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Counselling Frequently Asked Questions.

Make an Informed Decision about your Counselling through Professional FAQs...

Often Asked Questions.

Set aside your fears. Learn what Counselling is all about; knowledge is power, after all! Havant Counselling offers Counselling Services in the South Hampshire area and if you’re thinking about counselling then these questions will help you make an informed decision.

Pro-tip: click the blue Show link in the floating Contents box (bottom of page) to see all FAQs in one handy index!

Did you know, for example:

Some parents ~ even of adult offspring ~ believe that they can send their child to me for counselling (eg make an appointment and then tell their offspring to go). After all, it’s the parent’s position that they know their child’s needs better than anyone.  So what’s the problem?

Some problems with this include that counselling children (i.e. under the age of 18) requires that the counsellor has completed a very particular form of training; a generally-qualified counsellor is not qualified to work with children (unless the counsellor has completed additional training).

Even the parents of an adult child may not understand that as counselling is an autonomous process it requires an autonomous decision. One cannot send someone to a counsellor (even if one thinks it would do the person some good). The person entering must make their own decision (and make their own contact with the counsellor).

Unanswered Questions.

To help answer your questions in order to free up your concerns about therapy, Havant Counselling has published this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

If you have a question that is not addressed here, please use the comments section to post your question, and we’ll update this FAQ page with our response.

Video Counselling: I'm 400+ Miles away - will Zoom work?

I have worked with clients (couples and individuals) who were based in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales whilst I was located in England. Some clients were over 400 miles away from me in my Portsmouth-centred location.

We communicated successfully in weekly Zoom or Skype counselling sessions. Except for the occasional communications wobble the video & audio connection between us was excellent and we worked together as if we were in the same room as each other. This is especially satisfying when all three of us are in separate locations (eg working in long-distance relationship counselling) where the distance between us all was over 1,000 miles.

My broadband speed is 50Mbps/20Mbps (down/up).

To use Zoom/Skype counselling successfully you will need a decent broadband speed for two of you sharing the line for couple counselling, but when calling from separate locations the bandwidth can be less (such as using a Smartphone 3G data plan).

See next section for more information.

Video Counselling: Speed

Zoom, Skype and other video technologies are adaptive: they'll make use of whatever speed your Internet line has available, adjusting visual and audible quality accordingly. So you don't need a top-notch super fast line.

We're looking at around 3Mbps for an Individual's connection (eg an individual counselling session or an individual calling into a couple session), and around 5Mbps for a couple sharing their home broadband line.

From Zoom's Advice Page on Bandwidth Requirements for meetings:-

  • For 1:1 video calling:
    • For high-quality video: 600kbps (up/down)
    • For 720p HD video: 1.2Mbps (up/down)
    • For 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
  • For group video calling:
    • For high-quality video: 1.0 Mbps/600kbps (up/down)
    • For 720p HD video: 2.6Mbps/1.8Mbps (up/down)
    • For 1080p HD video: 3.8Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)
    • For gallery view receiving: 2.0Mbps (25 views), 4.0Mbps (49 views)
  • For screen sharing only (no video thumbnail): 50-75kbps
  • For screen sharing with video thumbnail: 50-150kbps


From Skype's advice page (

  • Video Calling (high quality):
    • 500kbps (download) / 500kbps (upload)
  • Group video (3 people)
    • 2Mbps (download) / 512kbps (upload)

What are your Qualifications?

Always Ask for Qualifications!
In the UK anyone can title themselves "counsellor" or "therapist". There's no law to stop anyone without appropriate qualifications nor insurance from practising. So, as a new client, it's a good idea to ask your new counsellor: "what qualifies you to offer this service?". You could do this during the first meeting (after all, you're going to be paying for this service, so ask for the facts).

Any legitimately qualified therapist will be only too pleased to either verbally offer you their qualifications, and some may even show you copies of their qualifying diplomas.

Those who prevaricate around answering your question... perhaps I'll leave it to you what to do.

Dean's qualification to practice counselling follow...

Counselling Qualifications (Primary).

Primary awards include:

  • Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling (awarded July 2003 - Chichester Counselling Services - BACP Accredited Course).
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Couples (awarded  January 2010 - Chichester Counselling Services - Psychodynamic/systemic theoretical framework).

Primary Theoretical Frameworks.

Primary Models/Framework include:

  • Psychodynamic / Psychotherapeutic Counselling (individuals).
  • Integrated Systemic / Psychodynamic Counselling (couples).
  • Integrated Psychodynamic / Foulksian (groups).
  • Cognitive Behavioural Approach to Therapy.

Supporting Certification (Primary).

Primary continued professional development ("CPD") certification & training relevant to practice.

  • Group / Team Facilitation Leader (Business) (Awarded 1997 – IBM, North Harbour, Portsmouth).
  • Individual’s Coaching & Mentoring (Awarded 1998 – IBM, North Harbour, Portsmouth).
  • Brief / focal psychodynamic psychotherapy (Awarded 2004 & 2009 – Chichester Counselling Services).
  • Assessing Clients for Psychodynamic Counselling (Awarded June 2006 - Chichester Counselling Services).
  • Online Counselling Skills (Awarded May 2007 - / Kate Anthony).
  • Solution-Focussed Therapy (SFT) (Awarded June 2008 - Chichester Counselling Services).
  • National Foundation Certificate in Group Psychotherapy (Awarded July 2011 - Institute of Group Analysis - Brighton/Birkbeck College).
  • Certificate in Foundations of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Awarded May 2012 - Hemmings Field Associates - "CBT With Heart").
  • Working therapeutically with individuals convicted or accused of sexual offending (Awarded June 2019 - Stop/So).

Professional Membership Organisations.

  • National Counselling Society (2015 – ongoing) *Note 1.
  • Psychotherapy and Counselling Union of Great Britain (2018 – ongoing).
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – BACP (2003 – 2018 (16 years) – resigned in August 2018 – no longer a member – *Note 1).

Professional Accreditation.

  • National Counselling Society – MNCPS (Accred/Reg) – (2015 – ongoing).
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – BACP – MBACP(Accredited)  (2009 – 2018 (10 years) – resigned in August 2018 – accreditation by BACP no longer applies).

Professional Registration.

Are you a Licensed Counselor?

A "Licensed Counselor" (sic) may be one of the descriptions you've seen recommended on advertisements on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on). The terms are also included in advertisements on search engines like Google and Bing.

