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How to Begin Counselling.…a straightforward process: no examination, no GP referral.

Never met with a counsellor before? Unsure about engaging in counselling because it would be your first time? Read about my Five Easy Steps on how to start with a counsellor for the first time, and then make an appointment with your private Havant counsellor.

Arranging Counselling for the First Time.

So, you’d like to meet with Dean Richardson for private counselling, and this is your first time?

You’re nervous. Perhaps thinking: “oh shit, why am I even thinking I need to go and talk about this with someone”. You don’t know what the counsellor will do to you, or tell you that you’re not ready to hear. Maybe you’re feeling out of control, and the counsellor will just make things worse.

Would it help to learn that all you and Dean would do is talk?  Conversation. That’s all.

You’ll be in the driving seat, you’ll decide in which direction Dean and you begin, and Dean will learn from you, follow you, both building a working relationship together. Dean would become your assistant, sometimes helping you see the wood for the trees or noticing areas that you appear to be leaving out. Sometimes he’ll be assisting by challenging your way of thinking/behaving but in a way that you can choose to ignore or decline to comment upon if you’re not yet ready.

Easy Way to Decide if Dean is right for you.

Here are three steps to help you decide if counselling with Dean Richardson would be right for you.

  1. Does Dean’s counselling approach seem right for you?
  2. Could you attend weekly appointments (the same time, same day and same location) from one of these available time? (see appointments table)
  3. Would you be able to afford Dean Richardson’s weekly private counselling fees?

If you reply “NO“, then Dean Richardson may not be the right counsellor for you. It might be right for you to consider alternative counsellors listed on, say: Counselling Directory.

If you reply “YES” , then continue reading…


Dean’s core hours are: Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays from noon to 9pm (last session 8pm)

Appointments for Counselling
Day of WeekTimes of Day
Couples & Individual Video Counselling (Zoom, Skype…)
 Note: the afternoon/evening appointments are currently being reviewed by new clients.
Tue:Not available
Wed:Fully booked
Thu:Fully booked
Fri:Not available
W/E:Not available
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Dean is not available from Monday 27th May to Sunday 2nd June (inclusive).

Due to a busy time few appointments are currently available. Cases do conclude from time to time and you're welcome to reserve your preferred appointments for when they become available (get in touch…).

Preferred time not available? Register now for free notifications…

Did You Know?

You don’t need to be referred by your doctor / GP / health professional for counselling. You can make your own appointments with Havant Counselling directly…

Five Steps to Begin Counselling.

STEP ONE: which form of counselling are you interested in?

STEP TWO: Take note of the session fee (see this page).

STEP THREE: Take note of which weekly session days and times are available.

STEP FOUR: Get in contact (using my contact form).

STEP FIVE: I’ll reserve the first of your preferred appointments, confirm this with you and ask you to send your £30 deposit (payable online, using this page) to secure our first session together. Otherwise, we’ll discuss alternative days and times.

Old House at Home (Havant)

Once I’ve received your deposit I follow up with a confirmation email (including details of how we meet at Havant Counselling, or information about accessing our private Zoom or Skype meeting room). 

Your last step, before attending our first session, will be to send in the remainder of the per-session fee (minus the deposit you’ve already sent in) on the day, prior to the session.

It usually takes about a week to arrange our first session (email exchange upon days/times, arranging to pay & receive the deposit, making my arrangements with my service providers etc).

NOTE: the deposit is your way of confirming attendance for our first session. A deposit is not be required for subsequent sessions; you will just pay the full fee each time.

Conversations in Counselling.

A Place to Talk about what you can’t Speak of Elsewhere.

It might help you to know that whatever you talk about in counselling doesn’t have to happen in real life.

That might seem obvious, but consider (for example) if you had been in denial for years with a secret desire to leave your family and start a new life somewhere else? You’ve been burying that thought for months, maybe years, and you’ve built a mental wall around the thought so you didn’t need to do anything about it. Meanwhile, over months, maybe years, your emotional health has been going steadily downhill. You came into counselling to address your emotional health about feeling depressed (after all, everyone needs a way in to counselling) … and during one session your counsellor just happens to ask you about your relationship with your family. You hadn’t mentioned that before – WHAT DO YOU SAY?!

Do you see that by having the invitation to talk about the blocks that you’ve been placing around your desires, blocks so well constructed that you didn’t even have to even acknowledge them to yourself, that the invitation to talk could seem incredibly risky.

