1. What is counselling?
Sometimes things in life can be scary, get us down, make us distressed, anxious or confused. Sometimes the people close to us like our family and friends can give us the support we need – sometimes not. Counselling can give you a private space to talk through what is difficult with someone who is neutral and not involved. A counsellor will not tell you off or judge you but will always try to understand things from your point of you and support you to find your own answers.
2. What is the referral process for counselling and/or group support?
You can make a referral for all the support we offer via our referral form. We do not accept telephone or postal referrals.
- For counselling:
Once you have made a referral has been made, you will be telephoned and asked to attend a one-off assessment. The assessment counsellor will explore what you are struggling with, find out about counselling and explore whether it is the right option for you. This will give us a chance to work who and how best to work with your experiences.
Following your assessment, you will be placed on the waitlist and be allocated a regular counsellor. Your assessment counsellor may not be your regular counsellor. Generally, the waiting time for assessment is around 1-2weeks and the waiting time for counselling from the point of referral is 6-8 weeks.
- For group work and other support:
For group work, you may be asked to come in to meet with the group facilitator so you know a little more about the group. However, for others, you may be able to just attend without an assessment or meeting. This will be discussed with you once you have made the referral.
3. Is counselling confidential?
What you tell your counsellor is completely confidential – counsellors do not discuss this with anyone except in the following circumstances:
Generally, the only time we would disclose is if we felt that the risk of not disclosing is higher than keeping it private. We always try to do this by chatting with you first.
4. Does my counsellor speak to my parents?
The counselling that you have at the What Centre is confidential and your counsellor will not discuss what you talk about to your parents. The Centre tries to work directly with young people themselves and not with parents or carers. We would prefer if clients could call themselves to arrange or cancel appointments. If you choose to share with parents or friends what happens within your counselling sessions, that is perfectly fine.
5. Who will I be seeing during my counselling?
We work with a range of counsellors at the What Centre of different levels of experience and training models – counsellors at the What Centre may be qualified counsellors and have many years’ experience in counselling or they may be on placement during their final year of their counsellor diploma or master’s courses.
All Counsellors at the What Centre abide by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) ethical framework and work within the requirements of the framework. The What Centre's counselling service is accredited by the BACP. Counsellors at the service mainly have an integrative model of working however there are also other models used such as CBT, Psychodynamic, Person Centred, TA, Solution-focused, Gestalt etc. We are also fully insured in terms of Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.
You are provided the highest quality of support possible - we manage the quality of services by ensuring regular external monthly supervision for counsellors in accordance with BACP guidelines and recommendations. The Centre also requests and receives yearly reports on the supervisees work from their Clinical Supervisor. Other quality measure include (but are not limited to):
In the unlikely instance that you are unsatisfied with your support, please refer to our Complaints policy and your feedback will be followed up.
6. How often will I see my counsellor?
Counselling sessions take place weekly and are 50 minutes long. This normally goes on for up to 12 sessions – this will be reviewed with the counsellor as the sessions progress.
7. Can you see me straight away?
Unfortunately, we are not an emergency service. During your assessment, your assessment counsellor will make a decision as to the severity of the issues being presented and generally, we do try to see higher risk issues quicker than the normal waitlist. However, we can’t always guarantee this.
If you feel you still need urgent, immediate support, please contact Russell Hall’s hospital Crisis Team or go to A&E.
8. Will I feel better straight away?
Counselling is different for different people. Sometimes people find that counselling helps them to feel better and achieve their goals very quickly. For other people they may feel worse before they feel better. The outcome of counselling may not always be what you expect but hopefully it will be positive. Counselling is a collaborative process where you and your counsellor work together; it is not something that can be done for or to you.
9. Can my parents wait in the waiting room?
Unfortunately, not. However, if you come a few minutes early to your session, you are welcome to wait for your counsellor in our reception area. In order to protect the anonymity of other clients, we would ask anyone not in a session to leave at the start of your session. Anyone coming with you or picking you up cannot wait in the waiting for you, but they can return to meet you at the end of your session.
10. What if I do not attend a session without letting my counsellor know?
If you need to cancel a counselling appointment, please call the What Centre and leave a message for your counsellor. If you do not attend your session without letting your counsellor know, we will contact you to rearrange – however if we are unable to, we will assume that you no longer wish to use our service.
We have a long waitlist of clients who would benefit from the service and so prompt information allow us to schedule someone else in for an appointment. Our counsellors spend valuable time preparing for your sessions and would appreciate knowing in advance if you are not attending.
11. Do I have to pay for counselling?
There are no charges for counselling but at times there is a waiting list as a result. As a charity, we rely on contracts with the local CCG and on external funding applied for by the charity, and donations to be able to continue to provide free counselling.
We do also have a private Counselling Service under our Social Enterprise details of which can be found here.
12. How can I support/work for the What Centre?
We appreciate any support you are able to provide the What Centre. There are multiple ways you can help: