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These FAQs are taken from the BACP website and provide some quick reference questions about counselling to help you learn more

  • Something is worrying me, I’m just not feeling myself, is there anything I can do?"
    There are periods in many people’s lives when they feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. These feelings are extremely common and nothing to be scared or ashamed of, but that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. It’s good to talk. Open up to friends, colleagues, your family or your partner. Tell someone how you are feeling and you may be surprised at the positive effect that this can have on your outlook. Seek professional help. Therapy 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.
  • What should I ask when I first contact a counsellor?
    Ask about the time, place, cost and duration of meetings plus any charges for cancelled appointments and holidays. You may also wish to enquire about the counsellor or psychotherapist’s professional membership, experience and training. During this time you will build up an idea of what is involved and you will be able to decide if this is a person you can work with. It is important to be clear about what you want and what the practitioner is able to offer.
  • What happens when I visit a counsellor? How do they help?
    You should expect one, or a series of confidential appointments, of up to an hour in length in a suitable professional setting. The process should provide you with the opportunity to make sense of your individual circumstances, have contact with a therapist who will help identify the choices for change, feel supported during the process of change and help you to reach a point where you are better equipped to cope with the future.
  • Are there different types of treatments?
    Yes - there are many different types of therapy available. However, in general research shows that the relationship with your therapist or counsellor is more important than the method they use. Your chosen therapist will be able to talk to you about their particular method or approach. Your choice of type of therapy may be limited depending on where you access it. If you have a preference over the type of therapy, you may choose to seek a private therapist. Some types of therapy may be particularly suited to certain situations, for example, group therapy can be particularly useful in helping families work through their problems together with a therapist who is specially trained in this area.
  • Will I feel better straight away?
    Usually it will take a number of counselling sessions before therapy starts to make a difference. However on rare occasions, a single session may be enough.
  • Are conversations with counsellors confidential?
    Everything you discuss is confidential between you and the counsellor or psychotherapist. There can be certain legal exceptions and the practitioner should clarify this with you prior to the establishment of any agreed contract for working.
  • Am I able to see a counsellor on the NHS?
    Yes - your GP can refer you for talking treatment that is free on the NHS. This will usually be a short course of counselling from the GP surgery's counselling service. If this isn’t available at the surgery, your GP can refer you to a local counsellor or therapist for NHS treatment.
  • On average, how much should I expect to pay for a private counsellor?"
    Prices can range between £10 and £60 per session, depending on where you live. Many private counsellors offer an initial free session and concessionary rates for students, job seekers and those on low wages. Some charitable organisations will offer therapy for free or for a small donation which is suitable to your income.
  • How can I suggest that my partner or friend needs counselling?
    A person cannot be ’sent’ for counselling or psychotherapy. They must wish to use the service and make the approach themselves. Perhaps you could do a little research, such as finding out the names of suitable therapists on their behalf, or letting them know about resources such as, but do encourage a direct approach by the person who needs the help if at all possible.
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