What is counselling?
Counselling falls under the umbrella term ‘talking therapies’ and allows people to discuss their problems and any difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential environment. The term can mean different things to different people, but in general it is a process people seek when they want to change something in their lives, or simply explore their thoughts and feelings in more depth.
A counsellor is not there to sit you down and tell you what to do. Instead, they will encourage you to talk about what's bothering you in order to uncover any root causes and identify your specific ways of thinking. The counsellor may then look to create a plan of action to either help you reconcile your issues, or help you to find ways of coping.
What can counselling help with?
Counselling can be useful for anyone who wants to explore the way they're thinking or feeling further, as well as for anyone experiencing a problem or issue they are keen to resolve. People may choose to speak to a counsellor because they feel they cannot speak to their other half/friends/family about such personal issues, or they may simply wish to speak to a professional with an objective viewpoint.
At Penny Appeal, we offer face to face counselling for women in Wakefield and Pan West London, as well as telephone counselling services nationwide.
Once we have received a referral either from a client or from an agency we make contact with the client to invite her for an assessment when we have available space for counselling.
What is an Assessment?
An assessment is a two-way process. The client will have an opportunity to find out about the counselling service, and the assessor will evaluate whether our service seems right for them. The aim of the assessment is to find out more about the client and her presenting concerns. The assessment also aims to explore and identify the client’s needs and expectations, and what she hopes to achieve through counselling.
Assessments usually last an hour, however there may be times when an extended assessment is required for complex cases which will be spread over two sessions. The assessment is conducted by a senior counsellor. She will not necessarily be the person the client may eventually work with, as it is important that her needs are identified first, and then she is matched with an appropriate counsellor.
After the Assessment
Once the assessment has taken place there may be a wait for the client to start counselling due to their time commitments and/or counsellor availability, but of course we try to offer sessions as soon as possible.
If the assessor feels Penny Appeal is unable to meet the client’s needs, we will try to signpost her to a more appropriate agency. After the assessment, if we are able to offer counselling, we contact the client with an appointment day and time based on her availability.
The Counselling Contract
When a woman is offered a date and time that they agree to, this starts their counselling contract. The counselling contract is for 10 weeks. There are however instances in which we may be able to offer more sessions for complex cases. A counselling session lasts for 50 minutes.
Confidentiality of all clients is respected and we seek client consent prior to sharing information, unless there are concerns about a child, young person or vulnerable adult. All information the client shares with us is held in strict confidence and complies with our confidentiality policies and procedures (a copy of this policy is available on request). We also adhere to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework. We offer an open file policy and the client is welcome to see all written information we have completed on them.
Monitoring and Evaluation
We have to provide certain information anonymously for our donors/funders, such as how many women we see, their ages, ethnicity, sexuality, boroughs etc. We also collect clinical information, to identify the sort of problems women experience. We enter this information anonymously on a database. All information collected is treated with respect and is strictly confidential.
By looking at the information women give us we aim to see who we are reaching and who we need to reach. Through client feedback we aim to understand what it is we do that works, and where we need to improve, or do things differently.
You can get more information about the Penny Appeal Domestic Abuse Counselling Service by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 07480 970097