Dr Lesley McGown Psychotherapy, Counselling & Supervision in Cheltenham

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Psychotherapy & Counselling in central Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, with Dr Lesley McGown

A highly experienced UKCP registered relational psychotherapist based in central Cheltenham, offering psychotherapy or counselling to adult individuals.

Psychotherapy and Counselling in central Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, with Dr Lesley McGown

Lesley McGown DPsych MSc(Psych)
UKCP registered Relational Integrative Psychotherapist


During the Covid-19 health crisis, I am continuing to offer therapy online. Although lockdown restrictions have now been officially eased, it is clear that in light of the recent rising number of Covid cases, certain precautions need to remain in place.

This means that the wait to return to in-person sessions will need to be extended for a little while. I understand that for some this may be frustrating. However, having worked online from the start of lockdown, I have found that, as an interim measure, this alternative way of meeting has much to offer. When beginning therapy, most people find that what is helpful is to take their time to settle in and to gradually explore ways in which they feel most comfortable within this different setting.

Updates on the possibility of returning to in-person sessions will be posted as the situation with Covid evolves.

Enquiries during this period are best made by email. If appropriate, a time can then be arranged to speak briefly on the telephone. Please note that the request to email in the first instance applies during the current period and takes precedence over other contact information mentioned elsewhere on my website.


I am a UKCP registered relational psychotherapist with many years’ experience gained in a number of settings, including the NHS. I work in central Cheltenham where I offer psychotherapy to adult individuals. If shorter-term counselling is more appropriate, this can be discussed at the time. Please note I do not offer therapy for couples.

I offer a confidential and secure setting in which to explore whatever issues may be troubling you. Perhaps you will recognise some of these in the section below, where I discuss the kind of problems with which therapy can help. My approach is interactive, engaging and empathic (see more on the next page).

I have a particular expertise in the field of complex relational trauma and am also able to offer specialist treatment to people with dissociative disorders, including Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). In this regard, my experience includes working as a Specialist Consultant Psychotherapist with the London based Clinic for Dissociative Studies.

What kind of problems can therapy help with?

People come to psychotherapy when they are struggling with emotional problems. Avenues for trying to understand themselves have stalled; they may have tried to talk to friends or family about what is wrong, but nothing seems to have changed. Alternatively, they have found it hard to express what is troubling them and feel alone and stuck.

Over the years, I have helped many people who have come to see me for all sorts of troubling reasons. Many have felt overwhelmed by anxiety or stress, whilst others have been struggling to cope with low self-esteem, depression or the grief of loss. Some have been wrestling with confusion over personal identity and have sought to better know themselves; to discover what, for them, is most meaningful in their lives. People have also sought help when the fog of trauma has become too much, when they have felt lost in life and to themselves. (I write more about understanding trauma on the next page.) Most often, the problems people come with are linked to intimate relationships.

Unexplained Medical Symptoms & Somatic Problems: Trauma Therapy with the Body in Mind

We know that our bodily or somatic responses are very much part of our emotional response. For example, part of the experience of feeling nervous is the somatic element often felt in the stomach. Likewise, a physical sensation of nausea may be an aspect of anxiety.

In relation to trauma, when difficult or overwhelming experiences have been too much to manage at the time, the body may hold an accumulation of ‘locked-in’ stress which manifests in the way of somatic symptoms such as migraine headaches or asthma attacks.

Professor Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s leading experts on traumatic stress, notes that somatic symptoms for which no clear physical basis can be found, are ubiquitous in traumatised individuals. They can include chronic back and neck pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, digestive problems, spastic colon/irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue and some forms of asthma.

Thus, when there are medically unexplained somatic symptoms, an important aspect of trauma therapy is its exploration of the link between physical sensations and emotions. This focus, embedded within the overall process of trauma therapy, can be helpful in the alleviation or resolution of symptoms.

Further information

Deciding to enter psychotherapy is a significant step and it is really important to choose a professional that is right for you. Whilst in some ways the internet has made it easier to find a therapist, many people search websites without necessarily understanding the differences, for example, between psychotherapy and counselling. To help with this, please follow the link below to Psychotherapy and Counselling. Here you will also find more information about the nature of trauma and how I work with this within the context of a psychotherapeutic healing relationship.

Essentially, psychotherapy involves a gradual process of being increasingly honest with oneself; an exploration of the unconscious or subconscious aspects of thinking and feeling; and an increasing capacity for being close to other people in self-promoting rather than self-destructive ways. It is about helping each person to appreciate their own complexities and to work towards finding lost aspects of themselves. Put another way, psychotherapy offers the opportunity to free oneself to become who one is; and who one is capable of being.

For practical information about my terms, including fees and frequency of sessions, please follow the link below entitled ‘Practical Matters’.

Getting in touch

If you would like to get in touch with me, please follow the Contact link at the top of the page. Whilst you are welcome to either email or telephone, please note that if you telephone you will probably get my answerphone. Whilst my aim is to respond to all messages as soon as possible, if I am very busy it may take a little longer for me to respond by telephone than by email.

Please note I am unable to respond to enquiries at the weekend.

Supervision or Clinical Consultation

If you are a therapist-in-training or a qualified practitioner and you are looking for a clinical supervisor in central Cheltenham, please contact me and I would be very happy to discuss possibilities. I am registered with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy both as a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor and I am also a Primary Supervisor with the Metanoia Institute. For more information please go to Supervision/Clinical Consultation.


My Practice is based within short walking distance of the main shopping centre in Cheltenham and within easy reach of Stroud, Cirencester, Tewkesbury and Gloucester. Bristol is about a 50 minute drive. Car parking is available close by.

Phone: (01242) 572801
Contact me by email

Painting by Simon Pooley.

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