These FAQs are taken from the BACP website and provide some quick reference questions about counselling to help you learn more
Frequently asked questions
Something is worrying me, I’m just not feeling myself, is there anything I can do?
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.
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?
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.
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 itsgoodtotalk.org.uk, but do encourage a direct approach by the person who needs the help if at all possible.