Frequently asked questions.

What is counselling?

Counselling provides the opportunity for some ‘you time’. It is a kind of talking therapy between yourself and a trained counsellor that allows you to:

  • have the time you need to talk about your problems with someone so you can offload stress
  • look into your past experiences, decisions, relationships and explore them
  • create a comfortable space to discuss and figure out things that are on your mind
  • find your own solutions to your problems with the helping hand of a counsellor

What to expect

You can expect your counsellor to be confidential and respectful of your situation. Counselling allows you to form a therapeutic relationship with your counsellor so that you can grow to feel comfortable discussing your most personal issues with them.

Is counselling for me?

Counselling is talking, but not everyone finds it easy to talk. Life can be confusing sometimes and our minds, as strong as they are, need some support every now and then. Counselling is a different experience for each individual and so the best way to know whether counselling will work for you is by just giving it a try.

What kind of counselling is right for me?

There are many different types of counselling so it is important to see what kind of training a counsellor has when you are searching for one. If they have had training in an area that applies to your situation then their knowledge will be best suited to help and support you. Click the link below to visit the BACP’s website and their explanations of the different kinds of therapy.

How long will I need/how many sessions will I have?

Typically, counsellors will begin with a suggestion of 6 sessions – the normal recommendation by the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. The number of sessions thereafter will be agreed between yourself and your counsellor and will vary depending on your progress and your feelings towards the sessions. Counselling is open-ended, which means that you are able to stop counselling at any time. However, please discuss ending your sessions with your therapist first.

What will happen in the first session?

Your first session will be an assessment session where you will briefly discuss some of the reasons why you feel you need counselling and what your aims are for the session. You will need to complete some forms to record your personal details (name, address etc) which will be stored in line with our privacy policy.

How can I trust that my discussions with the counsellor will stay private?

You can expect your counsellor to keep all that you say completely confidential. In this way you should be encouraged to speak as openly and freely as you like with your counsellor.

The only point when your counsellor will share your information with others is….

  • if yourself or another could be put in harms way
  • a counsellor from time to time will speak to a qualified supervisor about material brought up in sessions to make sure that they can give you the best help they can. However your identity will not be revealed at any point.

At the start of the sessions with your counsellor you will normally be explained how your information will be kept confidentially. If this has not been explained to you, you are free to ask about their approach and how your data will be protected.

What happens if I don’t feel happy talking to my counsellor? 

Counselling in many ways encourages a therapeutic relationship between yourself and the counsellor so it’s really important that if you find you don’t get along with your counsellor that you discuss this with them first. There may be a significant reason why you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, perhaps they remind you of someone or something you don’t want to be reminded of. By discussing this with your counsellor first you may find that you can confront the issue or your counsellor will be able to help refer you to another counsellor.

How much can I tell my counsellor, will I feel judged by my counsellor?

Sessions with your counsellor should be times for you to speak without reserve, in a judgement-free zone. That’s why your counsellor will be trained to be respectful and open to discuss all the issues that you raise.

If you find it difficult to talk about your private concerns with a counsellor straight away…

  • take your time to allow a relationship to develop
  • feel more comfortable with your counsellor
  • build the trust to share your more private issues with them

Will I be able to tell if the counselling is making a change? 

As you go through your counselling sessions you may start to notice changes in yourself, the effect of your issues will lessen and ultimately allow you to feel more positively about your situation. Sometimes it can be hard to tell how you are developing and you may even feel worse before you can feel better but here are some things to look out for:

  • feeling more at ease with yourself and your situation in life
  • understanding your past experiences and how they affect you now
  • feeling stronger in yourself and more capable to deal with and confront your issues
  • recognising that you are not alone with your issues and realising that counselling and talking in itself can help you find solutions

What if I struggle to deal with time in between my appointments?

Talking to your counsellor is what you are there for, so if you are having problems dealing with the time in between your appointments, first thing first, speak to your counsellor directly about it. Remember your sessions are non-judgemental zones, your counsellor will be happy to help you find a way to resolve this issue! Busying yourself with activities that relax your mind like exercise for example, whilst you’re not with your counsellor, gives you a nice break from worrying about issues. Leave any anxieties you have to be talked about during the time you have with your counsellor.

What happens if I only manage to open up towards the end of my sessions?

Sometimes you might find that you start to talk about something really important just as your session is about to end. Counsellors are encouraged to end sessions to the exact time agreed so try not to feel discouraged if they have to end after you have aired something important. Take note of what you have raised and remember to bring it up at the start of your next session.

What will the counsellor do if I start to cry?

Your counselling sessions provide an open and free environment to talk about any of your concerns, it is only natural that you may find your emotions take over occasionally and crying is simply an expression of these emotions. If you feel that you can cry in these sessions with your counsellor then this is a good sign that you feel comfortable to express yourself honestly and freely with them, a sign that you are coming closer to dealing with your issues.

Suggestions and Feedback  

We welcome any suggestions or feedback you may have for us at Hertford Counselling Service. Please feel free to leave your comments with us by emailing