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Your Journey: How do I Reach Out For Private Counselling UK

reaching out for private counselling

It may feel daunting to reach out to a counsellor for the first time. You may have so many questions it feels impossible to know where to start…

Questions like:

  • How do I know who to choose?
  • How do I get from making that initial enquiry to booking my first session?
  • What happens during the initial consultation call?
  • What questions should I ask my counsellor before booking the first session?
  • How much should I tell my counsellor when I enquire?

The first time I reached out to a counsellor I had all these same questions too. It can feel like an overwhelming process and I’m here to make that process easier for you.

In this post, I’m going to aim to answer all of those pressing questions you might have and give you a rundown on what it is like to reach out for private counselling in the UK.

So, how do I reach out for private counselling in the UK?

All counsellors have their own way of taking enquiries and booking sessions but these 4 steps should give you an idea of what the standard process looks like.

This is the process most of my counselling clients take. Each step is important as finding a counsellor is a unique journey. You may connect with one counsellor and not another. Each of these 4 steps enables you to see how you feel about potentially working with that counsellor, whether you feel comfortable opening up and whether their availability works for your life.

Step One: Finding a Counsellor

It can be hard to find a counsellor. Depending on where you live, you may be restricted to who is in your area or the complete opposite, overwhelmed by the amount of counsellors around you.

Putting aside the reason you’re reaching out for counselling, you will likely be talking about some quite painful, difficult experiences and therefore, it is important to choose someone you feel safe and comfortable with.

A common place where people search for counsellors is on the Counselling Directory. Here you are given a list of counsellors in your area with a small photo and a description of their practice. Even with all of these counsellors compiled into a nice, neat website, it can still be difficult to choose.

So, let’s go back to the idea of finding someone you feel safe and comfortable with. It’s time to try and get a bit more of a feel for your counsellor.

Let’s say you’ve found a couple of people who stand out to you. Great!

What I suggest doing from here is checking out their other platforms. If they have a website linked, go have a look at that. If they have a business Instagram or Facebook page, see if you feel drawn to their posts. This can help you get a bit more of a feel for your counsellor to see if you’d feel safe with them.

The initial call I’ll talk about later is another way to see if you connect and can see yourself working with the counsellor you’ve chosen.

Step Two: Your Enquiry

So, you have found a counsellor you think you’d like to work with, that’s great! You liked their online presence, and their photos and maybe even felt seen by some of their Instagram posts.

But how do you actually reach out to them?

The best way to get started reaching out to a private counsellor is by sending an enquiry. If you’re searching on a directory, this can be done through the counsellor’s profile page and if you’re on their website look for a contact form.

It is entirely up to you how much information you wish to put in your initial enquiry. However, some things to consider putting in your enquiry could be:

  • Your name, contact details and preferred contact method.
  • Your reason for reaching out for counselling or a brief overview of your presenting issue eg. anxiety, depression, stress, grief. (This isn’t always necessary if you would feel more comfortable talking about your reason during your initial consultation call).
  • Your availability for counselling
  • Any other information you feel is necessary. For example, some counsellors offer discounted sessions to student counsellors, low-income or OAP’s. If you fall into one of these groups it may be something you want to mention.

Most counsellors will reply within a couple of days of receiving your enquiry.

It is also worth mentioning that it is okay if you reach out to multiple counsellors. Finding the right person for you is a journey and by reaching out to a few counsellors you’re casting your net wide to find someone you connect with.

Step Three: Initial Consultation Call

You’ve sent off your enquiry and a counsellor has got back in touch.

It is common for counsellors to offer a free initial consultation call. Now some don’t and some of these initial calls are not free however, this call is an opportunity to hear your counsellor and see if you feel a connection to them.

For example, I offer a free initial 20-minute consultation call to new potential clients as this gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have and to get to know me a little better.

What I recommend if you are offered a free initial call is to have a few questions you know you want to ask. If you’re speaking to a few different counsellors, asking the same questions will also allow you to see who you’re going to work with the best.

Here are a couple of questions you could consider asking:

  • What is your availability for sessions?
  • Do you offer fortnightly sessions?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Do you offer face-to-face or online counselling?

While all counsellors are trained to a similar (ish) level, we are human and everyone is different. Some counsellors will work differently to others so connecting with your counsellor’s style of working and personality is important.

Step Four: Arranging Your First Appointment

If after speaking to the counsellor(s) you’ve reached out to you decide yes, this is the person I want to talk to, then it’s time to book a counselling session.

Hopefully, during your initial consultation, you and the counsellor have been able to discuss availability and times you are both free and found a time that mutually works for both of you.

Your counsellor will likely send over a counselling agreement or contract for you to sign. This will cover everything you need to know about your work together and importantly, how confidentiality works. Take some time to read this over and make a note of your counsellor’s contact details in case of cancellations.

Arranging this first appointment and receiving this agreement may feel scary but that is okay. Take your time.

Step Five: Begin Your Counselling.

At this final step, your counselling has begun!

I hope this post has allowed you a glimpse into the process of what it is like to reach out for private counselling in the UK.

If you’re looking for a counsellor who specialises in anxiety, stress & self-esteem, get in touch with me today. Click here.

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