But this is where the counselling environment can be freeing. Having begun to talk about your buried desires with your counsellor, you no longer have to keep the mental wall up. You can begin to learn what your desires are about (in the example above they actually might be about leaving the family, or they might be about your loss of freedom, or fear you may fail with your responsibilities, or a dozen other themes), through conversation alongside your counsellor.

As things get understood better, you gain by having more choices in life (than simply locking away taboo subjects).

You don’t have to act when you talk about secrets; just talk – and at your own pace. Only one other person will know, and he isn’t talking to anyone else.

Your Rights in Therapy.

Things that you might not know you’re entitled to whilst engaging in therapy with your counsellor, and how I provide my counselling service.

Your rights to privacy and confidentiality

As a counsellor, I commit to holding your confidence and protecting your privacy. This means:-

  • We will meet in a secure physical location, or a securely encrypted communication medium (Skype, Zoom etc) where we may talk freely with one-another.
  • I will not discuss our work with anyone beyond my professional support arrangements. Not discussing matters means that I will not reveal our work online (such as within Facebook groups for counsellors, Twitter etc), nor with my friends, nor my colleagues.
  • Should your partner, parent, sibling, offspring or best mate contact me to say “Hi, I know John is in counselling with you, and I wanted to ask…” then for ethical reasons around your privacy and confidentiality, I will decline to give any information. Odd as it may seem to you, I will also decline to give information about anyone even if I’m not working with the person in question (as to acknowledge or deny that I’m working with someone would also be an unethical breach of someone’s privacy somewhere).

There are two important exceptions to this structure:-

  1. I am a member of the National Counselling Society and as such one of my commitments to you is to have in place a supervisory consultant to ensure I’m working to my best. My consultant is funded by me. I will discuss my work with my choice of consultant, which may sometimes include my work with you from time to time, My supervisory consultant will not know you personally nor professionally.
  2. If you tell me of your intention to commit an act of violence, abuse upon another person, or break the law (such as terrorism) I may not be allowed by law to keep this information to myself, nor even tell you that I am contacting an appropriate body. If you are unsure about discussing something with me that may be legally sensitive, it may be best to consult a legally-qualified & knowledgeable person before doing so.

Your Rights to my Competency.

You have a right to work with a competent counsellor, and to support that commitment to my competency, I seek additional training and development every year (a minimum of 30 hours; quite often more) that enhances my original counselling qualifications.

This process, known as continual professional development (or “CPD”) is at my expense, and I choose which development I am in need of based upon my client work. This may, or may not, cover subjects that you’re discussing with me in counselling, as CPD is primarily for my benefit, and it would be unlikely that I would discuss, or seek your input, on my CPD choices.

By taking this approach, I commit to maintaining a level of competency so that you are able to work through your personal matters in counselling.

Should I find that we are working on matters that I feel incompetent to work on, I may discuss with you bringing our work to a close so that you may transfer to a counsellor more suitable for the subjects you wish to work through.

A right to a real, supportive and frank relationship

Over my 24+ years as a counsellor, I’ve found that people value real, authentic relationships… with everyone. Of course, some of your friends may not point out that problem that they’ve always been aware to you, and people who meet you may never mention how you behave towards them…

… but ours will be a frank relationship; supportive to your needs, but also revealing to you matters that you’re ready to discover about yourself, in as real-but-tolerable a way as we can manage together.

I won’t be “blowing smoke up your ass”, though 🙂

Meaning: I won’t tell you everything is all smelling-of-roses… when it isn’t. Truth can help you with your autonomy and relationships with others, rather than being fed continual falsity.

So, as this would be a real relationship, albeit professional, sometimes things go astray, as they can do in any relationship. And should they do, it will become important to own your own feelings and experiences in order to bring them up with me in a future session. Whilst it may seem the right thing to do is to abandon the process by no longer appearing for sessions, or emailing your dissatisfaction and terminating our agreement to work together in an angry rage (and if you do, I will support your decision to do so), it may be more helpful to you in the longer run to be able to trust in the process with us together … just enough … to discuss the problems with me so that we might understand the painful difficulties together, and work towards a resolution together.

For some people, this could be the first time they’ve experienced true authenticity from another person… and it could be scary. But trust and alliance with another human being can bring relief too.

My Behaviour when you Get in Contact with me


When you email me (either through my contact page or directly to my email address), I aim to respond within 2 working days.

If I don’t hear back from you from my email, I may email again (making an assumption that my email was not received due to an known technical fault) but I will also respect what may be appear to be your decision to stop with further correspondence. with me. In other words, after my second email I won’t continue emailing you as if I am demanding your reply. Such behaviour could be seen as abusive on my part.

You are free to email me again if you have not heard from me.


