Is it confidential?

Anything you say to me as your counsellor is confidential; it will never be repeated to anyone else ... unless one of the following exceptions applies:  

I reserve the right to break confidentiality if I believe or have reason to believe that you have or may have serious and immediate intent to seriously harm yourself or others.  In these instances, I would usually talk to you first (and it is why I like to have an emergency contact number).

There are several instances where the law requires me to break confidentiality: acts or suspected acts of terrorism, money laundering and child abuse, and when ordered to by a court of law.  In these instances it may not be possible to talk to you beforehand.   

As appropriate during supervision.  

Without your express permission to do so I do NOT have to and never would talk to a police officer, a solicitor, a member of the medical profession.  

What is supervision?

A counsellor should belong to a professional body (if they don't you should ask why) and it is a condition of all professional bodies in the UK that their members receive regular ‘supervision’ (it’s also very desirable that they do).  A supervisor’s job is to safeguard both the client and counsellor.  They are there to make sure that the counsellor is working ethically and safely in your best interest (they may see something that your counsellor is missing or is blind to) and to make sure that your issues in turn are not causing the counsellor difficulties (counsellors have issues just like their clients: you could for example be bringing a bereavement to the sessions very similar to one the counsellor has experienced).  A supervisor is bound by the same rules of confidentiality as your counsellor.  Your counsellor’s supervisor will have no direct contact with you or you them, they will most likely know your first name and nothing else.

Why do you need an emergency contact number?   

Well if you read our contract it will specify certain instances where I reserve the right to break confidentiality, one of which is if I believe you are likely to commit a serious act of harm to yourself or others ...  to actually do this I need to contact a 3rd party and it may be quicker and safer if I already have that number available (the number should be that of your GP or someone that knows you reasonable well).  But breaking confidentiality is NEVER taken lightly and whenever possible we will discuss it before hand and hopefully do it with your agreement.   

Why do you need to know if I am taking a prescribed drug?

Drugs can affect people psychologically and therefore can affect counselling in ways that are sometimes helpful and sometimes not, so it is important for a counsellor to know what drugs you may be taking and for what reason.  It is also important for the same reason to say if you do or have used ‘recreational’ drugs.

Notes and Records:

I need to keep a record of your address/telephone number if I need to contact you for any reason.  I should as a professional counsellor keep notes: these notes will usually be made after you have left (I may make some notes in a first session).  Your actual details/records (name, telephone number) will always be kept separate from any notes I make (both will be kept under lock and key) and I am the only person that would ever be able to ‘pair’ your details to your notes. These notes are confidential no 3rd party will ever be allowed to see then without your permission or a court order.   

So why are they kept?  The main reason is to enable me to help you, they give me an opportunity to reflect between sessions on what we have already said, but they are also there for our mutual protection, you may be unhappy with the counselling you receive and choose to register a complaint against me with my professional body... as a counsellor I need to be able to justify any intervention I make and the keeping of notes helps me to do this if ever called on to do so (or not do so if your complaint is valid).   

After an appropriate time period the notes will be destroyed.

What happens if we accidentally meet in the street or in a pub?  

         The chances are small but if it happens... I will ignore you!  Ours is a professional and confidential relationship that exists solely in the counselling room and that relationship ends when the counselling ends.  Ok so I am not completely heartless! ... I certainly won’t initially smile or be the first to say hello (I do not know who you may be with) but if you want to say hello to me that is fine, I’ll say hello back, but rest assured I won’t ask (or expect to be asked) how you are etc etc. and I certainly won’t be offended if you look straight through me as though we have never met before... even if we are meeting the next morning.

Can I bring someone with me?

I offer one to one counselling (I do not offer couples counselling).  The aim of counselling is to give you a secure and confidential environment to explore issues that might be affecting you; therefore we do not want anyone to be in the room with us or to be able to overhear us (it may inhibit what you would truly like to say).  But if you feel unable to come without the support of someone then we could find another room to put them in... But I would honestly prefer you to come alone or leave anyone giving you a lift outside in the car.

Can I have a discount for a block booking?

Normally I prefer not to give one: we will work equally as hard in every session!  If I was to give a discount for a set number of sessions and our work goes well and we do not really need to use them all, what do we do?  I believe it can give an artificial time scale where the pace we work at is influenced by the session number as much as the here and now feeling.  In the few cases were it is obvious our work together will be long term then yes we might negotiate a different fee level.

Can you come to me (home visits)?

         If you really want me to or need me to (perhaps you are housebound) then yes I can, but we MAY have to make allowances for the cost/time of me travelling to you and we would need to be sure that we have a safe and suitable environment for the session.

Could it make me feel worse?   

