Advice on Pre-Trial Counselling.

These are some notes to help you make an informed decision about working with a counsellor before you go to to trial.


You may be seeking pre-trial counselling (e.g. you may be a witness, defendant, respondent or plaintiff in a court case and you're seeking support whilst the Crown Prosecution Service builds their case). The first thing I wish you to know is that if you are an alleged offender/accused/defendant, no matter what your solicitor says, entering counselling is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. You will have work to do in counselling and the image of "I'm working with a counsellor (your honour!)" presented to a judge/jury will not mitigate your circumstances as much as you might hope it will.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and various counselling professional membership bodies have produced information about entering counselling during this time; this section summarises important information for those seeking a counsellor whilst pre-trial.

Counselling whilst Pre-Trial is a little different from standard counselling. It's not a very complicated situation, but you must be aware of guidelines so that your trial/case is not affected by the counselling. The trial must not be prejudiced, you do not cause harm to your situation and/or you are not disappointed when the counsellor is unable to offer the service you're looking for.

Beginning Pre-Trial Counselling.

Counselling may begin only after you have given your statement to the police, and/or before a video recorded interview is completed. It may not begin before.

You are advised to inform the police, your solicitor, and/or the Crown Prosecution Service that you have chosen to engage with a counsellor and that the counsellor is aware of the pre-trial situation.

You must advise your counsellor that you are in a pre-trial situation, too.

What Counselling can Offer (Pre-Trial).

Here are some examples of what we can talk about in pre-trial counselling.

  • Your welfare: how what has happened to you is affecting you emotionally, and practically. You will have a safe place in counselling to offload distress, fears, and how it has affected your relationships.
  • We can talk about your self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • We can talk about looking after yourself as you prepare to go to court (e.g. breathing, self-care etc).

What Counselling cannot Offer (Pre-Trial).

Here are some examples of what we may not talk about in pre-trial counselling.

  • The facts/evidence of the case (what you did/didn't do or see, to whom, when, where, location etc).
  • Any facts that you have or have not disclosed to the police (the law does not protect your privacy when disclosing information within a counselling relationship).
  • How you're going to present your self or the facts in court, or re-telling the story of what happened to you, or what you did to someone else. Such discussions may be called "coaching" or "rehearsing". Basically, we must avoid anything that may compromise evidence in a court case or a criminal trial (going against CPS guidance).
  • Looking at your past history (e.g. factors that may have lead to the events that are going to trial).
  • Changing/transforming your behaviour, or changing/transforming your relationship with the events that are going to trial.

FYI - the stuff we can't talk about before your trial can be talked about after your case is concluded (if you wish to).

Confidentiality may not be Guaranteed (Pre-Trial).

Counsellors write session notes after a counselling session is concluded. This is my overview of what we talked about. These notes do not contain much detail; they're intended as a memory aid.

The police and/or Crown Prosecution Service may ask for your written permission to contact me for a copy of my written session notes.

If you give this permission, only my notes which are relevant to the court case will be shared with the defence and prosecution. Defence/prosecution have no need to request notes that are not relevant to the court case.

Regarding your access to my session notes: I would record an accurate & truthful summary of each of our sessions and then during our subsequent session I will ask you to confirm that what I have written. This is so that both you and I are prepared to submit accurate notes should they be requested.

Prosecutors may seek to obtain an assurance from the counsellor that the client did not say anything in the counselling sessions that was inconsistent with the statements made to the police. This may mean your counsellor is informed about your police statements.

References & Resources.

(c) Dean Richardson 2019 - research ongoing - if you copy/republish any of this material how about a citation and an HTML Link back to this page, huh? 🙂


Couples & Individuals (Havant, Hampshire)
Mon:Waiting List (contact me)
Tue:Not Available
Wed:1pm or 4pm
Thu:Waiting List (contact me)
Fri:Not Available
W/E:Not Available
Video (Skype/Hangouts)
Tue:Fully booked

Waiting lists may be available for unlisted times.

Did You Know?

Whilst the police or Crown Prosecution Service may ask for your written permission to see your counsellor’s notes, they only have the right to see notes that relate directly to your court case. …

About Havant Counsellor.

You could choose any counsellor in and around Havant .

Yet, when you think that this may be the most personal, private and vulnerable you're going to be with a professional, you'd choose:

  • someone you can trust,
  • someone who demonstrated highly competent skills and ethics,
  • who spoke plain English (not lots of psychobable),
  • who's as happy to swear as much as you do,
  • who makes you an equal part of the therapeutic partnership (e.g. doesn't just sit in silence, saying "Hmm" for 50 minutes)
…then you'd be interested in trying out Dean Richardson MNCS(Accredited Registrant).

A simply private choice, really.

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