Access Counselling

Please Note

We really appreciate you taking your first step in contacting our service, but sadly we have had to take the difficult decision to hibernate ACCESS for the foreseeable future. We hope that we will be able to reopen, but at this time we do not know when this will be and therefore felt that it was unfair and unhelpful to keep you waiting to be seen by our service.

We appreciate that this will not be welcome news especially in the current background of a pandemic and you have our sincere apologies for this.

If you are still looking for support we advise that you contact your GP, but you may also wish to look at the following website:

When we are able to open again we will update our social media accounts to reflect this and would be very happy to see you in the future.

Who are the counsellors?

The counsellors are local men and women who are trained in person-centred counselling. The level of training varies from being in training to Degree level.

Counsellors in training will have completed at least two years training and will have been assessed as competent to work with clients.

If a client is offered a counsellor who is still in training the counsellor will mention this during the first initial meeting. If a client is not happy working with any particular counsellor they can/will be offered an alternative counsellor.

When is counselling not appropriate?

  • If the client is under the influence of mind altering substances like alcohol or drugs. The counsellor would ask the client to refrain from using these before a session.
  • If the client feels they have been coerced into attending.
  • If there is an imbalance of power exists which impedes honest and open conversation.
  • If the client and counsellor already have a different relationship. Pre- assumptions and judgements have already been made and these will get in the way of the equality and acceptance within the relationship.
  • If the client does not feel safe in the counselling environment.

Will what I say be kept confidential?

Confidentiality is essential in enabling clients to express their true feelings within the counselling session. ACCESS offers a high level of confidentiality and will only breach this in exceptional circumstances like:

  • there is a serious risk to themselves, (the client) or others
  • when there is a child protection / safeguarding issue
  • in supervision of counsellors work, (permission obtained from clients at initial appointment)
  • when the client has given permission for disclosure
  • when there is a legal requirement

Will the counsellor keep notes?

Yes notes are kept that include dates that the client attended and an outline of the main theme during the session. These notes are kept in a file and locked in a cabinet that only counsellors have access to.A counsellor in training may ask to keep separate notes or recordings for assessment purposes. They would ask individual clients for their permission to do this. These would also be destroyed on completion of assessment.  The high level of confidentiality we offer our clients extends to these notes. No other agency can have access to them without requesting them through a court. When a file is closed it is held securely for five years then it is destroyed and is no longer accessible.

What are the goals of counselling?

There are not any set goals for counselling, however a client may:

  • Experience acceptance of, or a movement from, a situation, a loss, a way of thinking, or an event.
  • Experience personal growth, e.g. in self-awareness or self-esteem.
  • Experience a movement “away from dependence on the judgements of others, towards a greater trust and belief in the validity of internal judgements”, in other words, “enabling them to trust the information obtained from their own senses, to value it, and use it as a reliable guideline for determining personal action”. (Tony Merry, 1999.)

What happens at a first counselling session?

  • The counsellor will welcome the client.
  • They will be shown into a counselling room; a comfortable room with two or more chairs in. Sometimes there is a lamp providing soft lighting.
  • The counsellor will check the clients understanding of counselling; explaining what the client does not understand.
  • If the client is still happy to attend counselling sessions the counsellor will discuss a counselling contract and fill in an initial assessment form with the client. These include the client’s details and the contract outlines the length of sessions, levels of confidentiality, areas requiring client permission and 6 weekly reviews.
  • The counsellor will ask the client if they have any questions.
  • The counsellor will then hand over the time to the client; inviting them to talk about any subject they choose.

How many counselling sessions will be attended?

This will vary depending on the individual and their individual needs. The minimum amount of sessions we offer is six but we do not put a limit on how many a client will receive. We do however review the sessions every 6 weeks. Some clients may only attend for one or two sessions while others may attend for over a year depending on their needs.

What happens at the 6 weekly counselling reviews?

Counsellors are asked to review the counselling sessions every six weeks. These can help the client to focus on their work done and the areas they would still like to explore. It can also help the client explore whether they feel counselling is still working for them or whether they feel it is no longer required. This can help to prevent some clients from becoming dependant on this support.