What We Do
Seeking support through counselling
Our counselling service seeks to support you when you need space to talk through your experiences or concerns, by providing empathic, non-judgemental time with one of our Counsellors. We provide free counselling for those unable to contribute financially, and ask for a donation from all clients, where they are able. All our Counsellors are registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and are either fully qualified or in the latter stages of their training.
People access our counselling service for a wide range of reasons, including anxiety, bereavement, depression, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, and experiences of abuse. We aim to offer a safe, caring, person-centred environment in which you can explore what is important to you and feel supported in doing so, along the way.
In rare circumstances, we may feel that clients presenting with serious mental health conditions may find more appropriate care through their GP or another service. If this is the case, we will talk this through with you – usually at the referral stage – and will suggest alternatives, where possible.
Over the last year, we have developed our service and now meet with clients face-to-face from our centre on Sulyard Street in Lancaster or via video-link – depending on the preferences of the client and the availability of the Counsellor. Appointments are usually 50 – 60 minutes long, held on a weekly basis. During the first session the client and Counsellor will agree how they will work together, and the Counsellor will explain all our information around confidentiality and GDPR.
Whilst the way in which we meet for counselling sessions has changed, unfortunately (as yet) the capacity of our service has not. Therefore, we still seek to provide a service to those living locally to Lancaster and the surrounding areas. Anything within a 30-40 minute car journey of Lancaster is considered local.
One-Off or Longer Term?
If you feel uncertain if counselling is right for you, you are welcome to come for one appointment, with no obligation to commit to further sessions. We hold a strong belief that accessing counselling at the time that feels right for you is important, so no judgement will be made, and you can contact the service again at a later date, if you wish.
On the other hand, many people seek longer term counselling after being offered a limited number of sessions already through other services, such as those provided by the NHS, or because they feel ready to explore some deeper, personal issues. We do not have a limit to our sessions but review every 6 weeks to ensure the counselling is progressing in a way that is of most help to the client. Counselling that exceeds a year in duration may need to be given a time limit, due to the numbers on our waiting list, and our hope to support everyone to the best of our abilities and capacity.
Clients who have accessed our service before (regardless of duration) are welcome to come back for a second period of counselling. We appreciate a period of reflection between counselling sessions can be helpful for further development and may result in the requirement for further exploration or support. Occasionally, if we have already suggested the client seek support elsewhere, or we are unable to meet their needs, this may not be possible.
For more information about how to book an appointment, please go to our COUNSELLING page.
As well as all of our Counsellors, who offer their time for free, we also have volunteer fundraisers, Trustees, and Supervisors working in the background to ensure a high level of service is maintained and on-going for our local community.