Welcome to

Populi Therapy

Alastair MacKinnon MBACP (Reg'd Counsellor) FRSA

Counselling for individuals and couples in a safe, comfortable and private setting

Welcome, and thank you for visiting Populi Therapy.

Welcome to Populi Therapy. My name is Alastair MacKinnon and I provide professional counselling and psychotherapy services. I am based in Edinburgh, and since the pandemic, as well in-person sessions, I also offer counselling via online video. This can be for anyone in the UK.

Everyone is different. You have your unique reasons for looking for help. Maybe you feel stuck in a difficult place in your life - in your relationship, at work or at home, you may be struggling to believe that it can be different.

My aim is to help you discover the changes that you want to make and to help you bring that about.

Is now the right time for you to explore and understand more clearly what’s going on? You can talk to me in a way and about things that you may never talk to anyone else about, without judgement or shame.

I am a qualified Counsellor and Supervisor in Edinburgh, a Registered Member of the BACP, and a counselling member of COSCA. My career has included senior posts in the public and charity sectors. My experience along with my skills as a counsellor help me to understand the particular difficulties that many people face in high stress situations and jobs.

Make the next step and contact me on 07788 106671 or email me here.

What can I offer?

I offer counselling and psychotherapy to adults, couples and students /young people (18 yrs+) from all backgrounds who are experiencing difficulties or looking to address a wide range of issues.

I also have a lot of experience of providing counselling for individuals and couples who are having issues with their relationships, whatever the sexual orientation involved.

I am also experienced in working with people who are looking for counselling that takes account of their faith or spirituality.

I have an Institute of Leadership and Management Award in Leadership and use my former workplace experience as a CEO as well as a counsellor with clients who may require support and therapy that is work related.

Are there other things happening to you at the moment that counselling and psychotherapy may help you with?

I am trained to listen to you, and to do so with an open mind. I will try to understand as fully as possible what you come with and how it is affecting your life. It's not my role to judge or to provide quick fixes. As a counsellor I will work with you to help you use your own inner resources, so that you can better cope and respond to the issues you are facing.

After a conversation over the phone or by email (if email - I would also often speak to you on the phone), we can agree a time for an initial consultation.

In our first meeting we will have an opportunity to further discuss why you are seeking counselling, and then to agree a way forward. We would also agree how and at what times sessions will take place, and how many sessions we initially agree to meet for.

About Counselling

What to expect

Counselling often focuses on resolving particular issues or problems that are current and causing unhappiness or difficulty. It can also be about improving an aspect of our lives, and gaining greater insight into our motivations, relationships and direction in our lives. Counselling might be only for a few sessions or it may be longer.

Psychotherapy may be thought of as being a deeper, longer term process.

What happens in a counselling session?

I will encourage you to talk freely about what has brought you to counselling. I will listen carefully and I will try to understand what is happening for you and how we can work together.

I often use Transactional Analysis (TA) as a model for working. It is an integrative approach to human psychology, combining aspects of psychodynamic, humanistic and behaviourist approaches and addressing cognitive, affective (feelings and emotions) and behavioural aspects of human experience.

My Approach

Sometimes I will ask questions, and we will explore what you are thinking or feeling, or how you are behaving. I will often focus on what is happening in the counselling session at the time - exploring our mutual responses and experiences. This can increase awareness of how you relate to others and to situations in your life, and help you to make the changes you wish for and develop new ways of responding. There may be times when I give you something to do between sessions or to consider an approach to an issue that we have discussed.

Make better, healthier new choices

I will not tell you what to do or what to think, but will help you form your own decisions and support you in bringing about the changes you desire.

I will regularly invite you to review how our sessions are progressing and we will pay close attention to how we are relating to each other.

"Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free."

- Paul Tillich

Couples/Relationship Counselling

Problems in relationships are a frequent cause of unhappiness and frustration. You may be struggling with the behaviour of your partner or have been trying to deal with communication issues between you. If your marriage or relationship is in difficulty, or if you would like to make your partnership more satisfying, call or e-mail me today and make an appointment.

Who comes to Couple Therapy?

Relationships counselling is for all couples - married, co-habiting partners and same sex/LGBTQI+relationships.

Couples often seek counselling when their relationship is in crisis, but it can also be helpful at times of change and adjustment.

Even at the start of a new relationship, you may want to take time together to explore what you expect of each other, especially if previous relationships have been unhappy or unsuccessful. In any relationship, pre-marriage/civil partnership counselling can be helpful as a means of openly exploring your expectations of each other with the help of an open and trusted professional.

Or perhaps you are looking for counselling to help you separate in the least damaging way, and work through that in a safe environment with a trusted counsellor.

Can I attend on my own?

If you are in a relationship which is in crisis or making you unhappy, but your partner does not want to come to counselling, you can make an appointment to see me alone, and we can focus on your needs within an individual therapy setting. Individual therapy sessions are for an hour.

Contact me, Alastair MacKinnon, on 07788 106671 or use the email form below to make an appointment.

What does it involve?

We can make a time for an initial consultation with you both.I will listen to both of you with care and impartial attention. We will explore what you expect counselling to do for your relationship, whether you are working through a difficult time, or wanting to address issues that are making you unhappy together.

