Frequently asked questions


We offer counselling for individuals over 18. Furthermore, we can offer a range of counselling approaches which is dependent upon the counsellors we have working with us at the time. Your specific needs can be discussed prior to counselling beginning.

Anyone over 18 can attend sessions with our counsellors.

If you are reading this, you are already thinking about Counselling, and giving yourself the opportunity is a good position to be starting from. There is no obligation to commit to counselling just because you are enquiring, but it is the first step towards finding out if it is for you. During your first meeting with a counsellor you will have the opportunity to ask any questions and find out more to help you decide if it is right for you .

You do not need to have a clear idea of what you want to talk about with your counsellor. Anything you say will tell them something about you, and that is all that is needed to start. Your counsellor will not probe or pry but will help you talk about what you want whenever you are ready.

You won’t know for sure but listening to the information at the initial meeting and thinking about how it feels to talk to someone, should give you an indication whether it is okay for you to try. We monitor the effectiveness of counselling from the questionnaires we ask our clients to complete at the end of counselling. From this data, we regularly see that over 90% of our clients experience an improvement in their wellbeing (92% in 2020).

It is essential that the changes you make are your own choice. Counselling should help you make your own decisions and build your resilience to face future challenges with more confidence and self-awareness of what is right for you.

Our counsellors have completed a post graduate level qualification in counselling and are provided with regular supervision and training to ensure they maintain high professional standards. We also have placements available for post graduate students who are completing the practical element of their training in order to become fully qualified to post graduate level.

We can offer up to a maximum of 20 weeks but find the average to be 10.

Each one will last 45-50 minutes and we ask clients to arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before a session. Each appointment will be arranged with the same Counsellor and will take place at the same time each week. Your counselling will be reviewed regularly to ensure you are getting the support required.

We take care to ensure that your details are secure and adhere to General Data Protection Regulation. We are not part of the NHS and so nothing goes onto your medical records.

There are situations where confidentiality may have to be breached.  These are:

  • if we are concerned about risks to yourself or others
  • if we receive a court subpoena

In situations where there may be risks, we have a responsibility to share our concerns with your GP or with Adult/Child Protection Services.  In all situations our concerns will be discussed with you wherever possible.

Practical arrangements

All our sessions are one to one, so it is important to ensure you can attend the sessions alone.

Waiting times vary, but we are working hard to see you as soon as we can. Depending on the availability of the client and the number of people asking for support. We typically have 200+ people waiting for counselling at any time and it can take between 12 – 20 weeks to begin. The more flexible you can be with your availability, the shorter your waiting time is likely to be. Please contact us to find out our current waiting times.

Counselling is available;

  • 10-1 Monday to Saturday,
  • 2-8 Monday to Wednesday
  • 2-5 Thursday and Friday

We allow up to 3 appointments to be cancelled. If you do not attend an appointment and you fail to contact us, we will assume you do not wish to continue with further sessions.

If you are a fee-paying Client and cancel with less than 48hours notice, we will keep £22.50 towards the cost of providing the appointment.  The balance of £22.50 is forwarded to your next appointment. If you provide 48 hours’ notice or more the full £45.00 is forwarded to your next appointment.

Your counsellor will hold the appointment for 15 minutes. Beyond this, your appointment will need to be rescheduled if the counsellor is no longer available. Wherever possible it is helpful if you could let us know you are running late for your appointment. If you will be later than 15 minutes we may be able to make arrangements so that you still keep your appointment. Please bear in mind that even if your appointment started late it will still end at your usual time.

Most of our appointments are available for no set fee and clients can donate towards the cost of their appointment. As we are a charitable organisation, we rely to a large extent on contributions and encourage clients to give what they can so that we can continue to provide a professional service.

We also have a proportion of appointments available on a faster flexible basis at a cost of £45 per session.

At present we take payments by bank transfer, cash or cheque. You need to pay in advance of each session and a receipt can be issued on request as proof of payment. Payments/Donations will be discussed prior to counselling beginning.

Faster Flexible Service

We offer a small number of appointments in exchange for a fixed fee. For fee-paying client’s, we can usually see you within 2 to 3 weeks of your 1st contact. However, this can at times be more difficult with clients who have restricted availability.

Our charges are £45.00 per session for individual counselling.

We recognised that there are people who are willing and able to pay the set fee for counselling, and by providing this service at Cairns, they can access counselling for themselves knowing that they are supporting a charity to help many others.

In addition, finding funding to keep the service going remains a constant challenge. By having a proportion of appointments available for a fixed fee, it provides us with some financial stability as a service and allows us to continue providing the majority of our appointments without a set charge.