Ready to Begin Counselling?

You’re in a same-sex (or mixed, or queer…) couple relationship or polyamorous/non-monogamous group, thinking about meeting with LGBT/QIA+ Relationship Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCS(Accred/Reg) for Bespoke Counselling… but how do you begin?

Your First Easy Decision…

Let’s get started by asking three simple questions. This will assist you in determining whether or not Dean’s counselling approach is the best option for you and your partner(s).

  1. Does Dean’s Approach to Relationship Counselling for LGBT/QIA+ seem right for you?Tip: don’t worry if you feel like you’re not quite getting the details of Dean’s therapy methods. Instead, when you read this website, you should focus on a sense of “Yes, Dean seems good for us.”
  2. Are you available to attend weekly appointments together (same time/day and same location/medium) – choosing from one of the available times?Tip: refer to the Appointments Table below to see which days and times are available, or which are on a waiting list.
  3. Are you able to afford Dean Richardson’s Counselling Session Fees?Tip: private counselling attracts a fee payable prior to the session. Couples may choose either 50 or 90 minute sessions. Group sessions are 90 minutes only.
LGBT Couple Counsellor: Dean Richardson on Zoom & Skype

Having read the three questions above: what’s your answer….?


If you reply “No” to any question, then perhaps Dean is not be the right counsellor for you. It might be helpful to consider an alternative couple counsellor listed on a reputable directory such as: Counselling Directory (UK).


If you reply “Yes” then continue reading to learn how straightforward it is to begin your first session of LGBTQ+ Relationship Counselling for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Queer…

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Five Easy Steps

STEP ONE: Decide – together – that you want to engage Dean as your couple counsellor.

STEP TWO: Budget for around 6 sessions (as by this number of sessions you will be in a better position to have embraced the direction your counselling needs to go in, potentially beginning to make the counsellor redundant).

STEP THREE: Decide upon which day/time you’d prefer to meet weekly (maybe prepare to have couple of alternatives in case your first choice isn’t available).

STEP FOUR: Get in contact (using the easy contact form).

STEP FIVE: Dean will reserve the first of your preferred appointments, confirm this with you both, and ask you to send your £30 deposit* (payable online, using this page) to secure the first session.

Five Steps to begin LGBT Counselling

After you have made Contact…

After your contact form has been received, you will receive an acknowledgement. This will include a confirmation of the requested service as well as information on how we schedule our first session. You will be asked to submit your £30 deposit to confirm our first session. After your deposit is received, you will receive a final confirmation email including information on our virtual meeting room (Zoom, Skype etc) as well as other preparation details. You will send the outstanding balance of your session fee prior to our first session. Following these arrangements we’ll meet as planned and begin our first round of conversations.

FYI: It usually takes about a week to arrange a first session (email exchanges, arranging to pay & receive the deposit, making arrangements with service providers etc).

*NOTE: the deposit is your way of confirming attendance for our first session. A deposit is not be required for subsequent sessions; you will just pay the full fee each time.

First Session: What Happens?

Note – because of the current situation, all counselling sessions are via Video (Zoom / Skype etc). You’ll be asked for your preferences when you use the contact page.

During our first counselling session, we’ll discuss how this relationship works (or doesn’t seem to work), what’s gone wrong, what’s been tried (and what each of us has observed/learned if anything), and what our initial impressions are about how counselling can assist.

We’ll have conversations about the relationship’s “system” (basically learning about behaviour: who does what and what is the response). We’ll chat about how we might collaborate (“might” because those in the relationship are heavily involved in the process itself and may not yet know their part in the difficulties yet). We’ll start by figuring out what we think our therapeutic collaboration will reveal.

We’ll make a note of what we’ve learned by the end of our first session. We’ll see if we can decide whether or not to continue with sessions. If we can’t decide, we’ll consider adding another session (etc) until we see our work taking shape, or it becomes evident that we’re not able to work together successfully.

If we continue counselling sessions, we’ll uncover (in deeper, useful detail) what are the faults in the relationship’s system. We’ll uncover new knowledge that will lead to new possibilities and ways of behaving in this relationship.

Weekly counselling sessions will follow until the couple or group becomes aware that they’re capable of dealing with their relationship problems alone. I often say: my intention is to become redundant to the relationship’s needs. We’ll then devise a strategy for wrapping up our meetings.

The couple or group who have contracted the counsellor may make an informed decision to bring counselling to a close at anytime they wish. Individual partners may choose to leave early:

  • Couples: if your partner leaves early then Dean will work with the remaining partner (eg up to 6 sessions) to bring the counselling to a close. This is because the contracting relationship has left and the individual remaining has the option to continue individual counselling with another counsellor (if they so wish).
  • Groups: provided there is a recognisable “group” left then therapy may continue (we’ll discuss options at the time). If no recognisable group remains we’ll work for up to 6 sessions to bring the counselling to a close. This is because the contracting group has left and those remaining have the choice to enter counselling with another counsellor (if they so wish).
How to Begin Counselling


Couple & Individual Video Counselling (Zoom,Skype…)
Mon:Waiting List (contact me)
Tue:Not Available
 Information: a new evening appointment may be available in the coming weeks...
Thu:2pm or 3pm
Fri:Not Available
W/E:Not Available
Polyamorous Group Video Counselling (Zoom,Skype…)
Fri:1pm, 2pm, 6pm or 7pm
NOTICE: Dean is not available from Friday 15th October to Sunday 24th October (inclusive), though he may still be available to respond to enquiries and emails.

