Welcome to our Client Booklet
Thank you for working with a Citizen Coaching & Counselling counsellor. We have put together this resources page to explain the main policies your counsellor referenced in your first session. We also have this in a printed booklet, let us know if you would like a copy sent to you. Your counsellor can also email this to you if you prefer.
WHO TO CALL IN A CRISIS
As we are not a crisis service, please contact these services if you require urgent assistance:
In a life-threatening emergency call 999
Under 25s: FTB (Forward Thinking Birmingham) Crisis Team
0300 300 0099
Over 25s: Adult Crisis Team 0121 262 3555 or 0800 915 9292
Birmingham City Council Children’s Services 0121 303 1888
Samaritans (free number) 116 123 / 08457 90 90 90 / 0121 6666644
PAPYRUS (suicide prevention for under 35s) 0800 068 41 41
Client Booklet-information, policies
USEFUL INFORMATION AND HELPLINES
GamCare for Gambling Support gamcare.org.uk 0808 8020 133
ADHD support and advice addiss.co.uk 020 8952 2800
Anxiety and panic
No Panic (panic attacks, phobias, OCD, general anxiety disorder and tranquilliser withdrawal) nopanic.org.uk 0844 967 4848
No Panic Youthline 01753 840393
Bereavement Cruse cruse.org.uk helpline 0844 477 9400
Birmingham Settlement birminghamsettlement.org.uk 0121 250 0765
Birmingham Citizens Advice Bureaux bcabs.org.uk 0121 214 8367
Domestic abuse, sexual abuse and violence
National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247
RSVP Rape & Sexual Violence Project rsvporg.co.uk 0121 643 0301
Mankind (for men experiencing domestic abuse) 01823 334244
Safeline National Male Survivor Helpline safeline.org.uk 0808 800 5005
Beat www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk 0808 801 0677
Under 18s Beat Youthline 0808 801 0711
Employment ACAS: employment disputes and advice acas.org.uk 0300 123 1100
Homelessness and housing advice
Sifa Fireside sifafireside.co.uk
Shelter https://england.shelter.org.uk 0808 800 4444 / 0344 515 1800
Under 25s St. Basil’s stbasils.org.uk/get-help/
Mental health charities
Mind birminghammind.org 0121 262 3555
SANE sane.org.uk 07984 967 708
Age Concern Birmingham ageconcernbirmingham.org.uk
The Silver Line: over 55s helpline thesilverline.org.uk 08004 70 80 90
Honour-based abuse and forced marriage karmanirvana.org.uk
Victim Support West Midlands victimsupport.org.uk 0300 303 1977
Client Booklet-information, policies
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is counselling?
Sometimes things in life can be scary, get us down, make us distressed, anxious, or confused. Sometimes family or friends can give us the support we need – sometimes not.
Counselling gives us a private space to talk through what is difficult with someone who is not involved. A counsellor will not tell you what to do or judge you, but always try to understand things from your point of view and support you to find your own answers.
What kinds of counselling do you offer?
- Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
This kind of counselling works quickly to help you find solutions to your problems. It helps you to discover what strengths you already have and how you can use these to make changes. It is an approach that focuses on finding strategies to help you cope, rather than on your problems.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a well-known counselling approach. It explores how your thoughts affect your feelings and influence your behaviour. CBT helps you to notice and change problematic thinking styles or behaviour patterns, so that you can feel better. CBT uses various strategies to help you make those changes in the here and now.
- Integrative approach
This approach to counselling draws on different approaches to help you explore your difficulties and find ways forward. This approach allows the counselling to be tailored to the client and what they need.
- Person-centred counselling
A person centred approach offers space for clients to explore their difficulties and discover their own solutions. This kind of counselling is very much led by the client and is non-directive.
- Psychodynamic approach
This approach to counselling will explore your difficulties and how they might relate to and be triggered by experiences from your past. Through this understanding, you can work towards resolving your current difficulties.
