- What is counselling?
- What's the difference between counsellors, life coaches, etc?
- What approach is used?
- Who can we offer counselling to?
- Who can we not offer counselling to?
- What happens at the first meeting?
- Can I bring someone with me?
- Is everything confidential?
- How long does counselling last?
- Do you do home visits, online or telephone counselling?
- Where does counselling take place? Facilities?
- What about anonymity?
- What if I need assistance?
- How do I know this is a professional service?
What is counselling?
Counselling is a talking therapy: you talk in confidence to your counsellor about your life and find ways to change the things you want to change. You may feel confused, sad, angry or upset about certain aspects of your life. You may have negative thoughts you want to change. You may simply want to reflect on your life and its course and improve on your life satisfaction. Counselling can provide insight into your difficulties and highlight alternatives. You may feel distressed or emotional at times during the counselling process, but your counsellor can support you through this process. The relationship between client and counsellor is the most important part of the counselling process.
Many people think that going to counselling is a sign of weakness: not being able to sort something out yourself. In fact, it takes courage to take that first step to decide to have counselling, and even more courage to go through the process and look at things you find difficult. Changing thoughts, feelings, behaviours and perceptions requires not only reflection, but also a desire and motivation for change.
Through observations and suggestions your counsellor will encourage you to achieve the change you desire. You are the expert at your own life and so the counsellor will not tell you what to do. However, the counsellor can facilitate you to increase self-awareness, enable you to think more clearly and provide alternative viewpoints.
If we take the time to look at the things that trouble us, we can break free from the habits and patterns that at one time were useful, but can sometimes become outdated and prevent us from achieving our full potential in life. Spokz People works in a holistic way, considering the whole person, their family, upbringing and the environmental and social factors that influence their lives. Counselling is very individual and a counselling programme is devised in discussion with each client, according to their needs and goals.
Counselling is not a befriending or advice service, though we may be able to provide you with information for such services in addition to your counselling.
Confused? What's the difference between counsellors, life coaches, etc?
It can be very confusing knowing who to talk to, a life coach, a mentor, a counsellor...or a psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist.....especially if you haven't had any therapy before it can seem a mind field! They all have different specialities, work differently and have had different levels of training from none (!) to 9 years. To help you make a clear choice, we have put together an overview explaining the differences. Please click here to read more about the different talking professionals.
What approach is used?
An integrative approach is used which means counsellors draws on a variety of theories to assist you in dealing with your issues. Together we will agree on a plan of working at the start of your counselling. Generally, we use a person-centred approach of respect, honesty and empathy as a baseline, drawing on other theories (dependant on counsellor orientation) to explore past influences and inform the change process.
How successful counselling is depends on your relationship with the counsellor, your expectations and motivation and your personal circumstances. If you would like more information about our approach, please feel free to contact us.
Who can we offer counselling to?
Spokz People Counselling Service is available to individuals over 16 and couples, there is no upper age limit. Counsellors have experience in the following areas: general counselling, physical disability, relationships, anxiety, depression or low mood, anger, childhood issues, self-esteem, loss, cultural issues, oppression and discrimination.
Who can we not offer counselling to?
We have recently recruited a new counsellor who can who communicate through British Sign Language and we are exploring this option for Deaf clients. If you are interested in counselling in BSL do let us know. In the meantime, we can offer online counselling as an alternative way of communnicating or visit www.signhealth.org.uk. Please contact us if SignHealth is unsuitable and we will try to help where possible.
Learning disabilities: we do not have experience with learning disabilities, though, as learning disabilities vary enormously, we can offer a free assessment so we can meet to see if we can work together effectively. Alternatively we will try to help you to find an alternative service. Naomi Richardson offers counselling, advocacy and groups in Kiddeminster for people with learning difficulties (click here for Naomi's website) and there is also a day centre in Moseley, Birmingham offering a similar service.
We currently do not offer family therapy at Spokz People, but please visit our directory to see if there are others in your area.