As a British consumer, you need to be aware that organisations promoting "licensed" therapists do not originate from the United Kingdom. Another clue about this would be the non-British spelling of "Counselor". 😉

In short: "Licensed counselors" don't exist in the UK . Services promoting you seek one of their "licensed counselors" would not be promoting the use of British Counsellors.

In the UK we do not operate a licensure scheme for counsellors (two "l"s 👍🏻).  Advertisers who recommend that British people "Seek a Licensed Counselor..." are, in my opinion, using highly dubious promotional material and, let's be honest here, are being quite cheap too: reusing advertising material previously created for their home country (more appropriate for an American audience).

Why "Licensed Counselor" is misleading

In the UK, after attaining qualification (minimum of diploma level, also known as level 5 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), we counsellors may choose to register with one of the dozen-or-so private membership bodies as recognised by the Professional Standards Authority. Registration is the first keyword to watch out for.

Counsellors are not actually required to register in any legal sense. However, if we join a private membership organisation we tend to become registered automatically.

Later in our careers - if we so desire - we may work towards accreditation from that same membership body. Accreditation is the second keyword to watch out for. Accreditation is attained by counsellors, for example, by adding 450 supervised client hours to our case experience, writing several essays as our chosen membership organisation requires, paying some money, often having to accept the burden of higher membership fees (🤦🏻‍♂️), and enter a process to have our accreditation be re-evaluated periodically.

In short, a counsellor having received their qualification from their training organisation, then registering via one of the PMBs, is possibly the very basic minimum standard of counsellor you might want to work with in the United Kingsom.

We're still not licensed, though 🤣

About Dean's Designations

Dean Richardson's post-nominal letters are: MNCPS(Accred/Reg) standing for "member of the National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society", "accredited" and "registrant", having qualified with his Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling, and Post Graduate Diploma in Psychodynamic/Systemic Couple Counselling, attained his original accreditation via another PMB some 16 years ago, and registering when the new Professional Standards Authority registration system was introduced some 12 years ago 👍🏻.

Registered or Accredited

Be warned. When considering responding to to advertisements that misspell "counselor" and recommend that you engage with one of their "licensed" ones, you may not be engaging with a British counsellor at all.

Be wary. Look out for keywords like "registered" or "accredited" ... or even "British" 👍🏻!

In the United Kingdom, there is no such thing as a Licensed Counselor (sic).

Do you work with people living abroad?

Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg) is qualified and insured to work within the United Kingdom; British law applies to all contracted therapy work.

Because of the nature of Video Counselling (Zoom, Skype etc) Dean also works with people who are resident in other countries.

However, if you are not residing within the British Isles or you are not a British Citizen (living abroad) it is possible that Dean may not be able to work with you via Zoom/Skype vide counselling due to restrictions in your own country and/or State of residence.

If unsure, get in contact so that we might clarify matters…

About Waiting Lists

My currently available appointments are listed on this website. My timetable lists the days that I work, and the days that I am never available (such as weekends).

Sometimes I won't have an appointment available that suits your needs. In such a situation, you may register to be notified when a suitable appointment becomes available.

  • You'll tell me the day(s) and time(s) that you'd prefer for your weekly counselling appointment.
  • At the beginning of each month I'll email you to let you know how things are going with my availability (whether you'll wait another month, whether a suitable appointment may be becoming available, and so on).
  • When a suitable appointment becomes available I will email you immediately and ask you to complete my full application form (if it has not already been completed). Otherwise I'll ask for any information I need for us to arrange a first appointment.
  • We'll then discuss arranging a first appointment (agreeing a day/time, paying the deposit etc).
  • (Out of curtesy, you will also email me should you decide to engage with another service. Thus I can offer the appointment to the next in line).

Because I work, by default, in an open-ended manner with clients (i.e. we work until their work is completed, or complete enough) it is not possible for me to predict when someone is going to be finishing their work with me. I dedicate my time to an individual, couple or group until their work is done sufficiently for us to say goodbye... and only then does their appointment become available to others.

As someone who is waiting for an appointment you may find this uncertain way of managing potentially new client's needs a little frustrating. But as a client in counselling you will feel assured that no-one is going to take your appointment away from you, and you will never feel rushed to complete your work before you're ready because someone wants your slot.

How many counselling sessions

Calendar ©

Calendar ©

Some people ask: "how many sessions of counselling will I/we need?"

Without being flippant, my approach to counselling means that you're in counselling for only one session at a time. Let me explain...

I take a one-session approach because, in my experience, clients differ vastly in their needs from counselling. On average, people take only a handful of sessions before they're done (around six or seven sessions). Other clients enjoy many more sessions. I've also had a small number of clients who were done in just one session (a true session: beginning, middle, and end).

Counselling is not like going to a GP: aka you describe your ailments and the doctor gives you something you take/do that will cure the ailment (or the counsellor says: "Follow these instructions and your ailment will vanish in just 7 sessions"). No, counselling is like a relationship where, over time, you (and your difficulties) become transformed due to the therapeutic relationship (what happens between you and the counsellor) and the stuff you take away (together, if with a partner) from the process.

Sessions are automatically scheduled weekly so that you don't have to do diary-searching, and to ensure that the therapy has an effect. It's a good approach that gives you choice and control over how many counselling sessions you take... and you can discuss bring the work to an end at any time.

Some Helpful Boundaries.

For individual counselling: if you are concerned about costs, we can agree on a set number of sessions (e.g. 6) at the beginning of our work, and we will discuss and stick to that number of sessions if we both agree it to be helpful.  Otherwise, we can work weekly until things feel better enough to discuss how we might want to close down our work.

For couple/group counselling, initially we work on discovering the focus for the relationship work. Once this is agreed upon by everyone, some couples and groups decide they will work on the focus on their own. Others stay in counselling to discover how they might address the focus, and do so until they make the counsellor redundant.

As a counsellor, if I think the counselling is going nowhere (or the service I'm offering seems not to be helpful to you), we'll have a conversation or two about what we might like to do about this (rather than continuing to meet aimlessly).

So, in conclusion, I will work for you for as long (or as short) as, together, we find that counselling is helpful.

When we're done, we're done... and we'll plan to say goodbye (with no requirement for you to come back for "top up" sessions in the future, as some therapists offer, as if you'd somehow run out?! )

Why do I have to send a deposit?