- Gestalt approach
The Gestalt approach focuses on how your issues impact on you in the present. It invites you to explore your experiences and issues, and experiment with understanding and experiencing them in a different way.
What happens at the assessment session?
At the assessment session, you will have a chance to discuss what has brought you to us and find out a bit more about us. Then we can decide whether we are the right service for you, or whether you may benefit from other services.
If you are happy to take up counselling, we will arrange another appointment for you. This will be with someone who uses an approach suited to your problem.
Are your counsellors qualified?
Our counsellors are qualified, DBS checked, and are members of a professional body. Some counsellors are on placement whilst completing their degree or master’s studies- they will let you know this if this is the case.
What ethical framework do you follow?
We are an organisational member of BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), and we abide by its Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions to ensure good practice.
You can find BACP’s Ethical Framework at www.bacp.co.uk
How often will I see a counsellor?
Counselling sessions usually take place at the same time every week or fortnight.
What if I don’t get on with my counsellor?
You will have the same counsellor throughout your counselling. If you feel uncomfortable with your counsellor, we can allocate you another one. This may mean a short wait, although we will endeavour to make the change as quickly as possible.
How long is a counselling session?
Counselling sessions usually last up to 50 minutes. With CBT and Solution-Focused approaches, there may be multiple shorter sessions, combined with work to do outside the sessions.
What if I need to cancel an appointment?
If you need to cancel a counselling appointment, please give 24 hours’ notice. Please contact the counsellor directly on the number they have given you. If your counsellor needs to cancel an appointment with you, they will also ensure that they give you 24 hours’ notice.
First Cancellation: we will offer you another appointment.
Second Cancellation: At the discretion of the counsellor, we may offer you a further appointment.
Holidays: Your counsellor will give you two weeks’ notice of any holidays they intend to take. We would be grateful if you could give your counsellor two weeks’ notice of any holidays you intend to take.
What if I do not attend (DNA) a session without letting my counsellor know?
We do not pressure any individual into coming for counselling.
First DNA: we will offer you an immediate second appointment.
Second DNA: we will contact you asking you to contact us within a week if you would like to re-engage with your counselling. If you do not contact us, we will discharge you from the service. You can always use our service when you feel more ready.
What if I am late for an appointment?
If you are late for an appointment, it will be at the counsellor’s discretion if they will see you, as the counsellor may have another client booked in following your appointment.
When are appointments available?
We are open for appointments 10 am – 8 pm, seven days a week, although your counsellor may work certain hours only. Let us know if you can only attend at certain times. We will do our best to match you with a counsellor that suits your needs.
How many counselling sessions can I have?
The number of counselling sessions you have will be something you discuss with your counsellor. Most people have between 3 and 6 sessions. Some have more.
Do I have to come to counselling?
Counselling is entirely voluntary. If you do not want counselling, you do not have to, even if someone else is pressuring you.
Will I feel better straight away?
Counselling is different for everyone. Sometimes people find that counselling helps them to feel better and achieve their goals very quickly. The outcome of counselling may not always be what you expect, but hopefully it will be positive and helpful.
Sometimes the first sessions can be quite difficult, but we encourage you to persevere to complete the whole course of sessions. Counselling is a collaborative process where you and your counsellor work together. It is not something that can be done to you.
Equally, if you feel that counselling is not working, talk to your counsellor about this. Counselling may not be for you, or not right now.
What if I want to complain?
Should you wish to make a complaint or comment about our work together, please speak to your counsellor. Alternatively you can contact the Operations Manager on 0121 314 7075, email email@example.com or write to Citizen Coaching & Counselling, 205 Zellig, Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AT.
Is there a charge for counselling/therapy?
People living in the Birmingham area and registered with a GP practice in Birmingham can normally access short term ‘IAPT’ therapy without charge, thanks to our partnership with Living Well Consortium, Forward Thinking Birmingham and the NHS.
