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About me..

Matt Ridley

I've been counselling in Exeter for 12 years now. I run a successful private practice located on Southernhay East, in the heart of Exeter. I work with adults, couples, and young people from the age of 16. I have a degree in Integrative counselling and am accredited with the BACP. I also have experience working for a domestic violence charity in Exeter as well as work in secondary schools and most recently as a lecturer for the University of Worcester. 

I love to laugh and find that humour can be really helpful in therapy.

I am a big fan of nature, I love festivals and have a beautiful black labrador. I regularly practice yoga and meditation and enjoy the space and peace these things bring to my life.

I feel passionate about working in a professional, safe and ethical way whilst being warm and human.


I will always strive to create an atmosphere where you feel safe, supported, and free to just be you, without fear of judgement.  I believe very much in the power of healthy and robust relationships, and this is one of the things I think is most valuable about counselling. I promote openness and equality with each of my clients. I am me and you are you, different and equal in the same measure.


I'm real, mindful and speak my mind whilst being gentle and compassionate.



My approach to counselling

Singing bowl


As an Integrative Counsellor I have been trained to select a small handful of different theoretical approaches to develop my own distinct way of working. I offer a modern approach to counselling and maintain a strong professional ethos which respects the ethical principles set out within the BACP Ethical Framework.


"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change."

Carl Rogers


Put simply, I work with you to help you find more self-awareness and with that can come more self-acceptance. The more we notice about ourselves the more opportunity there is for change. I have found that In any situation that bothers us, we usually have 3 options:

  • Change it

  • Accept it

  • Walk away

I can help you to identify which you want to do and then work to make it happen.

If you want to know a bit more about the therapeutic modalities I use, then read on...


I use a “psychodynamic” approach to investigate the past to help understand where there might be unconscious influences that can have a detrimental impact on your life in the present. These tend to manifest as difficulties in relationships with others, or a difficult relationship with oneself. This way of working has roots with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. My philosophy is that as we develop, ‘parts’ or ‘sub personalities’ that exist under the umbrella of our consciousness. Learning to identify, understand and love these should bring about a deeper sense of inner peace and contentment. There is a very new form of psychotherapy called “Internal Family Systems” which I find to be incredibly effective to help work with this area.

I really love working with the "Transpersonal" (if it is relevant to you). This is about working towards a healthy spirit through using guided Imagery/meditation /body awareness/breath work/inner child healing/developing the imagination and intuition/creative art work. This approach can help you to value your true worth, to find a connection to something bigger than yourself. Connecting to your higher self that can serve as a witness to your ego can be incredibly transformative.


Polyvagal theory” underpins my understanding of neuroscience and is a vital tool when working with trauma. Trauma, especially repeated trauma such as abuse, teaches our brains to be on high alert and will trigger the sympathetic nervous system in any instance that seems threatening. This can happen even when there is no real danger and learning to understand this can change how the body responds to perceived threat can be very freeing.  Learning to relax the body through ‘soothing’ oneself is important to help regulate the body, mind and emotions. I have many tools at my disposal to help this to happen, which include breathing/grounding exercises, developing awareness of triggers and more.


I believe that the thinking mind can easily become confused and believe it is necessary to work with it directly sometimes. To do this I use aspects from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Some clients prefer to work this way and it can be a very useful tool.


Someone very wise once said:

“You can’t fix a problem using the same kind of thinking that created it in the first place”

Often, we need new insights and feedback in order to develop a new frame of reference upon our views of both the world and ourselves, especially if we have lacked positive parental or caregiver relationships.


Regardless of theoretical approach, I believe the relationship between counsellor and client is the constant that exists in all forms of therapy and ties in my varying philosophical approaches. The relationship comprises of ethical considerations and boundary holding, which respect the balance between client and counsellor. As well as providing a reparative space which helps to show a new way of existing within a relationship that heals and supports the individual. I always seek genuine and authentic connection with my clients, even if this can be challenging at times. Sometimes it is on the edge of feeling comfortable that the most useful work can happen.







It's worth noting that I will not use all of these approaches with each client. I will use what feels appropriate and most useful. Any kind of exercise or activity is strictly by invitation only - you will never have to do anything you dont want to.

Here are some of the tools I sometimes use in creative work... Who ever said therapy couldn't be fun =)

counselling sand tray

Training and Qualifications

2021 - Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Integrative Counselling. University of Worcester.

2017 - Post Qualifying Diploma in Creative Arts Therapy. The Iron Mill Institute, Exeter.

2015 - Certificate in Counselling Couples/Relationships. Exeter & East Devon Counselling Training.

2014 - Qualified as a Thrive Practitioner. Babcock International.

2013 - Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling. The Iron Mill Institute, Exeter.

2008 - Counselling Studies Level 3. North Cornwall Adult Education.




 Professional Membership




I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (MBACP - Accred)) and abide by their code of ethics. My membership number is 716535.



BACP member logo
BACP member logo
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