For our first counselling session, I ask for a £30 deposit to be paid at least a week before the session date.

Your £30 deposit will be taken off the cost of your first session (e.g. for an individual session of £45, after your £30 deposit has been paid there will be £15 left to be paid on the day of the session). You're not paying any extra money.

Your deposit can be paid online (securely via this website).


Counselling requires commitment, both from me and from you together. Counselling is not something we approach casually.

Unfortunately, some people assume that counselling is a bit like a GP's "prescriptive" process :

  1. Describe your problem,
  2. Wait for the GP to tell you what pills to take,
  3. Take the pills.

In other words, the prescriptive approach doesn't really ask any participation from you in your "cure" (except taking some pills).

When such an analogy is (mistakenly) held about counselling, the client may expect this process:

  1. Describe the problem,
  2. Wait for the counsellor to tell you what to do,
  3. Go and do it.

However, counselling is a relationship between counsellor and client in which both will discover how the client may begin to resolve their conflicts. Both counsellor and client work together.

Unfortunately, the prescriptive assumption may leave some people people so uncommitted to coming the first counselling session ("Meh, why bother, it's no loss to me") that they simply don't turn up and don't give any notice of their absence.

Asking for a Deposit.

When arranging a first session with me, you're asking for my investment (my time, preparation, room booking fees, travel etc). In return for this investment, ask for a similar investment from you via your deposit.

I have found that asking for a financial deposit (of £30) before the first session, the client's attention is drawn to this being a serious engagement. It invites you to consider if counselling is something you wish to undertake ... seriously.

Refunding your Deposit.

If cancel our first session with a minimum of 48 hours notice I will return your deposit (using the same method the you used to pay the deposit).

If you don't turn up for your counselling session - no notice given - or you give me fewer than 48 hours notice, your deposit will cover my expenses in preparing for, travelling to, and reserving the room for our first session.

How long is a session?

  • A standard session for individuals or couples is 50 minutes - begins on the hour and ends at ten-to the hours. 
  • A standard session for groups is 90 minutes - begins on the hour and ends 90 minutes later. 
  • 90 minute sessions may be arranged for couples and individuals (where we have previously discussed and made an agreement).
  • Attending more than one session per week may be arranged for couples and individuals (where we have previously discussed and made an agreement). 

Session ending-times are not extendable (ie arriving ten minutes late cannot extend the end of the session time by ten minutes).

Do I have to come to counselling weekly?

Calendar ©

Calendar ©

The counselling approach I use (am trained & qualified to practice) is effective when we are able to work the process together. Part of this working-it together, is being able to meet regularly and repetitively at pre-scheduled times until our work is completed (or completed sufficiently for us to say goodbye).

Once upon a time, clients met their therapist on a daily basis (or, sometimes, three times a week). This is still a preferred approach with therapies such as psychoanalysis. Now the basic standard for counselling is weekly sessions (although some clients may choose to work with a counsellor twice-a-week).

For an understanding of the psychological rationale underpinning this, read upon on the concepts of Containment, Holding and Therapeutic Alliance from authors as Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, and Wilfred Bion.

Ad-Hoc Sessions

Some clients (perhaps inexperienced in counselling or having worked with therapists who offer different approaches), may wish to work with me on an ad-hoc basis (e.g. coming to an appointment every so often, arranged with no planning or when they feel like it).

I respect that some therapists work to a theoretical framework and rationale that supports such requests. However, I am not equipped to offer ad-hoc/on-demand counselling sessions.

If you wish to work with a counsellor on an ad-hoc basis, please try my Alternative Therapists page.

Fortnightly (or longer interval) Sessions

Some clients contact me asking for sessions, but with a fortnight - or longer - between sessions.

I will consider working with you fortnightly (or with a longer interval between) sessions only after our work has been established from beginning with weekly sessions.

This may mean you begin attending weekly for a limited or set number of sessions (say 1 month, or six sessions) to establish the therapeutic alliance, with a view to moving to fortnightly afterwards.

For some, having longer intervals between counselling sessions may be a financial decision (i.e. would struggle to afford the weekly fee). In such cases, if placements are available and you are on a limited income (only), I may be able to negotiate a lower per-session fee with you in order to support weekly meetings. Because this is my private practice, I would be subsidising our counselling work through a reduced fee; spaces are not always available and, when they are, are frequently filled quickly.

All new counselling relationships begin with weekly sessions.

If you wish to work with a counsellor on a fortnightly (or longer) basis, please try my Alternative Therapists page.

Session Structure

The structure of my counselling service's sessions are:
  • Weekly,
  • Sessions being arranged automatically for the same day, same time (and same location if meeting face-to-face) each week,
  • Exceptions to the weekly-scheduling being made for planned breaks.
  • Our work concluding when we're done("done" meaning an agreed, set number of sessions, or working open-ended until either of us recognise that we've worked through the problems enough).

In short: you have the right to seek out a counsellor who can work with you in the way that works best for you. If my weekly-session approach isn't what you're looking for, it seems reasonable to assume that I wouldn't be the best counsellor to consider. You may find a better match for your needs via my list of Alternative Therapists.

Can you accommodate Shift Workers?

If you're able to attend weekly appointments (aka automatically scheduled for the same day & time each week) then my service would be for you.

If, however, your circumstances would make this schedule difficult/impossible (eg shift-work), then it's likely that my service is not suitable for you.

I work with clients (individuals, couples, groups) on a weekly basis (at a minimum) due to (i) therapeutic rationale, (ii) private practice demands and (iii) personal responsibilities away from work. Unfortunately, this means that I'm unable to support most people who work on a shift pattern (e.g. people needing to attend counselling on a different day and/or time over different periods, those being unable to attend counselling weekly, those who would have to stop counselling because their work made them unable to attend scheduled appointments).

Stopping our work at a critical juncture, or failing to meet because your work schedule has made it impossible for you to attend / and my availability does not match your availability, would be challenging.

There are counsellors who are able to support shift-patterns, though. You might have to do a little research (and be upfront with everyone you contact so that informed-decisions can be made with you).

I recommend you take a look at my List of Recommended Alternative Therapists …to begin your search.

Couple Counselling? Individual Counselling? Group Counselling? Which one do I choose?

Confusing Sidewalk Signs ©

Confusing Sidewalk Signs ©

It may become obvious which form of counselling could help you better after talking with someone experienced.