Client Booklet-information, policies : INFORMATION AND RECORD-KEEPING
What information do you collect, and why?
We will keep your name, address, and phone number, as well as information about your physical and mental health in the past and now, and your family circumstances.
All counsellors keep notes of counselling sessions. Counselling notes may record background information and key issues worked on in the session.
It is in your interest and our interest to collect this information. We collect this information so that we can provide you with the best possible, safe, and professional service. It also helps us to make sure that our service is well run, and that we follow all the rules that we need to.
How do you keep my information?
We keep your information on paper and on the computer in the United Kingdom. Our computer system has passwords, and any paper records will be kept in a secure locked filing cabinet / cupboard / room. We keep client records for five years. After this time the information is securely destroyed.
We keep all your information securely. Only people with special permission can look at your records. Sometimes the people who pay for your counselling ask to see your records. If you do not wish this to happen, please speak to your counsellor.
Can I see my records?
If you want to see our records about you, you can speak to your counsellor about this. You can ask for your records to be updated or corrected at any time. You can also ask for your records to be erased.
If you don’t want us to keep your information, please speak to your counsellor.
If you wish to complain about the way in which we deal with your information, please speak to us.
What about letters and reports?
Sometimes clients ask us to provide letters or reports to support them (e.g., for housing, benefits, or legal matters). We will provide a letter if you ask us to, and you have signed to say that we can. Your counsellor can explain more about this if it is needed. The letter will be limited to confirming your engagement with the service.
Client Booklet-information, policies: Who can you share my information with?
All information you give us will be treated as confidential. We won’t talk to anyone else, unless you sign something to say that we can talk to them.
It is important that you know that sometimes we may have to talk to other people about what you tell us, without you giving us permission:
- When we have concerns about the safety of someone under the age of 18.
- If you tell us something about you or someone else being in danger or committing a crime. We will try to talk to you before we talk to someone else, but this might not always be possible.
Sometimes the law tells us that we must share information about you:
- if you tell us about an act of terrorism, drug trafficking or money laundering
- if a court tells us we must give them information relevant to an enquiry about a serious crime
- If a court tells us that we must share your notes, or a counsellor must talk to them.
Every counsellor has supervision, to give them support. They may talk about some of what you tell them with their supervisor.
FTB (Forward Thinking Birmingham) or IAPT clients:
We share your information with The Living Well Consortium, Forward Thinking Birmingham and often your GP, so that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information. If you need to know more about this, please ask your counsellor.
We value your feedback and welcome your suggestions about how we could improve our service. You can talk to your counsellor, any staff member or speak/write to us.
Client Booklet-information, policies: RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- As a client of Citizen Coaching & Counselling Birmingham, you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity.
- You have a right to receive information in plain language about the services we provide.
- Both you and our team have a right to be safe on the premises. Anyone who behaves in violent, threatening, harassing, or intimidating ways towards to clients or staff will be asked to leave the premises and may have the service withdrawn from them.
- Your Information will be treated confidentially. The confidentiality policy will be explained to you at your initial session.
- You have the right to see the file relating to you that has been written by our team. Ask your counsellor or any team member to explain the procedure.
- You have a right to know about the availability of counsellors with a particular understanding of a range of different needs, and you have a right to ask to change your counsellor if things are not working out.
- You have a right to receive this information leaflet.
- You have a right to complain and to receive a reply.
Client Booklet-information, policies: Complaints and compliments
- Discuss the matter with your counsellor first as soon as you can, if you feel able.
- Write to, or telephone our Operations Manager if you feel unable to speak to your counsellor, or if you are not satisfied with your counsellor’s response.
- In responding to your complaint, the Operations Manager will explain the Complaints Procedure in detail, and inform you where else you can get further advice if you are still dissatisfied.
- We will try to resolve any problems as quickly as possible. We will reply in the first instance either by telephone or in writing within three working days of receiving a complaint.