Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some of the common questions from the National Counselling Society website
Will my counsellor respect me as an individual?
All counsellors will treat you as an individual and will certainly be aware of and respect people’s differences, for example, those related to age, sex, sexuality, disability, race and so on.
How many sessions of counselling will I need?
This will depend on you. Some types of counselling such as CBT or solution-focused therapy are often six to eight sessions, whereas psychodynamic counselling will tend to be for a lot more sessions. This is something that you will discuss with your counsellor when you first meet and many counsellors will agree a set number of sessions with you which they will review with you.
How long does a counselling session last?
An individual counselling session will usually take 50 minutes.
How often will I see the counsellor?
This is something that you will decide with your counsellor. People often see their counsellor once a week but this is flexible. For example, you may meet once a week at first and then decide together that you want to meet more or less frequently depending on how you feel.
What happens if I have to miss a booked session?
Your counsellor will explain such things as their policy on late or missed appointments.
What happens at the first session?
It is possible that you will feel quite worried about meeting your counsellor for the first time. But don’t, they will understand this and do their best to put you at ease.
At the first session your counsellor will tell you all about the practical information you need to know and of course you will be able to tell them about your own goals for having the counselling. They will give you the guidelines about:
You will also have the opportunity to ask them about things like their experience and most importantly, decide if you will feel comfortable working with them
What is the difference between talking to a counsellor and talking to a friend?
For most people talking to a friend means talking to someone who knows us well – they will tend to either agree with everything we say or criticise us. They may have their own issues that influence what they will say and, even worse, may talk about the whole thing to someone else. On the other hand, when you see a counsellor everything you discuss will be in absolute confidence. Your counsellor has to keep to a code of ethics which means they will consider your safety and well-being at all times. Your counsellor will have both training and experience to make sure they are acting in your best interests.
What if I don’t like my counsellor – do I have to keep going?
The relationship between counsellor and client is a very important part of counselling – often referred to as the ‘therapeutic relationship’. You do not have to keep going but rather than just disappear, tell your counsellor what you are feeling as that might be a really helpful thing for you to discuss. Perhaps they remind you of someone? If you talk about it you will be able to understand why you don’t like them. Or it may simply be that they are not the right counsellor for you –if you discuss it they may be able to refer you to someone you feel more comfortable with. If you are seeing a private counsellor, you can of course choose the person you want to see but it is likely that if you see a counsellor through the NHS or any other organisation, they will choose the counsellor for you.
Can I bring a friend with me to the sessions?
You may want to get a friend to go with you to the place you are meeting the counsellor and then ask them to meet you afterwards. Talk about this with the counsellor. It is better not to have another person you know in the room as that may get in the way of you talking honestly about your feelings.
Is there any age limit for having counselling?
Anyone over the age of 18 can choose to see a counsellor. If you are under 18, you may need the permission of your parent or guardian and you should talk to your counsellor about this. If you are a parent or guardian wanting to arrange counselling for a child or young person, it is best to talk to the individual counsellor. There is certainly no upper age limit – the changes that we experience with ageing mean that counselling can often be very helpful.
How do I know if my counsellor is qualified?
By using one of our members you have the security of knowing that we have checked their qualifications and experience, they have insurance, and they are governed by our code of ethics.
Can I ask my GP if I can see a counsellor?
You can certainly ask your GP to see a counsellor. It may take a number of months before you can see an NHS counsellor. In urgent cases your GP may be able to refer you to other mental health services.
Where will I see a counsellor?
You may see a counsellor in all sorts of different settings. It may be in the offices of a charity, in a private consulting room or in an NHS setting. Some private counsellors also work from home. The important thing is that you will meet in a quiet and private room where there will be no interruptions.
Is it confidential?
Yes it is important that you feel you can talk about things in complete confidence. Your counsellor will not talk about you with others – the only time your counsellor will break this confidentiality is if by not speaking to someone else it could cause significant harm to you, your counsellor or another person – for example if your life is at risk.
They will explain this when you first meet.
