rooms in London, Exeter or Torbay, or remote therapy via Skype, email or telephone, Michael Acton-Coles and his colleagues can give you the assurance of a thorough, effective and confidential service.
“I have worked with people in need from the age of thirteen (see Michael’s Background, below). Since that time, I have completed extensive training in a variety of therapeutic disciplines and accumulated many academic degrees. My therapeutic tool bag, which I can call upon to effectively help people who call me, includes systemic/family therapy; Relate couples therapy; young people’s therapy; CBT; psychodynamic therapy; psychoanalysis and regression and hypnotherapy as an adjunct to counselling. All of our work is centred in Rogerian principles of respect for people in need”.
Michael and his team are committed to taking the guesswork out of getting help. If you feel ‘stuck’ and need to find a therapist who can move you forwards to a better future, they will usually be able to bring some light to the issues that are holding you back. If they cannot help, their policy is to find you someone else who can.
The worst thing you can do is to do nothing about your issues.
If you call our clinic, either Michael or a carefully selected colleague will talk to you in confidence and with no obligation. If you decide to continue we will do a thorough assessment over a number of sessions to ensure we are working in the right direction. We are committed to providing financial assistance to those who need support in paying their fees.
Born in England and educated in Eire and England, Michael started his career in psychology early and between the ages of 13 and 16 worked for one day a week in the children’s ward of a psychiatric hospital; an extra-curricular activity with his school that was originally meant to be for just 6 months. As well as getting a bus pass and a free meal, this sent Michael on a journey of self-discovery. After contracting meningitis at 16 and nearly dying, he left home at 17 and went on to become a teacher; his first teaching post was in a prison in Kent.
Travelling became a strong element in Michael’s life – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, USA, France and Australia gave him teaching contracts which enabled him to complete his Master’s degree with psychological honours; at 27 he became a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society.
His first clinical job was at the Dundee Royal Infirmary where he worked for two years in a Chronic Pain Outpatients’ Department. During this time he was held at gun point while walking home, and held for a number of hours. Facing death, his listening skills and prayers eventually secured his release (later the man was arrested and charged, having shot at police). This experience changed Michael: he suffered from PTSD and became involved with a psychotherapist who introduced him to working in a psychodynamic way.
He left Dundee and moved to Sussex to work and research alongside Dr Mick Burton and Professor Mic Cooper on psychodynamic therapy. After two years he achieved his Master’s in Counselling Psychology and worked within the NHS at both the outpatients’ psychology department and drug dependency unit, as well as counselling patients with HIV and AIDS for charitable organisations.
At 35 he applied for a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the London City University – one of thousands of applicants for 23 places. Not expecting to get a place, he also applied to complete a Family Law degree and was accepted into the top three law colleges in the UK.
Then he received a letter congratulating him on his place at London City University, and was also asked, by The London Institute, to set up a private practice in their London Clinic. This was due to his work background in substance abuse, identity issues, life crisis and gender dysphoria; his work and research into chronic pain and disability and also his work with the issues reported by people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered.
In 2004 he took a sabbatical to work and travel in America and Australia, where he researched suicide prevalence and prevention.
Due to family and professional commitments, Michael divides his time between the UK and USA.
Michael also offers an intensive therapeutic service for families which takes him to wherever he is needed. The ongoing development of this service is one of Michael’s main areas of focus at present, as time and time again he can help free up members of a family to find the way to reparation.
Throughout Michael’s life journey he has studied many philosophical areas and has an interest in philanthropy, Shamanism and philosophy.