Qualifications & Experience.

You’re seeking an experienced therapist for gay couples (lesbian couples, bisexual couples, polyamorous groups etc). You may have arrived at a directory of counsellors and maybe couldn’t tell what one therapist offered from another. You maybe read a counsellor’s website and couldn’t tell if they offered couple counselling that could help your relationship.

Let’s see if this web page can give you sufficient information on Dean Richardson MNCS(Accred/Reg) as a potential to becoming your relationship’s potential counsellor.

Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCS(Accred/Reg)

  • 22nd 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 with the National Counselling Society (NCS) 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%

Now celebrating his 22nd year in practice, Dean Richardson MNCS(Accred / Reg) is a fully qualified & experienced male, gay relationship counsellor specialising in counselling with lesbian, gay, bisexual and mixed-sexuality adult couples. His approach is gender-agnostic (your gender id is important but it is not deterministic within therapy).

Dean expanded his established Couple Counselling and Polyamorous Group Counselling via the Internet 13 years ago by integrating Zoom & Skype video.

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 - OnlineCounsellors.co.uk / Kate Anthony).
  • 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 – MNCS(Accredited Registrant) – (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.

Dean’s private practices are based in PortsmouthHavant & Waterlooville (Hampshire, UK) and available Nationally via Internet “Webcam” using Zoom, Skype and other secure video conferencing software apps.

His professional practice is currently is accredited & registered with the National Counselling Society – a process that demonstrates his experience, professionalism and adherence to ethics – and has been accredited for a total of 11 years.

Dean continues to enhance his understanding and practice of counselling & psychotherapy with monthly supervisory consultations, continued professional development and via his membership of the Counselling & Psychotherapy Union of Great Britain.

Zero % Dropout Rate.

Our counselling relationship begins with an initial session (occasionally needing a few more) so that you and Dean may meet and begin evaluating together if the initial experience of counselling seems helpful (...at least helpful enough to continue).

It may interest you to know that two measurements may help you to understand how people respond overall to Dean's particular Counselling Approach: the Initial Dropout Rate (the % of people who decide not to continue working with Dean after the initial session) and the Case Dropout Rate (the number of people who stop attending counselling during the first month without giving reasons).

Over the past twelve months (April 2020 to March 2021) Dean's Dropout Rate measurements have been:-

Initial Dropout Rate:
Case Dropout Rate:

Message from Dean.

LGBT FlagAs 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 counsellor, I find this heteronormative, last-minute-LGBTQ-appended thought rather unsettling.

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

And then you found me @ LGBTCoupleCounselling.co.uk ~ based in Havant Counselling, Hampshire (UK) and available over the Internet using Zoom and Skype Video.


Hi! I’m Dean Richardson. I’m a qualified and experienced (21+ years) counsellor who is not only a gay man, but who also studies the specific psychological and therapeutic needs of Lesbian, Gay  & Queer Intimate Relationships, which can be addressed effectively in Couple or Group Counselling.

So, if you’re looking for a Hampshire-based counsellor – available on Zoom/Skype – who works with lesbian and gay couple relationships, who will walk through the real conflicting-shit that a relationship has dealt the both of you… I would be the couple counsellor to choose, staying with you both until we’re done (or at least until we’re done enough for you not to need me any longer).

Dean A. Richardson
October 2014

How to Decide upon a Counsellor (or Coach).

It’s an unfortunate situation but in the UK one can call oneself a Counsellor, Therapist or Coach without having any legitimate qualifications. So when considering working professionally with a therapist how do you choose a counsellor (or life-coach) who is appropriate for your needs? 


Interview your Therapist.

My advice to you: interview the therapist. You don’t have to pick the first counsellor or coach you meet. You don’t have to get things 100% right with the first counsellor. Plan to meet two or three therapists for at least one (maybe more) sessions. Each therapists will have things they need to learn from you during the first session (so they may ask you to take the lead) but you’re also there to evaluate the therapist so have some questions prepared.

You might ask:-

  • What are your qualifications? / how are you qualified to work with LGBT/QIA Couples (or Groups)?
  • For how long have you been in practice?
  • How do you ensure that you’re practising to the best of your ability (eg any consultation arrangements with a supervisor or psychiatrist)?
  • May I see your insurance arrangement?
  • Of which Professional Membership Body are you a member?
Trust your instincts at the reply to your questions. Do you get a good feeling that this counsellor may be right for you for the weeks (or months, and sometimes years) that you’ll be working together?

If you get a distinctly unsettling feeling about the counsellor, therapist or coach: try and put that into words to the therapist themselves (and notice how you feel when they respond to what you’ve said; this may be very helpful when you begin to evaluate if you want to work with this person or not). Sometimes a therapist may have a good reason not to answer your question, but do you get the sense of them having a good reason or a sense of a therapist who is avoiding answering you.


Therapy can be an Art (not just a Science).

It may help you to know that although different therapists are trained in different ways, even those who are trained similarly will put into practice their therapy in different ways.

We’re human, and our skills are also artful.

The relationship that you and your counsellor will build together is important. It’s not about having therapy done upon you; it’s about making a good relationship between you and the therapist

It can be helpful to bear this in mind when you meet with your therapist for the first time; he may feel right for you (and sometimes he may not – but that’s OK too). Make a decision that both your head and your heart agrees with.