You're welcome to contact me and I'll try and help you (all) make an informed decision on which counselling might be a good choice for you by explaining options with respect to your circumstances.

Individual: For your personal problems (or problems related to others).

Couple: For relationship problems, where the couple work together with the counsellor.

Group: For individual and relationship problems, where an individual joins a group of people and the counsellor.

Can I start different counselling services at the same time?

To prevent conflicts and multiple therapeutic relationships, you may choose one service from me (Individual, Couple or Group) - not more than one.

Where can I park my car?

There are several (well hidden!) car parks within a 5/6 minutes walk from Havant Counselling.

Details are located here:-

For other location details (bike racks, bus and train routes) see

What can I expect from our first counselling session?

Worried ManYou'll arrive at the time of our session, I'll come to the security gates and take you to our room.

I'll introduce myself, invite you to have a seat opposite me & maybe you'll pour yourself a glass of water.

I'll summarise what we're going to do during our first session.

Usually this will be:-

  • An overview of confidentiality and what you need to know where your privacy may be broken ~ about 5 minutes.
  • I'll take some details and a little about your history (eg past counselling) ~ about 5 minutes.
  • We'll spend most of the session talking about the problems you're bringing; you'll get some experiences of how I work as a counsellor, and I'll be monitoring if you're able to make use of what I say ~ most of the remainder of the session.
  • Last 5 minutes we'll talk about meeting again, and I'll give you a pack that helps you make an informed decision about working with me.

The whole session will be conversation based: no forms to fill in, no tests to take, no using toys or equipment.

There's no problem that's too large to speak about.

I won't be shocked or express disgust (although you might to take a big bite of courage to discuss some things that are difficult for you; we can always talk around difficult subjects when you're not ready to just dive in).

If something I say triggers a thought that you'd not been prepared to speak about, you can decline to answer my question (I won't be offended).

It's my job to help you make an informed decision about working with me. If I don't do that well enough, you can choose to work with another counsellor.

What makes Dean Richardson a Different Counsellor?

Dare to be Different ©

Dare to be Different ©

Here's some information that I've heard given to me over the years:-

1. Plain speaking & human

I know all the psychology jargon, but you (probably) don't. So I'll talk to you in plain English and explain some things as we go along.

I believe that people can make use of knowledge, and if they can learn something of what's going on for them then that can be a big relief.

Talking with me can be like talking with a friend whose opinions you might begin to trust; who doesn't just say things like "Oh, you're fine" or "Don't worry, everything will be OK" just because this might be the easier thing (for me) to say. I won't dismiss your concerns.

2. I don't sit in (unnecessary) silence.

A stereotypical counsellor sits there saying nothing. Occasionally you get an "Hmmm...".

If you're working away, talking things through, sharing stuff, thinking, then I (usually) won't jump in and interrupt you… I'll be listening and learning from you.

But if there's nothing going on, if the "space" in the room is empty, then I think silence from the counsellor can be quite punishing.

I speak!

3. I have strong/reliable Boundaries.

You have to feel safe during counselling.

For example: whilst it might seem friendly to invite you to meet with me in the pub, that would be a serious breach of ethics and of protecting our professional relationship… that would be a big breach of boundaries.

But little boundaries also matter considerably: like starting our session on time (and ending it on time, too), being consistent in my behaviour, not putting you in a situation that makes you feel unsafe, being trustworthy and competent, not talking about stuff that I have no training in (e.g. making diagnoses) etc.

Sometimes my behaviour or my questioning might seem a little unusual (our relationship looks social, but it's not really)… and we can always talk about anything that puzzles you.

4. It's our Relationship that matters.

People come to counselling to talk about stuff out there.

But often that same stuff can begin to appears in here (between you and me).

The stuff between you and I can be a rich source of information and help. This stuff is real and it's happening between you and me! With other people, they may not have the wherewithal to discuss "here and now" happenings with you. They may prefer to turn a blind-eye. But that's where I'm different to your mates.

So, if it's helpful to us both, we can talk about the stuff that happens inside the room, as well as outside the room.

5. I use unfocussed listening and several other layers to understand the problem.

Whilst I'm listening to you, I'm also listening to several other layers of things.

Sometimes called "unfocussed listening", I'm listening to between the story, listening to my feelings and my response (sometimes called counter-transference), I'm paying attention to things around the story, and what's missing from the story.

You see, you're living the with your problem, so your problem gets your full focus. That can mean that you're too close and missing the bigger picture.

By working in this way, I can obtain much more information from your problem that you can, and in turn I can offer you some (partially digested) insight; thoughts that you may have been missing that may be key to your recovery.

6. I believe that you have (or will have) the solutions to your problems.

When you meet with me for the first time, you may be experiencing loss.

Loss of ability to resolve your problem.

But, somewhere within you can be the solutions to resolving your problem.

It's my skill to help people discover things that block their own solutions, and to take down the blocks (when appropriate).

You'll leave counselling independent of me (which can be vastly more powerful than a therapist telling you what to do, and you leaving feeling that you have to keep going back for new answers).

Dean: he's a bloke!

Dean Richardson MNCPS(Accred/Reg)

Counsellor Dean Richardson MNCPS (Accred/Reg)

As you search the Internet for counsellors, you'll notice lots of women. There are dozens of female counsellors in the Hampshire region alone. Many of them will show compassionate, smiling faces, many of them with their websites showing wispy butterflies, calming candles, and images of peaceful oceans and fields (not sure why the oceans, but hey...).

I'm a bloke.

As a bloke I get puzzled by stuff I don't understand.

I work with behaviours, thoughts, somatics (as well as feelings!).

I use coarse, basic language (if you do).

I work with the really tough stuff (like behaviours that you've had for years and feel helpless to change).

… as well as being fully qualified and experienced (working since 1999), totally understanding, helpfully challenging, and I'll even shed a tear when it comes to that.

In fact, for the most of 2015 my entire client-base was 100% men (including gay male couples)…

So whilst counselling is made up of many women, there are exceptions and it seems that many clients are looking for something distinct from me; something particular from a male counsellor.

Why Dean Richardson is Quite Unlike Other Counsellors?

In some of my marketing blurb, I describe myself as a counsellor quite unlike others. Here's my rationale for using this phrase.

