Counselling Information

Counselling is most effective when you and your counsellor work together to address your issues and concerns in a secure and confidential way.

Your counsellor will listen carefully and try to understand you and your concerns so that they can help you make sense of your difficulties.

 Counselling may involve:

  •  discovering new ways of coping
  •  making changes
  •  developing new skills
  •  finding what works for you

It is important that you attend all counselling appointments arranged. Appointments are available by phone and video online.

Phased approach

The NCS uses a phased approach to counselling. A range of evidence-based therapeutic approaches is used and tailored to individual client needs.

In the early phase of counselling, the focus is on building trust. We help people identify positive coping strategies and resources that can support them. 

The focus of the middle phase of counselling is on exploring the impact of a person’s psychological difficulties and considering new ways to approach these issues.

During the end phase of counselling, the focus is on:

  •  integrating learning
  •  empowering clients to make positive choices and decisions
  •  developing a support network
  •  building resilience.

 The NCS together with other statutory and non-statutory agencies supports clients after they move on from counselling.


Confidentiality is central to the counselling process and your right to confidentiality will always be respected.

What you say during counselling will remain confidential but there are conditions attached. Your counsellor will explain the conditions of confidentiality at your first assessment appointment.

These conditions apply to concerns about the safety and wellbeing of a child, your own safety and wellbeing, or that of another adult. In these circumstances, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.

How to access counselling

You can refer yourself directly to the National Counselling Service that is nearest to you. We also accept written referrals from health care professionals such as GPs.

Individuals referred will be offered an initial assessment appointment. This to establish if the NCS is the appropriate service to meet a person’s needs at this time.

If counselling is appropriate the next available counselling place will be offered.

View all NCS contact details here.

How our service works

All clients referred to the NCS are offered a comprehensive assessment to explore their needs and assess whether counselling might be helpful.

If you are attending adult mental health services we will ask your consent to obtain a mental health report. This will help us decide whether counselling is suitable for you at this time.

If you are struggling with addiction it may be more appropriate to attend an addiction service before coming to the NCS. It is important to be substance-free for a period of at least 6 months before your referral to the NCS.

Record Keeping

The NCS collects personal information for the purpose of providing counselling. This information is held on paper files and electronically. Your counsellor will usually make notes after each appointment.

The NCS has procedures in place to ensure your information is safe and secure whether on paper or in electronic form. It will be accessed by authorised personnel on a need to know basis only.

All information (written and electronic) is held securely and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Freedom of Information Act 2014.


We welcome feedback from those using our service. Phone 1800 700 700 or email

You can also make suggestions, give feedback or comments at any time to the staff in the counselling service you are attending.

You will receive an evaluation form asking you about your experience at end of your counselling session.