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I'm a certified Imago couples therapist, dating coach & mother of 2 daughters.

Full-length shot of couple therapist Shan Merchant reading 'Sex at Dawn': The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.

I want to show you how your relationship can be your superpower!

13 years' experience

I've been working as a psychotherapist since 2010. I quickly gravitated to a specialism in relationships, couples therapy and dating as my area of profound interest. Currently I'm exploring how neurodiversity affects relationships.

Working with couples globally

I was born in Sydney, raised in Auckland, New Zealand, and have had private therapy practices in London, Ibiza and Yorkshire. Thanks to the wonders of Zoom I'm able to work with couples and individuals from California to Auckland.

Drawing on many modalities

From my early studies in psychosynthesis psychotherapy, through to what I believe is the most effective form of Couples Therapy, Imago, I am committed to learning and applying all I can in service of my clients.

Image of the book 'From Power Struggle to Peaceful Couple' by Shan Merchant.

From Power Struggle to Peaceful Couple


If your relationship is characterised by fighting, blaming, bickering, silences, distractions, and even threats to leave or an affair, don't give up hope and don't settle.

Read my book to understand what's really going on and what to do to get things back on track. A definitive guide and personal account of how to get through the often painful second stage of your relationship, the Power Struggle, and build a truly profound loving connection with your partner.

Buy Now

My own experience of relationships has been wide-ranging

– I married and divorced in my twenties.

– I'm a bisexual woman. After dating only men until age 35, I've been with my female partner for 13 years.

– My partner and I used Imago Therapy to come back from the brink of separation and have a built a beautiful new love.

– I have a neuro-diverse family – my partner and daughter are on the Autism spectrum.

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a call with me
Family portrait shot of Shan Merchant, her partner and two children at a wedding.

My own first experience of psychotherapy

My first experience of psychotherapy was as a client. I was a young woman of 24, living in London on a 2 year working visa from New Zealand. And I was experiencing some real difficulty with anxiety.

I managed my chronic loneliness and anxiety by choosing relationships with men to feel safe. However, this meant finding myself repeatedly rushing into the wrong relationships.

I was 24 when I knocked on the therapy room door in London, opening myself up to a long journey of healing, self-love and learning to feel good enough. Talking therapy has been transformational in my life. I've had more than 12 years of weekly personal therapy and a great deal of additional coaching.

The chaos of my twenties

Over the decade of my 20s I noticed more and more a pattern of anxiety, fear and loneliness and picking the wrong men. This led me to either struggling to commit or being dumped and having painful relationship breakups that I would feel devastated over. I also got married at the age of 26 and was divorced by the time I was 29. 

The refuge of therapy

Although I started therapy at 24, it took a while for me to settle into going to therapy consistently. I'd do a year here, six months there.

My first therapist was a lovely woman called Jay, who I saw for one year. It was a very nurturing experience where I finally found a safe place to tell my story. After this I bounced around for the next couple of years from therapist to therapist (leaving them when I started to attach to them!)until finally I decided to enrol in psychotherapy training myself.

One of my best friends from university had died in her early 30s and her dying was the wake up call I needed to sort out my anxiety and my chaotic life.

My training in counselling & psychotherapy

I began my lifelong education in therapy and relationships by training for 10 years at the Institute of Psychosynthesis in London. It was here that I did my own deep inner work in therapy.

Part of my psychotherapy training required 40 hours of personal therapy per year. While I was training I met my partner, had 2 children and lived in Ibiza for 3 years. It was while I lived in Ibiza that I decided to specialise in relationships in my individual therapy practice and dating coaching because:


Psychosynthesis is a Transpersonal Psychology (meaning believing there is a spiritual aspect to life)which was developed by Robert Assagioli, an Italian psychiatrist in the 1900s.

In Psychosynthesis we're interested in the potential of human nature.

In this model there is a spiritual 'Self', also known as our Higher Self, which calls us towards growth and wholeness.

A therapist will work with a client's presenting issues, exploring their early childhood and past trauma, current issues, but will also look to the future and the vast potential for growth, healing and change.

Clients do not need to be 'spiritual' to benefit from Psychosynthesis, aka. the 'Psychology of Love' and many people from all walks of life have benefited from it.

Imago Therapy

I first found Imago Theory because my partner and I had hit the rocks!

We were living in Ibiza, about 10 years into our relationship, caring for two small children, juggling our two businesses and setting a new life up in Ibiza. We started arguing, blaming, competing and seeing each other as the enemy. We came close to separating, but I wasn't going to let that happen.

Eventually I found the book Getting The Love You Want by Dr Harville Hendrix and Dr Helen LaKelly Hunt. I located an Imago therapist and my partner and I went ourselves for nearly a year.

The work was so transformational for us that I decided to train in Imago Relationship Therapy myself. I know it works as we have rescued our own relationship using its tools and techniques. It's powerful stuff and I want to share it.

Intensive Short-term Dynamic Psychotherapy

ISTDP is an accelerated model of dynamic psychotherapy that focuses on the importance of experiencing core emotions and uses powerful interventions to address anxiety & defences.

ISTDP alleviates symptoms of emotional distress and promotes mental health in a rapid & cost-effective way.

I'm currently studying ISTDP & incorporating these techniques into my work.

I find this model of psychotherapy is very beneficial, effective and it makes financial sense for my individual clients to achieve more over a short time span.

Accredited by

Logo for the UK Council for PsychotherapyLogo for the UK Council for PsychotherapyAccreditation Logo: Professional Standards Authority.

How I can help you with Couples Therapy or Counselling

I have seen therapy and counselling having a huge impact on people's lives.

One thing that sets me apart as a therapist and couples therapist is that I always embody my work. I don't ask my clients to go places I haven't been myself! I've done huge amounts of work in my individual therapy and in couples work with my partner.

I'm passionate about the life changes this work can bring you, if you're prepared to commit to it.

I ask you to take radical responsibility for who you are being. If you're in a couple, I ask you to take responsibility for the presence and energy you bring to your relationship.