What is counselling?

Counselling provides a space for you to explore your current situation, to start to think about what you would like to be different, and to work together to achieve this. Counsellors at Independence use an integrative model of counselling which combines different forms of therapy to help you explore what is causing and sustaining your problems. Our counsellors will work with you towards finding new and more helpful ways of relating to yourself, others and life generally.

We consider the therapeutic relationship to be an important factor in the change process, but not the only factor. We will work with you to identify and develop your own support networks as part of your longer-term change. Change can be a slow process and requires patience, kindness, honesty and mutual support. We believe these are available to all and actively encourage you to seek them out.

How might counselling help?

Counselling may help if you think there are underlying issues linked to your use of substances or gambling. Examples may include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, difficult emotions, relationship problems, bereavement, traumatic life events or other difficult experiences.

Counselling will help you explore your situation in a safe and non-judgmental environment. It may help you gain perspective and understanding about what is happening. It may also help you better manage your emotions and your relationship with yourself and other people.

Our professional standards

Professional standards are about service quality and safety – we consider high professional standards important in providing you with the kind of service that keeps your best interests as our highest priority. Our counsellors are members of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework. Staff are committed to ongoing professional development as evidence of maintaining professional standards and competence to practice. More information about BACP ethical framework and professional standards: htps://


Accessing our services is confidential. There are situations where we may share information with other professionals. These may be where we believe that there is a risk of serious harm to yourself or others or if we are compelled to share information by an order of the court. We would first discuss the situation with you if possible and encourage you to make the disclosure yourself, or to agree that your worker should get in touch with someone else who could help you.

Your client contract will outline in detail the limits of confidentiality.

How to apply for counselling?

You can self-refer by using our online form or you can contact our office on 01481 729000. You will be offered an initial appointment where we will assess your current situation and suitability for counselling. Please note that we don’t accept referrals from family members/friends but would expect you to contact us directly or through a professional such as your GP or other key worker.

FAQs about counselling

Q: Is it free to access counselling?

A: Yes, accessing counselling with Independence is free. If you’d like to make a donation please speak to staff or donate online.

Q: I am worried about my substance use/gambling, but also have mental health issues. Will this prevent me from accessing help from In-dependence?

A: It is not uncommon for people to experience mental health issues whilst engaging in problematic use of substances or gambling. We can offer you counselling if you are experiencing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. However, it is best practice that we consult your mental health worker if you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, psychosis or other complex mental health issues, prior to offering you a service.

Q: How many sessions will you offer?

A: Initially, we will offer you 8 sessions of counselling after which we will review your progress. There is no limit to the number of sessions should we feel that it is appropriate to continue offering you a service. If you engage in long term counselling the work will be regularly reviewed at least every 8 sessions.

Q: I am still using/drinking/gambling. Can I access counselling regardless?

A: Yes, you can access counselling even if you are still using/drinking/gambling. However, we would expect you to come to appointments clearheaded.

Q: Can I bring someone else to an appointment with me? I feel nervous about coming alone.

A: You can bring someone close to you to your first appointment, which will be your initial assessment, if you feel nervous about coming on your own. Just be aware that you will be asked personal questions that you may not want to share with anyone. We cannot accept anyone else to be present for counselling sessions. If you would like to include a family member as part of your recovery then this can be discussed. Please note that we cannot accept children to be present during any of your sessions including the initial assessment.

Q: How long will it take for me to get better?

A: Everyone’s circumstances are different and it really depends on the individual how long it takes to get better. If you feel/think counselling is not helping, or that you are not making the progress that you hoped for, please speak to your counsellor and you can start working towards a solution. In some cases, you may want to be referred to another counsellor or try a completely different approach.