What Does Counselling Mean?
If you are planning to start counselling with me, it is important to understand that both you and I are entering into an agreement.
If you have any queries, or don’t understand anything, I’ll be happy to answer your questions before we start counselling. If you have not had counselling before you may be curious about what happens. Counselling is an opportunity for you to talk about or explore something in confidence (whether work or personal). Sometimes you may be looking for a solution to a problem; other times there may be no answers, but it can still help to talk things over. Counselling is not someone telling you what to do. It is about valuing your own capacity to make choices and changes.
I work as a counsellor for The City of Liverpool College Counselling Service. All counsellors are qualified and I can tell you more about my qualifications if you would like to know.
I work with the basic core values of dignity, fairness and respect.
Is what we talk about confidential?
What happens in the sessions is confidential between you and me, with certain exceptions. For example, I may sometimes need to discuss certain aspects of our sessions with my counselling supervisor, but I will not identify you in any way other than maybe to use your first name. Very rarely there may be some things that cannot be kept confidential, but I will discuss these with you before breaking confidentiality, if at all possible. The kinds of things that cannot be kept confidential are serious criminal acts, child abuse, and acts of terrorism or threats to harm yourself or someone else.
I can explain more if you need to know.
What records are kept?
I may make brief notes of each session, which are securely stored. You can see these if you ask to. Nobody else outside the counselling service can see these without a court order.
If you and I think that it would be helpful for a tutor or Student Services to know something about your problems, I can only do this with your written consent.
How long do sessions last?
Each counselling session may last up to 50 minutes. If you arrive late I may not be able to keep the session and I will definitely still need to finish at the time originally agreed, unless we agree otherwise. I am not willing to see you if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How many sessions can I have?
I am allowed to offer you up to six sessions, although you may not need or want this many. Many people find one or two sessions enough to get back on track, and some want more. I may be able to extend up to a further six sessions in some circumstances, but we would need to discuss this. Sessions can be weekly or as you choose.
What if I cancel or don’t turn up?
If you are unable to attend as planned please let me know by telephoning, giving as much notice as possible. I make the appointment in good faith that you plan to turn up, and that you’ll only postpone or cancel if absolutely necessary. It will be up to you to rearrange any cancelled appointments.
If I do not hear from you within 10 days after the missed appointment I will assume you no longer wish to continue with the counselling.
Contacting me between sessions
If you need to contact me urgently between sessions, please leave a message on 0151 252 3777. I will try to call back as soon as possible.
Your relationship with me is different from other relationships you may have with friends or work colleagues. As far as possible, we meet as equals. I cannot be a representative or advocate for any action you may take outside of our counselling agreement.
As your counsellor, I cannot arrange to meet up with you socially as a friend. If we meet outside the counselling room I’ll say ‘hello’ in a brief and friendly manner, unless you tell me you don’t want to be acknowledged by me at all.
Suggestions or advice I may give you
I may occasionally make suggestions. You do not have to follow this, and I won’t think any less of you if you don’t. You can also get advice from other sources such as Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor. When we finish counselling, I might suggest you consider continuing with another counsellor/agency outside the College. You are free to make up your own mind about this and to choose who you go to see.
Any fees incurred by going to see someone else will have to be paid by you.
You and me staying safe
It is important that you are comfortable with this counselling arrangement. There may be times when you think counselling is not helping you as best it might. Should any issues arise between us, we will agree to work to resolve these. Damaging property, or hurting others or me is not acceptable.
It is important that we always meet for an agreed final session. When you finish counselling there is statistical paperwork that I have to complete. I may ask you to complete a questionnaire about how useful you found counselling, either at the last session or by post, up to 3 months afterwards. If you would rather not receive mail from us please declare this to me.
If I want to complain?
If you have any concerns about what happens during counselling, please try to discuss this with me. I’ll do my best to try to understand your complaint and rectify this, if possible. If you are still not happy, the next person to speak to is the Counselling and Wellbeing Manager on 0151 252 3777.
Please read this document carefully
Check this is what you want to agree to. I will be happy to discuss any concerns you have before we start counselling. Unless agreed otherwise, these will be the boundaries that you and I work within.
I hope you have found this information useful.