Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing to begin a course of counselling is always a hard decision. We hope to answer many of the questions you may have on this page.

Q) How do I know if Relate counselling is right for me?
A) Relate is concerned with all aspects of Relationship counselling. If you have a problem which is directly connected to your current relationship, a past relationship or to forming new relationships then Relate can help you to work through the issues surrounding it.

Q) In what ways can Relate Counselling help me?
A) Relate can help in a number of ways. It can help to restore the communication between you and your partner, it can help you to address issues from previous relationships which are affecting your current situation and it can help you develop increased confidence to deal with future problems as they arise.

Q) Who can apply for Relate counselling?
A) We work with all people, regardless of their marital status, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or financial circumstances. The minimum age to apply for Relate counselling is 16.

Q) How do I make an appointment?
A) To make an appointment, please call 0300 003 3225.
Our appointments secretaries are friendly, helpful and will always treat your call with sensitivity and in the strictest confidence.

Q) What will happen when I call for an appointment?
A) Firstly, you will be told our procedure and asked for some details. We will ask your name, your partner’s name (if you are attending together), your address and whatever daytime contact numbers you can give us. The more numbers you can provide, the easier it will be to contact you when an appointment comes up that would suit you. Please be sure to tell us your preferred method of contact and if it is acceptable to leave a message.
We will also ask your availability for your initial appointment. Sometimes there will already be an appointment available to offer you. If not, we will contact you as soon as we have an appointment that suits your availability, which will usually be within one to two weeks. The more flexible your availability is, the quicker we can find you an appointment.

Q) How much will it cost?
A) We receive no statutory funding so we have to meet our costs through client payments. Please contact us for further details. We ask for your payment to be made in advance to secure your appointment, this can be done by debit or credit card over the phone when you are offered your appointment or in cash in advance of your appointment.

Q) I’m receiving benefits and/or unemployed – what if I can’t afford to make the suggested contribution?
A) At our Bromley Centre, we have two bursary funds which can help you (please see Counselling fees). Through our general bursary we are able to offer clients up to 6 sessions at a subsidised cost. If you are eligible for our Lloyds TSB Bursary, which is for clients with past experience of domestic abuse, more sessions may be available.

Q) What happens at my first session?
A) Your counsellor will listen to the issues and concerns that you are facing in your relationship and the rest of your lives. He or she will help you to consider whether ongoing counselling is right for you. Your counsellor will be impartial and will help you consider the best way forward.

Q) What happens next?
A) If you decide to attend ongoing counselling, fill in and return the availability form that your counsellor will give you at your initial appointment. When we have a list of the days and times that best suit you we will add you to our ongoing waiting list and offer you the first slot that becomes available at a time and day that suits you. You will then attend counselling at the same time, on the same day and with the same counsellor each week, so please make sure when you accept a slot that you will be able to commit to it for as long as necessary. You will not necessarily see the same counsellor for ongoing counselling that you saw for your initial appointment.

Q) How long will ongoing counselling last?
A) As each person’s situation is vastly different from the next, we cannot give an average number of sessions. Your slot is yours for as long as you need it. Some people find that one or two sessions will help them work through their problems and help them to move forward, while others may find they need to attend for several months. We do not put a limit on the number of sessions you may attend so you can be assured you can attend Relate counselling for as long as you feel necessary.

Q) What happens if my relationship is generally good but there is a specific sexual problem?
A) You may be suitable for Sex Therapy. Our sex therapy service has proven helpful to couples with vastly differing sexual problems within their relationship. Sometimes a counsellor will recommend sex therapy after a couple has been in ongoing counselling where other issues have been helped but there is a sexual difficulty that the couple would also like to address. Sometimes a couple will also attend couple counselling after a course of sex therapy.

Q) Can Relate help if my problems are connected with other family members rather than just between my partner and myself?
A) Yes, we also offer Family Counselling to assist family members who are experiencing some difficulties in their relationships with one another.

Q) How do I know if Family Counselling is right for me?
A) We use a carefully planned assessment to identify whether Relate is the most appropriate agency to provide this help for you or whether another source of help would be more appropriate.

Q) Who could be involved in Family Counselling?
A) Family Counselling is open to couples or individuals who wish to attend with other family members to seek help with their family difficulties. ‘Family member’ could be parents, children, siblings and extended family members, including those from different generations and blended families.

Q) What can we expect to gain from a course of Family Counselling?
A) You may gain an increased understanding to make choices about how you manage your relationships within the family setting, develop more effective ways of managing areas of difficulty within the family and develop better communication both within a couple relationship and across generations. We can also offer information on other courses of help which may further improve your situation.

Q) I have a question that’s not been answered here. How can I find an answer?
A) You can ask us anything else you would like to know by calling us on 0300 003 3225. We will be glad to help you in any way we can.