I do not offer a telephone counselling service, and although I offer a telephone number (02392 987487) to leave messages, I choose not to participate in telephone conversations. I will correspond with you (or you and your partner simultaneously for couples counselling) via email on such matters as making appointments.

My telephone answering service’s outgoing message reiterates this.

If being able to hold conversations with your counsellor using the telephone is important, I suggest you find multiple alternatives in directories such as Counselling Directory.

How long will your counselling be?

I offer a flexible “open-ended” counselling service and, sometimes, if we both agree, a set number of sessions.

Working open-ended doesn’t mean that we are committing to working together for years. Instead, it gives us the ability to unpack matters together until we have done enough.

In other words, our counselling work together will last just one session… at a time.

Either you or I may bring up the idea of us beginning to bring our counselling work to a close, and we’ll have conversations like this so that counselling is ended in the best way for you.

Weekly fee (minimum)

My work with you will be (at a minimum) weekly, most often on the same day, time, and location.

Sometimes, after a discussion that either of us may bring up, we may agree to meet more than once a week.

I do not work with new clients any less regularly than weekly (ie fortnightly, monthly, etc) as my experience shows that this can simply be a waste of money, with the time between each session being insufficiently efficacious.

I do not offer ad-hoc sessions (e.g. contacting me when you feel you wish to talk over something with a counsellor).

You may also not contact me in between sessions (e.g. emailing me to discuss something that you want to talk about urgently). You may contact me to rearrange the next session, for example. If you feel that you may wish a counselling service “on demand”, there will be other counsellors who offer ad hoc/on-demand counselling.

Session fees are payable on the day of the session.

As this service is now online/video only, only BACS bank transfers and PayPal are acceptable forms of payment.

Why I ask for a £30 Deposit

When you make an initial appointment with me, I will be making a number of commitments to you (preparing for our assessment, booking & paying for rooms, travelling to our agreed location).

In return, I ask you to make a financial commitment to me in the form of sending a refundable £30 deposit.

Your deposit is:-

  • Is payable a week before our first session using my secure online payments service.
  • If you cancel our first session with at least 2 days notice, I will refund your deposit in full.
  • If you cancel with 2-or-fewer days notice (or do not turn up for the session) your deposit covers my costs.

Your deposit is subtracted from our first session’s fee (so, individual counselling at £55 per session, deposit of £30, leaves £25 to be paid to me on the day).

If we agree to continue working together after the first session, subsequent sessions are payable in full on the day of the session.

If your sessions are going to be paid by someone else, reading this FAQ about sessions payments will be helpful.

I Choose who I Work with.

As a private practice counsellor, I choose who I wish to work with.

Usually this will be with everyone I meet for the initial assessment, but for those for whom I judge myself to be unsuitable (e.g. if your email makes requests of me that I am unable or unqualified to provide) I will decline to meet with you, and will aim to express why I have chosen this decision.

Similarly, if you meet with me for couple counselling and your partner leaves, the couple counselling service is then ended (by the absent partner). I will not automatically offer you individual counselling, but may offer you a small number of sessions so that we might bring the couple counselling work to a close (albeit with the absent partner). You are free to continue counselling with another counsellor, should you wish to then work on individual subjects. It is likely I will decline to work with you as an individual following the end of couple counselling (as I may not be able to hold a neutral position that benefits you as an individual, having previously worked with your relationship in counselling).

Counselling is not a compulsory service, and you are free to choose from other counsellors.

You are free to Choose who you Work with.

Counselling is not a compulsory service.

If you do not like the counsellor you’re working with (e.g., me), you are welcome to discuss this with me in session (as, sometimes, dislike may be an indicator of past events transferred into our relationship, or it may be a more simple matter to work through – such as I made an error as I spoke).

If, after discussing matters with me, you are unsatisfied, you are free to cancel working with me further.

For more information, please click through to my Frequently Asked Questions page.

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The Cove Therapy Rooms, 12 West Street Havant Hampshire PO9 1PF UK
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Got a Question? Don't Hold Back…

Got a question about Dean Richardson's counselling services in Havant (Hampshire)? Want to make contact, maybe asking about a first appointment? Send Dean a message any time…

How to Begin Counselling.…a straightforward process: no examination, no GP referral.

Never met with a counsellor before? Unsure about engaging in counselling because it would be your first time? Read about my Five Easy Steps on how to start with a counsellor for the first time, and then make an appointment with your private Havant counsellor.

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STOP-PRESS: counselling continues to be available via reliable & confidential Zoom & Skype Video Conferencing ~ ideal for counselling from home, office, abroad. Click here for details…

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