sarah hart counselling

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you help me with the legal aspects of separation, divorce?
I am a counsellor, not a legal professional so I cannot give your legal advice. Often my clients are often going through the process of divorce or Children Act proceedings and my role is to support them emotionally during what can be a nerve wracking, stressful and painful process.

Do you offer advice?
Sometimes people ask me for advice. I understand that when you feel desperate - perhaps because access is denied or you have lost residency or you are suffering from Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) or Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) as the target parent - you might want someone to tell you what to do to make a very painful situation better. However, it is important to know that counselling is not about giving you the answer, giving advice or taking the problem away. It is best to view counselling as a way of putting things into perspective and opening you up to options and resources that you may not have previously considered. My role is to support you by helping you to develop the skills to help yourself so that by the time we finish working together, you have the inner strength and ability to deal with personal issues without continuing professional help.

What is the difference between counselling and mediation? Do you offer mediation?
Counselling differs from mediation in that it focuses on the client’s needs and not on impartially resolving disputes between two or more people in conflict. Counselling may focus on conflicts and disputes within a relationship past and present, with the aim of helping the client deal with conflict within the relationship but, unlike mediation, it does not aim to reach agreements between couples in conflict. In your counselling sessions we may address how you feel and respond to conflict with your ex-partner, but our work together will not include direct intervention in the conflict itself.

Why telephone counselling sessions?
Telephone counselling is a good option for me to be able to work with you wherever you live. Telephone counselling is not the same as calling someone working on an advice line. The work we do together will be just as empowering and effective as if we were working together face to face. Most people find that by after the first session, they are completely comfortable having therapy without their therapist being in the same room. Some people say they feel more able to share their thoughts and feelings without being seen by their counsellor. Telephone counselling has other advantages too. Provided that you ensure that you have private, uninterrupted space, you can relax in your own home, avoid the travel costs and time getting to and from sessions and be at home immediately after we say goodbye when your session ends. See my telephone counselling page

Is what I say confidential?
Yes. What is discussed between us will remain confidential and not spoken about outside the counselling setting. However, there are limits to this confidentiality. As a Member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy I adhere to their Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. It is essential that all counsellors receive supervision. During this time I may discuss the content of our sessions, although I will not mention your name or any other factor that could leave you identifiable. Should I feel you are at risk of harming yourself, being harmed, or harming someone else I may wish to discuss this with an outside party for example my Supervisor or your GP. Unless there are legal reasons involved (e.g. acts of terrorism), I would hope to be able to discuss this with you beforehand.

How long will ongoing counselling take?
While most people feel better after their first ongoing counselling session, they do not usually walk away with all the answers. The first session is designed for us to get to know one another a little, talk about what you would like to focus on during counselling and find out whether we feel we can work together. It is important to remember that depending on the nature and seriousness of the problem, it may take some time, effort and patience to resolve it.

What happens at the first appointment?
During your first appointment you will have the opportunity to discuss your current situation and what has prompted you to seek counselling. I will ask you some questions too, to help me understand what is troubling you and to determine whether counselling with me is appropriate for you at this time. The first session is primarily for us to explore whether we can work together to help you reach the outcome you are aiming for.

How long does a session last?
Each session will last for one hour. Exceptions to this are Single Session Counselling which is 90 minutes long.

Is there a cancellation policy?
I usually require 48 hours notice of any cancellations otherwise the full fee will be required. Where possible I will endeavour to re-arrange your appointment so that you can be seen within the same week.

How do I make a payment?
Payment can be made by electronic transfer if you have internet banking or by PayPal via my website, in advance of each session.

Do you always charge for therapy?
Yes, working as a counsellor is how I earn my living. I do however offer a limited number of concessionary counselling places.

How to book a session?
Find out more about how to book and pay for a session

Still not sure or feeling confused?
Why not email me so we can discuss your needs and I can answer your questions directly?

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