From what age do you see people?
This is dependent on the area your GP is based. Currently for Swale (Sittingbourne and Sheppey areas) it is 18+, but for Canterbury & Coastal it is 17+. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact our office.
What type of counselling/intervention is available?
Your options will be discussed within your initial meeting with your counsellor, however our counsellors are trained with varied backgrounds and theoretical models. You can see the variety of training our counsellors possess on our "About" page.
Do you offer home visits?
Unfortunately at present we can only offer counselling in one of the locations stated in our 'Contact Us' section of the website. Alternatively we do offer telephone counselling and access to a free online mindfulness course.
Do you help with ESA and PIP payment assessments or appeals?
We do not complete forms or reports for any benefit payments this includes ESA or PIP. As a service we only provide a letter to confirm your attendance to therapy only once you are in regular attendance with a therapist. We do not issue these letters at waiting list stage. These letters are to be requested from your allocated therapist.
As a counselling service we do not diagnose or provide in depth reports on any health conditions.
For all reports and information regarding psychical or mental health illness please consult your GP.
How many sessions may someone expect to receive?
Under our NHS IAPT service this is dependent on the level of treatment required.
For private sessions, this is entirely up to you.
Would you accept referrals from another service, or does it always come directly from GP or patient?
We accept referrals from all services. We also accept self referrals from patients directly. Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to accept referrals from family members on your behalf.
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept referrals for you if you are registered with Secondary Care (i.e. CMHT).
I have been with your service previously but would like to come back, can I self refer?
If your GP is in the Canterbury & Coastal area, you can self re-refer to the service after six months have passed from the date of your discharge from our service. If your GP is in the Swale area, you can self re-refer to our service after three months from the date of your discharge from our service. Should you feel you have an urgent need to come back to the service we would recommend speaking to your GP to make a referral to us within this six month or three month period. Please note if you feel suicidal or are experiencing severe symptoms relating to a diagnosed mental health condition we recommend contacting your local crisis team as we are not an emergency service.
I am registered with Secondary Care. How do I access counselling?
If you are registered with Secondary Care services / CMHT unfortunately we cannot process your referral until fully discharged from Secondary level care.
Under the health care provision you have you may have access to support worker who can help you find a more suitable service for counselling. Please contact your care provider for further information.
Are you short term?
We are short term through our NHS IAPT therapy.
For private therapy there is no limit to the amount of sessions.
Do I need to attend? What is your cancellation policy?
Your commitment to attending each session agreed with your counsellor is essential, as a short term counselling service your commitment to attend will ensure that therapy is successful for you.
Appointments are to be treated in the same way as any NHS medical appointment; therefore if you miss an appointment without notifying us or having made a prior agreement with your therapist, your ongoing treatment may be affected.
Two missed appointments without notification will result in your treatment being ended and you will be discharged from the service if we receive no contact from you. Two cancelled appointments or two appointments cancelled at last minute (i.e. less than 48 hours notice) during your treatment could effect the treatment you receive.
I missed 2 sessions and I've been discharged. I still need help. What do I do?
You may be able to self refer back to our service. Please speak to our administration staff for further details on 01795 591 019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't want face-to-face therapy - how do I sign up for online therapy?
Please speak to our administration staff for further details on 01795 591 019 or email email@example.com.
I have booked a telephone assessment appointment but my phone has call guardian and private number barring on it, will this affect the assessor contacting me?
Most of the assessors will ring from a withheld or private number, to avoid any difficulty when completing the assessment please ensure you provide the service with a number we can contact you on prior to your appointment.
I have been sent some information via post for my assessment - how important is it that I have this to hand?
It is extremely important to have these documents to hand during your telephone or face-to-face assessment.
It is unsafe for me to answer my phone at home or receive letters - is there something I can do?
When registering with our service please speak about this to the administrator who will be able to advise the best option for you, this may include completing your assessment with us on a face-to-face basis rather than on the telephone.