         Well as an aim and expectation we hope not! ... we are looking for an improvement in the quality of your life... but please keep in mind that in a counselling session we may well be talking about issues you have avoided or buried for a long period of time and as these issues surface and are explored it may well be distressing for you in the short term.  There is also the possibility that certain medical conditions and medications may make counselling unwise or difficult.

Does it always work?

         Well the short answer would have to be no... a few people derive little advantage from counselling for a variety of reasons... but we will continually reflect on our progress and stop if we feel it's not beneficial.

Why secure email?

         Normal email can be read by many people as it travels along the Internet.  It is the equivalent of sending a post card or unsealed letter; it can be read by anyone along the chain that has a desire to read it.  Encrypted email is the equivalent of sending a message in a sealed envelope and is much more difficult for anyone to read.  Encrypted email keeps your personal deals personal and confidential.

What is secure email?

         It is mail that has ‘2048 bit’ encryption.  It is arguable the strongest form of encryption available, and nobody has ‘publicly demonstrated the ability to break it’.  For practical purposes it can be deemed as secure (and possibly more so) as talking face to face with a counsellor.  Your address is unique to you and yours for the duration of your online counselling.

Are the ‘forms’ on the site secure?

          The form on the website in which you initially send your personal details is a secure encrypted form. However any information sent back to your normal email address would most likely be insecure, which is the main reason for giving you a address.  A second reason is that it is a web based email address and is totally separate from your normal email address (that others may have access to) and will not show on your computer once you have closed the web browser (provided you clear the cache and history files of your browser... email clients will be shown how to do this if they do not already know).

Why is the ‘Location’ of the counselling important?  Why will I have deemed to have travelled to you (my counsellor)?

         If you see a face to face counsellor the chances are they will be local to you... and the chances are you will both live within the same political, legislative, national and regional boundaries, but this might not be so with online counselling!   There are many possibilities... you could be living temporally or permanently overseas but prefer to converse with a counsellor who speaks your mother tongue or comes from the same culture you grew up in... There may not be the specialist counselling you need available to you locally… so you may seek a counsellor ‘outside the national boundaries of where you are currently located.  This has implications!  

         There are unfortunately no ‘internationally’ recognised qualifications in counselling.  Some countries require counsellors to be registered/licensed some countries do not.  In fact in some counties the notion of a counsellor does not exist!  California law for example states that it is illegal for a person to offer counselling to someone ‘inside’ California unless they are physically within the borders of California and legally entitled to practice there.  It is for these reasons that if you commence counselling with Central England Counselling you will have been deemed to have ‘found’ us on the Internet and not us to have ‘found’ you and that the counselling will be deemed to be taking place In the UK and therefore subject to UK regulation and UK law (in the event of any legal dispute).   

         Central England Counselling is not and cannot be aware of the counselling regulations and laws of every country, it is therefore YOUR responsibility to ensue that it is legal (and ethical) in your country (should you be outside the UK) for you to seek counselling with us.

Is Online Counselling suitable for everyone?

There are reasons and situations where it would be more advisable for you to seek face to face counselling or some other form of face to face help these include (but there may well be others):

Immediate serious harm/life threatening situations:

If there is an immediate threat or possible threat to life or of serious harm to anyone (either the prospective client or anyone associated with them) then online counselling should not be your first choice.   

         We say ‘first choice’ as it is considered by many that online counselling is not appropriate in these situations.  However if you are having suicidal thoughts while we would much prefer you to seek face to face help, we recognise this may be difficult for some and that online help may be better than no help at all or possible be a first step in moving towards face to face help.

If you are on certain medication:

Certain medications such as strong anti-depressants can make the counselling process very difficult, they can mask your true feelings and your true state and make it difficult for your counsellor to form a working relationship with you.  It would be better in these instances to consider face to face counselling.  Many professional would consider face to face counselling as not being appropriate, but that would be something for you to discuss with them.

If you are known to be, or feel you may be suffering symptoms of psychosis

People believed to be suffering from psychosis are NOT suitable for online counselling, it is not possibly to give you the level of support you need and you are strongly encourage to seek the support of your medical practitioner.   

Young people under the age of 18

There are a variety of reasons for not accepting young people as email clients, a main one being the lack of research on to its effectiveness.  But if you are reading this you have made a good start in looking for the help you need!  If you look at our resources page it has several places young people can contact for help.  

Why is my age and identity needed?

Without your age and identity it is impossible for you to give or for us to accept ‘informed consent’.  Many counsellors’ qualifications, code of ethics and insurance prohibit them from working with minors.  Nearly all codes of ethics allow a counsellor to break confidentiality in certain circumstances (child abuse, possible acts or terrorism) and it may not be possible to fulfil this legal and ethical responsibilities to you and others without knowing your age and identity (to the best of our knowledge and ability).

