The information on this page is intended to help you understand something of the process of counselling so you can begin the sessions with some understanding of what to expect.


How counselling can help

Counselling provides an opportunity to talk in confidence to someone who has the skills and experience to listen and to reflect on what is being said.

You may have up to six sessions with your counsellor, and it is likely that you will choose to focus on a particular issue during these meetings.


An aim of counselling is to assist you to make the changes which you feel would benefit you. This may involve a clearer understanding of what led to the problem in the first place.

Often the origin of a problem is in the past, but the link may not be obvious. Counselling can help you make the connections between the past and the present.  The insight gained will in turn allow you a greater freedom of thought and action.

Your Counsellor will not advise you or tell you what to do, but will work with you to make sense of your difficulties, in a safe and accepting environment.

A high degree of confidentiality is assured, within the law and the Code of Ethics and Practice of the British Association for Counselling.



Who counselling can help

There are times in most peoples’ lives when they feel unable to cope.  It is not unusual to feel depressed, anxious or alone at some stage.

Memories of the past, painful events in the present or worries about the future may mean it is difficult to enjoy life or to achieve aims.

Some concerns which are brought to counselling:

  • A difficult personal or work relationship
  • A bereavement or loss of some kind
  • Pressure through over-work
  • Worries relating to a relative or child
  • A personal crisis or major personal change
  • Conflicting feelings in a painful situation


If one of the doctors feels that counselling is appropriate then you will be asked to self refer to VitaMinds

VitaMinds is a confidential psychological therapies service for people experiencing anxiety or depression. It offers access to support, advice and evidence-based psychological interventions as part of the governments Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative. This service has been commissioned by Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire CCG. 


Other counselling services

  • Brook is the UK's largest young people's sexual health charity. For 50 years, they have been providing sexual health services, support and advice to young people under the age of 25. They provide counselling for young people under the age of 25. Access their website for further information on how to make contact.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care’s vision is that all bereaved people have somewhere to turn when someone dies. Their areas and branches offer free and confidential services provided by trained volunteers.
  • Off The Record: The OTR team of counsellors come from a wide range of backgrounds and work in a variety of ways. The service is aimed at younger people. They’ve all been chosen to work at OTR because whatever technique they have trained in, they will listen to what you say and won’t judge you.
  • The Harbour: Are you affected by life-threatening illness? The Harbour, a Bristol-based charity, offers free counselling and psychotherapy to people affected by life-threatening illness
  • Find a Therapist: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's search facility.