  • Firstly, I'm male - and a majority of counsellors are female.
  • I practice with a core psychodynamic model (integrated psychodynamic/systemic for couples). Some suggest I should describe myself as "integrative", except whilst I do use other therapeutic approaches (systemic for couples, Faulksian for groups, CBT where it's useful), they are tied very much in to my psychodynamic model.
  • I don't see my role to create a peaceful walk in the park with you in counselling. I'll help create safety so that we can work through some seriously icky stuff when that's what you need from me.
  • I don't just listen for 50 minutes (stereotypical going "Mmmm" once in a while). I interact with you.
  • I'm human - I'll laugh out loud with you (if your jokes are funny - ha ha ) and I'll cry with you too. I'll swear (look here: fuck!) and I'll talk plain English without a lot of psychobable.
  • I'll join with you i not understanding what's going on for you, until one of us begins to get an idea; then we'll share the ideas.
  • I'm not a stereotypical "oh dear that's not nice" kind of counsellor who may give a generic response to what you're telling me. My responses to you will be coloured with realism, humanism, and therapeutic stuff too. You're unique - why shouldn't our therapeutic relationship get out of me unique responses too.
  • I don't follow dogma simply because a book/manual says I should. I work with human beings, and I listen to your needs.
  • I see us creating a unique therapy together; one that works for you. So, you kinda have to be a participant, you see?
  • I'm a bloke; someone who gets puzzled, confused, want's to learn more, and can become your temporary ally until you have no need of me. Then we'll say goodbye.

I see my counselling role as helping you make an informed decision about whether you want to work with me... or not.

As such, I ask of you to work with me, rather than our roles to be "You talk, I listen".

I may not be to everybody's taste, and that's fine - there will be a counsellor out there for you.

If it's me, get in contact.

What if I don't like counselling?

I won't (actually… can't) commit you to attending sessions.

Counselling is a co-operative, therapeutic relationship.

It's both you and I working together in a relationship, aimed at helping both of us work to help you improve things.

That's kinda risky… when was the last time you could guarantee that you'd get on well with someone new?

So, I ask you to commit to:-

  • One session at a time (and we'll work for only as long as it's helpful)
  • That if you find our counselling work is not helpful (or has become not helpful), that you speak up… giving us the opportunity to look into what's come up… together.

I'm afraid that if you're looking for someone to cure you (the GP scenario: you say what's wrong, and someone gives you pills that make the problem go away) then my form of counselling isn't for you.

How much does counselling cost?

You pay my fee during each session (usually once a week).

Look at the above menu for a link to my fees page.

You only pay for the service you're taking from me (different services cost different amounts).

How do I pay for my counselling?

Rainbow of Credit ©

Rainbow of Credit ©

You can pay by cash, cheque [made out to Dean Richardson] or bank transfer.

You can also pay by credit card or debit card in person or online with no additional surcharges.

You pay weekly - during each session.

When you find you cannot pay for a session (e.g. forgotten your wallet), then we'll add the fee to the next session, or you can pay online via my website's online payment service.

How to pay for someone else

If you are going to be paying for someone else to come to counselling, this information may be of use to you.

Payments & Methods.

Payments are accepted only from the client(s) attending a counselling session.

If the client is being funded by a third party, the client and third party must make their own arrangements to enable the client to pay their own session fees.

Session fees are payable on the day of the session and in full. There is no invoicing option, but receipts can be given to the client upon request. There is no option for paying for a set number of sessions before they occur, or for paying for a set of sessions after they have taken place (e.g. paying monthly).

The client may pay for sessions in one of the following ways:-

  • By Credit/Debit Card: cards are accepted via online payments only (no telephone payments). Credit/Debit card payments are either processed securely (online) through PayPal (go here) or (in person) via iZettle using a card reader. You do not have to have a PayPal account to pay online by credit/debit card. When you pay through my website you will be prompted either to log into your PayPal account or be invited to pay by credit/debit card. Select the second option. Alternatively, if you have your own PayPal account you may add your credit card to your account and pay via this route.
  • By Online Payment: payments are processed securely through PayPal. You may pay online using your credit/debt card, bank transfer or PayPal account - go to this page to begin a payment.
  • By bank transfer / your banking app: the client will be given my bank details in the first session. These details (sort code, bank account) will be sufficient for you to work your banking app: to set up "ad-hoc" payments or to create a standing order. Direct debit payments are not available.
  • Cash/cheque: cheques made out to Dean Richardson. Cash or cheque to be handed to the client to be given to me.
  • Standing Order: my bank details are given to new clients in their first session. This information can be used to set up a standing order. However, note that whilst sessions are weekly, during bank holidays and personal holidays you will need to intervene to pause the standing order when there is no session.
  • Direct Debit: Payments by direct debit are not available


Responsibilities & Logistics.

  • Responsibility for the session fees remains with the client (not with the third party). If fees are not paid on the day of the session, or are not paid at all, the client is responsible for handling the matter (i.e. I will not correspond with you to chase up late payments). Repeated late- or non- payments may result in the counselling contract being ended early.
  • For reasons of privacy and confidentiality I will enter into no communication with third parties about the counselling relationship nor its status (e.g. about setting up payments, responding to requests for the status of the counselling, confirming or denying if a client is in counselling with me etc). If the client wishes, any questions about payments may be put through him/her for discussion with me in session.
  • Receipts are available on request, and will be given to the client to manage.

Why there are charges for cancelled sessions.

My private counselling practice is a business. It has an income and, of course, expenses.

When you pay for a counselling session, you may think you're paying for your 50 (or 90) minute session. You're partially correct. Your fee also covers (either wholly or partially):

  • The time I spend pre-session, during and post-session on our work.
  • My expenses in hiring our consultation room.
  • My public liability and indemnity insurance.
  • My compulsory monthly supervisory consultations.
  • Travel expenses and/or Internet Broadband line rental.
  • My continued research and education so that I'm practising to current standards (sometimes called "continued professional development" or CPD)
  • My income to keep my fridge stocked with pies and my feet in warm socks (well... you get the idea).

When we engage in a counselling contract we begin weekly sessions (sometimes more than once a week) and each sessions is payable except: your planned vacations (up to the first 4 sessions per year), my planned vacations, public holidays, my unplanned absences.

When you cancel a session you will still be charged a fee. This is to cover expenses that I still incur for providing you my service (even in your absence):-

  • Cancellations made with fewer than 48 hours' notice are charged at the full fee.
  • Cancellations made with more than 48 hours' notice are charged at half the fee (because it may be possible for me to reduce my losses having been given notice of your cancellation).

