If you’re considering counselling, you probably have questions. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about counselling like how it works, how to book, and how much it costs below.
What happens in a counselling session?
The first counselling session is an opportunity for you to talk about all the issues that have been distressing you. If you are attending with a partner or family member the neutral space allows you both to share your worries respectfully. Where there has been considerable conflict in a relationship counselling can assist in developing a mutual understanding.
A counsellor will never judge or criticise. What you say will be held in the strictest of confidence and not disclosed. Counselling is about creating a space where you feel comfortable and safe to discuss issues openly.
How can counselling help me?
Counselling involves working with your counsellor to understand where issues come from and why they are upsetting you. While for many individuals, couples and families there are familiar problems – like affairs, depression, stress or anxiety – we all have our own unique challenges and counselling can help us work through them.
For instance, in a difficult relationship, we may express our distress by arguing all the time. Typical issues might range from the important – how to reconnect as a couple – to the relatively trivial – who does the washing up. Counselling can help you to understand why these arguments occur and pinpoint patterns of repetition.
Is counselling confidential?
At The Spark, we understand that confidentiality is vitally important. We do not disclose anything you discuss with us to a third party unless your safety, the safety of another person or the safety of a child is at risk. In these instances, we are legally and ethically bound to break confidentiality, but will always endeavour to discuss this with you first.
How many counselling sessions do I need to come for?
Your counsellor will contract with you at the first session for a total of six sessions, please be aware this is not a legal contract as such but forms the basis of the agreement. The counselling contract outlines key responsibilities of The Spark’s counsellor and the client and helps to clarify expectations. Counselling is voluntary and it is your right to end counselling at any stage. We do however ask for 48 hours’ notice to cancel a session due to the high demand for our services and to help us manage client allocation.
While we specialise in solution focused brief therapy and typically offer six sessions there is no upper limit on the number of sessions you attend. Reviews with your counsellor and their supervisor will take place to ensure that continuing counselling is helpful and appropriate for you.
When do the counselling sessions take place?
We offer weekday daytime and evening appointments. Typically, you will have weekly sessions which will be on the same day and at the same time each week.
How long do counselling sessions last?
Individual and couple counselling sessions last for 50 minutes. Family counselling sessions with more than two clients last for 75 minutes.
If you arrive late for your appointment, we cannot extend the scheduled end time.
What languages do you offer counselling sessions in?
We are currently able to offer bilingual counselling in English and Polish or Urdu. Please do mention if bilingual counselling would be helpful for you when arranging your first appointment.
How long will I need to wait for counselling?
How long you need to wait before being offered your first appointment will depend on various factors such as the type of counselling and how many other people are on the waiting list. However, you probably won’t need to wait for as long as you might imagine.
When you are added to the waiting list you will be asked when you are available to attend counselling. The greater your availability the sooner we will be able to offer you an appointment.
What is the cost of The Spark counselling?
We believe everyone should have access to counselling if needed. No client is ever refused access to The Spark’s services for financial reasons.
Both the Counselling Helpline and Fast Access Single-Session Therapy are free for everyone 16+ who permanently live in Scotland. Our ongoing counselling services do attract a fee, however, thanks to our donors and funders some free and subsidised counselling sessions are available. Don’t be put off if cost is an issue.
There is a £10 non-refundable registration fee to secure your place on the waiting list.
How do I book counselling sessions?
Do you have a cancellation policy?
Due to the high demand for counselling services, we have a 48-hour cancellation policy. Any appointments cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice are still chargeable.
If you do not attend or arrive more than 15 minutes late for your appointment, without any prior contact or notice, this is also considered as a non-refundable cancellation.
The Spark understands that life can take over and emergencies can happen and if you do need to cancel an appointment at short notice, we will take this into account when re-scheduling your next appointment.
Still have questions?
If you have any other questions about counselling or The Spark our friendly appointments team will be happy to answer them. Just phone us on 0808 802 2088 during our opening hours or complete our online form.