S Tree

Welcome to oakwoodcounselling.com


About Me


Hi, my name is Vince and I am an experienced counsellor / psychotherapist and performance coach who has worked for Mind, Anxiety UK, and the North London Hospice. I have an advanced diploma in humanistic integrative counselling, a qualification that is accredited by the BACP and a BSc degree in psychology. I am also a IANLP accredited Cognitive Behavioural (CBT) Coach.

I have been mentoring and coaching for over 20 years and am qualified as a humanistic integrative counsellor which means I can match individual client’s needs to a variety of established and effective therapeutic approaches. I also have a blog and advice presence on the Internet with over 1500 positive testimonials.

Performance and Executive Coaching

My performance coaching skills are based on over 11 years experience of working for the British Quality Foundation as an Awards Assessor for five years and as an Awards Assessor Team Leader for London Excellence for six years, which involved site visits and assessments of FTSE companies applying for quality improvement awards.I’ve also helped numerous students successfully navigate essays, dissertations and exam preparation, using mind maps and Mnemonics techniques.

Amongst the organisations I have assessed are Siemens, Grundfos and United Utilities. And this is the Quality Development tool they used, the EFQM Excellence Model and if you have a business or process you wish to improve or grow, I can recommend its use to you.It is World class:


Location and Contact Details

I am based at BH23 4UP which is between about 1 mile equidistant from Christchurch and Highcliffe and 10 miles (20 mins drive) from Talbot Campus, Bournemouth Uni.

Free detailed initial 30 minute consultation by telephone, if needed.

Free off street parking in BH23 4UP, or if walking, within 10 minutes of Hoburne Park Bus Stop, Hoburne Lane (X1 Bus).

Mobile: 07881 803 727 or from abroad UK (44) 7881 803 727

email: oakwoodcounselling@outlook.com

SKYPE vince.oakwood


Diploma in Systems Practice, 1998; Diploma in Performance Coaching 2001; British Quality Awards Trainer 2001; BSc Hons, (Psychology) 2004; Diploma in Life Coaching 2005; Certificate in Humanistic Integrative Counselling 2013; Diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling 2014; Advanced Diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling 2015.

Anxiety UK approved therapist

Bereavement counselling training and working as a voluntary counsellor for North London Hospice 2013 - 2016

Training and working as a voluntary counsellor for Mind in Haringey 2014 - 2017

Why Counselling?

Many of us have experienced times when life can feel complex, we may feel isolated, challenged or maybe even completely overwhelmed. We may find ourselves looking for additional non-judgemental, experienced and professional support outside our friends and family, in a caring, comfortable, and calm environment.

It can be very helpful to have difficulties explored in confidence, to be listened to and properly heard in order to make sense of things, so that choices can become clearer and our lives more fulfilling.

Quite often we may experience emotional discomfort when our usual coping mechanisms are beginning to let us down, or are directly causing us discomfort as a consequence of the history of our lives, e.g. self-medicating for emotional pain using alcohol, recreational or even presciption drugs. We can also use avoidance or over-compensation, such as becoming a gym-aholic, or work-aholic or even develop a habit for serial romantic relationships. Making sense and effectively but sensitively facing and processing of some traumtaic events in the past often helps the present and the future. Often things that may seem dysfunctional, may actually be essential, effective and resouceful coping mechnisms.

How I Work

I work at a pace and on a focus you decide. I will help you to achieve a better understanding of your identity, who you really are (although that changes slightly all the time) your feelings, needs and how best you might formulate, meet or heighten your existing goals or even change direction.

I have what is known as an integrative approach to counselling, which means potentially using a mix of the most respected, widely practised and effective therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Psychodynamic, and the highly structured and effective Schema Therapy. I'll tailor and utilize what works best for you personally, as we are all different.

As well as talking about your issues you'll also get an insight into how you are experienced within the therapeutic relationship through honest and sensitive feedback.

Whilst the therapeutic relationship is unlike any other, it is a reflection of other relationships you have and so provides the opportunity to explore some of the dynamics that get played out in your other relationships. To this end it can be a powerful self-development tool.

What to expect?

Sessions usually run once a week for 50 minutes, or as agreed between us. Initially I meet clients for an assessment and if we both agree to work together then I offer a further five sessions.

After the initial six sessions, we'll discuss and review our work together and decide if we wish to continue onto open ended, long-term work. Everything is done in a safe, welcoming environment and at your pace.

Therapy is not something that is done to you so to speak, it is more like something you have. It is about exploring alternatives, different perceptions, questioning patterns of thinking and behaving and finding new ways of seeing things. Fundamentally it’s a learning experience.

