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Dean’s Qualifications & Experience

Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg) (He/Him) is, this year, celebrating his twenty-fifth year!

Dean is a fully qualified and vastly experienced counsellor specialising in LGBTQIA+ relationships’ therapeutic needs:

  • 17 years of experience working with clients via video media (aka: “Remote Telecounselling”).
  • Professional Standards Authority registration via his membership of the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society: #NCS15-02454.
  • His original professional accreditation was awarded by his first membership body in 2009.

Dean’s private counselling practice is independent of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), Insurance Programmes, collective therapist organisations, Americanised “Use our Licensed Counselors (sic)” Programs (see my blog article on how the term ‘Licensed’ is misleading in the UK…), and other forms of collective or commercialised therapy schemes.

You get to work with Dean directly, without going through a third-party.


Dean Richardson is Celebrating his 25th Year as a Counsellor

Celebrating his 25th year!

All of this means that you have the ability to make an independent, informed decision about whether Dean is an appropriate choice for your relationship’s therapeutic intervention (a decision made because you want to, rather than ending up in front of him unawares, such as inadvertently using an Internet-based referral organisation…).

Qualities you Seek in a Counsellor

You’re seeking a quality, experienced, non-pathologising counsellor for a gay couple (…a lesbian couple, bisexual couple, mixed-sexuality couple etc) or a polyamorous LGBT/QIA+ relationship group. The trouble is that you may have visited directories of therapists – or other independent counsellor websites – and been unable to determine what one therapist offered that distinguished them from all others listed. You may have looked at their descriptions and wondered: “…do they even know that our kind of relationship exists?! 🤷🏻‍♂️.

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Clients have remarked on Counsellor Dean's uncanny ability to 'read' behaviours that have gone unrecognised by the couple (sometimes for years). By hypothesising, together, "what could be going on here?" the clients and Dean grow a helpful alliance that can empower the relationship's comprehension of their own (seemingly) helpless battles. With new information comes the ability for the clients to make different decisions—decisions that can lead to them growing together in a different, more satisfying direction.

Dean offers counselling for LGBT/QIA+ relationships (couples, throuples and polycules) as a distinct specialism, unlike some other more straight-centered, or individual-counselling-only services.

So, let’s see if I can describe how Dean (hi – that’s me! 👋🏻) employs 24 years’ counselling-expertise that appeals to your need for the kind of relationship counselling that fits with your kind of relationship.

Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCPS<span style='font-size:1px; display:inline-block;'> </span>(Accred/Reg)

Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg)

  • 25th year of practical counselling experience 100% 100%
  • Specialist in Gay & Lesbian Couple Relationship Counselling & Polyamorous Groups 100% 100%
  • Qualifications in Couple & Group (Systemic/Psychodynamic) Counselling 100% 100%
  • Accredited Registrant via the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS) 100% 100%
  • Exclusively Video Counselling Zoom, Skype, Google Meets etc 100% 100%
  • Practice fully insured / public indemnity insurance 100% 100%
  • Member of the Counselling & Psychotherapy Union of Great Britain 100% 100%
  • 30 hours (minimum) annual Continual Professional Development 100% 100%
  • Minimum 90 minutes monthly supervisory consultation 100% 100%
Based in Portsmouth, Hampshire, and calling into sessions from his home, Dean is celebrating his 25th year in practice. Dean is a fully qualified & experienced male, gay relationship counsellor, specialising in counselling with lesbian, gay, bisexual and mixed-sexuality adult couples. His therapeutic approach is gender-agnostic (meaning your gender identification is important (of course it is) but it does not determine the approach to therapy; you’re treated as a human-being).

Dean expanded his established original Portsmouth / Chichester based Couple Counselling and Polyamorous Group Counselling practices by adding Internet & Video Conferencing technology some 17 years ago. As an ex-IBM Professional Engineer, Dean is an established and integrated Zoom / Skype Technician; adding Video Counselling for couples and groups is something you can trust in his knowledge and expertise.

Click for Dean's Detailed Qualifications list

Counselling Qualifications (Primary).

Primary awards include:
  • Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling (awarded July 2003 - Chichester Counselling Services - BACP Accredited Course).
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Couples (awarded  January 2010 - Chichester Counselling Services - Psychodynamic/systemic theoretical framework).

Primary Theoretical Frameworks.

Primary Models/Framework include:
  • Psychodynamic / Psychotherapeutic Counselling (individuals).
  • Integrated Systemic / Psychodynamic Counselling (couples).
  • Integrated Psychodynamic / Foulksian (groups).
  • Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Therapy.