All sessions - including cancellations - are payable by the day of the session, whether the session goes ahead or not.

Put it this way: have you ever gone to a cinema with your ticket from last week, and asked for your money back because you couldn't made the performance...?

First-session Deposits.

For first sessions you will be asked to pay a deposit of £30 to confirm your intention to attend. If you cancel the first session with fewer than 48 hours notice, your deposit covers the expenses that are lost. If you cancel the first session with > 48 hours, your deposit is refunded (and any expenses are cover by the counsellor).

Repeat Cancellations.

If you cancel two sessions in a row, and have not attended to paying your cancellation fee, and/or it appears in communication that you are not committed to our contract I reserve the right to withdraw my further participation. Counselling is a mutual commitment. If only I am attending sessions, and there is little or no evidence that you will be joining me, it seems inappropriate to continue with our contract.

If you cancel several sessions in a row (even if you are paying for the cancellations) I may still end our contract depending on the circumstances and the reasons for cancellation.

For example if you had cancelled due to a bereavement, gave 48 hours notice, paid your half-fee, and the following week you attended the funeral (again paying the half fee) it would be unlikely that I would be withdrawing from our contract due to the circumstances of the cancellations. Conversely, if you cancelled our sessions for vague reasons, did not send through a payment after two weeks of missed sessions, I would be left with little evidence of your intention to attend further sessions... and would likely inform you of my withdrawal.

Why don't you offer free sessions?

Neon "Free" Sign ©

Neon "Free" Sign ©

A few counsellors offer a no-fee 20 minute introductory session.

I don't 😉

Firstly, regarding "20 minutes" - it has been my experience over 24 years+ that people who engage in counselling need time, space and consideration to get going in a session. 20 minutes barely allows time to say "hello".

Also, as counselling sessions are usually 50 minutes, I'm not sure how helpful it is to begin a good counselling relationship by short-changing the client offering only 20 minutes, stopping us prematurely, and effectively giving the client an experience that's never going to be repeated in the whole time that we would be working together!

I've heard one or two (rather inexperienced) counsellors claim: "client's can't manage the full fifty minutes at the start" ~ I think that's a bit of a rubbish thing to think. I respectfully recognise that clients are resilient and perfectly able to manage quite a lot during 50 minutes.

Similarly, I've heard it said: "I'm not sure about counselling, I'd like a free session to see if it's for me". To that I'd ask you to consider: have you ever gone into a cinema and asked to see a film for 20 minutes for free ... to see if you'd like it or not?

So, our first session is the full 50 minutes, is a mutual interview (sometimes called an assessment for counselling - i.e. it's not about me deciding if I'm going to allow you to come again to counselling, it's us both evaluating each other… and the process between us).

I charge my full standard fee because I'm working and have expenses too (room rental, insurance, travel etc).

How soon can I begin counselling?

Calendar ©

Calendar ©

It usually takes us up to a week to arrange our first session.

We'll email each other to agree a day and time.

You'll send me a £30 deposit to secure our first appointment.

I'll confirm the booking.

Is counselling right for me?

Honestly, I can't tell you that here.

Because I work "one session at a time", you can book a session with me and try it for yourself.

You won't be committed to months or years of therapy. You'll only try the one 50-minute session.

It's part of my job to help you make an informed decision. If you think I'm not right for you, you can talk it over with me or choose not to enter regular counselling with me.

So, I just come along and we're in counselling?

The first time a counsellor and client meet is often called an "assessment".

It's a mutual assessment... the client is seeing if the counsellor is suitable for his/her problems, and the counsellor is seeing if the client can make use of what the counsellor is offering.

Neither of us have to accept working with the other.

Only if we both recognise that this seems a good-enough fit will we continue meeting for further sessions.

If you don't think I'm the right counsellor for you, then you won't need to come to me again.

If I don't think I'm the right counsellor for you, then I'll let you know, and we won't need to meet again.

How long (or short) have you worked with someone?

Shortest: one 50-minute session.

Longest: five years (approx 200 sessions).

On average? About 6 to 10 sessions seems to be a vague average, but everyone is quite unique in their needs from counselling. So, if we both agree that we're both making use of our time together, we'll continue to work together.

Can I talk to you about something illegal?

Is it Illegal? ©

Is it Illegal? ©

Brief answer: kinda yes… but with risk to consequences.

The law does not protect privacy when there is an intention to commit a serious crime. If you tell me of your intention to cause harm to someone, or to commit terrorism, that kind of thing, the law does not allow me to keep your intentions to myself ("whistle blowing").

If you're thinking about a crime with no intention to carry it out, and you haven't already carried it out (let say: sex with someone under age), then we can discuss this in counselling: what the thoughts mean to you, what's concerning you etc. This would be unlikely to result in me telling authorities.

If you're unsure about telling me something that may be illegal, and that may put me in a position where I cannot respect your privacy, you're advise to seek independent legal advice (eg Citizen's Advice Bureaux) before discussing a matter with me.

Do I need CBT?

CBT - or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - is a type of therapy that assists with you changing your behaviour by looking at how you think about things.

It was introduced into the NHS via their IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) scheme due to evidence that CBT could be delivered inexpensively, quickly and could be a preferred approach to help people move out of certain conditions (such as depression). When delivered by computer and paper forms, with support from a therapist, it can also be referred to as "low intensity" treatment.

Unfortunately, "CBT" has become a layman's generic word to refer to all sorts of therapies. If you've been told "you aught to get some CBT, mate!" by a friend or family member, they may not understand if CBT would really be helpful for you.

CBT is not the preferred approach to couple relationship counselling.

My approach to counselling is to help you (your partner, if couple counselling) and I learn how you came to arrive at your current problems, so that with new knowledge and understanding you'll become empowered to undo your own difficulties. This approach may involve some CBT, but will likely involve more effective approaches such as psychodynamic and systemic counselling.

If you've tried NHS-referred low intensity CBT and found it unhelpful, I'd be the private counsellor you'd come to for a different experience.

Can I send someone to counselling?

If you wish to make an appointment for counselling for someone other than yourself or are making inquiries on behalf of a third party (such as a friend, a family member, someone at work, your employee, someone your organisation is responsible for, etc.), then it is important that you understand that arrangements for private counselling will only be made directly between the person(s) seeking counselling and myself.