Waiting lists are available for unavailable times.

Couple Counselling Couch

How we Begin Therapy

There are three main parts in the process of LGBT/QIA+ relationship counselling. We’ll begin to embrace this framework right from our very first session:-

A) Discovering our Focus

A major problem with relationship conflicts is when the parties involved are pretty sure they understand the problems. Yet, such an understanding doesn’t help address nor resolve their difficulties. I’d suggest that perhaps the lovers don’t really understand what is happening between them. The behaviour alone is insufficient information.

Without having a true picture the problem, how could a couple or group enact a satisfactory resolution?

So, our first part of counselling will see us working together to discover the details of the relationship’s conflicts and function. What counselling is going to focus upon?

Dean is a skilled and sympathetic interviewer. He will help the couple carefully drill down deeper into the relationship’s behaviour. This helps to begin discovering what lies at the root of conflicts. With more knowledge the couple and Dean begin to make better, more-informed decisions about how to proceed.

Gay Couple Therapy Service

B) Our Core Work Together

Once the focus for relationship counselling is better understood, the couple have a choice…

1) The couple or group may choose to work on the focus themselves. They take no further counselling sessions .

2) The couple or group may choose to continue in counselling with Dean, working weekly on the relationship’s discovered focus.

There is no set time limit for this work. Each relationship goes at its own pace.

Working with Dean may see the partners:-

  • …learn to observe their relationship’s behaviour as a tool to understanding what’s happening.
  • …learn to recognise their Individual Instant Responses to their partner, the ones that lead to unhelpful responses, and to consider how what might change.
  • …learn how to use empathy to appreciate their partner’s/partners’ point of view, without feeling attacked, or put down, or losing their equally valid point of view.
Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset LGBT Therapy Service

C) Bringing the Therapy Service to a Close

It’s not the aim of relationship counselling to resolve all the problems. A healthy, effective aim can be to reach a place where the relationship is behaving well enough for the partners to leave counselling whilst continuing on their journey alone.

Couples and Groups may leave counselling knowing that the main conflicts have been addressed, with their relationship more in harmony and their difficulties under their management through newly developed skills.

When the partners are working well away from the counselling sessions, they may decide to bring up the idea of ending counselling back into session. The last set of counselling sessions may be arranged and the partners and Dean can look back over the work. We notice anything that hasn’t been worked on or completed (an “unfinished business”), and the partners prepare to leave counselling.

The therapy continues after counselling has ended, but now the “therapy” in the hands of the partners themselves. No need to return back to counselling for top-up sessions (as if the relationship would somehow run out!) or further intervention from a professional.

LGBT Service for love and relationships

Choose: Unlimited or Set Number of Sessions


NHS facilities and some mental health charities offer you a limited or set number of sessions. The limit may be around 6 or 12 sessions. Sometimes this may mean you will end counselling before your full requirements are addressed.

The number of sessions available to you via this service has no artificial limit. You can attend for as long, or short, as therapy is helping. Dean effective therapy approach comes from his private practice - not a service managed by a third party - and all he asks is that you commit to regular, weekly attendance.

After we have established our counselling work, you may wish to discuss the number of sessions to be attended. This can help with budgeting, availability, or new issues that come up in counselling. We can discuss potential changes before they are implemented, allowing everyone to make an informed decision.

Primarily, because we are working with your specific relationship, the therapeutic needs of the relationship are of the utmost importance. Financial issues are important, and we can address them within the context of what the relationship requires from counselling.

Gay Couple Walking Away after Counselling is Complete

What Clients Say (Feedback)

Over 22 years worth of cases (over 2,000 people) ~ many clients have spoken about their experience with Dean as their therapist. Offering an effective approach to counselling with LGBT /QIA+ isn’t straightforward but it is rewarding; here are some highlights…

I discovered that we were in a open relationship… I hadn’t known!

We came into counselling to talk about what our relationship needed, and what we couldn’t give to each other.

We though we wanted to separate (and we didn’t want to). We learned what we really wanted was to learn how to do some things separately, and we stayed together.

We were ready to have children, but both of our upbringing was a bad experience. We wanted to make sure we’d tidied up our history before we welcomed in our first kid.

I needed to talk with my partner about Lesbian Bed Death. I’d been with an individual counsellor she kind-of put me off.

Dean had no problems talking with me about sexuality, sex and intimacy, and what was happening (or wasn’t happening!) in my relationship.

When my husband came out as gay, we wanted to stay together but didn’t know how (wife).

We met in a a pub and started going out. It was a year before we realised this wasn’t enough to keep us together – we didn’t really know each other.

We had fallen out of love. We wanted to get back the relationship we used to have.

As couple counselling progressed we gave up the idea of recapturing the past (that was lost). Instead we created a newer relationship together.

Our local GU clinic recommended we seek counselling because of one sus being unfaithful.

We argued over sex. During our counselling we both discovered that arguments were covering up fear. Once we addressed our fears the arguments went away.

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The Cove Therapy Rooms, 12 West StreetHavantHampshirePO9 1PFUK
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Private Relationship Counselling exclusively for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, 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 and eastwards towards Brighton & Hove. For local residents anywhere in between and regularly further afield!

Got a Question about Counselling?

Don't Hold Back… if you have a question about counselling for gay / lesbian / bisexual couples & groups, or want to ask about making a first counselling appointment, you're welcome to get in contact to discuss your needs.