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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is counselling?
    Counselling involves individuals, couples or family groups meeting regularly with a counsellor to talk through an issue or work through a problem. The counsellor is trained to help people understand themselves better, relate better to others and make decisions about what to do going forward. Your counsellor will provide a confidential space in which you can talk openly and honestly. During Sex Therapy the therapist will carefully assess with you what the sexual difficulties are and how they can help. This usually means he or she will design a sequence of tasks and exercises that you complete together (if you’re attending with a partner) or individually at home. The therapist will discuss your progress at each session and work at your pace to build on new learning and experience. Sex therapy is a talking therapy and you will not be asked to undress or do anything sexual at the sessions. Counselling and Sex therapy always work at your pace, not to a specific timetable.
  • What will happen when I come for counselling?
    At your first consultation a counsellor will talk with you for up to 50 minutes, and if you come with a partner or other family member, the counsellor may spend longer with one person than another; sometimes seeing clients individually as well as together. You and your counsellor will discuss how Relate might be able to help and, if appropriate, your counsellor will recommend a Relate counselling service, Relate Sex therapy or another Relate service. If your counsellor doesn’t think we are the appropriate organisation to help, they may suggest you contact another. When you first arrive you will be asked to fill out some forms in order to help the counsellor understand more about your situation. These forms are confidential and will not be shown to your partner. If you are unsure about how Relate will use any of the information held about you, please ask your counsellor or a member of staff.
  • Do Relate counsellors have special training?
    Relate counsellors have all received special training in Relationship counselling. It takes two to three years to become a fully-qualified Relate counsellor. They undergo further training to specialise in areas such as family counselling, children and young people counselling and sex therapy. Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a “counsellor-in-training”. Counsellors-in-training receive thorough academic and practical training and are carefully assessed throughout this process and also after they qualify. All counsellors continue with on-going training and consultation with other professionals to make sure they give you the highest standard of counselling.
  • Does Relate have to comply with any recognised standards?
    Relate works to the relevant ethical framework of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the College of Relationship and Sex Therapists (COSRT) and the Association for Family Therapy (AFT). The Department of Health’s publication, “Talking Therapies” also recommends Relate as a reputable provider of counselling.
  • Does Relate work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients?"
    Yes, we offer counselling support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients. Our professionally trained counsellors will support you in a respectful, non-judgemental way. Family Counselling service may be for any number of family members including: parents, children, step parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, even close family friends etc..
  • Should I do anything before my first session?
    You might find it useful to think about how you want counselling to help. For example, are you looking to feel better about something in the past or do you want to make a change to your life now?
  • What if I have a complaint?
    We welcome feedback and want to hear your views on our services. If you wish to make a complaint, please ask for a copy of our complaint procedure by emailing
  • Is it confidential?
    Relate's service is completely confidential. We will not give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation unless we have reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at risk of serious harm. We will give you more information about confidentiality when you come for your first session.
  • Is there a charge for Relate services?
    Relate offers affordable relationship support to people across the Pennine region Unless we have funding from other sources, you will be expected to pay an hourly charge. We are a registered charity and do not aim to make a profit from our services.
  • Making payments
    You can pay via BACS by using the following details: Account Name: Relate Sort Code: 08-92-50 Account No.: 65035971 Unfortunately, we do not currently offer online payments via this website. Please contact for more information or ring our office on 01535 605047
  • How often will I have appointments?
    Appointments are for 50 minutes and are usually once a week but this can be flexible according to your particular circumstances. Counselling will continue for as long as you and the counsellor feel it is helpful. The number of sessions depends on you and your progress. Most people find up to six sessions is about right for counselling, but Sex therapy can be a longer process.
  • What if violence or abuse is an issue?
    Violence and abuse is an issue for some people who come to us for help with their relationship. We know that in this situation working with both partners together may not be safe. If this is the case then we would suggest each partner receives individual specialist support either from Relate or another agency.
  • Does Relate keep records of our sessions?
    Relate keeps confidential records and statistics about our clients. Records are kept for a limited period and are then destroyed. Relate complies with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 2018. We will give you more information about this when you come for your first session.
  • What if I have to cancel my appointment?
    If you are unable to keep an appointment, please telephone our office on 01535 605047 as soon as possible and we may be able to offer an alternative appointment.

All sorts of people use Relate's wide range of services to understand what's going on in their relationship and change things for the better. If you have any other questions at all, please contact a member of our support staff.

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