To meet a growing demand for counselling services in Edinburgh, The Spark is set to open a new location in the city this month. Complementing their 13 locations across Scotland, the country’s leading counselling provider will open The Spark Counselling Edinburgh this January 2019.

Partnering with the Eric Liddell Centre, The Spark Counselling Edinburgh will provide individual, couple, marriage and family counselling services and support.

The perfect location for The Spark Counselling Edinburgh


“The Eric Liddell Centre is the perfect location for The Spark offering clients a safe, peaceful setting in Edinburgh for counselling and support”, says CEO Stella Gibson. “This expansion reflects increased demand across the board for Edinburgh counselling services and particularly in the west and south-west of the city.”

Explaining the decision to open the new location, Gibson said: “Our ethos is to provide access to counselling for all, irrespective of circumstances or means. This new counselling location offers individuals, couples and families across Edinburgh access to affordable therapy and support services.”

The Spark partners with the Eric Liddell Centre


Established in 1965, The Spark provides counselling services for couples, individuals and families across Scotland. Providing counselling and support interactions for thousands of people each year, The Spark is one of the largest providers of therapeutic services in the country.

The Eric Liddell Centre – named after the Scottish Olympic champion and missionary depicted in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’ – provides specialist caring services. It was founded in 1980 by four local Edinburgh churches including the Morningside Congregational Church where Liddell was a member and taught Bible class.

counselling Edinburgh - exterior image of the Eric Liddell Centre in Morningside, Edinburgh
The Eric Liddell Centre in Morningside, Edinburgh.

The care charity’s mission is to be at the heart of the local community – enhancing health & wellbeing and improving people’s lives and continues to do so nearly four decades after its launch.

The CEO of the Eric Liddell Centre care charity and community hub, John MacMillan, said: “We are thrilled to welcome The Spark to the Eric Liddell Centre and I am delighted that they will base their team in our community hub.”

“I’m sure they will be a great asset to local communities and their presence will enhance the range of excellent services that are based here.”

Additional counsellors for The Spark Counselling Edinburgh


As part of the expansion, The Spark will be continuing to increase its roster of professional counsellors working with existing staff working in the Eric Liddell Centre.

For more information about The Spark Counselling Edinburgh or counselling services provided by The Spark, freephone 0808 802 0050 during opening times. Alternatively, visit the dedicated Edinburgh counselling page or complete an online enquiry.

The Spark is also the largest provider of school-based counselling and therapy services in Scotland, supporting 4,000 children and young people each academic year. Find out more about our counselling services for children and young people.

happy teenagers talking together

Recently The Spark was delighted to attend NHS Health Scotland’s conference on improving the mental wellbeing of children and young people. The event covered a wide range of key topics on the subject of youth mental health.

Led by Shirley Windsor, the head of Public Mental Health at NHS Scotland, it was one in a series aimed at contributing to the Scottish Government’s ambitious 10-year Mental Health Strategy. Senior Health Improvement Officer Carly Grant provided an overview of the strategy.

Making better use of cross-sector mental health support services


Though still in development, a number of important themes emerged. In particular, the importance of involving young people in the design and delivery of mental health services for their own age group.

partnership working in action

An integral part of those discussions  can better work together. Representatives from each discussed how barriers between delivery organisations can be overcome at a community level. A critical issue as we seek to make better use of the wide range of support services in those sectors.

The value of ‘trusted adults’ in the lives of children and young people


Dr Ross Whitehead presented early findings from his review of the value of the presence of ‘trusted adults’ in the lives of adolescents. Indications are that such relationships can be very positive, particularly where the quality of the relationship is high.

Ross pointed to the UK Home Office’s ‘Trusted Relationships Fund’ which is exploring the protective effect of trusted relationships on vulnerable young people.

Josh Shipp has an interesting take on the power of one caring adult in an adult/young person relationship. Josh himself is an illustration of the early findings of Dr Whitehead’s research.

A life turned around by a ‘trusted adult’


Josh was abandoned by his parents and spent his early life in and out of different care settings. In trouble with the police, there was one particular foster parent who became the caring adult that made a difference to Josh’s life.