You cannot make arrangements or make inquiries for anyone other than yourself. The person(s) considering counselling must make an autonomous decision to contact me themselves and make arrangements directly with me.

If you do send me a message on someone else's behalf or try to make an appointment for them or an inquiry for them—no matter how well intended or if you have the other person's permission—I will not be able to engage with you to discuss their needs or accept your request to make an appointment on their behalf.


Once in a while, I may receive a message saying something like:

  • "Hi, my (husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, etc.) wants to come to counselling."
  • "I think my (husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, etc.) needs counselling. I'd like to talk to you about them.
  • "I'm making an appointment for my daughter and her husband as they {insert reasons here}..."
  • "We have someone here who we think should see a counsellor. Do you work with {description of ailments}?"

These messages are usually well-intended, but they leave me unable to know if the person(s) seeking counselling has/ve made their own decision about contacting me or if they actually wish to make a counselling arrangement with me.

Very occasionally, someone makes an appointment pretending to be the person themselves, which is, of course, fraud (and illegal).

Why Confidentiality and Autonomy Are Vital.

Counselling involves the client and counsellor agreeing to work in a therapeutic alliance. No Alliance == No Effective Counselling. It can also be empowering for the person to make their own arrangements.

Counselling is not done to a person (which - I hope - does away with the faulty impression: "if I send my husband to counselling, the counsellor will make him better"); it's a mutual therapeutic engagement created by informed parties.

Similarly, emailing me with details of someone's needs without identifying who you are, what your relationship is with the person, whether the person has given informed consent, and asking me if I will work with the person (unknown) is highly dubious.

After all, I would argue that if a person is in such a passive or debilitated state that they cannot, will not, or do not know that they can make their own arrangements, the counselling approach I offer would not be of any help to them.


Contacting me on behalf of someone else may also breach the other person's privacy. It's possible to regard this as an attempt to manipulate someone into going to a counsellor, not perhaps for their benefit... but for yours.

I also cannot protect a person's privacy and confidentiality by corresponding with a third-party (such as emailing me to ask: "Is my brother in counselling with you? He's ill this week, but I don't know if it's you he sees"). For such inquiries, I will not respond.

In Summary.

  • Think about the person's privacy and confidentiality; do you have the right to discuss their private needs or inquire about counselling on their behalf? Has the person given informed consent to you? Do they know you are making an inquiry for counselling on their behalf?
  • If a person wishes to meet me for counselling, then they are invited to review my services independently and make contact with me directly if they so choose. Discussions on making arrangements will be made privately.
  • If the position is that a person is so emotionally distressed, so debilitated with, say, depression, or in such a terrible state that they cannot email nor telephone me to arrange their own appointment, then in all seriousness, it would not be my service that the person is seeking; contacting a GP or their local hospital for a psychiatric appointment would seem to be an important decision to consider.

How do I make an appointment for someone?

If you're reading this to learn how to make an appointment for yourself, please see the page: How to Begin Counselling

If you're reading this to learn how to make an appointment for someone else, please see the section above titled: "Can I send someone to counselling?"

I'm Going to Court - can I come to Counselling before my 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). Both defendants and plaintiffs can enter counselling before their trial (albeit both cannot meet with the same counsellor).

Counselling whilst Pre-Trial is a little different from standard counselling.  There a need to be cautious, to make informed decisions. Whereas counselling is normally private and confidential, when a court trial is involved confidentiality and privacy can take on an altered state.

Counselling when a court trial is involved is not a very complicated situation, but a significant number of counsellors decline to work pre-trial because they have not investigated what's actually involved. You too 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.

For example, a barrister may want his/her client to present their evidence in a particular kind of way for the best possible outcome. When discussing such evidence with a counsellor, there is the potential for a conflict (is the counsellor being neutral, on the side of the client, on the side of someone else?) potentially interfering with what a barrister may need.

It is not unusual for someone to wish to enter counselling before their trial - if not for anything else then for someone to talk to about the stress an approaching trial is causing.

For full details, see my page: Pre-Trial Counselling.

You're Seeing Someone I Know - Can I come too?

Privacy and Confidentiality are paramount in counselling work.

The ability for a person to talk freely about their private lives, or in the case of a couple: their relationship, is at the core of effective counselling.

If you have received a personal recommendation to make contact with me for your own counselling by a friend, or a relation, or work-colleague (etc) who has been working with me themselves in counselling (and I am still working with that person) then I will decline to work with you until some six months after I have finished working with that person.

In such a situation, seeking a counsellor who is more than "six degrees of separation" from you (to coin a phrase) would be an appropriate approach in these circumstances.


I'm in the same club / group / social organisation as you - can I see you as my counsellor?

If you are a member of the same social organisation as I, then I will not be able to work with you as your counsellor.

This includes all of my services: individual counselling, couple counselling and group counselling.

This is to protect boundaries (both yours and mine) and enable the therapy work to be contained without interference from outside encounters.

An exception may be if:-

  • ... you have left the social organisation, and have not been a member for at least 6 months,
  • ... you do not intend to rejoin the organisation whilst we work together,
  • ... you will not rejoin the organisation for a further 6 months after we have completed our work,

... then we may discuss the possibility of engaging in a counselling contract.


I'm under 18...

I'm sorry, but I only work with adults (persons of 18 years or older)…

…and even if you are 18 years old, there is a possibility that you and I may not work well together. We can't know this unless we meet and talk, of course.

Regarding (parents) wishing to send children to me, I am qualified to work with adults only.

I have no qualifications that would support me working with children.

Couple Counselling: Why do you ask couples to 'cc' each other on email?

When you contact me for couple counselling, my application form will ask you to include both yours and your partner's email addresses.

In subsequent correspondence (e.g. arranging an initial appointment) I will copy both of you in my emails, and will ask you both copy your partner in every email sent to me.

This is so that everyone knows what's being discussed and maintains a say in plans.

Rationale: As a systemic/psychodynamic couple counsellor, I practice a therapeutic methodology commonly called "neutrality". Your relationship is my primarily client, not the two of you. As part of practising neutrality from the beginning, I involve everyone in email correspondence as opposed to, say, replying just to you with your promise that you will (or may) share our correspondence with your partner.

If you decline to offer your partner's email address I will only be able to offer you a generalised reply.

