Key Facts

Counsellors should...

  • Offer a safe, confidential place, where you can talk about yourself and your life, which may be painful, confusing and may make you feel uncomfortable, angry or unhappy.

  • Offer an opportunity to think and talk about yourself and your concerns in a way that you often can’t do with family and friends.

  • Offer a place and time which is just for you to talk about those things that bother you.

  • Listen to the way you feel and how this affects you and others.

Counsellors should...

  • Accept the way you are without judging you.

  • Help you to make the changes you would like to happen.

  • Work hard to create a good therapeutic relationship with you so that you can work well together.

  • Understand that it is not always easy to talk about problems and to express your feelings.

  • Work with you towards improving your wellbeing.

  • Have information and resources to share with you.

Counsellors should not...


  • Offer to cure you.

  • Judge You.

  • Make decisions for you.

  • Take advantage of you in any way.

  • Spend time talking about their problems.

  • Inappropriately discuss what you and your therapist talk about with other people.

What happens in the first session with your counsellor or therapist?


  • Your first session will be about what you are looking for in therapy, what you want to achieve from the therapy and agreeing how you and your therapist hope to work together.


  • Your therapist will probably ask you a number of questions to help you decide whether you will both  be comfortable working together and to check that you can be offered the most appropriate support.

  • If you both feel that the therapy may be beneficial and you wish to continue, it is likely that you will discuss and agree on how you will work together, for example how often you will meet  and the possible ways you can work together, such as texting on-line or on mobile phone, webcam or email messaging.


  • It can be helpful to have a written agreement because you can refer to this  during the period of your therapy to refresh your memory as to what was agreed.

  • Therapists work with clients in many different ways and they will probably explain their ways of working to you, but if not it is a good idea to ask them about this.

Some of the things you might want to discuss with your therapist are...

  • How many sessions you will have together and how and when the sessions will take place?


  • What will happen if you are unable to attend a session and will the therapy stop if you are unable to attend sessions for a certain period of time?

  • Will the therapy be confidential and does the therapist keep records of what is discussed, if so where will they be kept?


  • Can you contact the therapist outside the session? How will you do this and are there any restrictions?

  • Can you text the therapist?

  • Who will decide when therapy is to end? How will that decision be made?

3 Things to remember...

  • It is important to remember that you are the client and that for therapy to be helpful you should feel able to raise anything you wish with your therapist.  If anything confuses you or does not make sense to you during the sessions it is important to discuss this with your therapist.


  • Therapy is a very personal process and sometimes it is necessary to talk about painful feeling or difficult decisions and you may go through a period of feeling worse than when you started, this is a common feeling and natural.

  • It’s important to discuss with the therapist any concerns you may have regarding therapy, as it can be difficult to share things and to continue, but is usually well worth the effort  as you work through difficult problems.

Ethical Framework



As members of The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy all of our therapists adhere to an “Ethical Framework” and the professional conduct procedure within it.


This can be found on the BACP website at: