Therapy on the high street from Cliftonville’s Self & Sea

Self & Sea in Northdown Road, Cliftonville

Therapy ‘on the high street’ is the focus of a new mental health wellbeing business officially opening in Cliftonville on Saturday.

Self & Sea offers in person and online therapy and is the first venue in Kent where people can walk-in and book sessions with no need for a referral.

The venue, which has seven registered therapists in a range of fields, has removed any clinical aspect to make access simple.

Founder Maria Thompson says the aim is to reshape the culture around mental health and make an easy to access services.

Maria said: “We are a mental health provider and the second in the UK, and first in Kent, to offer therapy on the high street. It is literally a shop where you book just as you would a hair appointment. It’s a modern approach, getting rid of the clinical aspects.

“We are also having therapy evenings, talks and support groups. We already have a weekly Sober Social which is an alternative to AA. A lot of people are now understanding and looking at the drinking habits. Especially since covid. People may feel their drinking is not excessive enough for AA and just want a place to find like-minded people.

“It’s become a really lovely group.”

The Sober Social group on Tuesdays is a collaboration with Love Café co-owner Ronnie Traynor.

Another high-profile person to get onboard is producer and DJ 220 Kid who will be at the opening on Saturday. The Margate-based DJ and model will talk to young people about mental health and his own experiences.

Maria said: “It is all about removing stigma and changing the culture, that’s the whole point of being on the high street.

“We also do business retreats, coaching for mental health in business. We have a contemporary and modern vibe and people can come without putting pressure on NHS services and pay for their therapy.”

Self & Sea psychotherapists and counsellors are all registered practitioners. They also offer low cost sessions with student psychotherapists and counsellors who have over 50 supervised client hours and are nearing the end of their training.
Those onboard include a nutritionist, eating disorder specialist, parent and baby coach and a relationship counsellor.

Maria said: “What seems to be trending is a mix of some online and some face-to-face.”

Maria says Self & Sea has already had numerous enquiries and she has been enjoying meeting people and other business owners in Northdown Road.

Self & Sea, at 468a  Northdown Road, will be open on Saturday between 11am and 3pm for anyone who would like to pop in and find out more.

Find Self & Sea online by clicking here


  1. Erm, £80 to see a qualified therapist? £40 to see a trainee? That’s ridiculous. They are well and truly aiming themselves at the wealthy few DFLs and are not an accessible walk-in/ service reducing stigma, as they claim. They’ve got the BACP icon on their webpage – go to the BACP directory and you can find an accredited therapist for half the price that this place is suggesting. Talk about glamourising therapy.

    • It would also be very interesting to find out if any of the therapists were ‘volunteers’ as many services which offer counselling with qualified bacp members working towards their accreditation expect them to work for free or trainee students have to volunteer to gain experience. No other career does this. It is scandalous.
      I absolutely agree with you.. gain support from a therapist registered with the bacp for around £40-£45 a session. This is not ‘low cost’service.

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