Frequently asked questions about counselling and Centre 33

“I realised, it's just talking about stuff that I had not really talked about before … I could sort of be open about myself and say this is who I am”

What is counselling?

Counselling offers you a space to be really listened to without the normal fears of being judged or being talked about behind your back. Your counsellor won’t interrupt you because they have something to say. Once a week you get 50 minutes that is just for you.

Your counsellor is not there to give you advice - you know what is best for you. The counsellors will help you work it out.

"It's a release, it takes a lot of burden away from you, so your mind is free”

What is mental health?

There is a good definition of what mental health is here:

How can talking to someone help?

Talking to someone, and being properly listened to, can help in many ways.  For example, putting things into words can clarify your thoughts and feelings, sharing what you are going through can help to make it feel more manageable, and just being listened to can seem like a new experience for some people.

“In talking it through you might not have fixed it, but you might be sort of further in your thinking about it… it might be easier to deal with, cause it does kind of shift things inside you”

How do I know if my problems are bad enough to have counselling?

“It made me feel that my thoughts and feelings are worthwhile, someone does want to listen”

Young people come to us for a wide range of reasons and we will work with you whatever your issues.  No problem is “too small” for counselling.  We will not judge you or turn you away from our service.

If things are getting you down then talking to someone may help.  It is completely normal to need support from time to time, and to ask for some help.

Will the counsellor tell other people what I tell them?

“I think by having a counsellor you are able to maybe understand what other people are feeling and what you are feeling … you have to listen to your feelings rather than try and fight them”

All Centre 33 services are confidential – which means we won’t tell anyone outside the organisation, without your permission, that you are in contact with us, or what you tell us.  This includes your parents.

However, in exceptional circumstances if we believe that you or another young person is at serious risk of harm then we would contact services that may help.  We would always try to tell you first.

Your counsellor may share some information about your counselling with other staff within Centre 33, if appropriate.  All of our counsellors have support from Centre 33 clinical supervisors with whom they share information in order to ensure they are working ethically and effectively.

How do I know it’s a professional service?

“You are not talking to someone you know, like you know they are not going to judge you, they keep it confidential … you can say anything and you know it is not going elsewhere"

Centre 33 has a well-established counselling service, which has been running for over 30 years and has a very good reputation in the area.  All our staff and volunteers are trained, experienced, and CRB-checked.  Centre 33 is a member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), and we are committed to following the BACP Ethical Framework.

What happens if I don’t like the counsellor?

It is important that you feel comfortable with your counsellor, and that you are able to open up to them.  If you would like to change counsellor then please let us know – see our contact details here.  If you change counsellor this will often mean that your sessions are at a different time.

Can I choose to have a female or male counsellor?

“It has been so helpful to be able to talk through my anxieties with a caring and sensitive person”

When you first contact us about counselling you will be asked if you have a strong preference for seeing a female or male counsellor, and we will respect your wishes.  In some cases this may mean you will have to wait slightly longer for an appointment, but we will let you know if this is the case.

Do you offer any support to parents?

Centre 33 is a young people’s organisation, and we are not able to offer any support to parents.  However, we recommend Young Minds for support and guidance for parents.  They have lots of information on their website, and have a helpline – visit:

Confidentiality is a very important part of our service, and building up trust, so we do not allow parents to come into counselling sessions, and we are not able to talk to parents about their child’s counselling.  If you would like family therapy then we can signpost you to other local organisations who may be able to offer this at low cost.

What happens if I can't attend one of my sessions?

If you have any problems attending your sessions, please call the Centre 33 helpline (01223 316488) to let us know. It is not a problem to cancel a session. You can then discuss with your counsellor in the following session if adding sessions at the end would be useful.

If you miss an arranged session without letting us know we will try to contact you (via email or letter) and, don’t worry, we will offer you another appointment. 

If you miss two arranged sessions without letting us know, we have to assume that you do not currently want counselling. However, you are still welcome to contact us again to use our service in the future.