Mrs Leigh Smith
Member Status: Senior Accredited
Member No: NCS16-03227
I am a fully qualified and experienced counsellor, psychotherapist, supervisor and a trainer with over 10 years of experience. I have worked with a wide variety of clients over the last 10 years and together we have tackled some of life's most difficult challenges. My clients tell me that they feel seen and understood by me and that they feel able to share with me things that they wouldn't tell anybody else. I am always humbled by this reaction and readiness to trust in the process of our work together because I feel that once a solid trust is built in the relationship there is more scope for powerful and therapeutic work to be achieved.
My own life has not always been easy and in my childhood I had some of my own challenges to overcome; alcoholic parent, abuse, abandonment, sickness, death, poverty, crime, suicide and bullying were some of the issues I faced as a child growing up in Manchester.
I knew from an early age what it was to feel desperately alone with my anxiety and I took my insecurities into my young adult life which resulted in relationship issues and unhealthy life choices.
The painful death of my sister was the catalyst which jolted me out of Manchester and into a new life in Devon. I have lived here for over 20 years and during this time I have become much more the person I choose to be.
My own difficult experiences have enhanced my understanding of how difficult it is to move through the challenges we have to face, and how desperately hard it is to deal with anxiety, depression, confusion, and relationship issues. I often had no one to turn to, there was often a feeling of total isolation in my pain and this has shown me how important it is to have someone who can be there, even when it is difficult, someone who will not judge or criticise, someone who will hold the space for possibilities to emerge, and will walk alongside you even when the road ahead is unclear or it hurts to take a single step.
I feel compelled to reach out to people who are struggling, and I find myself drawn to be alongside people who are in some way searching to resolve something in themselves. I believe that this is where I do good work and where I want to be.
My studies have been extensive and so valuable to my growth as a therapist and I continue to search out new ways to help and support people. But my studies are only a part of what I bring into my practice; I also bring my personal experience of a challenging world, my faith in the therapeutic work I do, and I bring my heart which I listen to and over the years have learnt to trust.
My practice rooms are located on the beautiful Dartington Estate where I see individuals in a relaxed and friendly environment. It can be so difficult to take those first steps to seek help, and I believe in honouring this courage and meeting you with respect. I love working in such a vibrant and beautiful setting, the grounds on the estate are inspiring with strong mature trees and an abundance of colour and wildlife. Sometimes I will take a client outside to be in the quiet tranquility, away from the therapy room and let nature lend a hand in the healing process.
I am passionate about the therapeutic work I do with my clients and I have extended this passion into teaching counselling so that others can also become qualified counsellors. I created my own Counselling Training College in 2007 and I have recently resigned my post as the Director of Studies and Principal of the college in order to focus on my private practice.
I held the post of lead Counselling tutor for Devon County Councils Community Learning courses, where I also taught counselling. I have held positions with the Workers Education Association, Young Devon, Youth Enquiry Service and City College Plymouth.
I believe that the best way to work therapeutically is be alive to the needs of the client and to create a unique and individual therapeutic relationship with each client. No two people are the same, no two issues are the same, so I blend my skills with your needs to create something which I offer you as a starting point. The best way to find out more is to come for a chat with me.
I am currently also practicing both my counselling and my supervision online.
- Qualifications & ExperienceI hold a BA Hons Degree, a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, a certificate in Therapeutic Counsellling (CPCAB), A Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (CPCAB), a Diploma in Body Process Psychotherapy (NCFE), A Diploma in Supervision (SafeSpace).
I am a Sir Accred member of NCS.
I am a registered Counsellor.
- What I can help with
- Abuse – Emotional, Physical, Sexual
- Addiction (e.g. Alcohol, Computer games, Drugs, Food, Gambling, Sex, Smoking)
- Ageing and related issues
- Anger Management
- Assertiveness / Self-confidence / Self-esteem
- Bereavement / Loss
- Children / teenagers
- Chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E.
- Divorce & Separation
- Eating disorders
- Emotional issues
- Financial difficulties
- Generally unhappy with your life
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic attacks
- Parenting skills
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder / PTSD
- Public speaking: stage fright
- Self-defeating behaviours
- Sexuality Identity
- Shyness / Social Phobia
- Sporting performance
- Start exercising
- Suicidal feelings
- Violence / Victim support
- Young people and children
- Languages Spoken