Counselling can help you explore the difficulties you may be experiencing in a non-judgemental, understanding environment. A counsellor is there to help you to discover your own inner resources and allow you to look at things in a different way at your own pace.


Counselling can help you explore the difficulties you may be experiencing in a non-judgemental, understanding environment. A counsellor is there to help you to discover your own inner resources and allow you to look at things in a different way at your own pace.

The counsellor will respond to individual needs, looking at feelings, thoughts and behaviour. The journey can be challenging and difficult at times as it involves accepting responsibility for your own life and learning to trust in yourself. Counselling can help you take back control of your self and life.

Counselling Referrals

Referrals for counselling can be made in person by phone to our Helpline (01484 450040), or by email or letter.

We will accept referrals from other agencies and individuals only if you have given express permission to do so. Where an individual is acting on your behalf we will need you to let us know either in person by phone or letter or email that you want us to take the referral.

Initial Counselling Meeting

Before you are offered counselling you will be invited to an initial counselling meeting (ICM) with a qualified counsellor. The counsellor will ask you some questions which will help you decide together if counselling at the centre is appropriate for you.

If you both agree to proceed then your details will be placed on a waiting list. Whilst you are waiting for an appointment you can access support through our Helpline (01484 450040), you can arrange this at your initial meeting or you can contact the Helpline yourself if you decide you want to do so. We review the waiting list regularly and our Helpline team may contact you to offer support if you have been waiting for your appointment for some time..

Should you decide not to continue with our service you will be given advice and guidance as to availability of other services and how to access them.

Counselling Sessions

When an appointment is available to begin working you will be assigned a counsellor and you will be offered up to 10 counselling sessions on a weekly basis. Counselling sessions will last up to 50 minutes and your progress will be reviewed regularly to ensure that you are getting what you want out of your sessions.

What Is Counselling?

Deciding to see a counsellor is a big decision! People often choose to see a counsellor because they are experiencing distress and difficulties that are affecting their life or affecting the life of people they care about.

You may have supportive family; friends or a partner; but feel uncomfortable talking to them about your difficulties; or may not want to burden them.

The issues that are explored within counselling will be different for each person and cover a wide variety of themes which may include:

  • Loss
  • Confidence
  • Coping strategies
  • Self value
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Childhood issues
  • Relationships
  • Abuse
  • Bullying
  • Personal identity
  • Past issues etc.

Choosing to see a counsellor means that you are willing to explore uncomfortable feelings; thoughts; beliefs and behaviours which affect you and your life. This can involve allowing yourself to be vulnerable and showing a part of yourself that you are not used to showing to anyone else. This can be understandably very frightening.

For some people it may be the first time that they have decided to seek counselling ; and not know what to do or what to expect from counselling sessions.

Counselling appointments take place at a specific place; time and date which is agreed by you and the counsellor. Counselling sessions will provide a private safe place where you will not be disturbed. The counsellor’s aim is to help you to resolve your difficulties in a way that is right for you.

This may be to explore feelings; thoughts; beliefs or ways of behaving. Talking about these things may take time; and the number of sessions will depend on where you decide to go for counselling; the issues you would like to work on; and what you would like to change or be different.

Sessions may be limited; for example, short term therapy might provide between 4-8 sessions.

Your first meeting with a counsellor will be at the assessment stage where further information is gathered; which will enable the counsellor to get a further understanding of what you are experiencing and what you wish to achieve in counselling sessions. It will also give you an opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns you have about counselling.

There are different ways of working with people which depends on the counsellors training and the issues identified by you. These different ways are usually referred to as approaches; techniques; interventions or modalities.

At the first counselling session the counsellor will go through a counselling agreement which outlines what you can expect from sessions and may include: confidentiality, attendance; length and number of sessions; the way in which the counsellor works etc.

Therapy/counselling is not advice giving or persuading you to see things from the counsellor’s point of view; although counsellors may offer education regarding the issue; information or coping techniques. Some therapeutic approaches may require that you do homework as part of your therapy; which will be explained by your counsellor.

Counselling is not just a friendly chat discussing the week’s events as you would with a friend; parent; partner of family member; who may have an opinion; judgement or give advice.

The counsellor is an impartial professional, who is able to listen to you non-judgmentally and to work with your emotions; thoughts; beliefs and behaviours without getting involved. The counsellor can help you to develop an understanding of yourself and others helping you to find your own solutions; to improve your well being and how you feel about and view yourself.


Confidentiality is essential in a counselling/therapy relationship; as part of building trust; however, confidentiality is not absolute, and there are exceptions; which your counsellor will discuss with you at the beginning of your contact with them. Sometimes, in the public interest, counsellors may need to make a referral to an agency or organisation (for example GP, police or social services) when there is a serious risk of imminent harm to their clients or to others, for example where a client has serious mental health issue and may need hospitalisation, or if a child is in danger physically or sexually; or if there is elder abuse!

Disclosures to the police or social services may sometimes be made at the client’s request, for example, where a client asks for help when they are experiencing abuse.

You and your counsellor/therapist should talk together in the first session of counselling to discuss the limits of confidentiality for your work together. Counsellors do not make telephone calls or engage in discussions about you to your GP, police, social services. employer, partner, family members, and friends or to other agencies to find out, clarify, or add to your personal information without your consent or knowledge. This would be an absolute breach of confidentiality and trust. Should you have any questions or concerns about counselling please feel free to talk to your counsellor/therapist.

Am I Ready For Counselling?

It is helpful to consider the below questions or statements before you commence counselling to assess if you are ready to work on yourself; and your issues; as counselling requires a commitment. Should you have any fears or concerns please feel free to raise them with your counsellor.

Fears of:

  • What you may feel
  • What you might remember
  • Not being able to cope with what comes up/not having the resources to cope
  • What other people might think (family; friends, partner)
  • The consequences of change
  • Feeling overwhelmed; upset or rejected
  • Counselling may make me feel worse than what I do now
  • Unsure as to whether your memories are real
  • Fear of the unknown

Current situations:

  • Exams
  • Relationship breakup
  • Pregnancy
  • Ill health
  • Too many other things going on in your life.
  • Just started a new job
  • The time is not right
  • I don’t feel ready

Thoughts and beliefs (from self and others):

  • Other people come first
  • My problems don’t matter as much as other peoples
  • I don’t matter; I have dealt with it on my own so far
  • You should look forward rather than dwelling
  • Just get on with it as it’s in the past
  • Stop dwelling on the past
  • I have coped so far on my own
  • You are making a mountain out of a molehill
  • The problems will go away by themselves
  • I don’t need counselling I am not crazy
  • Other people need it more than me

Our Helpline Support Service

We are here to listen, to believe you without judgement and can offer support and advice to victim-survivors, family members, friends and partners, as well as signposting and referring to other appropriate services.

01484 450040