If you’re new to counselling, or thinking about starting therapy for the first time, it’s perfectly natural to have questions about what to expect. Here are a selection of the questions I’m frequently asked by people unfamiliar with the counselling process. If yours aren’t answered here, or you’d prefer to ask me directly, please email me via my contact page.

What does counselling involve?

Counselling sessions are a safe, quiet space for individuals and couples, where you can open up on a regular basis and talk about whatever you need to talk about without fear of being judged or rejected, and where you can begin to explore new possibilities for your life. It’s respectful and supportive and goes at your own pace. I encourage you to be curious about your thoughts and feelings; I’ll ask questions and offer reflections to help you explore these.

How much does counselling cost and how do I pay?

Sessions for individuals normally take place weekly, cost £50 and last up to an hour. Sessions for couples take place fortnightly, cost £85 and last 90 minutes. Payment is due 24 hours before the scheduled appointment time and paid by bank transfer. When we confirm our first session, I’ll send you my bank details and will confirm receipt by email.

Do you offer a free initial session?

I offer a free initial 15 minute chat on the phone or on Zoom so that we can both get a sense of whether we’re a good ‘fit’ for working together. Based on this, you can decide whether you feel I understand where you’re coming from; and I can get a sense of what you’re looking for from counselling. There’s no obligation to make a decision on the spot about booking a first full appointment, but please be aware that available appointment slots may be limited at busy times.

What are your office hours?

Appointments are available Monday-Friday. The earliest appointment starts at 08.30 and the latest one at 18.00. I don’t work weekends. If you email me, I’ll aim to respond within 24 hours wherever possible. If you haven’t received a reply, please check your spam folder – unfortunately my emails sometimes get filtered out, but this is outwith my control. I’ll respond to phone calls during office hours unless I’m with a client or otherwise unavailable. My voicemail is not accessible to anyone apart from myself so please do leave a message.

How long does counselling take to work?

I’ve seen transformations happen for some clients in just a few sessions, while others may need ongoing support for a long time. The couples counselling program I offer runs for 8-10 sessions. With individuals I usually suggest we start with 6 sessions and then we’ll review to decide how you’d like to go forward.

Is it confidential?

What’s said in the counselling relationship is confidential, because this is the way to build trust in the therapeutic relationship between you and your counsellor. There are important exceptions to this though when it comes to imminent risk to life or involvement in very serious criminal activity such as terrorism, abuse of children and vulnerable adults, or class A drug-dealing. If you’d like to know more before booking, please contact me.

How often will I need sessions?

Individual sessions are usually weekly, at least in the beginning, as this helps build a strong working relationship and momentum. But I know this can be difficult for financial or practical reasons so I’m happy to discuss what’s feasible for you in an initial, no obligation chat before booking. Couples counselling usually takes place fortnightly.

Are you offering face to face sessions?

Yes, I’m offering a limited number of face to face sessions which are available on a first come, first served basis. I’ll continue to offer online sessions for anyone who prefers or is restricted to working that way. You can find more information on my Covid19 Statement page.

How should I prepare for Zoom counselling?

You’ll want to find a quiet place in your home or office where you won’t be disturbed or distracted for the duration of the session (50 minutes for individuals and 90 minutes for couples). If there’s no safe or quiet indoor space, then you might want to sit in your car or in a quiet park or garden.
If you’re using a mobile phone to join the session, please use a stand or prop it up to keep it steady – it’s difficult for me to focus on what you’re saying if the screen is wobbling too much!
Couples may want to share one device or use separate ones.
I’ll send a Zoom link to your preferred email address 5 minutes before the session starts. You can download the free Zoom app or use the web browser version.

What’s the next step?

I hope I’ve answered some of the questions you might have about counselling with me. If you’d like to get in touch to book an appointment or an initial chat, or if there are any other questions I’ve not answered here, please visit my contact page.