What am I actually buying?

You are buying my time as your counsellor for one therapeutic hour (between 55 and 65 minutes).  In the case of email counselling I will spend a minimum of one hour reading what you say, reflecting on what you say and writing a reply to what you say.  

In email counselling there may be instances where you send too much for me to effectively respond to!  In these instances I will pick out what I believe to be the main areas of concern or the ones that I consider are in need of addressing first... I will give you the option of coming back to other areas in future emails.  Equally some clients will not send enough information to work with, in which case I will encourage you to say more in following emails.  

If I forget to mention something important in an email and send it later will I be charged for this?

If you send an email, and later realise you have left an important detail out or have said something incorrectly, you may send a brief corrective email.  If it arrives and I see it in time I should be able to read it in conjunction with the original email and there would be no extra charge, but if this email contains substantial new information that requires a response in its own right it will be considered a second email, which of these it is judged to be will be at my sole discretion, although I will obviously use common sense!

About cache, cookies, and history

Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (i.e., stores) it. By doing this, the browser doesn't have to newly retrieve files (including any images) from the remote web site each time you click Back or Forward. You should periodically clear the cache to allow your browser to function more efficiently.

A cookie is a file created by a web browser, at the request of a website, that is then stored on a computer. These files typically store user-specific information such as selections in a form, shopping cart contents, or authentication data. Browsers will normally clear cookies that reach a certain age, but clearing them manually may solve problems with websites or your browser.

A browser's history is a log of sites that you visit. When you press a browser's Back button, you are moving back one entry in the history log. Browsers will normally clear their history at regular intervals, but you may want to clear it manually for privacy reasons.

Back to top

Internet Explorer 9 and 8

Click Tools, and select Delete Browsing History...

Deselect Preserve Favourites website data, and select Temporary Internet files, Cookies, and History.

Click Delete.

Internet Explorer 7

From the Tools menu in the upper right, select Delete Browsing History...  

To delete your cache, click Delete files...  

To delete your cookies, click Delete cookies...

To delete your history, click Delete history...

Click Close, and then click OK to exit.

Firefox 3.5 and above for Windows

From the Tools menu, select Clear Recent History...  Alternatively, in Firefox 4 and above, you can also click the orange Firefox button, and then select Clear Recent History from the History menu.

From the Time range to clear: drop-down menu, select the desired range; to clear your entire cache, select Everything.

Click the down arrow next to "Details" to choose what history elements to clear (e.g., check Cookies to clear cookies). Click Clear Now.

Firefox 3 for Windows

From the Tools menu, select Clear Recent History... , and then select the items you want to delete (e.g., Browsing & Download History, Cache, Cookies).

Click Clear Recent History...


In the browser bar, enter: chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

Select the items you want to clear (e.g., Clear browsing history, Clear download history, Empty the cache, Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data).

From the Obliterate the following items from: drop-down menu, you can choose the period of time for which you want to clear cached information. To clear your entire cache, select the beginning of time.

Click Clear browsing data.


From the Safari menu, select Reset Safari...  

From the menu, select the items you want to reset, and then click Reset. As of Safari 5.1, Remove all website data covers both cookies and cache.

Firefox 3.5 and above for Mac OS X

From the Tools menu, select Clear Recent History.

From the Time range to clear: drop-down menu, select the desired range; to clear your entire cache, select Everything.

Click the down arrow next to "Details" to choose which elements to clear. Click Clear Now.

Firefox 3 for Mac OS X

In Firefox, from the Tools menu, select Clear Recent History.

Select the elements you want to clear (e.g., Browsing & Download History, Cache, Cookies), and then click Clear Private Data Now.

Mobile Safari for iPhone OS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)

To clear cache and cookies:

From the home screen, tap Settings, and then tap Safari.

At the bottom of Safari's settings screen, tap the buttons for Clear Cookies and Clear Cache. To confirm, tap Clear Cookies or Clear Cache again.

To clear history:

From the home screen, tap Safari.

At the bottom of the screen, tap the Bookmarks icon.

In the lower left, tap Clear.

Tap Clear History.


To clear cache, cookies, or history:

Start your browser.

Tap Menu, and then tap More.

Select Settings.

Under "Privacy settings" select Clear cache, Clear history, or Clear all cookie data as appropriate, and then tap OK to accept (or Cancel to cancel) the deletion.

On this page you will find some of the most frequently asked questions.

The answers to the questions are my personal answers to you (my client, potential client), you may find a different counsellor holds a different view point and will give you a different answer.

If you do not see the question you would like an answer to please feel free to email me.