Counselling is where you talk to a trained counsellor who will listen to you and help you find ways of dealing with how you’re feeling.

They won’t judge you, and it’s usually confidential, so you can be completely honest about what you’re going through.

What is counselling used for?

Counselling can help with a whole range of things.

You might see a counsellor after something happens. For example, if someone close to you has died, you might see a grief counsellor.

You might also have counselling to help with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.

What’s the difference between counselling and therapy?

People often use the terms “counselling” and “therapy” to mean the same thing.

Counselling is a type of talking therapy. Other talking therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT).

A counsellor might use a mixture of different types of talking therapy to help you, depending on what you’re struggling with and what they think you’ll find most useful.

What it’s like to have counselling

When you first start counselling, you’ll usually have an initial chat with your counsellor, either in person or on the phone. They’ll ask you some questions to understand more about what’s going on with you, and to agree on some goals for your counselling.

After your initial chat, you’ll normally meet with your counsellor once a week. Your meetings might be face to face - either in school, at a private office, or somewhere you can speak privately, like a local doctor’s surgery.

If it’s difficult for you to meet in person, some counsellors offer the option for you to have counselling over the phone, on a video call, or online using webchat.

Your counsellor will help you to talk about your feelings while they listen, without judging or criticising you. They’ll normally ask you some questions to help you explore what you’re dealing with.

Your counsellor will usually help you to find solutions to your problems, rather than giving you advice or telling you what to do.

The things you tell your counsellor are confidential, meaning they won’t tell anyone what you’ve said, unless they think you or someone else is at serious risk of harm.

How to get counselling

Free counselling

The good news is that there are lots of ways to get counselling for free.

These organisations offer free counselling for young people in Gloucestershire:

TiC+ offers face to face, online or telephone counselling

Young Gloucestershire offers counselling and practical support

The Mix offers short term counselling on webchat or over the phone

Some schools also have a counsellor on hand to help pupils who need support. Talk to your head of year, a teacher or your school receptionist to find out if your school has a counsellor.

Paying for counselling

You can also pay to have counselling with a private counsellor. Private sessions usually cost around £30-50 each, with sessions lasting 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Some therapists offer lower cost options for people on lower incomes. Some therapists might ask you to make a donation based on what you can afford, or give you a discount on sessions.

If you decide to look for a private counsellor, check their website to find out if they’re trained to work with young people.