On this point, one less common element to counselling I use, is psychoeducation. This means as we progress I explain to you openly what I am doing, the techniques, the key concepts and language used. So you begin to learn how to 'do' therapy yourself. The point of my approach is the more you understand about it, the more effective we will be as a team, and when the therapy is finished, you will have a greater understanding and insight of how best to take care of yourself in future, and maybe even the others around you. In fact I have had many clients who have become so interested in psychotherapy, they have expressed a desire to study and become qualified themselves, which I encourage completely.

I believe very much in the saying, if you "give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

I will put details of some key psychotherapeutic concepts in the resource section below.

Examples Areas of Counselling I Work With

This is not an exhaustive list.


All session last 50 minutes. Mondays to Fridays:

Face to Face = £40

Skype, Zoom, telephone, = £35 (Prepaid sessions via paypal).

Email or Texts = £7 per email / text. Discounted block pre-book £50 for 10 (Prepaid Emails / Texts via paypal).

Home Visits (if within 5 miles) = £60

Weekends an additional £15 on the above face to face options.

Low cost face to face concessions may be available Monday - Friday 10 AM - 4 PM £30 for 50 mins. Call for availability, it depends on demand.

I have a special rate for counselling students in training of £25, 10AM-4pm


Please provide at least 48 hours notice of cancellations so I can try to re-book the vacant session with other clients. Cancelling at short notice within 48 hours will incur the fee, although I will try to add 50% of the time to the next 2 sessions, if at all possible, so you actually lose no value. I usually manage to do this most of the time.

My detailed contract:


Did you know this about mental health?

So if you are suffering from anxiety and depression and also look at the average size of a GP practice in the Christchurch / Bournemouth area (which on average is approx 6,000 patients) there will probably be another 600 people in your GP's practice who unfortunately are suffering the same issues as you.

Did you know this about Counselling? Often not many sessions are needed.

Continuous Professional Development

I am committed to Continuing Professional Development and as part of my CPD I have attended various events, training days and courses:

Resources, Downloads and Donations

[Always under construction - so may not be complete.]

If you download any of these documents or assessment and find them helpful, I would be very happy to accept a small donation by PayPal here at this email address immediately below, which I will gift to MIND - the mental health charity and the North London Hospice annually:


Thank you.

Self Assessments

The assessment relate to some of the most common issues people experience. However, sometimes labels can be painful and may not help, but other times they may be useful. Maybe reflect on this before you take a look at yourself?


https://www.dropbox.com/s/qxz4vxlgt9cbxzk/Anger%20Questionnaire%20Scored.xls?dl=0 (Excel)


If you think you suffer a lot from anxiety? Try this assessment and see whether it is mild or more intense:

Anxiety Questionnaire Download


If you feel you might be depressed? Try this assessment:

Depression Questionnaire Download

Self-esteem Issues

Self-Esteem Assessment Download (Excel)


Concerned or interested about your sexuality? This might help you identify whether you are straight, gay or bi?


Some other information you might find helpful?

Always feel bit of a "victim..." Or are you a bit of a "people pleaser and sacrifice a lot but never seem to get your needs met?" Check out the drama triangle:

The Drama Triangle


Issues with Romantic Relationships

If you feel there may be room for improvement in your relationship, take a look at these questions and give one to your partner which you can use as a basis for identifying which areas of the relationship to focus on and gently exploring how it might happen.

Relationship Feelings Questions (Excel)

Many relationship issues we can experience in later lives relate to what is known as our "Attachment Style" which we develop in the first few years of our lives.

There are four basic styles. They are Securely Attached,

Validation and Invalidation (and decisionmaking) in Relationships


Some other potentially helpful Info:


Crying can actually be very healing and positive. When we cry, we release oxytocin, the cuddle hormone. It has healing properties on the cardiovascular system, which can be damaged by the potentially bad stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which can eventually lead to furring arteries and heart disease.

As you might have realised there is "emotional contagion" when crying happens, when one person begins to cry in the company of others, often others follow, which is why some people like to keep a "stiff upper lip" or sometimes wait till they are alone to cry.

So when we cry in the company of those who care for us, we release healing oxytocin in out bodies, and if they cry with us, we enable them to release oxytocin in their bodies which heals their cardiovascular system. So with our tears, we heal those who love us.. What a lovely thought. So tears are are actually a healthy gift of love.



There is much more connectivity between us than meet the eye.

Breast-Infant Temperature with Twins during Shared Kangaroo Care



Intrusive Thoughts / Fantasies

We all have intrusive thoughts and fantasies occasionally. Some of these can be quite strange and really frighten us. It does not mean we are weird, bad or evil.

