Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus Update

In light of the current situation regarding the Coronavirus, COVID-19, we are now offering online or telephone counselling in place of face-to-face sessions. Moving to virtual meetings means that our counsellors will continue to be able to provide support during this extraordinary crisis. If you want to make an appointment, please email or call us on 0151 329 3637. We will do our best to help.

How long is a session?

Each session lasts about 50 minutes and we would normally meet once a week, though both these can be varied according to your need. It's not uncommon for clients to prefer 90 or 110 minute sessions, or to come more than once a week. Some clients prefer to come less frequently, too.

How many sessions will I need?

It's impossible to say how many sessions you will need as it varies from individual to individual. However, uncomplicated grief and short-term, moderate anxiety or low mood usually requires between four and eight sessions. Chronic or acute problems may require much longer term therapy.

Do I have to do it all at once? Can I come back?

Some clients come for a period, then take a break before returning weeks, months or even years later.  

We are very flexible in what we offer, why not call us  to discuss your needs?

We strive to ensure that no one is denied access to counselling on the basis of cost, therefore all rates are negotiable, depending on individual circumstances. We will not ask for details of your financial position but will take it on trust that you will pay what you can reasonably afford. While we do our best to make counselling affordable, it's not possible for us to provide a free counselling service.

Our Fees

Our normal session fee is £50 for individuals, £60 for couples, with discounts available to the unwaged and those in financial hardship. We only charge for the first session if you're happy to continue. If, for any reason, you feel counselling with us is not for you, you pay nothing. This gives you an opportunity to explore what we can offer, without any financial commitment.


Special rates are available to counselling students attending as part of their counsellor training. Reduced rates are available for those in financial hardship, whatever the cause.


Please note that the full fee is payable for missed/cancelled appointments unless a full days notice is given.

Other Services

EAP and other invoiced work are charged from £50 per session. Assessment reports are from £65. Supervision is normally £50 per hour.

Experience has shown that most clients prefer to pay for each counseling session at the time they have it, but other payment schemes would be considered according to need.

We are able to accept bank transfers, credit and debit card payments, online payments (via PayPal) and to raise invoices where a third-party is paying. Discounts are available for pre-paid counselling. If you have any concerns regarding paying for therapy, please call us to discuss your needs. We will be as accommodating as possible.

This is a difficult question to answer as each session is unique. You and I are unique individuals and we have never met before, so what happens when we meet will never have happened before either. However, each first session does follow a similar pattern.

I'll usually great you at the door with your first name and invite you in, then lead you into the counselling room. Once you are settled I'll explain to you that everything we talk about in counselling is confidential, subject to a very few exceptions and go through these with you. If you're happy to continue, I'll then ask you a few basic details about yourself such as your name (I usually only know your first name up to this point), address, phone numbers, etc.

This means that, for the first few minutes of the session, I'm doing most of the talking. While the things I'm saying are important, this also gives you a time to settle your nerves and calm down. Almost everyone gets anxious before their first appointment.

Once I've completed the initial paperwork, I'll say something like, "okay, where would you like to begin?" Then it's over to you. How much you say is up to you. Some people tell their life story, others jump right into a particular issue, and some just use the time to explore things slowly, building trust.  All of these, and may more variations, are perfectly valid ways of using the time.

Remember, I'm here for you. This is your counselling, your time to use as you please. There is no right or wrong way to use the time and we will go at whatever pace works for you. I'm not going to push you to talk about anything or ask prying questions. What you say and how much you say is totally your choice. If, at any point, you want to stop the session, or just take a break, you can. You are in control.

Towards the end of the session (which usually lasts about 50 minutes), I'll summarise what I've heard you say; just to make sure I've got the right end of the stick. I'll then ask you if you feel you would like to continue with counselling. If, for any reason, you don't feel counselling with me is for you, just say "no". I won't ask why or anything, we'll just say goodbye and part on good terms.  If you do want to continue, I'll go through the remaining paperwork and make another appointment with you. You only pay for the first session if you feel that you want to continue.

If, after reading this, you have any further questions, please do call to discuss them. I'm happy to talk with you,

Counselling is a very personal experience so you would not normally be allowed to have a friend stay with you though the session. They would be welcome to bring you to your appointment and escort you into the counselling room, but would then have to leave, maybe picking you up later.

We don't have a facility whereby relatives or friends can wait for you on the premises, but there is a coffee bar a few minutes walk away.

No, not at present.  We are considering ways in which we could offer student placements in future but regret it's not possible at the moment.

While we cannot offer placements, we are able to offer reduced-cost counselling and supervision to counselling students and host a monthly peer networking / PD group.  If you're interested, or would like to be kept informed regarding what we can offer please contact us.

