What is counselling?

 Counselling is time to talk with someone who will listen carefully and help you work through your problems or issues. A counsellor won’t judge you, and they won’t tell you what to do.

Counselling is for anyone who feels they need it. It could be because of something specific you are worried about. It could be because of the way you are feeling about a lot of things, or life in general. It could be to help you make decisions about something in your life.

The following places offer counselling (for free or for low cost), though they will usually have a waiting list. Your doctor may also be able to offer you counselling through your GP surgery. There are also many private counsellors but this is something you’ll have to pay for.

If you are thinking about seeing a counsellor, ask them what qualifications and experience they have. Ideally they should have, or be studying towards, a Post Graduate Diploma (not just a Certificate) in counselling, and be a member of a recognised professional body such as BACP or UKCP. They should also be used to working with young people.

All of the organisations listed here will normally treat what you are saying as confidential. If you are worried that what you want to talk about may mean someone else is told – for example if you want to talk about abuse, serious self harm, suicide attempts or something illegal – ask them about their ‘confidentiality policy’ before you start.

Relate offer a general counselling service which is free for young people 18 and under about any issue. See here for more information.

The following all offer a general counselling service to anyone. York Mind and 1-2-1 Counselling and York St. John Counselling Clinic.

York Women’s Counselling offer a counselling service to women age 18+ on any issue and women can also contact Kyra Women’s Project who offer a counselling service as well as other support (for more information see here).

Survive offer a counselling service for survivors of sexual abuse. (For more information see here). YorSexual Health have a counselling service for people about sexual health issues.

Qwell is a free online counselling service to York residents – more information at qwellcounselling.com.

You can refer yourself to any of the counselling services above and ask to be put on their waiting list. They may ask for an affordable donation towards sessions depending on your income.

If you are a student in York, you can get counselling through your college/university. York College and Askham Bryan College offer a free and confidential counselling service to their own students, as well as York St. John and York University.

If you are under 16 you can get confidential advice or counselling without your parent’s knowledge or consent if you are able to show that you understand your situation, and the counsellor does not have concerns about your safety. See also the Mental Health section for information about Lime Trees.