Counselling FAQs

Counselling FAQs

Who is counselling for?

  • Counselling can be for anyone and everyone. You may have had a difficult childhood, a traumatic experience, a sudden life change or loss, or perhaps you just don’t feel yourself/happy in your life. 
  • Counselling can also be useful for people looking to grow and develop even when nothing is going particularly badly. In fact, the best time to examine your life, change habits, set goals, or develop greater self-awareness can be when you are feeling safe and comfortable in your life.
  • Whatever your reason for seeking counselling, if you are willing to participate and be actively involved in the sessions, then counselling is right for you.
  • If you are unsure whether counselling is right for you at this moment, book an introductory session and we can discuss your reservations, hopes, and expectations. I will always be honest about whether counselling is right for you and may be able to signpost to other services I think may be more suitable.

Is counselling confidential?

  • Yes – I will not discuss anything, no matter how insignificant, with anyone else except with your consent. It is, however, a requirement of BACP as well as good professional practice to meet regularly with a personal supervisor — another trained counsellor who abides by the same rules around confidentiality — to speak about my client work and no personal or identifying information is shared. 
  • There are also a few notable reasons I may have to break confidentiality, as specified by the BACP Ethical Framework and legal requirements, but I would always try to speak to you before breaking confidentiality. These are:
    • If I believe there is a serious and imminent risk of harm to others.
    • Where I believe you are involved in an act of terrorism, drug trafficking, or money laundering.
    • Where I believe there is serious, current, and ongoing child abuse.
  • I am legally obliged to break confidentiality in cases where:
    • You disclose information about a terrorism (planned or in the past) that may stop someone from carrying out an act of terrorism or may bring a terrorist to justice;
    • You disclose information on the whereabouts of a missing child;
    • I receive a Court Order, a Serious Crime Disclosure Order, or am questioned by police about a road traffic offence where I have been made aware who was driving.
  • In these cases, I may be obliged not to inform you before breaking confidentiality.

Do you keep notes and are they secure?

  • I keep brief notes on each client session, both to help myself keep track of my clients, for good professional practice, in case they are required by law, and for insurance purposes. I also keep some personal details to allow me to manage your bookings. This includes some information submitted electronically via this website which uses secure SSL encryption (the padlock to the left of the address bar in your browser).
  • Client notes are kept confidential (except in the exceptions listed above) and separate from your personal details on an encrypted platform. Find out more in my privacy policy.
  • I keep personal details for 5 years after our last contact, as required by my insurance provider.
  • The only people who can require the release of client notes are:
    • a judge (with a court order)
    • a coroner
    • the client themselves

How much does counselling cost?

  • Counsellors usually charge up to £60 for a 50-minute session (the so-called ‘counselling hour’). I charge £50 per full 60-minute session (reduced fees available for those on low incomes). Check out my fees page.

Why does counselling cost so much?

  • Being a counsellor requires a large number of costs, including: training, CPD courses, room rent, BACP membership fees, professional insurance, and more.

How long does counselling take?

  • It can vary from client to client and is completely in your control. You may feel we have addressed the core issue within a few sessions or you may discover other issues you want to work on. It may take a couple of months or last several years. You may want to do short bursts of counselling every few months. It’s entirely your choice how you use counselling and for how long.

Do I need any special equipment for online sessions?

  • You will need an internet-connected device with a microphone and (preferably) a camera. Laptops and phones tend to work just fine.
  • Sessions are usually run on Google Meet as it works on any browser and most smartphones (download may be required for some phones).
  • If necessary, we can do voice-only calls via phone or WhatsApp.

What training and skills do you have as a counsellor?

  • I am a fully-qualified counsellor and gained post-graduate professional-level training from both the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde. Find out more about me.

Do you work with people who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, mental illness or disorder?

  • Of course! Diagnosis doesn’t stop you from benefiting from counselling and evidence shows that counselling can be incredibly beneficial for diagnoses like anxiety (general and social), attachment disorders, body dysmorphia, depression, disordered eating, OCD, personality disorders, phobias, postnatal depression, PTSD, and many more!
  • Find out more about how I work with diagnoses

Do you provide advice/coaching/mentoring?

  • Generally no. I may offer suggestions or things you could try, pose alternative viewpoints and ideas, or suggest exercises to do together or between sessions, however none of these ideas should be taken as advice. Ultimately, you are the expert on your own life and you have the power in counselling to accept or reject anything I say.
  • I am not a medical professional and cannot offer professional medical advice.

What should I do if I want to end counselling?

  • You can end counselling for any reason at any time. I usually ask for clients to inform me one session in advance of their ending so we can discuss the ending, what the future holds, and have a sense of closure.

What should I do if I have a complaint?

  • Hopefully you will never have a reason to make a complaint. If you do, however, it would be great if we could discuss the issue between us in the first instance.
  • If you do not feel comfortable discussing the issue with me directly or do not feel I have offered a satisfactory outcome to your issue, you can refer the complaint to the BACP.