Frequently Asked Questions


Most people have questions about counselling and psychotherapy before they start, here are some of the more common types of questions. If you are still unsure, you can contact the counsellor to ask them directly or wait until your initial session. It's completely up to you.

What is Counselling and Psychotherapy?

Although different words are used, Counselling and Psychotherapy mean similar things.  There are those within the profession who believe they are different.  There used to be more distinct differences however today, what was the gap between counselling and psychotherapy has closed and by most, they are seen as one of the same or at least very similar.

Qualified Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Practitioners) work with an individual, couple or family who has decided they need a talking therapy to resolve issues they may have been having.

The Practitioners discuss how they will work with you which could be on a short term (eg, 6 sessions) or an open ended basis (long term).

The aim of counselling and psychotherapy is to promote change and bring balance and wellbeing to your life.


Why do people choose to have counselling and psychotherapy?

People attend counselling for many reasons from the loss of a loved one, relationship breakdowns, phobias, depression and anxiety, angers issues to needing to understand who they are.

You may be in emotional turmoil and feeling overwhelmed by life and don’t want to talk it through with family and friends. You may feel that you do not want to involve them through embarrassment or thinking they will not be able to help you.

Seeing a counsellor can feel like a big decision, however if you pick the right one for you, it can be life changing and bring about the changes in your life you have wanted for many years.


Why is there no statutory register for all Counsellors and Psychotherapists?

There have been many discussions with the government over the past two decades on statutory regulation for the counselling and psychotherapy profession.

However, due to differing modalities and orientations (different types of training), it was very difficult to provide a criterion for all Counsellors and Psychotherapists who are currently practising, so it was decided that all professional bodies will have their own criteria and registers.

This does not make it easy for the general public looking for help, so CounsellorsUK have decided to attempt to get all adequately qualified counsellors and psychotherapists on one register across the UK, thus making it easier for help to be sought. We are not a professional body, however we list the practitioners from all the main UK professional bodies in one place to ensure the general public and healthcare professionals are always selecting qualified and credible help for their patients/clients.


I feel like the only person who has issues and needs to see a counsellor?

It can feel like this when you are not feeling like great, however 1 in 4 adults will experience at least one episode of depression or mental health issue in their lifetime, that’s just under 25% of the UK population.

There has been stigma attached to mental health issues for years however now as a nation, we are talking to each other and becoming more open. Many clients report that once they find the courage to open up to others, they often find they have experiences in common and find support in places they never thought they would. Finding the courage to discuss what you are going through and how you are feeling is what will help to banish the stigma.


Why do all practitioners have different letters after their names?

The different letters you see after the counsellor’s name are due to the professional bodies they belong to and their membership criteria. The ones we support and approve are listed, however some of their membership categories may not meet our requirements for membership to Counsellors UK:


How do I choose which Counsellor to see?

To start with you may choose a counsellor based on location, fees, qualifications, issues dealt with or possibly their profile picture.

However, in order to work together effectively you must feel be able to form a strong alliance (bond) with your chosen counsellor. This comes from a connection, trust and a relationship which grows over time.

The Practitioner is an impartial professional, who is able to listen to you non-judgmentally and to work with your emotions and not get emotional themselves. They should help you to develop understanding of yourself and others and to find your own solutions, making no demands upon you except for the terms agreed in your therapeutic contract. 

If that bond does not develop and you feel uncomfortable, this can be upsetting and you may worry about talking to your counsellor about this. A qualified and professional counsellor will have no issue with you talking this through with them, they may be able to help you make sense of your feelings towards them or they may be able to refer you to another counsellor or give you details of a reputable professional body.


What happens when I make contact with a counsellor?

You may want to have a list of questions to ask the counsellor, (eg):

  • How they work?
  • Qualifications and where they trained?
  • Professional Body?
  • Supervision?
  • Availability?
  • Location / Directions?
  • Fees?


What will happen at the initial session?

You may be nervous on the run up to the session, but this is perfectly normal. The right counsellor or psychotherapist for you should put you at ease straight away and they will take a history and ask questions about why you are there to see them. You should also feel able to ask questions.

The Counsellor will also go through their contract with you. This is nothing to worry about it means that you both gain an understand of what the counselling process involves and how the counsellor works. The contract forms the basis of your work together and may include:

  • Duration of sessions
  • Regularity of sessions
  • How the practitioner can be contacted
  • Fees
  • Reviews
  • Termination of counselling
  • Holidays
  • Missed Sessions
  • Confidentiality


How long is a session?

Sessions are usually 50 minutes to 1 hour in duration. This could be longer if pre-agreed.


How often will I have to go to counselling?

To start with most Counsellors and Psychotherapists want to develop that very important relationship and get to know you so they may work weekly to start with. However, this is down to you and your counsellor, so discuss this at the initial session.


How much is reasonable for a counselling session?

Fees for seeing a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist can depend on your location. In London, you can expect to pay up to 50% more per session.

Most counsellors and psychotherapists will charge between £30 to £70. You should however expect to pay no less than £30 per session for a 50 minute session.


Is counselling totally Confidential?

Most people see a counsellor because they want what they discuss with the counsellor to remain confidential. This is the case with the majority of issues discussed with the counsellor, however confidentiality is not absolute.

There are exceptions and this again depends on the counsellor’s professional body and therefore their ethical framework. This will be discussed at your initial session when contracting.

Here are general exceptions to maintaining confidentiality:

  • Terrorism
  • Drugs Trafficking
  • Child Abuse
  • Serious risk of harm to client or third party


What is an Ethical Framework?

The purpose of the framework is to give practitioners support and guidance in resolving issues that can and do crop up in their work. It is also to encourage practitioners to work ethically and to be aware of their responsibilities in delivering therapy in a variety of settings and within different organisations and also as protection for the public.

For more information, the telephone numbers and addresses of the main UK professional bodies please visit the professional body websites - or click on the links above to go directly to their site.


Any more questions……….contact us

If you have any questions regarding counselling and psychotherapy, our team are all well qualified practitioners who are accredited with a reputable professional body and meet the highest of professional standards.