Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Counselling?

Counselling is time set aside by you and your therapist to talk about the issues that have made you seek therapy.

Your therapist may offer information, but they won’t give their opinions or advice or try to persuade you to a particular point of view. It’s not just a friendly chat like you’d have with friends or family.

Counselling might include talking about past and present life events, your feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. Your therapist will help you look at your concerns and identify the best course of action for you, which might be helping you to resolve your difficulties or to find ways of coping.

Therapists can:

  • offer a safe and confidential space to help you explore emotional problems
  • help you make sense of your world
  • help you explore feelings and thoughts to resolve emotional distress
  • help you towards a better understanding of yourself and others, which may improve your ability to relate to others

Therapists will not:

  • tell you what to do
  • prescribe drugs – only an appropriate medical practitioner can do this
  • offer help with practical problems, such as financial or housing issues
  • provide specific information about health-related problems
  • Be available outside pre-planned sessions
  • talk in detail about themselves and their own problems

For more information, check out our dedicated “What is Counselling?” Page.

How long does a counselling session last?

Each counselling session will last up to 50 minutes.

How can I be sure that Relate NI is the right place for me to attend?

When you begin your counselling, your counsellor will bring you through an initial consultation process. This is used to understand how Relate NI can help you but also allows the counsellor to understand if Relate NI can provide a suitable service for you.

In the instance where somewhere more suitable is identified, your counsellor will discuss this with you and provide information for other organisations.

If you want to talk about relationships, past, present or future, Relate NI is here to help.

What types of services do Relate NI offer?

Relate NI currently offer the following counselling services:

  • Adult Relationship Counselling for Couples
  • Adult Relationship Counselling fro Individuals
  • Family Counselling
  • Relate Teen (Aged between 12-18)
  • Child Therapy (Aged between 4-11)
  • Safety in Relationships
  • Sex Therapy
  • Seperation Counselling
  • Adoption & Fostering Counselling Support
  • Relationship & Sexuality Education (RSE)

Do I have to pay for Relate NI counselling?

If you wish to refer yourself to Relate NI directly, there will be a charge of £55 per session.

We do have fully funded sessions available, which are dependent on personal circumstance. If you wish to know more about the funded options, please visit the Fees & Funding Options page or contact us on 028 90 323 454 and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

How do I make an appointment?

To make an appointment, you can either make an online enquiry using the short form at the bottom of this page, or we ask that you contact the office on 028 90 323 454.

Alternatively, you can email office@relateni.org.

Where is my nearest office?

We currently have locations in:

Belfast
Derry
Coleraine
Portadown
Dungannon
Omagh
Ballymena

Find out more about each individual location, including services offers, opening times and contact details here.

What are your opening times?

Counselling is offered between the following times, depending on which Relate centre or counselling service you will be attending;

Monday to Thursday 9am – 9pm
Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 9am – 1pm

Phone lines are also open between these times to handle any queries you may have.

Do you offer remote counselling?

We currently offer the options of telephone and webcam counselling.

However, it may be deemed more beneficial/safer for you to attend your sessions in person. This will be discussed with you by your counsellor or by our appointments team.

Is Relate NI counselling confidential?

Relate NI counselling is confidential and is carried out within strict professional boundaries. We keep brief, factual records securely stored for a limited period and then destroyed. Our management information systems comply with Data Protection Regulations and all records on the system are anonymised.

While confidentially is guaranteed there are certain exceptional circumstances in which a counsellor may be under a legal or ethical duty to disclose information. These exceptional circumstances are in place to ensure your safety, the safety of others and to comply with legislation.

Should any of these circumstances arise, your counsellor will endeavour to discuss fully with you what may need to be done but this may not always be possible. The circumstances will include:

  • When a counsellor has good grounds for believing that a person may cause serious harm to themselves or to others.
  • When Relate NI is instructed by a Court to disclose information.
  • When a person disclosed criminal activity or knowledge of criminal activity, this includes other statutory obligations.
  • When it is necessary to uphold Child Protection Laws

I am in crisis; can I contact Relate NI for help?

Relate NI are not a crisis response service. If you are in crisis there are a number of organisations that can provide immediate assistance:

Lifeline – 0808 808 8000

Samaritans – 116 123

The Domestic and Sexual Abuse Helpline – 0808 802 1414

Childline – 0800 1111

I am Social worker or other healthcare professional. Can I request an update / report on my clients?

Relate NI counselling is confidential and is carried out within strict professional boundaries. We keep brief, factual records securely stored for a limited period and then destroyed. Our management information systems comply with Data Protection Regulations and all records on the system are anonymised.

While confidentially is protected there are certain exceptional circumstances in which a counsellor may be under a legal or ethical duty to disclose information. These exceptional circumstances are in place to ensure client safety, the safety of others and to comply with legislation. Relate NI are aware of these responsibilities and will disclose information in these circumstances to the relevant bodies.

Usually, we do not release updates or complete reports on client sessions.

Do I need to bring anything to my counselling session?

The first session will focus on why you or a family member want to attend counselling. Have some thoughts about what you would like to get out of the time. Your counsellor will let you know if you require anything for further sessions.

    Reach out to Relate NI





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