Counselling FAQs

How long is a session for, and how often?

Usually 50 minutes, but this may be shorter if you are feeling unwell or recovering from treatment. The number and timing of sessions will be agreed between you and your counsellor at the initial appointment. It can be usual to have a number of sessions weekly or fortnightly, and then a few more around key dates such as particular hospital appointments.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

We aim to respond to your initial enquiry with within 72 hours. We are usually able to then offer an Initial Appointment within 5 -10 days, depending on your availability and the next soonest appointment time.

I’m not very confident with technology, is this a problem?

No. Sessions can always be over the telephone. If you would prefer to have Video Counselling though, we can also talk you through how to set that up.

Our counsellors are all experienced in telephone/online counselling, so do raise any concerns with us.

How can counselling help?

By offering a reliable and confidential relationship to talk through whatever is troubling you. It can offer support during difficult times, or in making sense of present difficulties that may stem from past experiences. Counselling can help you find ways of understanding and managing difficult feelings or dealing with situations differently.

We can also help you with strategies for managing issues such as panic attacks, fatigue or anxiety around scans/treatments.

Is it confidential?

Yes. The only circumstances in which we would talk about you to someone else (e.g. your GP/hospital) is if we were concerned that you were about to harm yourself or another person. Even then, we would make every effort to discuss this with you first to gain your agreement about who to talk to.
As part of professional good practice counsellors also have clinical supervision to discuss their work but identifying features of patients are removed.

Can you talk to my hospital doctor or nurse for me?

We can support you in building a good working relationship with your hospital team or GP. We would only talk to them on your behalf if we were very concerned that you were at risk in some way.

Can I see you face-to-face?

At the moment, because of COVID we are only offering online/telephone appointments.

I can only make evening or weekend appointments. Is this possible?

We offer a limited number of evening sessions, so do just let us know this when you make contact. Unfortunately, we do not offer weekend sessions.

I’ve had counselling before and it didn’t really work for me. Why should this be any different?

Talking about private and personal matters is often not easy, especially with someone new.
If you feel unsure about counselling, or have had a disappointing counselling experience before, let us know. That way we can try and work together to make sure it is a positive experience.

The AKU Society’s counsellors also have particular understanding and awareness of AKU and the challenges of living with a rare disease, and this can help in understanding its impact on you as an individual.

Lots of people have it worse than me. Is it still ok to have counselling?

We take a very straightforward approach that if something’s bothering you, it’s worth talking about.

Can both my partner and I talk to you?

It can be helpful to have your own separate space to share more difficult thoughts and feelings without worrying how they could impact on your partner. This is one of the reasons that we have more than one counsellor on our team. In some instances, we can also offer couples sessions.

I’m worried about someone – can I book an appointment for them?

It’s important that someone decides to take up counselling for themselves. For that reason, we only book appointments if someone contacts us directly.

If you are concerned about someone, however, please contact us and we can talk through with you how best to support the person you are worried about.