About Acorn Counselling Therapy

Who we are & what we know

Acorn Counselling Therapy is Peter Golder and Giancarlo Squillaci.  The founder & counsellor is Peter Golder as pictured and the Business Manager is Giancarlo Squillaci.

Finding the right counsellor to work with is key, as it will affect how you think and feel in the counselling sessions. We specialise in counselling for the LGBTQ community you can discover more here about our LGBTQ experience and credentials. So it is important to introduce and tell you about Peter.


The type of counselling he uses involves Transactional Analysis (TA), if you want to find out about TA go to our Approach page. For more about Peter read on here.


The focus in my counselling work, is on who my clients are as individuals, what they need, who they want to be, working with them in exploring or clarifying specific situations. I say specific, because we are all different and our individual differences must be appreciated in counselling work. What each person brings to counselling will be unique to them, so I take the time to carefully listen to what they have to say. I work with each client to understand their situation, giving them the opportunity to find some space or light, in what can sometimes be, a life that feels very dark, with little room to move.  

I have always had an interest in people and the way they behave. My life has therefore followed this interest in the work and studies that I have undertaken. This has included studying a degree in psychology. My studies helped me to appreciate how our brains affect the way we live our lives and how our lives affect our brains. I believe it is essential not to overlook how the brain works, because it controls everything we do. 


To build on this knowledge and put what I had learnt into practice, I volunteered my time and skills. I have supported people at a number of charities, most notably at the Samaritans and MindOut in Brighton.

For the majority of my life I have worked in customer service positions, meeting people from varying cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I have always ensured people are supported, valued and where necessary given careful attention.

My work has involved long haul international travel, working different shifts and leading a team of people. I currently work in Brighton and Hove as a Civil Servant. My work experience informs my understanding of what a lot of people experience in their work. Notably, the pressure of working in a demanding job, where there is a high expectation to gets things right. Managing tiredness and a lack of structure from irregular working hours, which have an impact on how you're feeling and how your life is progressing. 

Like many people, my life has brought me into contact with many difficult experiences that can be hard to manage. These include relationships, bereavement, physical health, mental health and the fear that life won’t be the same as you had hoped it would be. My situation is not the same as anyone else's, but it’s important to share that I have an understanding and empathy for what people talk to me about, because I have experienced something similar. This can be important for building a connection between myself and my clients.

Introducing Peter Golder

person entering a maze making decisions.jpg

Experience, training and areas of specialism

I have worked with people who have been affected by many different types of issues especially within the LGBTQ+ community.  My top specialisms are;


Gender identity

Gender dysphoria


I worked for the Brighton and Hove branch of Samaritans for 5 years. I was a listening volunteer supporting people who were suicidal or in emotional distress on the phone, by email and by text. I was also a leader who took great care to ensure the wellbeing of other volunteers was promoted. I worked as a Deputy Director for Recruitment and Selection of new volunteers, looking after a team of people who ensured the best possible applicants were recruited to support people who desperately needed Samaritans support.

I volunteered as a counsellor with Mindout, a charity in Brighton, resulting in me working with many clients from the LGBTQ+ community. This, coupled with my own LGBTQ identity, gives me a passion and understanding for Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity (GSRD).

I am a Mental Health Ally at the Ministry of Justice, supporting the mental health needs of the people that I work with in courts in Sussex and Surrey. I provide a listening ear to people and signpost where necessary to organisations that can offer support.


General Certificate in Online Counselling

Diploma in Counselling - The Link Centre
Advanced Counselling Skills - The Link Centre
BSc (Hons) Psychology - The Open University
BA (Hons) Music - University of Leeds

Professional development training

Level 3 Safeguarding Adults (2021)

Trauma, the Brain and Recovery
Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversity (GSRD)
Suicide intervention
Working therapeutically with sandtrays
Working with problem gamblers
Working with Difference and Diversity
Gender Identity and Transgender awareness

Code of ethics follwed

UKATA (United Kingdom Association for Transactional Analysis)

NCS (National Counselling Society)

I am on UKATA's Diversity and Social Responsibility committee

Areas of counselling covered

  • Anxiety

  • Affairs and betrayals

  • Anger management

  • Bereavement

  • Bullying

  • Childhood bullying

  • Depression

  • Discrimination

  • Family Issues

  • Feeling sad

  • Gambling

  • Generalised anxiety disorder

  • Gender

  • Gender Dysphoria

  • Health anxiety

  • Health and illness


  • Identity issues

  • Internet usage

  • LGBTQ issues

  • Low self-esteem

  • Low self-confidence

  • Loneliness

  • Non-binary

  • Passive aggression

  • Redundancy

  • Relationship problems

  • Self-harm

  • Sexuality

  • Smoking

  • Stress

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Transgender issues

  • Trauma

  • Queer