Counselling FAQs: What You Need to Know

Questions and answers about counselling and this service

This frequently asked questions page is designed to help answer some of the more pressing questions you might have if you are looking for a counsellor to help you work through some problems. If you have a more specific question that is not answered here, feel free to contact me to ask me, and I will answer you promptly and also add it to the list.

What is counselling?

Counselling is a talking therapy that makes you feel better through being heard and understood deeply by a trained counsellor or therapist. You and your counsellor would agree on a set of goals enabling you to live the kind of life you would hope for. You would have several online or face-to-face sessions to discuss topics of your own choice.
A counselling session

What are the main aims of counselling?

Counselling helps you to look after your emotional and mental health by creating an environment of acceptance and trust so you feel free to explore your issues as you see them. The process should enable you to become more self-aware and ultimately empower you to effectively direct your own life and be yourself in relationships.

What are the core values of counselling?

Genuineness: the counsellor is authentically him or herself without any false presentation as an expert but as another human person. This should give you a full sense of sharing your troubles and feeling lighter. Empathy – the counsellor understands your situation as much as possible as if they were standing in your shoes. This should help you feel heard and understood at a deep level. Respect – the counsellor treats you as a person of natural value. This should help you to drop the defences that keep you stuck in unhelpful patterns of relating.

What is online counselling?

Online counselling uses a variety of media. You may talk about your concerns by video, instant messaging or email. You can use either a computer or a mobile phone.
Online counselling

How frequently should I have sessions?

Most counsellors expect you to see them once a week. This is recommended at first because it allows the optimum interval during which you can reflect on what was covered in the session and also process your thoughts and feelings. However, family and work commitments often mean this is not possible. In such cases, counsellors will allow you to see them when you can.

When someone is nearing the end of their counselling, that is, when their aims have largely been achieved, they often see the counsellor less frequently. However, you may come once in a while after that, as some do, if new aspects of their journey emerge and need exploring.

How do you choose a counsellor?

Since success depends upon your ability to talk freely, you should choose a counsellor with whom you feel comfortable talking. It is also wise to choose a qualified member of a professional body, such as the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).

Here is more about choosing a counsellor.

How long does a session last?

Most sessions are between 50 minutes and an hour, although you can leave at any time. If you’re having counselling by email, there is usually a word limit, so the therapist can spend about an hour reading and replying.

Some counsellors, including myself, offer up to 90-minute sessions when requested. This can be particularly useful if it becomes apparent it takes a while to get the dialogue flowing.
Counselling session length

Does online counselling work?

Although most people prefer meeting a therapist face-to-face, each form of online counselling has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, in text or email counselling, there is a greater chance of misinterpretation; however, these media allow you to re-read what you have written. This is very much like the times in face-to-face sessions when the counsellor restates or reflects back to you what you have said. It helps you to reflect on the deeper meanings.

How many sessions will I need?

It is impossible to say, although I usually offer at the outset, to provide a review after 6 sessions so you can decide if you wish to continue or not.

How much does counselling cost?

Session fees vary depending on your circumstances and the medium chosen.


Payment options include cash, direct bank payment, bank card and PayPal.

Concessionary rates are available for retirees, students, NHS staff and holders of a Blue Light Card.

How can I get a referral?

With a private counselling service like this one, you can self-refer. Email, text or phone to make an appointment for a free consultation to see what it’s like talking with me. That would help you decide whether to continue or to try a different service fo the remainder of your counselling.