About us

Altogether there are approximately 35 counsellors and psychotherapists working at the Pottery Road Centre from a variety of different approaches and backgrounds. You can read more about some of them on our Therapists page. We are very proud of the standard of therapy and counselling that takes place at the Centre. See our pages on the Range of Fees for more details of prices, and also How do I make an Appointment.

Staff at the Office 

Directors:  Sam Gallo and Ian Burman

Sam is also the clinical director at Cedar counselling, a clinical supervisor and manages his private practices in both Birmingham and Leamington Spa. For Sam’s webiste please click here.

Ian joined as a co-director in April 2020 having worked as a social worker for many years and now works with us as a therapist at our premises in Pottery Road.

Centre Manager: Elaine 

Elaine comes from a background of working with young people and more recently the NHS as a GP Practice Manager and works with us on a part-time basis 4 days a week .. she enjoys travelling, particularly her cruises!

Book Keeper:  Gary

Gary keeps our financial books in order, remaining calm in the face of a sometimes fraught office… it must be all those escapes to the beautiful North Wales he indulges in – that and the strong tea!


Office hours
Core office hours are:
Monday – Friday 10am – 3pm

But you can always try either side of these times as we’re often in the office. Otherwise we’re very good at collecting and responding to answer phone messages.

Birmingham Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre started its life in 1992 as Birmingham Counselling Centre, developing a reputation for experiential counselling training.

Bob Smith and Deb Williams started the Centre after Bob’s experiences of running counselling training in a college of FE & HE when it was still an unfamiliar, fringe activity. He believed that counselling training would benefit considerably from being offered in a purpose-built building, on an experiential basis with appropriate boundaries, where it could model what the training was preaching. Deb had been in teaching and was still working part time as an educational adviser to schools in Birmingham.

The Centre began in a large old house in Edgbaston (hence the ‘Birmingham’) offering training and counselling services. The training quickly became very popular so in 1997 BCC transferred to it’s present base at Pottery Road – first at 131 and then in 2002 adding on the building at 127. They specifically wanted to move to a base within a local community as part of their aim to bring counselling into the mainstream. Our tutors were mostly experienced psychotherapists and often our trained & qualified counsellors were going on to train as psychotherapists while working at the Centre so along the way it felt appropriate to add ‘Psychotherapy’ to our name.

Although independently run, the Centre’s philosophy was always to offer counselling support to as many as possible regardless of ability to pay and always provided some low cost counselling. Therapy could always be available within seven days of enquiry. They also championed the idea of having therapists of different orientations working side by side to share and learn from each other.

As the Centre developed it became well known nationally for its high quality counselling training.  Although that programme was drawn to a close the centre continued to maintain a national profile with work for large organisations across the UK. This was built on the wide range of support provided to local and regional organisations, commercial, voluntary or statutory.

In April 2018 after a wonderful, challenging & creative journey over 27 years Bob & Deb passed the mantle over to Sam Gallo and Lorraine Bagshaw who became the new owners and directors.  However, Lorraine has since moved on.  Sam is a UKCP accredited psychotherapist with his own private practice and is also the director of counselling charity Cedar Counselling, which has now become Birmingham Counselling and Psychotherapy Centre’s new neighbours at 129 Pottery Road, making something of a therapeutic village.