For example in his book "The Imp of the Mind" Lee Baer an expert on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, reports the results of an experiment undertaken by a Dr Wisner on women who were suffering from postpartum depression experienced the following thoughts: fear of doing embarrassing things (32%), fear of doing terrible things (22%), blasphemous obsessions (19%) fear of something being wrong with their body (16%) fear of harming themselves (11%) fear of sexual obsessions (8%) and fear of stealing (3%). It was estimated that 5% of new mothers suffered from aggressive obsessional thoughts towards their babies. So if we applied this to the population of the US, 200,000 new mothers a year may be developing disturbing obsessions about harming their new-born’s, an initially frightening thought, until we know its fairly normal.

To add to the sadness, almost none of these women are able to talk to their partners, Drs or obstetricians about their thoughts, because they fear being thought of as crazy.

Unfortunately, a lot of us have similar fears about the nature of our thoughts, but we all have these thoughts, and so what we normally need is reassurance that they are ok. There is a very big difference between a thought or a fantasy and acting it out, and fortunately if we ask ourselves, a lot of us understand that.

How to Deal With Intrusive Thoughts


Motivating yourself for change:


Reality / Unreality

This is a really useful youtube video on the nature of our "meaning-making." Why we are ALL a little psychotic, because we actually construct "reality" based on our previous experiences.


Romance and Relationship Issues

Conflict - Conflict is a natural thing to happen in relationhips. We are different people with different goals, backgrounds, histories, experiences, values and beliefs. We have different needs to each other at different times. So our moods and the things we desire at any one time may not always align with out partners. The important thing is to express our needs in a conflict situation where they dont align with out SOs non-aggressively. It is the non-aggression and how we listen and empathise that is important. We should be able to communicate, problem solve, negotiate and compromise effectively, so that there is ideally never a win / lose situation, but look for a win / win or basically if you cant find a win / win the whole relationship suffers.

The Rules of Romance made explicit - so you can see how difficult they are to keep and be happy with ourselves and our partners. We seem to set very high implicit rules, which are not communicated, and we rarely see them written down, but seem to know them.

They can put a lot of pressure on a relationship, so maybe see how tough they are and reflect on your expectations, to see whether they are reasonable and can be met.

Once we either adjust our expectations to more reasonable levels, or begin communicating our needs more effectively, we can make some positive changes.

The Rules of Romance (Word)

Click on open and download in the top right hand of the screen.

A Relationship Building Quiz - for a bit of fun, like the old Mr and Mrs Quiz on TV - But WARNING..dont use it unless you are pretty sure you know the answer to how she/he will answer their questions - or it will work against you! e.g. you should be sure you know how they would answer the questions: what is their most favourite meal? Their two most admired people? Their least favourite relative, toughest problem they have ever faced etc., ? And of course you must be pretty sure they know the answer to how you would answer too, or that will make them feel bad.


Communication - Sometimes we need to communicate things that others might get upset about. We have to do it in a way that does not "emotionally flood" the other person, not listen, close down or get defensive or angry. This is a technique called gentle start-ups developed by John Gottman.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8jutuaz95vjbwsg/Gentle%20Start%20Ups.doc?dl=0 (Word)

Love and Fading love - or "I love you but im not in love with you."

What love is and how many different kinds are there?

Love is made up of: passion, intimacy and commitment:


Relationships move through a number of stages. The first being the limerant, romantic or honeymoon period. This lasts from 6 months to around 3 years.. After that the love usually becomes more mature and less intense.


Its normal, but there are things you can do to improve it.

There are dangers of long term relationships, when we become too close and similar to each other for too long. This is called enmeshment.


Underlying all relationships is something called a distancer / pursuer dynamic. Basically at any one time we are normally pursuing or distancing our SO. At the extremes, this is known as the "Elastic Band Effect"


Jealousy - ROCD, relationship OCD


Coping Skills - Basically we have three main responses to adversity, stress and anxiety. We can avoid, approach or even over-compensate. The most popular (and successful strategy short term) is avoidance, but this has the effect of actually making the issue we are trying to avoid - even more powerful in the long term.

There are a number of coping skills that we have that help us in adversity. It is important to remember that for a stressor to be considered as requiring 'coping,' it has to be 'interpreted' as having some degree of personal relevance. For example a stock market crash would not usually be very relevant for a young school teacher, but may be very relevant for a retiree who has a large portfolio of shares and who relies on it for their pension.

A sense of control and where you believe control is situated (within yourself or externally - out of your control) called the 'Locus of Control.' Obviously if you feel something is within your sphere of influence, it feels far more comfortable.


You aren't at the mercy of your emotions, your brain creates them | Lisa Feldman Barrett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gks6ceq4eQ

Emotional Intelligence (EI)

This is about the skills and capacity we have in being aware of, in control and expressing one's emotions judiciously and empathetically.