This isn't to say that you absolutely cannot email me without your partner knowing. Sometimes an individual wishes to discuss matters without their partner knowing… and we allow for this such private correspondence with the understanding that we'll also discuss how we later inform your partner as to what is being discussed without their knowledge.

Couple Counselling: Why do you ask for both our email addresses?

When you contact me for couple counselling, my application form will ask you to include both yours and your partner's email addresses.

This is so that I can reply to the both of you, both of you get to know what's being discussed, and both of you have the opportunity to reply.

Occasionally, someone will contact me requesting couple counselling, but they will not provide their partner's email address. While they may have very good reasons for doing so, my response will be limited because I will not discuss matters involving the partner unless they are able to respond to such matters.

Couple Counselling: can you fix my partner for me?

Couple Counselling is about the relationship.

There are two people involved in the relationship.

If you're hoping that you coming to Couple Counselling will fix your partner, you may be turning a blind-eye to your part in the relationship.

Very occasionally I have had a couple sit in front of me, and one partner tells me something like

"the problems are caused by [him/her]. I'm just here while you work with [him/her]."

If this is a position you wish to hold (i.e. having no part in the relationship's problems) then I would not be the counsellor for you.

However, if you might be curious to learn what your part could be playing in the relationship that maybe leads you to your thoughts that your partner is the (only) one causing the problems, then form of Couple Counselling could be beneficial for you both.

Couple Counselling: open relationships

"We're in an open relationship - do we select couple counselling or group counselling?"

The answer lies in how many people are wishing to work on a relationship problem in counselling.

With open couple relationships, there is a core two-person relationship, plus an agreement that allows sexual activities outside of the core relationship.

Were a couple to experience difficulties with this arrangement between the two of them, couple counselling would appear to be the better option.

However, should an open-relationship couple find that a third (or more) partner has evolved, and the new partner is part of the difficulties experienced then group counselling would appear to be the better option.

Couple Counselling: How do I convince my partner to go with me?

In order to be of any use to you, you have to make an autonomous decision to enter counselling (ie it must be something you decide to do of your own accord).

Being "convinced", "persuaded", "sent" or even "forced" to enter counselling... pretty much ruins any chance of counselling being effective.

So, when you are thinking about entering couple counselling for your relationship, and you're considering my service (which uses techniques involving couple themselves as therapists targeting their own relationship) if your partner does not wish to enter couple counselling with you... couple counselling will be of absolutely no help to your relationship... at all!

And I will not be able to provide you with advice for requests such as "how do I persuade my partner to come with me into couple counselling?"

Couple Counselling: are you a relationship expert who will solve our problems?

Dean Richardson is a qualified and experienced Couple Relationship Counsellor… and he is not a relationship "expert" who prescribes solution!

During counselling Dean will give you, the couple, no solutions; no answers; no "if you do this exercise you will fix your problems!" advice.

Instead, Dean uses a significantly more powerful and effective approach: your own autonomy, creativity and relationship with each other (acknowledging that this may be hard work for some who tend to think in a "tell me what to do and I'll do it" paradigm.

The trouble with someone taking the position of a prescribing expert is that the couple can make themselves powerless ("we don't know what to do, tell us!") in order to invest the therapist with their power ("the therapist will tell us how to make our relationship work!").

Whilst this may seem what a despairingly-unhappy couple think they want, this approach can create inappropriate dependence on someone who doesn't actually know how this couple's relationship works (think: repairing a TV by hitting it with a spanner until it works. Co-incidence? Or do you think of the spanner being a television repair expert?!) and leave the couple continually trying to do what "the therapist says we ought to do ...".

Taking a systemic/psychodynamic facilitative approach to couple counselling means that the couple will receive support in developing their own resolutions to their own problems. This approach means the couple counsellor will become redundant, and the couple will continue to develop and own their own problem-resolving systems.

Plus, this approach works equally well for couples who are looking to separate and bring an end to their relationship.

Couple Counselling: Can I talk to you without my partner knowing?

Nothing is impossible, but we have to have a thought about context and its affect.

If we're working in individual counselling, then I won't discuss anything you say with your partner (or anyone else you know).

If we're working in couple counselling, then my responsibility will be towards your partnership. We might wonder together how the partnership might be effected by you and I speaking with each other without your partner knowing. This isn't to say that you absolutely cannot speak with me in isolation from your partner; some matters may be appropriate for this (eg topics of domestic abuse), and we will have time during our initial sessions to meet separately if you so wish.

Couple/Group Counselling: How long before you fix me/my relationship/our group's behaviour?

Some people ask to begin counselling "this week". A matter might have reached a the stage of a kind of emergency and the person believes that the counsellor will be able to respond in a similar emergency way.

But this shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what counselling is, and what the counselling process offers.

Counselling is not like when you go to a GP, you describe your symptoms, then the doctor prescribes something that will fix you (all without you having to do much except take a pill, or turn up for an operation).

Counselling is a process that involves you (your partner, and/or your group) and the counsellor together in a form of collaboration.

This collaboration takes a little time to get going - but once it's going it can be a valuable resource.

For example, couple counselling often takes around 4 sessions (one a week) before everyone has had the time to talk about and to discover what the couple's relationship may need from counselling.

It's an involved process, and everyone needs to take part.

Interrupting the process that I employ (e.g. "We can attend this week, but then I'm away, and then we're both away for holiday for 2 weeks, but we can come back for a session maybe sometime in August...") would probably be a waste of your time, my time, and your money.

So, if you're asking to come and be "fixed", and you're not willing to take part in a collaboration with me, or you're not willing to attend weekly (uninterrupted sessions) then I will likely decline to meet with you (after doing a little checking out with you, of course). The reason: it may be that you're seeking a different intervention to what I offer.

For emergency intervention, consider contacting The Samaritans ~

Group Counselling: maximum number of people

I recommend groups of from 3 people to up to 8 people (not including the counsellor).

The maximum number of 8 people is to ensure that everyone (who wants to) has a say and can be heard during group therapy.

Groups of 2 are offered couple counselling.

Groups of 1 are offered individual counselling.

Group Counselling: Can I join one of your groups?

I tend to offer counselling to groups that have been established outside of therapy (such as a polyamorous or non-monogamous relationship group, a work group or a group of friends).

These are considered to be "closed" therapy groups, and someone unrelated to the group would not be invited to join in.

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