Counselling Service


TLC (Therapy, Linking and Counselling) is a service for parents who live in Leith with at least one child under the age of 5, living at home.

We are currently closed to new referrals

The British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (2011) describes counselling and psychotherapy as ‘umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.’

This process of effective change is supported by the provision of a confidential setting in which you, the client, should feel safe to discuss issues or difficulties which concern you. It is often easier to do this with someone outside your circle of family and friends.

People seek counselling for many reasons such as relationship problems, bereavement, depression, anxiety, phobias, illness or addictions.  Others may be experiencing more generalised feelings and are simply aware that something is wrong.  Counselling helps by talking about how these problems are affecting you now but sometimes it is necessary to discuss past experiences or wider relationships which may have contributed to these present difficulties.

Trauma and Person-centred counsellors work by acknowledging your perspective of your difficulties and by creating a therapeutic relationship with you which has many benefits: it can support you, without judgement, to challenge beliefs and views which may be affecting you negatively; it helps you identify any relationship difficulties outside of counselling and helps increase your confidence through acknowledgement and acceptance of your experiences.

Participation in counselling is by your consent and is most beneficial when clients are willing to participate fully in an honest and open way, to increasing their self-awareness and ultimately enhancing their wellbeing.

The Parent Counselling Service is for parents and carers, with a child under 5 years, who live in Leith.  We may offer a service to those living in immediate surrounding areas of Leith, where there is an identified need for counselling and the person cannot access an alternative service.

At your first session you will also be asked for personal information such as name, contact number, doctor, medication (if any) and reasons for seeking counselling.  You are free to opt out at any time and please be encouraged to ask questions at any point.

At Dr Bell’s we believe that for some people with active trauma symptoms (e.g. flashbacks, nightmares) counselling may not be the best form of therapy.  At your first session you will be involved in an assessment to try and work out the best kind of therapy for you.  You will be actively involved in this.

There are no minimum or maximum numbers of sessions you can receive however, your counsellor will review your therapeutic requirements frequently with you and make  agreements

Our counselling service is free but, as we’re a small, voluntary organisation who raises our own funds, we always welcome donations from those who can afford to do so.

We are currently closed for new referrals. We hope to be able to reopen our waiting list shortly. 

  • We prefer individuals to refer themselves.  This can be done by emailing or coming to the centre and requesting a referral form. We currently have a waiting list, so please do bear with us while we process your referral.
  • Agencies who wish to refer people should encourage the person to self-refer or they can come to Dr Bell’s, with the person, to fill in a referral form.
  • For more information about counselling see: and

Due to the complexity of our caseload, we are currently only able to offer placements to second year students.

Get in touch

0131 553 0100

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Our Counselling Team


Marise Gowenlock

Lead Volunteer Counsellor

What do you like about volunteering in the Leith community? – 

What made you want to volunteer at Dr Bell’s? – 

An interesting fact/quote:



Kevin O'Donnell

Volunteer Counsellor

I worked as a scientist for most of my life, firstly for Mars (the company, not the planet) and then for the Scottish Government. I loved my work, which was mainly to do with plant and seed health, however I came to realise that I was really more interested in people than plants. So I trained as a counsellor and took early retirement in 2017 to devote myself to that. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made. I completed my Counselling Diploma at the University of Edinburgh and aside from my work at Dr Bell’s, I work part-time for an organisation that supports people with disabilities and have a private counselling practice – Summerside Counselling ( I am also still a part-time student, studying for the Professional Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh. My research is on childhood experiences of disability and how they appear in adulthood.

What do you like about volunteering in the Leith community? – “I’ve lived in Leith for 30 years now and my children were born and grew up here. There’s a real sense of community and I’m glad to be a part of it. Dr Bell’s is a great example of what makes Leith unique.

What made you want to volunteer at Dr Bell’s? – “I first came to Dr Bell’s as a placement student and have stayed on as a volunteer counsellor.  I could say that the reason I stayed on was because it’s a wonderful community to be part of and that it’s a privilege to be able to work with the clients here. And those things are true. But the real reason I stayed on is that on my first day here, Narinder was doing a cooking class and she asked me if I would like to try some of the food. My stomach was aching with the delicious smells but I replied, in the way that you do, “Oh well maybe a wee bit if that’s ok”. Next thing I knew, I was presented with a brimming plate of wonderful food and Narinder saying “We don’t do ‘wee bits’ here.” I fell in love with Dr Bells right there and then.

An interesting fact/quote:

“I’ve met a man who walked on the moon (Alan Bean) So if you’ve met me, you have only 2 degrees of separation from an Apollo moonwalker.”


Mythri Kukkaje Ramakrishna

Student Counsellor


What do you like about working in the Leith community? –

What made you want to do your placement at Dr Bell’s? – 

An interesting fact/quote: