top of page

Counselling with Lochaber Hope - What should I expect?

This article will address some of our most frequently asked questions, if you would like to know further information, or this post didn’t address your concerns, please feel free to get in touch – we’re happy to help wherever we can!

I would like Counselling, but I have Phone Anxiety and don’t feel comfortable calling – Is there a way I can register for counselling without speaking with the Administration Person?

We understand that phone anxiety can be hard, as such, you’re most welcome to email our administration person via our email address – who will then communicate with you by email unless otherwise requested.

I do not live in the Lochaber area; Can I still receive Counselling with Lochaber Hope?

Unfortunately not. This is due to our funding which is provided to support the Lochaber remit only. Please visit the counselling directory to find support within your local area.

I live in Lochaber, but cannot make it to Fort William to attend Face-to-Face Sessions, or would rather undertake Counselling at Home – How does this work?

Lochaber Hope has a wide range of online counsellors available that we’re happy to match you with. The sessions will take place online via a secure platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams where only yourself and your counsellor will have access.

Alternatively, we have counsellors who can undertake counselling sessions via phone if you do not have access to a web camera or are uncomfortable with video sessions.

What Information do I need to provide and Why do you need this?

To sign you up to our counselling services, to start with, you’ll be put in contact with our administration person. To match you with the best counsellor possible, and to be aware of information for emergency situations, they’ll need the following information:

  • Full name

  • Date of Birth

  • Address

  • Contact Number

  • Contact Email

  • Emergency Contact

  • GP Surgery

  • Health Issues (if any)

The administration person will also ask why you’re seeking counselling, this is because we sometimes have counsellors who are better suited to work in some areas, and we would ideally match you with a counsellor who is the best fit for your situation. If you do not wish to provide this information, and would rather discuss directly with your counsellor, this is ok.  



I don’t want anyone to know I’m working with a Counsellor – What does Confidentiality mean to Lochaber Hope?

The Lochaber Hope building has a rear entrance with parking that is not visible from the road. When you attend your sessions, you will not be seen entering/exiting the building from any public space.

Here at Lochaber Hope, we take confidentiality extremely seriously. Our administration person will know your name and details, your counsellor will have your name and contact details only. All information provided is held on our secure database in accordance with GDPR requirements and is restricted to essential personnel only.

All counselling sessions will be conducted in strictest confidence and confidentiality about all matters 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, Lochaber Hope would discuss breaking confidence with you before doing so.

I’m having a really Hard Time - How soon can I see a Counsellor?

Our waiting lists for face-to-face counselling can vary from 1-4 weeks and are usually longer than online counselling. If you’re wanting face-to-face sessions, and we do not have a counsellor available, it may be that we suggest online sessions until we can match you with a face-to-face counsellor.

If you are in need of an emergency session, please call our administration team (01397 704836), it may be that we have cancellations where we can fit you in.

Please note that we are not a crisis centre and may not have counsellors on hand to provide an emergency session. If this is the case, we will direct you to a dedicated helpline such as Samaritans, The James Support Group, or Mikeys Line.

Who are the Lochaber Hope Counsellors? Can I request a certain Counsellor?

We are working on putting together biographies of our counsellors and this will be available on our website in 2024.

If you’d like to request a certain counsellor, please be aware that your requested counsellor may have a waiting list. If this is the case, you’re welcome to wait until they can work with you. Our administration person should be able to give you an estimate of how long the wait might be.

If you’re only interested in working with a male, or female counsellor, please advise the administration person when you sign up for counselling, they can then place you on the appropriate waiting list.

Are Lochaber Hope Counsellors Qualified?

All Lochaber Hope counsellors are members of a regulatory body (such as COSCA or BACP) and have undertaken the required training and associated continued professional development (CPD) hours.

Please note that some of our counsellors are in their final year of training towards qualification and are undertaking their placement with Lochaber Hope. If you’d rather not work with a placement counsellor, please let the administration team know when registering for counselling services.

What Session Times Are Available?

We generally offer appointments during office hours (9am-5pm), but it may be possible to arrange them in the evening or at weekends depending on the flexibility of your counsellor.

A time will be mutually agreed between you and your counsellor. If your counsellor is not going to be available, they will discuss this with you in advance. Similarly, if you have commitments such as holidays coming up, please discuss this directly with your counsellor.

What are your Counselling Session Fees and How do I pay for my session?

Lochaber Hope was started to provide support for all persons, regardless of their financial situation. As such, the fee per session is subsidised at £36.00. Please note that we have Couples Counselling and Family Therapy also available, session fees are available for these services upon request.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties and would like counselling, but cannot afford this, Lochaber Hope believe that fees should never be a barrier for people receiving counselling support – please get in touch even if you may not be able to afford our standard fees.