The turning point came when the foster parent said: “We don’t see you as the problem, we see you as an opportunity.” Prompted by this intervention to turn his life around, Josh now spends his time encouraging adults to be a positive influence on the teens in their lives.

Playing a leading role in working for children and young people


At The Spark we will continue to play a leading role in the development and delivery of mental health provision for children and young people. Both at a strategic level as contributors to policy and at a practical level as a provider of counselling for children and young people.

As the biggest supplier of school-based counselling nationally we look forward to making a continuing contribution to this vital agenda.

Counselling and support services for children & young people


The Spark is the largest provider of professional, school-based counselling services in Scotland. In addition, we provide mental health training for teachers, school support staff and further education institutions.

We also play a key role in offering counselling to students and young people.

Find out more information about The Spark and our counselling services for schools, individuals and couples.

Contact us via our enquiry form or freephone 0808 802 0050 to talk about how counselling could help you.

student counselling graduation ceremony

As universities and colleges prepare for the start of the new term, one major talking point continues to dominate the headlines: mental health support for students.

Prior to the summer break, research laid bare the extent of the challenges facing further education institutions in their attempts to provide adequate student counselling services.

A ‘perfect storm’ of issues drive high demand for student counselling


Universities and colleges face a perfect storm of factors which have contributed to an overwhelming demand for on-campus student counselling and support services.

In our experience, substance issues, addiction, depression and financial worries are the problems students typically have to deal with at university or college. Relationships are also a significant concern. University or college is often when individuals establish their first significant and emotionally important relationships.

student counselling

The complex challenges facing students


Now, however, additional pressures on students are creating overwhelming demand. Which in turn is putting the resources of education establishments under serious strain.

Difficult labour market conditions mean students are increasingly competing for a limited number of graduate placements. This is further compounded by budget squeezes across the board for universities, colleges and students themselves.

The net result: student counselling and support services are struggling to cope.

Short-term solutions needed for student counselling


A particularly troubling statistic has been the increase in student suicides. Between 2007 and 2016 student suicides increased by a staggering 56%. Students are now more likely to take their own lives than young people in the general population.

Combined with the challenges NHS trusts are facing in coping with rising demand across the board for mental health support, alternative short-term solutions for student counselling are needed.

Making better use of the third sector


A number of universities, however, are recognising the importance of providing students with secondary sources of support. Institutions including Strathclyde University and Aberdeen University are signposting students to external services such as The Spark for student counselling and mental health support.

Third sector providers like The Spark are well-placed to support universities and colleges in the provision of mental health services. With extensive geographical reach – The Spark has locations in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire and Stirling – these organisations can complement existing on-campus student counselling services.

student counselling graduation ceremony

Collaboration between the third sector and further education is now essential


In many instances, the expertise of third sector providers is an ideal match for the challenges students face. Beyond the typical stress of exams and deadlines, students now need to handle a more diverse range of issues than ever before.

Longer term more must be done by universities and colleges to expand on-campus student counselling services. However in the short-term, external providers such as The Spark offer effective, complementary mental health services.

Counselling and support services for students


The Spark has counselling centres across Scotland and many are located close to the country’s leading universities and colleges. Offering counselling to individuals and couples, our counsellors are experienced in supporting students and young people.

Find out more information about The Spark and our counselling services for individuals and couples.

Contact us via our enquiry form or freephone 0808 802 0050 to talk about how counselling could help you.

special relationship Trump smug

The term ‘special relationship’ has been bandied about more often than usual recently. Whether it is in the context of UK – USA relations, UK – EU relations or to describe some of the insta-coupling occurring on ITV’s ‘Love Island’ we are all pretty familiar with it.

Traditionally it has been used to describe a deep bond of trust and mutual respect. Most famously in the context of the wartime relationship between the UK and the USA. But recently its practical application has been somewhat stretched.

special relationship UK USA

It seems that in the 21st century, maintaining a special relationship means ‘looking the other way’ when it comes to the indiscretions of the other half.

