If you are considering coming to counselling, you might have a lot of questions. Here are our answers to more frequently asked questions. If there is anything further you would like to know, please contact us. We could be happy to hear from you.
Are you a qualified counsellor?
All our staff and associate counsellors are fully qualified and have significant post-qualification experience.
Occasionally we take trainee counsellors approaching the end of their training. However, we would never place you with a trainee without your prior knowledge and consent. Taking trainees allows us to offer significantly lower-cost counselling opportunities and helps prepare the next generation of therapists.
Do you have a male/female counsellor available?
We understand that some clients would prefer to speak with a counsellor of a specific gender and will do our best to accommodate such requests. However, all our counsellors have a broad experience of working with clients of all genders and sexuality.
While it is natural to feel that you may be able to communicate better with someone of a particular gender, different 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.
Can I bring a friend or family member to support me?
Having a safe, confidential space is an integral part of counselling, so it’s not appropriate to have a friend present during the counselling session. However, we recognise that you might be anxious or nervous about coming to therapy and could benefit from being accompanied by another person.
If you did choose to bring someone with you, they would be welcome to stay for the first part of the session during which we would take your details; then they would be asked to leave, possibly collecting you after the meeting.
Can my friend or family member and I come for relationship counselling?
Yes, relationship counselling can help with all kinds of relationships. We often get siblings or parent/older-child groups coming to counselling to work on aspects of their relationship.
Is counselling confidential?
It is very important that clients have a safe, confidential space they can discuss whatever is on their mind. However, there are limits to that confidentiality.
The topic is too big and too complex to discuss here, so we dedicated a page to it: Client Confidentiality.
Do you offer free counselling?
Free counselling might be available on the NHS. Your GP will tell you how you can make a referral.
How much will it cost?
How can I pay?
We can take payment in cash or by bank transfer, credit or debit card. We offer discounts for prepaid block-bookings. Check out our fees page for further details.
How long does a session last?
Most individual and couples counselling sessions last 50–60 minutes. If we are working with trauma or using specific methodologies, more extended sessions might be appropriate.
Longer sessions might be appropriate for family groups, too.
What happens during a session?
I would meet you at the door and invite you in, then lead you into the counselling room. Once settled, I’d 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’d ask you a few necessary details about yourself such as your name, address, phone numbers and write them down. I might also give you some forms to fill in. These help me understand you and what you want from therapy.
Once we have completed the 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. Some just use the time to explore things slowly, building trust. These, and many more variations, are perfectly valid ways of using the time.
Remember that I’m here for you. It is your time, your counselling. Use as you please. There is no right or wrong way to ‘do counselling’. We will go at whatever pace works for you. I will not push you to talk about anything or ask prying questions. What and how much you say is 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 with me. If, for any reason, you don’t feel I am the right fit for you, just say “no”. I won’t ask why. We will just say goodbye and part on good terms.
If you want to continue, I’ll go through the remaining paperwork and make another appointment with you.
If, after reading this, you have any further questions, please call us on 0151 329 3637 to discuss them. We would be happy to answer any questions you have.
How many sessions will I need?
As a guide, 6–8 sessions might be appropriate for mild-to-moderate difficulties. More complex or long-standing issues might take significantly longer.
How often should I come?
Do you offer counselling placements?
Occasionally we can offer placements for therapists in the last year of their training. We also offer counselling students concessionary rates for supervision and personal therapy. Please contact us if this is something you are looking for.