Why go to a counsellor?

Most people feel worried or depressed at some time in their lives and it helps to have someone to talk to. Friends and family can be supportive but they may have problems of their own or you may not want to share intimate details with them.

People see counsellors for a wide range of reasons — they may be dealing with problems such as unemployment, domestic violence, bereavement, trauma related to the conflict in Northern Ireland, relationship problems or family conflicts. They may suffer from eating disorders, panic attacks, insomnia, stress or anxiety — sometimes with no obvious reason. Sorrow, pain, rejection, confusion or anger may be interfering with their day-to-day lives. Sometimes feelings of despair and hopelessness can be overwhelming. Emotional problems don’t necessarily go away if we ignore them so it makes sense to deal with them as soon as possible.

What is counselling?

A counsellor is trained to listen carefully to your problems and to support you while you find your own solutions. The relationship between a counsellor and a client is confidential and is based on respect and trust. Counselling helps you to discover the reasons for negative feelings and to work out ways of dealing with them. It is a time for you to express difficult feelings such as fear, suspicion and jealousy in a safe, supportive environment. You will not be criticised, nor will you be put under pressure to do or feel anything. The counsellor will help you find solutions that are realistic and workable for you.

Counselling should help you to take control of your life and to understand the reasons why you feel depressed, which may help you handle these feelings in the future. You may learn different ways of communicating with others so you can become more assertive, or you may develop greater self-respect. Often it is only when we talk to someone unconnected with our lives that we begin to hear what we are really saying and feeling. Counselling offers you this opportunity.

What should I ask a counsellor?

The first one or two meetings with a counsellor are your chance to see how you feel about the counsellor and decide if you can work together. The more information you have about what to expect, the more satisfied you are likely to be with the counselling you have. A good practitioner will expect you to ask questions and will be happy to answer them. Remember that as a consumer you have rights of choice.

Questions you might ask

  • What kind of counselling do you offer and what is it trying to achieve?
  • How long is a session and how often are they held?
  • How many sessions might I need and how does the counselling end?
  • When should I expect to feel some benefit?
  • Can I contact you between sessions if I need to?
  • What training have you had and how many years have you been practising?
  • What professional organisations do you belong to?
  • Have you had experience of working with people with similar problems to mine?
  • Is counselling confidential and when might confidentiality be broken?
  • How much do I pay per session and is there a cancellation fee?

How long and how much?

This depends on you, the counsellor and the problem. Often half a dozen sessions will resolve the problem: sometimes you may see a counsellor for several months. Fee may be €40-€80 per session and some counsellors offer a sliding scale depending on your ability to pay. Counselling is provided free within the Health Boards but resources vary depending on where you live.

Some voluntary organisations provide free counselling.


1. Can you have the same Supervisor after training while building up your hours?
No. you must change your supervisor.

2. Supervision Ratio
While training – 1 in 8 hours
After training – 1 in 10 hours
Post Training – 1 in 20 hours

3. Group Surpervision
While training – 1 to 1
Post training – half and half
Not more than approx 4 people in group

4. How often do you need to have supervision i.e. monthly?
Depends on case load.

5. What Courses are recognised by our Organisation?
Ask us for a list of courses accredited by NAPCP.

6. Where can I find a Supervisior/Counsellor on the website.
Go to our directory here.

7. Can you recommend a counsellor?
I let them know that we do not recommend any particular counsellor and direct them to the Find a Counsellor on the web-page.

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