Cross River Wellbeing Counselling & Psychotherapy in East Sussex

Who am I?

I’m a Relational psychotherapist and relationship coach working in the Ashdown Forest, near Haywards Heath and East Grinstead, where I've helped hundreds of people find their way to relational happiness. I offer counselling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups who'd like to make a commitment to improving their lives.

I was first introduced to being a sex educator when, in my mid teens, my best friend’s Mum asked me to explain “the facts of life” to her.

She knew that sex education was important, but felt too self-conscious to have any kind of sex talk with her daughter. I found it strange and sad that there was this fear. I certainly wasn’t equipped to teach anybody about something I had little theoretical and no practical knowledge of. However, my curiosity was ignited and has remained a constant throughout my life as an educator and subsequently psychologist and psychotherapist.

Years later, having qualified as a teacher and been posted to a boarding school in rural KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, I found myself in the position of school counsellor. I was resolutely aware of the value of a good start in Sex Ed. It was a short stint at the school but I like to think that I may have set few adolescents up with a slightly more positive attitude to sex than was predominant in South Africa during the late 1970s.

At around the same time I was thrown into the world of Trans. One of my closest male friends started feminising and eventually transitioned. I was horrified by the reaction of those around her. As a male she’d been a successful businessman, was the life and soul of the, then still largely illegal, local gay scene and never held back from local community involvement - loved by young and old alike.

Her female identity seemed to cause problems throughout our shared communities. Without entitlement to a legal identity, her business suffered, friends turned away and I was shocked to discover that even the gay community found her transition difficult to accept. This too fed my curiosity about love, sex and gender.

I hope that this curiosity is what has remained with me and enabled me to listen deeply to my clients when they come to share their deepest problems, concerns, obstacles and fantasies.

I’ve always viewed sex as a holistic experience and find that the misperception of what sex is, and increasing dependence on genital sex is a common reason many people choose to visit a sex therapist. I understand sex as both Recreational and Relational. Having the potential to both provide the more commonly acceptable purposes of procreation and bonding whilst retaining the erotic elements usually associated with initial attraction. Sex as play seems to have been rather let down by the stresses and romantic requirements of modern society and my passion is in rekindling, where possible, the flames of desire.

I'm a kink aware professional with professional and personal 'scene' experience and who is comfortably able to work with LGBTQ+ clients and those following BDsm, swinger, pagan and other alternative lifestyles.

Experience and Training

My knowledge is drawn from a fusion of conventional and less established sources. I have long known and have proudly sought the practical experience of some of my sex worker friends in understanding some of the hidden depths of human sexuality.

I have wide and varied experience with individuals and relationships as a counsellor, therapist, shamanic healer and educator.
I'm privileged to have had a long-term involvement with The Erotic Awards (now Sexual Freedom Awards), Leydig Trust and Outsiders Organisation. I was a founder member of the Sexual Freedom Coalition and speaker alongside Prof. Petruska Clarkson at its inaugural conference in 1997. These affiliations have given me the pleasure of working alongside a diverse range of people, sexual identities, disabilities and relationships.

Unfortunately I'm also experienced in caring for a partner, and all that involves, as well as early widowhood.

In addition to my life experience, my academic study includes:
*Higher Dip in Education (1980)
*BSc (Hons) (Psych)(2000)
*Dip. in Transpersonal Counselling (2001)
*Cert. Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy (2001)
*Cert Couples Counselling (2003)
*MRes (psych)(2006)

I'm also trained in EMDR, Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Relational Life Therapy.

I'm a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society and work according to their code of ethics.


My publications include:

De Visser, R. & McDonald, D. (2007) Swings and Roundabouts: Management of Jealousy in heterosexual ‘swinging’ couples. British Journal of Social Psychology, 46, 459-476.

McDonald, D. (2003) Dee McDonald’s Purple Pillowbook. London: Erotic Print Society.

McDonald, D. (2003) Masterclass: Sex Toys. London: Erotic Print Society.

McDonald, D. (2008) Swinging: Pushing the Boundaries of Monogamy? In M. Barker and D. Langridge (Eds.) Understanding Non-Monogamies (pp. 70-81), London: Routledge.

Series Editor of: Sexual Masterclass series published by the Erotic Print Society.

Contributor to: Men’s Health Guide to the Best Sex in the World (2008)

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