While we do out best to make counselling affordable, we are self-funding so cannot offer free counselling. However, our rates are negotiable according to your circumstances so please give us a ring to see what we can do for you.

We do offer online/telephone counselling but prefer not to use Skype as it's not considered sufficiently secure or confidential. Similarly, we would discourage counselling over a landline as these are easy to intercepted.

We would prefer to use VSee - a free, secure, alternative to Skype.  We would also be willing to provide counselling over FaceTime or WhatsApp, as both of these provide a secure, encrypted communication. channel.

Yes, we have both male and female counsellors but all our counsellors have a broad experience of counselling both men and women.

All our counsellors are familiar with such issues as:
  • family issues
  • emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • relationship problems and domestic violence
  • sex addiction and the use of pornography
  • high and low-libido, painful sex, vaginismus
  • erectile dysfunction
  • menstrual difficulties / phobia
  • self-image / body / weight issues

While it is natural to feel that you may be able to communicate better with someone of a particular gender, opposite gender therapists can be very beneficial at helping you see the other side of a situation. Some female clients may be wary of seeing a male counsellor and vice-versa, but then find it to be very helpful. 

A recognised professional body

All our counsellors are members of a recognised professional body. Your counsellor will provide full details as part of the first session.

The Information Commissioner's Office

We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) (registration number Z2367940).


We carry full public liability and professional indemnity insurance, covering us individually and as an organisation, for all our counselling, supervision and training practice.

Counselling is delivered by David Rutlidge and Laura Rutlidge, who are both qualified and experienced counsellors, and we occasionally work with other, associate, counsellors, some of whom may be students coming to the end their training.

All counsellors are registered / accredited members of an appropriate professional body. 

Dave originally trained in the Person Centred Approach then did a further qualification in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In 2011 he successfully completed a diploma in counselling case-work supervision and in 2012 completed a diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling. Dave also undertook Level-I Emotion Focussed Therapy training in 2017, at Nottingham University.

Laura trained in the Humanistic Approach with primary focus in the Person Centred Approach.  She has completed further qualifications in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy along with Trauma-Focused CBT for children. Laura completed a foundation degree in counselling in 2015 and is currently undertaking an honours degree.

In accordance with best practice, both counsellors undertake regular processional development. This takes the form of workshops and seminars as well as other forms of on-going learning. They have one-to-one supervision for their counselling and Dave receives further supervision for his supervision casework. 

Some of the professional development they have undertaken includes:

  • Somatic Trauma Training
  • Expressive Therapy
  • Bereavement and Loss
  • Counselling Couples
  • Psycho-sexual Therapy
  • Masculinity and Trauma
  • Gender issues
  • Mindfulness
  • Child and Family therapy
  • IAPT training.

Basic Confidentiality

All counselling is confidential subject to the constraints of English law and ethical practice. Your counsellor has a legal duty to report anything to do with terrorism or acts of terror. If you were to disclose matters involving a serious / life-threatening risk of harm to self or others they may also have to act on it. If something of that nature did come up, however, they would endeavor to discuss with you how to proceed, before any action was taken.

Medical Records

No one would normally be informed that you were attending counselling without your prior knowledge and consent. Attending private counselling would not go on your medical records. Occasionally we may agree with clients that a GP referral is appropriate. In such cases a letter may be sent to your GP but this would be with your prior knowledge and consent.


If you are coming as a couple, we may see you individually as part of the assessment process. Anything said in the individual sessions stays confidential to that session unless you were to disclose something serious, which your partner did now know, and which would affect our ability to work with you as a couple. If something like that did come up, we would discuss with you how we should proceed.


Young children can only be seen with parental consent. Older children may be able to self-refer, depending on age and understanding. In either case the details discussed remain private between the child and their counsellor. We would not normally meet with parents without the child being present, so the child is aware of what is being said about them. This is essential in building and maintaining the child's trust in their counsellor.

Third Party Work

In situations where a third-party is paying, no information would be passed on to them except confirmation of the number of sessions booked, for invoice purposes. EAPs, insurance companies and similar sometimes require a discharge report. This would indicate the areas covered and progress made but no specifics would be given. You would be welcome to see the report and can have a copy.


All counsellors in the UK are required to have a clinical supervisor, who is there to help us help you. We discuss with them issues that arise in therapy, but no client would be identified beyond their first name, so confidentiality is preserved.


Full details of the constraints of confidentiality would be discussed during the first session and you would be given the opportunity to talk about any concerns you may have before giving any personal or identifying information. You're also very welcome to contact us, prior to making an appointment, to discuss any worries you may have.