I am not sure if I want to attend counselling, but a member of my family has told me to attend - what should I do?
We would recommend that your time in therapy is your own choice as therapy can be a very challenging and personal experience. If you have any doubts regarding your expectations or suitability these can be explored within your assessment, you are also welcome to discharge yourself from our service at any time.
I cannot get through on the telephone, what should I do?
We apologise sincerely for this. Our lines can be very busy at times. Please leave your name and the best contact number for us to contact you on and we will endeavour to return your call within 24 hours Monday to Friday. Unfortunately, no answer phone messages are picked up at the weekend.
I am unable to be flexible with appointments right now can I still access the service?
This very much depends on the amount of flexibility you do have, for example if you are limited to only evenings or weekends you can still access our service. The NHS service we provide should be treated as all other NHS service appointments therefore flexibility and commitment are required by all of our patients accessing the service. If in doubt please speak to our administrator before registering for service or discuss this within your assessment.
What do I do if I feel I am in crisis in-between seeing my counsellor?
If you feel that you are in crisis or are concerned that you are having thoughts of self harm or suicide we recommend speaking urgently to your GP or local walk in health centre. You can also speak to the Samaritans on 116123 or by visiting the website at www.samaritans.org - In serious emergencies please call 999 or 111 and seek emergency assistance.
I attended therapy with you and don’t feel I can connect with my counsellor – am I able to change the counsellor I see?
If you feel unhappy or unsatisfied at any point during your treatment please do contact the service and request a conversation with the clinical lead to discuss your treatment options.
Please be aware that all re-allocations will result in a further wait on the waiting list to be seen.
I would like to make a complaint. How do I do this?
Please check our policies page for access to our full complaints policy and procedures.
I'm worried about a friend or family member, can I book them in for counselling?
No, all self-referrals and contact needs to be through the individual patient directly.
We are happy to deal with any generalised queries about service but are unable to disclose or discuss any confidential information with anyone else other than those attending the therapy.
I've made really good progress and feel I want to stop attending before the end of my therapy is due – is this OK to do?
Yes, if at any time you wish to stop attending please let your therapist know.
I don’t want to fill in any forms, will I have to do this to have free NHS treatment?
Yes, we take short questionnaires from all of our patients at every appointment. Without the completion of these questionnaires we will be unable to offer a free treatment.
How is your information about patients stored?
We use the patient management system IAPTus and use secure NHS Mail services.
We do not keep paper records for our patients.
I would like to attend private therapy but I cannot afford the full fees. Do you have a reduced rate option?
Unfortunately we do not have this option at present, however this is something the service is looking into for the future.
My GP said I should have CBT, what is it?
CBT is a type of short-term solution focused talking therapy which can be suitable for working through specific issues. You can find out more about CBT here:
Can I bring my friend/relative/partner to the session with me?
Unless you register for couples therapy we do not permit more than one person in the therapy room with the counsellor.
Sometimes its helpful to have someone come to your appointment with you and meet you at your finishing time.
Do you have waiting areas at your locations?
Unfortunately we do not have waiting room facilities so would recommend arriving on time only.
I speak another language, would I be able to bring an interpreter to a session with me?
Yes, please contact the office before hand to discuss your needs.
I live in Sittingbourne but have been offered an appointment in Faversham, why can I not be seen in Sittingbourne instead?
Unless you have extenuating circumstances or mobility issues that affects your ability to travel to a specific location, we are unable to allocate you based on one preference. Whilst we will try to be as accommodating and flexible as possible, due to the nature of the service, we have to offer the first available location to all patients, this will include your second preference of treatment location. As an NHS service we are unable to meet the needs of specific and limited appointment requests. At registration you will be asked for your first and second choices of treatment location and times. We ask that all patients treat this appointment as they would with any other NHS service or medical appointment. As an NHS service we are unable to meet the needs of specific and limited appointment requests upon registration.