Counsellors generally have a supervisor and it is very likely that they will talk to them about your case (without revealing your identity). This is to help the counsellor offer you the best possible service – a similar process to a doctor discussing your medical notes with a specialist.
Is counselling guaranteed to make me feel better?
A counsellor will never offer to ‘cure’ you. A counsellor will help you understand your issues and provide a safe place where you can work through your feelings. Going through this process will help you to move forward. As you discuss your feelings and issues you may sometimes feel worse before you feel better – all sorts of emotions may surface that have been hidden.
I am taking antidepressants – is it OK to have counselling as well?
It is likely that when you first meet your counsellor they will ask you about any pre-existing medical conditions that you may have and also if you are taking any prescribed medication. They may ask you to check with your GP before you start counselling (unless of course your GP has sent you for counselling).
What kinds of people seek Counselling?
People from all walks of life can seek counselling, regardless of their background. Counselling is there for anyone who is facing difficult times; experiencing issues and needing support or guidance; or needs to talk to a empathetic listener.
How do I know if I need counselling?
If you are stressed, depressed, anxious or simply not feeling yourself emotionally, you may benefit from counselling. Counselling can help with a wide variety of issues and counsellors are trained to see you as a unique individual and acknowledge your specific needs. Anything said within the counselling relationship is confidential and counselling takes place in a relaxed non-judgemental atmosphere.
Common Hypnotherapy Questions
Is hypnotherapy dangerous?
Hypnotherapy is about ‘updating’ your mind to benefit you, changing behaviours, and relieving negative conditions. It is an overwhelmingly positive experience for most people, without any dangerous side effects. If it was suggested to you to do something dangerous or detrimental whilst under hypnosis, you would simply ignore it and likely ‘wake up’ or in reality come back to full consciousness as you wouldn’t be asleep.
Is it like stage hypnosis?
Hypnotherapy is nothing like stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis is real, but done purely for entertainment purposes, whereas hypnotherapy is your time to focus on the parts about yourself you want to change, and make that change happen in your life.
Will I be under your control?
No, at no point will you be under my control, or anyone else’s. I do not have the power to control anyone, except myself. Under hypnosis your subconscious mind is active and engaged, protecting you and informing all aspects of your life and behaviour. All I can do as a hypnotherapist is give you suggestions to help facilitate change in your subconscious mind, and guide you to a therapeutic state.
This is the most often asked question; however, if hypnotherapists could control anyone, we would rule the world. All I can do is give you 100% of my time and energy.
Will I be asleep?
No, it is uncommon to fall asleep under hypnosis, as the two are entirely different types of brain activity, with their own corresponding brain waves. Although the common misconception is that you are always ‘asleep’ under hypnosis, you are in fact awake and conscious at all times, able to hear and respond to everything I say, if you wish to. Hypnosis is defined as a ‘deep state of relaxation with heightened awareness’, so you can expect to feel very, very relaxed.
Is hypnosis natural?
Hypnosis is one of the natural states the brain goes into many times a day. When reading, watching TV, falling asleep and waking, running, repetitive activities, hobbies, when at work doing things you ordinarily do, driving, and many many more. Have you ever gotten in your car to go to work, and just found yourself there, with little active recollection of the journey? That is a hypnotic state. With hypnotherapy, we are merely harnessing the powerful state of hypnosis in order to apply therapeutic suggestion and facilitate change.
Does it work on everyone?
Hypnotherapy is a form of Psychotherapy, and a recognised ‘Talking Therapy’. It works on the mind, which then affects the body too. Even physical therapies are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time, but with hypnotherapy the key is in YOU.
Everyone can be hypnotised, as it is a natural human state, but not everyone wants to change, and not everyone is open to change.
Hypnotherapy works best when you really want it to, and when you are ready to make this change in your life.
Just like nobody can force you do something you don’t want to do under clinical hypnosis, I can not force you to change a destructive behaviour in your life if you do not really want to, or you’re not really ready to.
Working together towards a goal though, and when you are fully committed, hypnotherapy is an extraordinarily powerful, fast and effective therapeutic tool.
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