Here is an example of what an EI assessment might look like:



Hope is a double edged sword. If it is reasonable, proportional and rational, then it may be useful and good, but it can sometimes also turn into a delusional fantasy which can sometimes turn into denial and anchor us to inaction.


See how you score on your "humour coping skills questionnaire" by clicking here, courtesy of Professor Gijsbert Stoet https://www.psytoolkit.org/survey-library/humor-hsq.html


Learned Optimism


Problem Solving



This also may translate into something called " insecure attachment" if you tend to be anxious, clingy or jealous in your relationships.

Check this youtube video link to see this unconscious influence that affects us from childhood:


Social Support

Challenge and courage in adversity - and "having the skin in the game." This youtube link is about have the courage to have commitment.

Youtube Link to Brene Brown's "Man in the Arena" Speech

Click on open and download in the top right hand of the screen.

Narrated story of Mark Epstein's "The Pot" - The message is, you are good enough, and you should try to be compassionate and kind to yourself.


If you have scored high for self-esteem or identity issues, as indicated in the assessment above, try this Mirror Workbook.

Drop Box Link for Mirror Workbook (Word)

Click on open and download in the top right hand of the screen.

It would be best to talk its use through with me. If you want email counselling, we can use this as a framework. It is copyrighted, so please only for personal use.


If you feel a lot of shame in your life? Try this assessment (Excel):

Areas of Shame and Reapportionment Download

Click on open and download in the top right hand of the screen.

If you have am interest in learning more about some key useful psychological / psychotherapeutic concepts, here are some links:

Attentional Bias: https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-attentional-bias

Selective Attention 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

Selective Attention 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGQmdoK_ZfY

The Nature of Reality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyu7v7nWzfo


Transference: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/transference

An amazing real world example:

Watch the power of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW4jbu9gNt0

Projective Identification: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/young-people-close/201609/sneaky-devil-projective-identification

The 4 most common Projective Identifications, apart from anger which may be self-hatred (a deep sense of inadequacy - which they try to make others feel) :

  1. You are incompetent - you need me - obey my instructions.
  2. I make you whole.
  3. You owe me, I work so hard.
  4. Why are you so annoyed, what have I done?


Common Thinking Errors (which tend to cause anxiety) :

Mental Filter - only noticing bad? Judging - Evaluating only ‘one’ perspective. Prediction - Believing I know what will happen. Emotional Reasoning - I feel so bad, so it MUST be so bad. Mind Reading - I assume I know what others think. Comparing & Despairing - I'm seeing only good in others & bad in myself. Not appreciating each of us intimately knows ourselves, all the unfortunate mistakes we have ever made ..all our imperfections. And yet we cannot easily see the same imperfections in others, as we don't usually broadcast these. Catastrophising - I imagine when something goes wrong the worst will happen and it will ruin everything. Critical Self - always putting myself down. Black & White Thinking - believing that something can only be good/bad or right/wrong, with no grey bits in between. ‘Should-ing & Ought-ing- Putting undue pressure on myself. Perfectionism - thinking I need to be perfect all the time - Not remembering I only need to be ‘good enough’ & no-one is perfect all the time. Magnification - focusing mainly on the bad, but also minimising the good. Personalising - Am I taking blame or responsibility for things not under my control?

PTST - Trauma

A link to a download detailing the most common technique for addressing trauma, called the "Rewind Technique". This is just a script, which ideally should be performed with a trained psychotherapist, but it gives some insight into the process:


The TFT Technique tapping technique that may help in the relief of trauma.



Relaxation - Progressive muscle relaxation exercise recording:


Info about the counselling process

How the therapist can get in the way of therapy


How the client can get in the way of therapy


Who am I? My Hobbies, music and movies, interests and quotes I like.

In study after study of the effectiveness of psychotherapy suggest, its not the theoretical background or approch of the therapist that makes the difference in the success of therapy, the results are based on the quality of the relationship between both. Its a two way process. So to a degree you have to know me, like I have to know you. So that to that end I will provide some information about me.

Some of my favorite music and movies:

Titanium - David Guetta



Im a great believer in life-long learning, holistic thinking, the butterfly effect, transformational change and interconnectivity. "The universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers" - Stanley Kunitz

“We are all connected, to each other, biologically. To the Earth, chemically. To the Universe atomically” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Jordan Peterson on the ripple effect and how we act IS important. Live out your own genuine being affect billions and change the World.. Watch from 13.40 - 16.20


“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can.” - John Wesley

Looking for meaning?


"If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then you may be tempted to treat every problem as if were a nail." - Abraham Maslow

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Depressed...Lost Direction? - Inspirational talk from Jordan Peterson. Life advice that will change your future.


See what celebrities have to say about wealth, fame and happiness

Youtube link