Lochaber Hope can take session payments via online banking, and cash or card at reception.


How long will I be at Lochaber Hope for my Counselling Session?

While a typical counselling session lasts for 50 minutes, we do ask that people arrive at least five minutes before their session to ensure that you’re in the counselling room on time.

If it is your first session, and you need to meet with our administration person to sign a counselling contract, please also arrive a few minutes earlier to allow for any questions you might have.

Please note that if you arrive late for your session, in most cases, the counsellor will not be able to provide you with a full 50 minute session as they may have an appointment schedule to maintain.

If you’re looking to pay for your session at reception (card or cash), please consider doing this before your session in order to avoid forgetting after your session.

If you need a place to wait either before or after your session, we do have a waiting room which you are welcome to use.

What is the Difference between Face-to-Face and Online counselling?

Working Face-to-Face with a counsellor means you are both physically present in the same space, working online is to attend your session by video call via the internet.

All counsellors, regardless of if you are working online or face-to-face together, are qualified to work with you and as such, there is no difference in the quality of the counsellor.

While most people still choose to work face-to-face with a counsellor, working with an online counsellor can be a great way to get support without leaving the comfort of your own home, or another safe space. Working with an online counsellor can be an excellent choice for someone suffering with anxieties about leaving the house or entering a new space.

In some cases, we can match you with a counsellor who works both online, and face-to-face; this way, sessions can start online, and when you’re feeling ready, you can make the transition to meet your counsellor face-to-face.

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, we understand that it is important to work with someone you trust and gel with.

It may be that you don’t feel like you’re working well with your counsellor, if this is the case, please contact our administration person and they will happily match you with another counsellor. Our counsellors will not be offended or take it personally as this is standard practise.

Will the Counsellor give me Advice or make a Diagnosis?

In general, the majority of our counsellors are person-centred, this style of 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 won’t often give advice or make judgements. You’ll find further information about  person-centred counselling, here.

If you’re looking for a counsellor who is not person-centred, please visit our counsellor biographies on our website to find a modality that may suit you (biographies coming in 2024).

In exceptional circumstances, if required, your counsellor may refer you onto someone else who can offer specialist advice.

What happens if I miss a Counselling Session?

While we appreciate that life is very busy, we do ask that you try to give Lochaber Hope, or your counsellor notice if you cannot attend your scheduled session. This will allow your counsellor to make other arrangements during the expected session time.

Lochaber Hope’s cancellation policy states that sessions cancelled within 24hrs of the session time will be chargeable. This also applies to a session that is missed without informing Lochaber Hope or the counsellor (also referred to as a ‘No Show’), unless in extraordinary circumstances.

If a session is missed, your counsellor will follow up to offer another session time for you.


How do I make a complaint about my Counsellor, or Lochaber Hope in general?

Ideally, we would hope that you feel comfortable discussing this directly with Lochaber Hope in the first instance, but we understand that not all persons may not feel comfortable doing so. As such, a copy of our Complaints Procedure is available on our website – here. 

If you’d like to escalate the complaint beyond Lochaber Hope, please contact COSCA who is the regulatory body for counselling within Scotland. Their website can be found – here.

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.

If you'd like your partner to attend the first session, if agreed upon by your Counsellor, this is usually limited to the first portion of the session, being an initial meet-and-greet, and covering housekeeping matters such as contracting.

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.

If you are bringing a partner or other support person, and they need a place to wait while you’re in your session, we do have a waiting room which they are welcome to use.

My mobility is limited, is the Lochaber Hope office accessible?

Lochaber Hope has a counselling room and associated bathroom that are both accessible. If you'd like to make use of this accessible option, please let us know. The parking area is also located close to the building entrance, please let us know if you’d like us to reserve a spot for your session to ensure ease of access.  

Will there be any Therapy Pets (dogs) in my session?

Lochaber Hope itself does not own or train Therapy Pets (dogs), these lovely additions to the Lochaber Hope family are owned and trained by their owner, your counsellor. As such, there may be times where there are dogs in our office – these dogs are either in-training, are under control and on leads or are fully qualified. If you’d like to attend sessions with a Therapy Pet, please request this when you register four counselling with our administration person. Please note that our counsellors who work with Therapy Pets are in high demand and there may be a long waiting list for sessions with our Therapy Pets.  

This article hasn't answered my question - Who should I ask?

If you need some further information, please get in contact with our friendly administration person, you can do this via phone, email, or simply pop on into the office.

bottom of page