Phil Leonard Counselling

Therapeutic COUNSELLING IN Bristol and North Somerset

Welcome to

Phil Leonard Counselling

A safe and confidential space to explore the thoughts, feelings and challenges in your life

*Introductory session offered at half-rate (£25).

**F2F or online sessions available in Clifton, Bristol, or Yatton, North Somerset Tues-Thurs (further details in availability section below).

About Me

I am a qualified counsellor with accredited registrant membership of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society MNCPS (acc.) I am also a registered member with The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

I offer one to one therapeutic counselling for adults ‘in the room’, at Clifton Down, Bristol and Yatton, North Somerset. I can also offer some online sessions.


My practice training and experience is integrative which means that I combine and apply more than one theory and method of practice (E.g., Person-Centred, Psychodynamic, Gestalt, CBT) according to need.

My therapeutic style is warm, validating, respectful and compassionate. My aim would be to support, guide and, where appropriate, challenge you gently in thinking through the issue that has led you to contact me and any others that might emerge. For further details about how I work, see below.

Phil Leonard, Counsellor

Professional History

My background is in therapeutic social work, child safeguarding and assessment with children and parents who were struggling or in crisis. I have a long-held interest in the importance of building a safe and trusting relationship as an agent for change.


During my career, I received training in family therapy, solution focused brief therapy, and time-conscious psychodynamic counselling. I also studied child development and attachment theory in some depth.


In recent years, I have undertaken experiential training in motivational interviewing and systems theories as well as numerous Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events with various counselling and psychotherapy organisations. I have also experienced both long-term and short term counselling and psychotherapy as a client and so I know what it’s like to sit in the opposite chair!

Counselling and Supervision

How I Work


There are a variety of styles and approaches in the work that counsellors and psychotherapists do. I have been trained in a therapeutic approach known as “integrative” which means that I combine more than one theory or practice, according to need and client preference. For further information, see:

https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/types-of-therapy/

My most recent training has been in (and my practice is likely to include the use of): Person-Centred Therapy (PCT), Gestalt therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I may lean towards one or two of these theories/practices more than the others depending on your preference and response.


Over time, I have also studied, or received significant non-qualification training in, various other theories and practices, which may also be integrated into the way I work, such as: Psychodynamic theory, Systems theories, Motivational Interviewing, Attachment Theory, Mindfulness, Compassion Focused Therapy, Child Development theories.


I also bear in mind that research in this field has indicated that clients most often value the safety and quality of the relationship with their therapist as being the most important aspect of their counselling, and this seems to be related to more successful client outcomes.

The difference between counselling and psychotherapy

There is some ambiguity within the counselling and psychotherapy world about the difference between the terms counselling and psychotherapy although some guidance is provided by BACP here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/what-is-counselling/

It is useful to know that most formal training in psychotherapy can last for 4-6 years and more, whilst formal counselling training is mostly 3-4 years.

My own view is that counselling can be helpful for many people over a time-limited period (weeks to months) although some people remain with their counsellors for much longer. For those seeking long-term therapy (with a commitment to developmental change over years), psychotherapists have further, in-depth training and practice.

I believe that its important to say that I am trained in counselling and not psychotherapy, but I am open to working with clients for longer periods. For this work, I make a greater call on supervision and training.


Practice Supervision and Guidance

I am an accredited registrant member of The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS) and a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and I abide by their ethical frameworks.


I receive supervision from an experienced and qualified supervisor and I may also attend peer supervision. In those meetings I will occasionally discuss material from our sessions together, but in a way that ensures your confidentiality is respected at all times. The purpose of supervision is to ensure that my practice remains ethical, professional and as effective as possible.

What issues can counselling help with?

There are a variety of ways you might choose to improve your emotional well-being. Therapeutic counselling is just one of them but has often been shown to be an effective way of gaining insight and relief for many mental health struggles and life challenges.

My aims would be:

  • to listen carefully to you so that you feel heard and understood

  • to help you feel validated and related to with compassion and without judgement

  • to help you gain a greater understanding of yourself and your relationships

  • to help you identify your own strengths and resources which you might use along your therapeutic journey so that you gain courage and hope that things can change

  • and to simply be with you as you come to experience a greater sense of self


You may be struggling after a break-up, loss, or a life changing event. You may be considering an important life change, or wanting to get a better understanding of why certain events and situations keep repeating themselves in your life.

People come to see me for help with a wide range of issues (see below for examples).

Feelings of stress or anxiety or insecurity

Panic attacks

Relationship problems

Grief, loss or bereavement

Problems with obsessive or repetitive behaviour

Issues affecting neurodiversity

Abuse (Physical/sexual/neglect)

Depression

Problems with confidence or self-esteem

Anger management

Issues relating to gender and/or sexuality

Difficulties at work or in retirement

Ageing or lifecycle changes.

Problems with family or parenting

The First Session

I offer an initial introductory session at half my usual rate so that you can get a sense of how counselling works and whether my style is likely to work for you.

In this session, I will ask you what has led you to seek counselling and what you would like to achieve from our work together. We will have a chance to ask each other questions and discuss further details if you would like to continue.


If, together, we think that you might benefit from an external service (e.g., via your GP or other service), or if we conclude that you might need a different kind of therapeutic experience, we can discuss how you might access that. If you decide to continue, we could contract to meet together for up to 6 sessions and then review whether the counselling is meeting your needs.


I will also send you a copy of a client/counsellor contract which will describe how I work and what you can expect from me as a professional counsellor. This will include details of the confidentiality and data protection policies.

Ongoing sessions, fees & availability

Counselling can continue for as long as you feel the work is meeting your needs and you can end it at any time you wish. If you do, I would ask that you provide at least a week’s notice so that we can review the work and end in a way that is helpful for you.

Sessions last for 50 minutes and my fees are £40 for sessions between 8am and 5pm, and £50 for sessions after 5pm. Introductory session £25.

I currently have the following availability:

Tuesdays (in person) 7pm Clifton Down,

or Tuesday daytimes (in person at Yatton only, or online)

Thursday daytimes (in person at Yatton only, or online)

Get in touch

Please feel free to contact me using the message area if you have any questions about how counselling works, or to arrange an introductory appointment which I would charge at half-rate (£25).

You are also welcome to call me on 07487755031. Please leave a message if I am unavailable and I will get back to you.


I work from two locations, Clifton Down, Bristol and (coming in early 2024) Yatton, North Somerset. Both locations are within a 7-8 minute walk from a railway station and with bus services nearby. Parking is on street also nearby. I can also offer sessions online.


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Phil Leonard Counselling