Counselling offers you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve things.

Counselling is a very personal process. Sometimes it is necessary to talk about painful feelings or difficult decisions, so you may go through a period of feeling worse than when you started. However, counselling should enable you to feel better in the long-run.

If you also do experience a period of feeling worse, talk to your counsellor about it to ensure you get the best out of your counselling therapy.

Usually it will take a number of sessions before counselling starts to make a difference. However on rare occasions, a single session may be enough.

Counselling doesn’t work for everybody. It is not a universal cure-all. Because you may be talking about very personal and often painful things, it can sometimes be difficult to keep going. Despite this, it is often worth the effort as you can be helped to work through problems.

Counsellors come from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. It should be possible to find an appropriate therapist for your needs. How and where you access counselling therapy will affect how much choice you have when selecting your counsellor.

No. There are different methods and approaches to counselling, and your chosen counsellor will be able to talk to you about their particular method or approach.

There are many different types of counselling available. However, in general, research shows that the relationship with your counsellor is more important than the method they use. Your choice of type of counselling may be limited depending on where you access it. If you have a preference over the type of counselling, you may choose to seek a private counsellor.

Counselling can be just a few sessions and sometimes even one session may be enough. It may continue over several weeks or months. This depends on your individual situation. Your chosen Counsellor should discuss this with you before and during your course of counselling.

Sessions will usually last fifty minutes to one hour. This can be adapted to your needs and should be discussed with your chosen counsellor.

Many people see their counsellor once a week, but the frequency can vary according to your need and the type of counselling being offered.

Before you begin counselling, make sure you ask your counsellor about the process they are choosing to follow, so that you know what the plan is from the start.

Disability should not make a difference, although adjustments to usual practice can be made, such as when British Sign Language (BSL) signers or interpreters are involved. A number of Counsellors work with issues of disability and offer details of facilities for disabled clients.

Therapy may be available from a range of places, including:

GP surgeries

places of work


universities and colleges

some voluntary and charitable organisations.

Private therapists may be found in internet search engines, yellow pages, phone book, newspapers and magazines. Please note most of these will charge for their services.

Traditionally, counselling is delivered to individuals, couples or groups in a face-to-face setting. However, individuals and couples can also receive counselling over the telephone or online via video discussion.

This is only possible if you wish to see a counsellor privately. If you are seeing a counsellor in an organisation, it is likely that one will be allocated to you.

Where payment is required prices can range between £10 and £60 per session, depending on where you live. Some counsellors will adjust their fees according to your income. Some charitable organisations will offer therapy for free or for a small donation which is suitable to your income. Click here to see my consultation fees and payment methods.

The following are a list of recommended questions (However do also ask your counsellor any others that you think of):

How many sessions will I have?

What type of counselling do you offer?

How much will it cost?

What happens if I miss a session?

What happens if I want to take a holiday, will I still have to pay?

Will the counselling be confidential?

Will you make notes during the session, and if so, what happens to these?

Can I contact my counsellor in between sessions?

Before your counselling begins, you should ask for details on what qualifications the counsellor has and whether they are a member of a professional body such as:

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BASP)

The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

The British Psychological Society (BPS)

Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA)

It may also be useful to find out whether the counsellor has experience and training in working with the particular area of concern that has taken you to counselling therapy.

When you first talk to your chosen counsellor, you should feel you can trust them and that you would be comfortable talking with them about very personal thoughts and feelings.

If you don’t feel this is the case, you may want to consider finding someone else who you feel is more suited to you.

If you don’t feel comfortable with your counsellor when you first meet then you should contact someone else.

And if you have had several sessions, raise your discomfort with your counsellor as this may need to be addressed as part of the counselling.

Finally, If you continue to feel unhappy with your counsellor, you may wish to consider seeking another.

If you feel that counselling is not making a difference, discuss this with your counsellor to try to find a way forward. If you cannot come to a resolution, you may wish to go to another counsellor.

BACP recommends a minimum of 400-450 hours college-based counselling training. Ask your counsellor for details of their qualifications and to explain what they mean.

If you’re still unsure, contact the counsellor’s professional body in order to verify their qualifications.

Currently, there is no legal requirement for therapists to be licensed. However, it is wise to choose a counsellor who is a member of a professional body and who is insured to practice.

You need to discuss this with your counsellor in order to bring things to a satisfactory close.

If you feel you cannot do this face to face, you could give notice of wishing to end counselling in writing to your counsellor.

Do however bear in mind any agreement you made at the beginning of counselling with regards to ending the process.

This should be one of the things you discuss when you make your agreement with your counsellor at the start of counselling therapy. It is possible that you may be charged for a missed session.

This should also be agreed at your initial session with your chosen counsellor. Sometimes a counsellor may expect payment for missed sessions including holidays. If you know you will be on holiday in the near future, make sure this is made clear in your agreement.

Usually what you talk about in your counselling sessions is confidential, however there may be some circumstances that may prompt your counsellor to talk to another professional. For example, if there appears to be a serious risk of harm to you or to others.

This is usually done with your permission. These circumstances should be explained to you at the beginning of your therapy.

It is your choice what you tell your counsellor; however it may be helpful to give them an idea of what has brought you to counselling to enable the process to be effective.

Usually not, but many counsellors prefer to have your doctor’s contact details in case they feel there is a serious risk of harm to you.

This is not generally accepted in individual counselling therapy. However, some cultures would not find this a problem, and if there are communication difficulties, it may be helpful to have an interpreter in the room.

If you feel you need someone with you, group counselling therapy may be an option for you.

Skype / Facetime / Hangout / Zoom / Signal / WhatsApp is a videoconferencing software that allows you to see and hear a friend, family member, colleague or your counsellor using internet, your computer and webcam (Microphone and speaker / headphone are required). It is free and easy to install.

If time, work, travel, mobility etc have stopped you from accessing face to face counselling, this service may well be for you. You can access skype / facetime counselling from the privacy of your own home. Saving on the time and costs of travel. Using the medium of skype or facetime may make counselling more accessible to you, particularly if you are:

Housebound e.g. because of mobility problems, the need to care for others (the young, old, infirm etc)

Living in a rural / remote area

Moving regularly due to your work or lifestyle, rendering contact with the same counsellor on a weekly basis difficult / impossible.

A busy individual with little time in your schedule to travel to and see a counselling therapist on a weekly basis.

To ensure emails from rhcounselling.co.uk reach your inbox and aren’t treated as spam by your email application, you can add my email address to your ‘safe senders’ list, if you are using Microsoft Outlook.

If you are using a web based email application like Hotmail or Gmail, adding our email address to your address book or contacts will help to ensure that it isn’t treated as spam.

Yes. You can find, follow and like rhcounselling on:

Yes. You can find rhcounselling on:

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Thank you very much for your patience to read my FAQs.

These frequently asked question (FAQs) is in parts an abstract of the BACP webpage.

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