If you choose to continue with counselling, we will begin to explore your relationship in depth. I will help you to address the difficulties or issues without judgement or blame. We will aim to help you develop a deeper understanding of each other, improve the quality of your communication with each other, and help you create a more satisfying partnership for you both.

I will often help couples to look not only at the current issues in their relationship, but also to help uncover what may be underlying them, what may be re-creating problems and stopping you from resolving them.

We all bring our personal histories into our relationships, and sometimes that can cause difficulties in our relationships. We often do not even know how much we are responding to old ways of relating to others, which are no longer appropriate or helpful. How we have grown up in our own families, where we learn to relate to others, is often very important.

In Couples therapy I would expect to see you regularly and at first preferably in weekly sessions. Both partners normally need to attend together. You may only need a few sessions to help you through a difficult time, or you may need longer term help.

Ongoing daytime sessions start from £60 per hour.

Evening sessions, if I have availability (after 6pm start) are £70 per hour.


I offer supervision to counsellors/psychotherapists and those engaged in therapeutic work. I also supervise trainee counsellors. I have a COSCA validated Diploma in Supervision.

Options and Cost:

Individual Supervision: 1 hour session for self funding £50. I may have reduced rates for trainees available.

I also offer a one hour and a half session for qualified practitioners. Please ask for organisational/ placement supervision rates if that applies to you and you are not paying your own fees

I integrate a number of approaches in my supervision work alongside my core training in Transactional Analysis.

I particularly like one of Keith Tudor's descriptions of supervision:

“Supervision may be viewed as a forum and a relationship in which practitioner and supervisor meet as two colleagues to tell different stories about the client and themselves. In this way, they discover new possibilities (rather than old probabilities) freeing the therapist from the constraints of his or her (and the client’s ) script.” (2002, p.52)

I am available, by arrangement on weekdays, and some evenings.

Call me or email me if you would like to discuss your supervision needs and options.

About Me

My approach is to work with you - I won't 'do it' for you or to you. I value your individuality, your views, fears, and insights.

Your goals and how we achieve these will form the basis of our agreement to work together. Therapy should be as unique as you are.

While we all share many things in common, people respond differently to different types of approaches, so I always tailor my work with you to respond to your specific needs, personality and situation.

I work with a wide range of people. A lot of my work in Edinburgh is with chief officers, managers and executives in high stress work environments, in industry, medicine, law, academia and the voluntary sector. And I also have a lot of experience of working with individuals and couples whose issues are related to their specific cultural, spiritual or sexual backgrounds.

I believe that counselling can help with self-development, confidence, taking more responsibility for our lives and in helping us to recognise our strengths, and our ability to change.

Clinical Supervision and Personal Psychotherapy

As a professional counsellor I regularly meet with an experienced BACP supervisor. I keep up to date with new developments by attending lectures, seminars, reading and courses. I had personal psychotherapy throughout my four year training.

I adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework and the COSCA Code of Ethics.

I am a Registered Member of the BACP and a counsellor member on COSCA’s Register that has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority. This is recognition of my commitment to high standards.The register was set up by the Government to improve standards and safety for the benefit of the public.

I am fully insured and also registered for Data Protection (ICO) and PVG.

You can CLICK HERE to access COSCA's Complaints Procedure.

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost?

My fee range at present is £45 to £60 and is based on the appointment time and availability for an individual who is self-funding. Evening appointments fees are charged at a higher fee.

I sometimes have a limited number of daytime sessions for students or those on low income.

Self-funding Couples Therapy - from £60 per session for ongoing work. Evening sessions after 6pm are £70 per hour session.

You can pay by CARD (when in person), or by arrangement, by electronic invoice or BACS transfer in advance, and for online work.

I review my pricing policy annually.

In order for you to benefit from counselling it is important that you attend each session. I require 48 hours notice to cancel a session otherwise you will be charged the normal session fee.

Do I need a referral from my GP?

No, there is no need for a referral. You may, of course, decide to inform your GP that you are receiving counselling, if you felt it was appropriate.

How often do I attend?

I would usually expect you to have weekly therapy at first in order to make significant changes. I realise that finance can be an issue however, and if this is the case, please feel free to discuss this openly with me. Occasionally, people have sessions fortnightly or twice a week, or may have extra sessions at particular points.

How long is counselling or psychotherapy for?

This is an entirely individual matter and depends upon many things - the issues we are dealing with, their nature and severity. Some people achieve the results they want in just a few weeks, others may take months or even years. It is important that we go at the pace that suits you. We would discuss the expected length of therapy at an early stage in our work.

How do I find out more?

You can call me now on 07788 106671 or email me (see side-bar) if there is more you would like to know. I normally like to speak to you before making an appointment.

If I am not able to help you, I will try to refer you to a colleague who may be able to offer the kind of help that you need.

Get in touch

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how I work, or to arrange an initial consultation.. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of coming to counselling, whether it could be helpful for you and whether I am the right therapist to help.

You can also call me on 07788106671 if you would prefer to leave a message or speak to me first. I am happy to discuss any queries or questions you may have prior to arranging an initial appointment.

I am located in Edinburgh.