Supporting Certification (Primary).

Primary continued professional development ("CPD") certification & training relevant to practice.
  • Group / Team Facilitation Leader (Business) (Awarded 1997 – IBM, North Harbour, Portsmouth).
  • Individual’s Coaching & Mentoring (Awarded 1998 – IBM, North Harbour, Portsmouth).
  • Brief / focal psychodynamic psychotherapy (Awarded 2004 & 2009 – Chichester Counselling Services).
  • Assessing Clients for Psychodynamic Counselling (Awarded June 2006 - Chichester Counselling Services).
  • Online Counselling Skills (Awarded May 2007 - / Kate Anthony).
  • Solution-Focussed Therapy (SFT) (Awarded June 2008 - Chichester Counselling Services).
  • National Foundation Certificate in Group Psychotherapy (Awarded July 2011 - Institute of Group Analysis - Brighton/Birkbeck College).
  • Certificate in Foundations of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Awarded May 2012 - Hemmings Field Associates - "CBT With Heart").
  • Working therapeutically with individuals convicted or accused of sexual offending (Awarded June 2019 - Stop/So).

Professional Membership Organisations.

  • National Counselling Society (2015 – ongoing) *Note 1.
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Union of Great Britain (2018 – ongoing).
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – BACP (2003 – 2018 (16 years) – resigned in August 2018 – no longer a member – *Note 1).

Professional Accreditation.

  • National Counselling Society – MNCPS (Accred/Reg) – (2015 – ongoing).
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – BACP – MBACP(Accredited)  (2009 – 2018 (10 years) – resigned in August 2018 – accreditation by BACP no longer applies).

Professional Registration.

Private LGBT Therapist & Independent


Dean is an Independent Counsellor (an “accredited registrant”). This means that to meet with him as a gay couple therapist, you won’t have to go through your GP or company’s EAP scheme. You get to make your own informed decision on whether Dean’s services, skills, experience, and approach as a therapist for LGBT+ couples are what you’re looking for in your distinct relationship.

Dean has had private practises around South England: Portsmouth, Waterlooville & Havant (Hampshire, UK) and Chichester (West Sussex), with plans (currently on hold) to expand to Southampton and Brighton.

In the meantime, Dean’s online video counselling practises are available exclusively across the UK via a reliable & secure Internet “webcam”. Using Zoom, Skype and other video technologies, Dean provides safe spaces for LGBT community relationships.

As an ex-IT professional, Dean’s combined years of experience in integrating video technology along with therapy as a mental health professional is very reassuring.

Dean’s professional registration is via the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS). His original accreditation was awarded by another, long-standing professional body 15 years ago (accreditation being a process that confirms a counsellor’s substantial experience, professionalism, and adherence to ethics) and he is now an accredited registrant of the NCPS.

Currently Reading (CPD etc)

Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory
Anchored: How to Befriend Your Nervous System Using Polyvagal Theory
Deb Dana shares a down-to-earth presentation of Polyvagal Theory, then brings the science to life with practical, everyday ways to transform your relationship with your body.
The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation
The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation
Offering therapists an integrated approach to adding a polyvagal foundation to their work with clients. Clear explanations of the organizing principles of Polyvagal Theory translated into clinician and client-friendly language.
Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection
Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection
Exercises offering readily understandable explanations of the ways the autonomic nervous system directs daily living.
The Body Keeps the Score
The Body Keeps the Score
A bold new paradigm on trauma for treatment, moving away from standard talking and drug therapies and towards an alternative approach that heals mind, brain and body.
Out of the Shadows - Reimagining Gay Men's Lives
Out of the Shadows - Reimagining Gay Mens Lives
Walt Odets uses the stories of his patients as well as those of his own deep relationships with other gay men to illuminate how these difficulties may be overcome.
A book for psychotherapists and their clients - and for anyone who wants to make the journey from shame to unshame.
Straight Jacket
Straight Jacket
A revolutionary clarion call for gay men, the wider LGBT community, their friends and family. Part memoir, part ground-breaking polemic.
The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (Revised)
The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy (Revised)
Hailed by Jerome Frank as "the best book that exists on the subject," Irvin D. Yalom and Molyn Leszcz's The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy has been the standard text in the field for decades.

As a private gay couple therapist with a growing reputation over 24 years, Dean is frequently sought after as an gay couple counsellor on video, locally in the UK and overseas from abroad.