Specialist Areas of Counselling.

As an accredited registered counsellor, and a specialist in working with lesbian, gay and mixed-sexuality couples, Dean’s experience spans over more than 21 year.

Here’s a summary of his expertise.

Specialist Gay Relationship Counsellor

Dean is the only actual gay couple and group counsellor in the Hampshire Waterlooville -to- Havant region (contact me if I’m wrong 😁 ).

But sexuality isn’t enough to promote ones self as a counsellor for LGBT/QIA+ couple and group relationships.

In addition to his formal qualifications, Dean studies the psychological and therapeutic needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and aromatic individuals within gender-variant couple and groups in both short- and long-term relationships.

It’s part of his choice as his specialised area and continued professional development.

Whilst some other counsellors may be perfectly happy to work with generic heteronormative relationships, Dean would be the counsellor to consider particularly for LGBT/QIA+ needs and beyond.

Systemic Psychodynamic LGBT/QIA+ Couple Counselling

Psychodynamic counselling takes certain principals from Freud, Jung, Klein, Winnicott, Bion and so on.

I believe that there is a conscious part of our minds, and an unconscious part.

Sometimes these parts are in sync, and sometimes they are in conflict. Unconscious conflict can produce stress and distressing behaviour in our lives and a psychodynamic approach to counselling (gently) gets to understand the conflict (bring unconscious into the unconscious) giving you choices and feeling less at the mercy of stuff going on.

In a relationship, unconscious processes can become “acted out” and even passed between the couple (one person’s fears get played out by the other partner).

Taking a systemic approach, I help the couple to become interested in the processes happening between them.

Interest can lead to knowledge, knowledge leads to noticing difference and difference is a relationship.

With knowledge recognition of difference, we can learn what relationship behaviour is asking for, and decide how to supply it.

Brief/Focussed Counselling

Brief/Focal counselling attempts to employ sound counselling principals, but in a much more concentrated and swift way.



In the case of LGBT Couple Counselling, we will spend several sessions learning what should the focus of couple counselling be.

It can be a welcome process for many couples, to learn what is really happening between them and their partner. With such knowledge, the couple can be less helpless.

Once this stage is reached (say up to 6 sessions), the couple can decide to discontinue regular counselling, and work on the relationship focus themselves.

Alternatively, the couple may continue to meet with the counsellor to work through the matters which the focus brings up.

Domestic Violence

Dean works with lesbian and gay couples to who are in a violent (emotionally, physically, or both) relationship.



Violence may be looked at in some unusual ways (quite apart from a rather stereotypical “it’s all his fault” position).

We’ll discuss some rules and put into practice “The Safety Plan” (a way for the couple to instantly halt violent behaviour).

We’ll then work together to understand what violence may be attempting to communicate between the couple.

This requires both partners to participate in the process.

Sex and Sexuality

Dean works with sex and sexuality in LGBT couple relationships.



Whilst we’re still not being taught anything about gay or lesbian sex or sexuality in schools, we’re left to teach ourselves or to discover things along the way

It’s not unusual for two gay men, or two lesbian women, to come together and have very different views on what sex is.

We’ll meet to discuss in a safe, comfortable environment, what sex means to the both of you, and to find ways to help you both enjoy each other sexually.

LGBT? (Q? I? A? +?)

L: Lesbian

G: Gay

B: Bisexual

T: Trans* (e.g. transgender, transexual, transwomen, transmen) ~ although the use of the asterix is falling out of favour now.

Q: Queer, or Questioning one’s sexuality.

I: Intersex.

A: Asexual.

+: Anyone and everyone 👍🏻

As a counsellor Dean is interested in working with you in counselling regardless of your identity, orientation, preferences or kink. Whatever makes you comfy we will respect. Whatever makes you uncomfortable we will try and improve upon. You’re a fellow human being and Dean will treat you as such.

Situations I may likely decline to work with…

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 (eg telephone), another counsellor would be a better choice.
  • I cannot “fix” anyone, nor your relationship, for your satisfaction. For example: couples who come to see me “because I want you to change his behaviour for me” will find my approach very unlikely to be satisfactory.
  • I cannot work with people who are experiencing serious psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder etc.
  • I am not a psychologist, a psychiatrist nor a GP/Doctor – I cannot diagnose people and I do not prescribe medication.
  • If you are considering gender transition, I am not a counsellor who can make recommendations to surgeons 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 nor surgery).
  • My qualifications include working with domestic violence, however I may choose to decline to work with your relationship on a case-by-case basis.
  • 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 engage with me (eg you spend most-or-all of the session in an argument, and will not (or cannot) allow me to intervene), we have to consider if our time together is worth the session fee being paid.
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The Cove Therapy Rooms, 12 West Street Havant Hampshire PO9 1PF UK
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Private Relationship Counselling especially for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Mixed and Queer Couples - serving 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, local residents anywhere in between and regularly further afield!

Got a Question? Don't Hold Back…

If you have a question about gay & lesbian couple relationship counselling in Havant and Waterlooville, or want to ask about making your first appointment, feel free to drop me a line any time…