What happens at the first meeting?
Your first meeting differs from the counselling process in that it is an assessment session to see whether counselling will benefit you at this time and whether we can work together. You will have the opportunity to briefly discuss your personal history, current circumstances, lifestyle and your expectations and goals for counselling. It is also a chance for you to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have regarding the counselling process. After the assessment you can decide whether you wish to continue. The second meeting marks the start of your therapy and will partly involve agreeing a written contract of how to work together.
Sessions are for 50 minutes, usually once a week, though this can be adjusted according to your need. We understand the need to be flexible if you have a disability, communication difficulties, mobility difficulties or health or fatigue issues.
Can I bring someone with me?
Generally people attend sessions individually or as couples. However, we understand there may be times when you would like someone else to come with you. For example, if you have communication difficulties, a disability, are very nervous about coming to see a counsellor or are classed as a vulnerable adult. You may wish to have a parent, personal assistant, carer or guardian present for the first session or first few sessions to help you feel more comfortable or to assist your sessions with the counsellor. Please ask your counsellor before the first session if you are thinking about bringing someone with you.
Is everything confidential?
Counselling is very personal and private and we respect your right to confidentiality. However, please ask about the level of confidentiality that we can provide as complete confidentiality is not possible due to legal and ethical requirements (e.g. drug trafficking and terrorism laws). It is not normal practice for counsellors to provide any letters or reports on the client's request (e.g. for solicitors or courts) about the content of counselling. Personal details are stored separately from case notes.
How long does counselling last?
This is mutually agreed at the start of your counselling and is determined by each individual person's needs and preferences.
As a general indication most people have between 10-15 sessions for one specific issue and 15-30 sessions for issues that are more long-term or complex. However, this is just to give you an idea. We will discuss your expectations around duration and come to a mutual agreement of either a set number of sessions or ongoing counselling. In both cases there will be periodic reviews to see how you are progressing towards your goals. You can choose when to stop and start counselling. Counselling is more effective if we can agree when to end beforehand so there is time to evaluate and spend some time looking at maintaining any changes into the future.
Do you do home visits, online or telephone counselling?
Yes we do!
Home visits are available in the Birmingham and Lichfield area. Please contact us for more information.
Telephone counselling is available if face-to-face or online counselling is not a suitable option.
Where does counselling take place? What facilities are there?
Counselling can take place online, by telephone or at several venues across Greater Birmingham (B1, Sutton Coldfield, Erdington and Walsall) and Staffordshire (Lichfield and Fradley). All venues have disabled access, parking and toilets.
Details of specific venues available on request or when you make your first appointment.
What about anonymity?
For face-to-face counselling: Sometimes there is a manned reception, but you do not need to sign in or give your name. You can just come in and wait for your appointment in the lobby and your counsellor will come and collect you.
For online: you will be asked to establish your identity for safety purposes.
What if I need assistance?
If you need assistance in any way, or have any concerns about access, please check this with us before attending your session. We will do our best to provide for you.
How do I know this is a professional service?
Counsellors are members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and adhere to their codes and ethics. You can find more information at www.bacp.co.uk. In particular you may be interested in: The Ethical Framework (which includes complaints procedure and professional conduct procedure) at: www.bacp.co.uk/ethical_framework.
Online counsellors, because they store and process your personal data on computers, are required to be registered data controllers. As a non-profit organisation Spokz People are exempt from this requirement, though we do abide by all legal requirements relating to personal data storage and the data protection principles of the Data Protection Act. Please visit www.ico.gov.uk for more information.
Counselling is covered by professional indemnity insurance.
It is good practice for counsellors to have meetings with other counsellors where they discuss their clients to ensure that they are providing the best possible service for their clients. All personal information is omitted from such discussions to ensure confidentiality and anonymity.
Sessions are also regularly reviewed with clients to ensure you feel the counselling is helpful. We welcome your feedback and are committed to addressing any concerns or complaints about the service or its staff.