Client Booklet


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.

Crisis Services

As we are not a crisis service, please contact these services if you require urgent assistance:

In a life-threatening emergency call 999


Under 25’s FTB Crisis Team 0300 300 0099

Over 25’s Adult Crisis Team 0121 301 6000

Birmingham City Council Children’s Services 0121 303 1888

Samaritans – 116 123 (Free Number) / 08457 90 90 90 / 0121 6666644

PAPYRUS (Suicide Prevention – Under 35s) – 0800 068 41 41

Other Useful Numbers

• Beat (Eating Disorders) – 0845 634 1414 or Youth line 0845 634 7650

• Childline – 0800 11 11

• Cruse (Bereavement Care) – 0844 477 9400

• Mankind (For male victims of Domestic Violence) – 01823 334244

• National Domestic Violence Helpline – 0808 2000 247

• No Panic (Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and

Tranquilliser Withdrawal) – 0844 967 4848 Youth Helpline 01753 840393

• NSPCC – 0808 800 5000

• Rape & Sexual Violence Project (RSVP) Birmingham – – 0121 6430301

• Relate – 0300 100 1234

• Shelter – 0808 800 4444 / 0344 515 1800

• West Midlands Victim Support – 0300 303 1977

• Silver Line – (Help Line for people over 55years old) – 08004 70 80 90

• SANE – 0300 304 7000 – (Between 6pm and 11pm)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Counselling?

o 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.

o Counselling gives us a private space to talk through what is difficult with someone who is not involved.

o 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.

2. 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 doesn’t

focus a great deal on your problems but more finding strategies to help you cope.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a well-known Counselling Approach. It explores how your thoughts affect your feelings and influences

your behaviour. CBT helps you to notice problematic thinking styles or behaviour patterns so that you can feel

better. CBT uses a various strategy to help you make those changes in the here and now.

Integrative Approach

This approach to counselling uses lots of different approaches to help you explore your difficulties and find

ways forward. Often this approach will allow the counselling to be tailored to the client and what they need.

Person Centred Approach

Person Centred Counselling offers a space for clients to explore their difficulties and discover their own

solutions. This kind of counselling is very much let 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 your current difficulties can be resolved.

Gestalt Approach

The Gestalt approach focuses on how your issues impact on you in the present. It invites you to explore

your experiences/issues and experiment with understanding and experiencing them in a different way.

3. What happens at the Assessment session?

o At the Assessment you will have a chance to discuss what has brought you to us, find out a bit

more about us and for us to decide whether we are the right service for you or whether you may

benefit from other services.

o If you are happy to take up counselling, we will arrange another appointment for you, this will be

with someone who will be suited to your problem.

4. Are your Counsellors Qualified?

o Our counsellors are Qualified, DBS checked and a member of a professional body.

5. What Ethical Framework do you follow?

o We are an organisational member of the BACP and abides by its’ Ethical Framework for Good

Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Professional Conduct Procedure.

o A copy of BACP’s ethical standards can be found on their website at

6. How often will I see a counsellor?

o Counselling sessions usually take place at the same time every week or fortnightly.

7. What if I don’t get on with my counsellor?

o You will have the same counsellor throughout your counselling. If you feel uncomfortable with your

counsellor, we can allocate you to another one. This may mean a short wait although we will

endeavour to make the change as quickly as possible

8. How long is a counselling session?

o A counselling session is up to 50 minutes long. With CBT and Solution Focused approaches there may be

multiple shorter sessions combined with work to do outside the sessions.

9. What if I need to cancel an appointment?

o If you need to cancel a counselling appointment, please give 24 hours’ notice. 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

10. What if I do not attend (DNA) a session without letting my counsellor know?

o 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 1 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.

11. What if I am late for an appointment?

o 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.

12. When are appointments available?

We are open for appointments: 10 am – 8 pm 7 days a week, although your counsellor may work certain hours only. Let us know if you can only attend at certain times and we will do our best to match you with a counsellor that best suits your needs.

13. How many sessions can I have counselling?

o 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.

14. Do I have to come to counselling?

o Counselling is entirely voluntary. If you do not want counselling, you do not have to have it even if someone else may be pressuring you.

15. Will I feel better straight away?

o Counselling is different for different people. Sometimes people find that counselling helps

them to feel better and achieve their goals very quickly.

o The outcome of counselling may not always be what you expect, but hopefully it will be


o Sometimes the first sessions can be quite difficult, but we encourage you to persevere to

complete the whole course of sessions.

o Counselling is a collaborative process where you and your counsellor work together; it is

not something that can be done to you.

o Equally if you feel that counselling is not working, talk to your counsellor about this,

counselling may not be for you.

16. What if I need to complain?

Should you wish to make a complaint or comment about our work together please speak to your counsellor or alternatively contact the Operations Manager on 0121 314 7075 or at the address or email below.

17. Is there a charge for counselling/therapy?

Counselling for those living in the Birmingham area and registered with a GP practice based in

Birmingham can normally access short term ‘IAPT’ therapy thanks to our Partnership with Living

Well Consortium, Forward Thinking Birmingham and the NHS

18. What Information is collected & why do we need to collect information?

We will keep your

o name / address / phone number

o information about your physical and mental health in the past and now

o your family circumstances

All counsellors keep notes of counselling sessions. Counselling notes may record:

o background information

o 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:

o we can provide you with the best possible services.

o our service can be well run, and we can follow all the rules that we need to.

o we can offer you a safe and professional service.


Your 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 will keep Client Records for 5 years. After this time the information will be securely


We keep all of your information safely, 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.

You and your records

If you want to see the records, we have about you. You can speak to your counsellor

further about this.

You can also 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.


Letters / Reports

Sometimes clients request 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


Who can we share your information with?

All information that 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.

o When we have concerns about the safety of someone under the age of 18.

o 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.

o Sometimes the law tells us that we have to share information about you: If you tell us

anything about:

o an act of terrorism / drug trafficking or money laundering

o If a court tells us we have to give them information relevant to an enquiry about

a serious crime.

o If a court tells us that we have to share your notes, or a counsellor has to talk to


o Every counsellor has supervision, to give them support, and may talk about some

of what you tell them with their supervisor.


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 more

information, please let your counsellor know.

We value Your feedback.

We welcome your suggestions about how we could improve our service. You can talk to

your counsellor, any staff member or speak/write to us


Your Rights, When you Use our Service

1. As a Client of CITIZEN COACHING & COUNSELLING BIRMINGHAM, you have a right to be treated with respect and dignity.

2. You have a right to receive information in plain language about the services we provide.

3. 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.

4. Your Information will be treated confidentially. The confidentiality policy will be

explained to you at your initial session.

5. You have a 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.

6. 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.

7. You have a right to receive this information ‘leaflet’.

8. You have a right to complain and to receive a reply.


Complaints Procedure

1. Discuss the matter with your counsellor first as soon as you can, if you feel able

2. Write to, or telephone our Operations Manager if you feel unable to speak to your counsellor or are unsatisfied by their response.

3. In responding to your complaint, the Operations Manager will explain the Complaints Procedure in detail, and also inform you where else you can take the matter if you are still dissatisfied.

We will act upon and try to resolve any problems as quickly as possible. We will reply in the first instance either by telephone or in writing within 3 working days of receiving a complaint.