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Everything you need to know about counselling at Lochaber Hope

These are the most frequently asked questions about counselling. If you want to know anything else, just get in touch.

I don’t want anyone to know that I’m having counselling – who will you tell?

We take confidentiality extremely seriously. We will ask you to confirm the best way to contact you, and we won’t even greet you in the street if this is likely to put you in an awkward position. We will ask you which surgery you are registered with just in case there is a medical emergency but, otherwise, will not contact your doctor.

All sessions will be conducted in strictest confidence and this confidence will be maintained except in the following instances:

  • Where the client gives consent for the confidence to be broken.

  • Where the counsellor is compelled by a court of law.

  • Where the information ‘is of such gravity that confidentiality cannot be maintained’ i.e. In cases of fraud and crime and where there is a case of possible or actual physical harm to either the client or others involved

In any case, we would discuss breaking confidence with you before doing so.

Can I talk to other people about what goes on during counselling?

What you tell other people is entirely your decision.

Are counsellors qualified? Are they paid?

All Lochaber Hope counsellors are members of a regulatory body (such as COSCA or BACP) and have undertaken at least 2 years’ training. Some of our counsellors will be in the final year of their training towards qualification and undertaking their placement with us. Some Lochaber Hope counsellors also work in private practice. However, any work they do for Lochaber Hope is voluntary and unpaid. For more information about person centred counselling, click here.

How much does counselling cost?

The cost of a session is £68. However, through fund raising, Lochaber Hope is able to subsidise the cost so it would cost you £30. Child/youth and couples counselling is more specialised so is £40 per session.

Cost should never be a barrier to getting counselling so please talk to us if you are on a low income or experiencing financial difficulties.

How long does a session last?

Sessions last 50 minutes. However, if you arrive late, bear in mind that the session will still end at the scheduled time as the counsellor may have other clients and will need to keep to their schedule. We ask you to arrive 15 minutes early for your first appointment to go over the paperwork with the Project Co-ordinator.

Will the counsellor give me advice or make a diagnosis?

In general, person centred counselling involves you doing the talking and finding your own insights and solutions. Your counsellor may reflect back things that you say or tell you what they are sensing or hearing, but don’t give advice or make judgements. In exceptional circumstances, they may refer you onto someone else who can offer specialist advice.

I work full time/shifts/care for a family member – what time are sessions available?

We generally offer appointments during office hours, but it may be possible to arrange them in the evening and at weekends. A time will be mutually agreed between you and your counsellor. If your counsellor is not going to be available (if they are going on holiday, for example) they will discuss this with you in advance. Similarly, if you know you have commitments such as work or holidays coming up, please discuss with your counsellor.

Can I bring my partner/parent/child/other to a session?

Unless you are attending couples or family counselling, we strongly recommend against anyone else joining you in your session. Counselling offers you the space to explore your feelings freely and this may be inhibited if someone else comes along. While we understand that organising childcare can be tricky, we would advise that you don’t bring babies or children along to the sessions as it is intended to be the opportunity for you to focus on yourself, without distractions.

What if I don’t get on with my counsellor?

A good working relationship between you and your counsellor is crucial. We all have different styles and personalities so it is important to be counselled by someone you trust and gel with. If things don’t work out between you and your counsellor, get in touch with Lochaber Hope and we will match you with someone else. It’s not a problem and our counsellors will not take it personally.

My friend is seeing one of your counsellors and has recommended them – can I see them too?

No, it is important that your counsellor doesn’t know anything about you other than what you choose to share with them during counselling. In fact, if they realise they know someone you mention during your sessions, it would be ethical for them stop being your counsellor.

How can I pay for my sessions?

You can pay by cash, card or by BACS transfer – ask us for the bank details.

What happens if I miss a session?

If you miss a session without informing Lochaber Hope or your counsellor, you will be expected to pay for it, unless otherwise agreed by Lochaber Hope. Always try to give notice if you can’t attend a session.

I want to make a complaint

In the first instance, we would ask you to contact Lochaber Hope, either the Project Co-ordinator or Manager. A copy of our complaints procedure is available here or upon request. Lochaber Hope is an accredited member of COSCA, the regulatory body for counselling in Scotland, and we adhere to their code of practice and ethics. If you wish to contact them, visit their website

I’ve finished my counselling and it was a great help – what can I do for Lochaber Hope?

If you have come to the end of your counselling and it was successful, we are delighted that it has helped and expect nothing in return. We would be happy to let you know how you can support Lochaber Hope through volunteering or fund raising, and it would be great if you tell people about the work we do, if you feel comfortable with that. We will also send you an evaluation form which you the opportunity to feedback on your experience of counselling.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.