A special relationship that remains special


For example, the special relationship saw the British establishment roll out the red carpet for President Donald Trump. Despite the uproar caused by the comments and actions of the President. Similarly, we hear mention of a special relationship when celebrities take back their wandering exes.

All of which raises the question: is it acceptable to gloss over the unpalatable/unacceptable actions of a partner in order to maintain that ‘special relationship’?

Stand by your man


Supporting your partner is, of course, a critical foundation of any solid relationship. The knowledge that a partner is there for us in difficult times both emotionally and physically supports a healthy relationship. After all, Tammy Wynette did encourage us to ‘stand by your man’ despite their indiscretions and limitations.

Though commitment vows for couples are evolving, they still remain relatively true to the original marriage tenets. Principles of supporting and loving our better half no matter what. This, of course, implies that steadfast support – irrespective of the situation – is essential. Furthermore that we should perhaps bite our tongue when they do or say something we do not agree with.

special relationship Trump smug

What makes a special relationship, special?


A relationship is an organic thing: it changes and develops. Part of that process is the opportunity to help each other become better versions of our selves. Mutually beneficial personal growth comes from the differences of opinion, experiences and background inherent to most relationships. As they say, opposites attract and for good reason.

Therefore the ability to help each other grow and develop is just as critical to the happiness and longevity of our relationships as steadfastly supporting each other. In order to maintain what is special about a relationship we need to, at times, offer an honest but loving suggestion that what they are doing/saying might not be appropriate or acceptable.

special relationship couple happy

I love you but this is not OK


This is not to be confused with petty nit-picking or deliberately hurtful comments. We are not offering carte blanche to present your partner with a “20 things you do that annoy me that need to change” list.

We do our relationships a disservice, however, if we are not willing to step up and say “I love you and support you but this is not OK”.

Otherwise, a special relationship becomes one of two things: either shallow and meaningless, or worse still, based on bullying and intimidation. Neither of which are acceptable, no matter who you are or what position you hold.


Relationship counselling services in Scotland

The Spark is one of the leading providers of relationship counselling and support for couples in Scotland. Through our network of 14 counselling centres, we have been providing relationship counselling services for over 50 years.

Find out more about our work with couples, individuals and marriage counselling. Alternatively freephone our team on 0808 802 0050 for more information or complete an enquiry form.

Follow The Spark on Twitter and Facebook.

The increasing pressures of modern life are resulting in a growing demand for counselling services in Scotland. The Spark – a leading provider of counselling for over 50 years – is expanding in Glasgow and Lanarkshire to help support those in need.

Since the start of this year, The Spark has seen a 27% increase in demand for counselling.

This has been reflected across the organisation’s range of counselling services which include couple and marriage counselling, but particularly in terms of individual counselling.

“In 2018 there are clearly many issues impacting upon individuals, couples and families. From financial worries caused by poor wage growth and austerity to mental health issues, people are seeking additional support to deal with these challenges”, explained The Spark’s CEO Stella Gibson.

The Spark expands in Glasgow and Lanarkshire


In response to this increased need, The Spark is expanding its counselling capacity in Glasgow. This comes shortly after the charity opened its 14th counselling location in Lanarkshire earlier in the year.

Stella Gibson said: “Expanding our services is a natural continuation of our ethos of providing support for all; irrespective of background or means.”

“We all face challenges in life at some point. Sometimes those issues can be too overwhelming to cope with on our own or with the help of family and friends. Organisations like The Spark are here to provide that support through counselling.”

More counselling appointments available


The Spark has already increased the number of available appointments for individual counselling in Glasgow. Additional capacity for couples and marriage counselling will be available from June 25th.

Bookings for individual, relationship and couples counselling at the Lanarkshire centre in Harthill, are now being taken.

Find out more about individual, couples and marriage counselling services from The Spark.

Alternatively, freephone 0808 802 0050 to discuss if counselling might be right for you or complete an online enquiry.


Follow The Spark on Twitter and Facebook.