Dean continues to advance his understanding and application of effective counselling and psychotherapy approaches through monthly supervisory consultations, ongoing professional development and research.

Dean is a member of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Union of Great Britain and whilst he is listed on several online directories as a specialist service you won’t find him available via the NHS, IAPT nor Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).

High Acceptance, Low Dissatisfaction Rates

FACTS: a majority of Dean's new clients return for a second session (and more...)*1

Our counselling relationship begins with an initial evaluation session (you evaluate me, and I evaluate if you might work well with my approach). In our first session, we will have some conversations and decide whether this early experience appears to have been beneficial enough to continue working together. Sometimes, extra evaluation sessions are agreed upon to help make a more informed decision, but this has been regularly unnecessary.

Two measurements highlight how people respond overall to my style of counselling: Acceptance Rate*2 and Dissatisfaction Rate*3.

During the previous twelve months (May 2023 to April 2024) my Case Measurement Rates have been:-

Acceptance Rate:
Dissatisfaction Rate:

*1) measuring over the last twelve full months.
*2) the percentage of clients who continued to attend sessions (for at least one month) after their initial session(s). NB: some clients complete their work in a shorter time than one month; others find that a longer path benefits them.
*3) the percentage of clients who, from their experience of the initial session, felt that the service was not what they were looking for.

The average number of sessions per case is not included here. Because one client's needs differ greatly from another's, a fair comparison cannot be made. No figures are included where the clients were satisfied with the initial session and decided that this was sufficient.

A Potted History

Highlights of Dean’s 36 years’ journey in therapy practice.

  • (1987-1989) – Trained to work in Manchester University’s “Nightline” service. Later, worked as Chief Co-ordinator for Manchester region.
  • (1998-99) – RSA Certification in Counselling Skills (Portsmouth Adult Education Centre).
  • (1999) – Trains in Business Group Facilitation at IBM (Portsmouth / North Harbour).
  • (2001) – Trains as employee Coach and Mentor at IBM (Portsmouth / North Harbour).
  • (1999-2003) – Awarded BACP Accredited Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling for individuals.
  • (1999-2015) – Counsellor, Assessor, Support Trainer, IT Manager: Chichester Counselling Services.
  • (2007) – Online Counselling (Internet based, video conferencing, written-text / SMS / Email) – certified.
  • (2009-10) – Awarded Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling for Couples (Integrated Psychodynamic / Systemic Modality).
  • (2010-2018) – Membership and Accreditation with the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (membership later resigned in 2018).
  • (2010) – Establishes Dean Richardson Counselling, a private counselling practice based in Portsmouth & Chichester.
  • (2011) – Group Analysis foundation certification via Institute of Group Analysis’s “National Foundation” Course in Group Therapy.
  • (2011) – Establishes LGBT Couple Counselling, a service that focuses on the therapeutic needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual & queer couples and groups.
  • (2014-18) – Joins the Marple Cross Centre LLP (Southsea private therapy centre) as therapist, and later as co-director.
  • (2015-ongoing) – Membership with the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society as an accredited registrant.
  • (2019-ongoing) – Dedicated focus to during – and after – the UK pandemic / multiple lockdowns.
Dean Richardson's Professional Counselling History

Important Message to LGBT/QIA+ seeking Therapy

As a gay or lesbian couple or member of a poly-group, in a short- or long-term situation, and who has been experiencing troubling conflicts within your relationship, you’ve probably been searching for a couple or group relationship counsellor who shows clearly that he or she would work with LGBT/QIA+ Relationships… your particular kind of relationship.

You may have come across websites that talk about “biblical definition of marriage” (which seems to me to be a poorly masked statement of “only heterosexual couples welcome here, thanks”), couple “coaching”, “marital” counselling, and as you read through the text it became clear that the therapist was talking about the “one man and one woman” kind of relationships.

If you were lucky, you might have found a whole sentence (sometimes a whole paragraph!) appended to a page that adds the therapist would work with a gay or lesbian couple too.

As a gay couple & group counsellor, I find this heteronormative, last-minute-LGBTQ-appended thought unsettling.

LGBT/QIA+ Progress Flag

Counsellors Focussing on LGBT

Of course, there are many qualified couple counsellors out there – many of them competent & effective – but perhaps few that understand LGBT/QIA+ relationships from a professional and personal perspective. Maybe even fewer that study the psychological and therapeutic needs of lesbian and gay couples in counselling as part of their continued professional development.

So you found me @ ~ based in Portsmouth (Hampshire, UK) and reaching couples & groups over the whole of the UK via Internet Zoom and Skype Video.

Kinda relief, ain’t it! 👍🏻


Hi! I’m Dean. I’m a qualified and experienced* counsellor who is not only a gay man, but who also studies the psychological and therapeutic needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and other Queer Intimate Relationships; matters that we may address effectively in Couple or Group Counselling.

You’re looking for a specialist who works with LGBTQ+ relationships and is available via video using Zoom or Skype. Someone who can guide you through the real, conflicting-shit that a relationship experiences. I’d be your go-to counsellor, working with you until you have no further need of me.

Dean A. Richardson – October 2010

* As you’re reading today, I’m now into my 25th year of practise.

A Non-Expert Approach – Surprisingly Effective, too

OK, first let me assure you that as a professional, independent specialist in private counselling practice I am fully qualified, professional, experienced and registered couple and group counsellor…

…and yet,  remarkably, I avoid taking on the role of an “expert” 👍🏻

  • I do not advise relationships: “this is how you tackle your problems”.
  • I do not tell relationships: “do these steps and all will be cured!”.
  • I do not offer my book for sale (I don’t actually have one!) that promises to reveal “relationship secrets” that (somehow) only my book will reveal to you at this very reasonable recommended retail price.

You see, if I were an expert then I’d have all the solutions you could ever need, and that’s what you’d be purchasing from me.

Instead, my powerful and effective approach as a relationship counsellor uses a significantly more powerful and more sustainable resource: YOU!

We’ll use your own creativity together, and (possibly dormant) ability to problem-solve together!

As you read this you might despair: “but if we could resolve our problems don’t you think we would have done that already?! 😭

Indeed, that’s a common thought. But every relationship manages what comes within their perception or awareness. One of my particular skills is to assist couples and groups into noticing areas that are beyond their current perception (or what their psychological defences had allowed); they hadn’t been able to contemplate newer hypotheses about the relationship’s systems. With newer hypothesis comes newer information, and with that comes new possibilities and new options to tackle relationship problems.

So, it makes more sense now that – by avoiding taking an expert in relationships position – my therapeutic framework empowers the couple or the group into effectively discovering and developing their own resolutions to their ongoing – and new – problems.

Working with me, your relationship leaves counselling independent of meeting with me again; no sense of needing to refer back to me: “oh we have another problem, how do we…?” in the future.

  • Curiosity is encouraged (employing a bucket-load of therapeutic frameworks) – unpacking what’s central within arguments, conflicts and distrust bringing new knowledge to the relationship.
  • New Knowledge brings new understanding to the intimate partners.
  • New understanding fuels the development of new(er) relationship decisions (eg newer problem resolutions and/or conflict mitigation).


Declining Important Situations

As a professionally qualified counsellor, there are areas that I do not work with. It’s important to consider these if you’re thinking about contacting me.

  • If you’re looking for advice or to be told what to do (e.g. seeking instruction about sorting out your problems) then I’m not offering the service you’re seeking.
  • My approach to counselling requires that you are able to look after yourself in between sessions and at least have some capacity to be curious during a session (e.g. being so vulnerable that most of what I say wounds you). If you need regular contact (e.g. telephone), another counsellor would be a better choice.
  • I do not work with people under the age of 18 years old (including minors in a family or a couple-type of relationship such as son and father).
  • I do not “fix” partners, nor your relationship, to your satisfaction. For example: couples who come to see me because “I want you to change his behaviour [for me]” will find my therapeutic approach very unlikely to be satisfactory.
  • I am unqualified to work with people who are experiencing serious psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc, or who are seeking services that may appear to them to be counselling (such as Family Mediation).
  • I am not a psychologist, a psychiatrist, nor a GP/Doctor; I do not diagnose people, I do not prescribe medication, and I am incapable of providing medical or psychological opinions on people I have not met (e.g. via your description alone).
  • If you are considering gender transition, I am not a counsellor who can make recommendations to surgeons or clinics on your behalf (i.e. I will be happy to work with you about how transition may affect you, but I am unable to participate in a process that recommends you for transitional medical treatment or surgery).
  • My qualifications include working with domestic abuse, however, I may choose to decline to work with a relationship on a case-by-case basis; instead I may refer you to a more suitable therapist or service for your particular circumstances.
  • Certain difficulties I may decline to work with for personal reasons or simply because I consider myself too inexperienced in the area you’re seeking assistance with.
  • You have to be able to work co-operatively with me (at least after a few sessions, if it’s not possible to do so straight away). If you’re seeking a “I’ll tell you the problem, and you tell me the solution” therapist that wouldn’t be me.
  • Similarly to the above item, if your relationship does not / cannot engage with me (e.g. you spend most-or-all of the session in an argument, and will not (or cannot) allow me to intervene), we will either seriously consider together if our time together is worth the investment, or I will make the decision to end our work autonomously.
  • If our work is harming me—physically or mentally—after seeking supervisory consultation, I reserve the right to end our work autonomously.

About Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg)

You could choose any couple / group counsellor…

Given that this will be the most intimate and vulnerable you could feel alongside your partner(s), you would want a skilled professional whose experience and specialism you could trust; whose focus would be upon your distinct relationship. Your couple, throuple or group relationship will be in good hands with Dean. He works from Great Britain, is Independent of "box 'em/shift 'em" therapy services, and identifies as a gay couple counsellor. He's also easily payable in pounds sterling! Dean already had an impressive 17 years actual video "webcam" experience - way before the first British emergency began (when suddenly many counsellors added a Video option to their portfolio, having not practised so previously! 🤔).

What makes Dean Distinct

  • Dean is sensitive and effective to your sexuality / gender-identity and intimate ways of relating to each other. You'll discover quickly that Dean is an informed member of your own community.
  • Dean demonstrates adept skills with lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, fluid, mixed sexuality and same-or-mixed gender relationships having over 24 years' experience as a counsellor.
  • Dean avoids taking a the role of "all-knowing expert" (whether requested or projected onto him by the clients). "Experts" tell you what to do, do not learn very well from others, and struggle to adapt to new situations. A couple counsellor must be curious, adaptive, and ask questions from a "not knowing" position so that the relationship in counselling benefits from re-examination.
  • Dean speaks plain English (and can swear like a virtuoso if you like, or not at all if you prefer). He works cooperatively with your relationship (no unnecessary silence, or just "hmms...").
  • Dean was originally accredited by his first professional body 15 years ago; he is now an accredited registrant with The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society. Accreditation is a valued recognition of a counsellor's substantial experience. Dean is also a member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union of Great Britain.
  • Dean is a British Counsellor working from the South of England. Unlike other counselling services operating from abroad Dean is registered, accredited, insured & supervised from within England (not from abroad).

If any of this resonates with you and your partner(s), you should probably meet with the Gay Relationship Counsellor: Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg) via Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp and other secure, reliable video conferencing media.

Dean focuses on LGBT/QIA+ relationships as a specialty in therapy. He works with individuals, couples and small groups. Plus, he's qualified to a postgraduate level (Chichester PG Diploma in Psychodynamic / Systemic Couple Counselling, IGA National Foundation in Group Counselling), and works as a private practice counsellor employing 24+ years experience*.

(*Very Important: not all counsellors have such specific skills for working with couples nor groups. Those who are initially trained to use common "Individual" Counselling skills have no experience in working therapeutically with relationships. Such counsellors may try, perhaps out of misplaced goodwill, to employ "individual" techniques (multiplied by 2) but the couple or group will find that the approach is ineffective. Simply put: it's the wrong approach; your relationship is not part of the counsellor's primary theoretical framework. Remember always to ask your potential counsellor: "what qualifies you to work with our relationship?" and trust your instincts based on what you hear.

MNPCS Accredited Registrant Counsellor
Member of the British Psychotherapy and Counselling Union
Location Image+44-56-0366-3067£30-£130
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Got a Question about LGBT/QIA+ Counselling?

Come and ask... whatever question you have about couple and/or group counselling for gay, lesbian, bisexual, aromatic, asexual and mixed-orientation relationships you might have, get in touch today to discuss your needs…

Private Counselling Services Designed for the LGBTQ+ Community. Available Exclusively to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, ASexual, ARomantic, Mixed & Queer Couples, and Established Polyamorous Groups - serving the UK Nationwide over Zoom & Skype, plus locations in and around central Havant, Petersfield to Waterlooville, Cosham to Portsmouth & Southsea, Southampton to Chichester, Fareham to Gosport, Hayling Island, Emsworth, Westbourne, Rowland's Castle, stretching westwards to Bournemouth, eastwards towards Brighton & Hove and northwards towards Liverpool, Manchester and Hull. For local residents anywhere in between, across the whole UK, and regularly further afield abroad!