Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re thinking about starting therapy then you’re likely to have a host of questions you’d like to ask. Below are the most frequent questions people ask when seeking a therapist.

I think I need Counselling. Where do I start?

The first step is to find a therapist you can work with. If you’d like to make a start, check out our team of therapists to see which one appeals to you, and has the experience and expertise for the issues you’re bringing to therapy.

If you’d like more guidance, please call our reception team on 020 8673 4545 and they will point you in the right direction.

How do I book an appointment

Once you have selected the therapist you would like to work with you book an appointment by either call our reception team on 020 8673 4545 or complete the online booking form and one of the reception team will get back to you.

Do I need a GP referral to make an appointment with a counsellor?

If you are seeking private therapy then no, you won’t need to speak to your GP first. If you’re coming to counselling through private healthcare then yes, you will need a GP referral first.

Can I speak to the therapist before committing to a session?

Once you’re booked in for an appointment, your therapist will call to confirm day and time, check any details, and to answer any practical questions you might have. Your counsellor won’t be able to provide a therapy session on the phone before you start, however. You’ll be able to talk about your issues during your first session.

What is the differnce between Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychology?

Counselling is short-term, therapy that will typically last between 6 and 15 sessions. It helps you identify coping strategies for an issue in your life, and ways to work through it. It offers a space that is warm, empathic and non-judgemental.

Psychotherapy is longer-term, open-ended therapy that allows you the time and space to delve deeper into the issues affecting your life. It can help you identify unhelpful patterns and behaviours that often have roots in childhood, and it can help you work towards healing your deepest wounds.

Psychology is the science of the mind and behaviour. A clinical psychologist will diagnose and treat psychological and mental health problems. Counselling psychologists will also integrate the emotional and therapeutic aspects of psychology.

Our experienced reception team will help you find a match for your needs.

What type of therapy is best for me?

That depends on the issues you are bringing and how willing you are to work on yourself and transform your life so you can live your true potential.

All therapy works through the relationship you have with your therapist, which offers you the opportunity to work through your issues and try out new ways of thinking, feeling and being.

Trust that you will find the therapist who is right for you. Start with six sessions, see how you feel, and take it from there. The beauty of coming to The Awareness Centre is that we have more than 300 therapists, and there will be one who can offer you just what you need.

We will help you find a match for your needs, your schedule, your budget and your aspirations.

What happens during a counselling session?

In your first session your therapist will take you through an initial assessment, which will be a series of questions to get to know you and the issues you’re bringing to therapy. Your counsellor will also want to find out about your current health and wellbeing, as well as issues and patterns from your past that you may want to work through. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about how therapy will work.

Counselling is a talking therapy, so you do the talking and your therapist does the listening, questioning and reflecting. Therapy offers a safe, confidential space each week for you to feel heard and understood, to gain new perspective on difficulties in your life, and build a stronger sense of self.

How many sessions will I need?

That depends on the issues you are bringing to therapy and how deeply you wish to delve into underlying issues from your past. Counsellors may offer you an initial 6 to 10 sessions, after which you can review how things are going. If you wish to explore your issues further, you can continue on an open-ended basis.

How much do sessions cost?

Within our low-cost counselling service, sessions start at £20 per 50-minute session if you’re on benefits, or £35 if you’re on a low income. Fees for our private therapists range from £50 to £130.

Can I pay for therapy through private healthcare?

The Awareness Centre is a private healthcare provider for Aviva, AXA PPP, BUPA, BUPA Global, Cigna, Vitality Health and WPA. If your insurance is with any of these companies, give them a call to check you’re covered and ask your GP for a referral. Then get in touch with TAC on 020 8673 4545 to be referred to a therapist who’s a healthcare provider.

What if I can't make a session?

If you cannot make a session, you will need to contact your therapist directly and inform them. Therapists have different terms and conditions in regards to their practice and missed sessions or cancellations and often there is a charge incurred with missed appointments.

What's the difference between a low-cost therapist and a private one?

Our low-cost therapists are in the final stages of their training as a counsellor, psychotherapist or counselling psychologist, or are working towards becoming accredited therapists. Their services are offered at a lower rate while they complete their qualifications, and appointments are available daytimes, Friday evenings and weekends. Fees per 50-minute session are £20 if you’re on benefits and £35 if you’re on low income.

Private therapists are fully qualified, and some have been practising for some years. They offer appointments during the evenings and at weekends too. Fees range from £50 to £130.

What happens if I can’t work with the therapist. Can I change?

The relationship with your therapist is paramount. You need to feel comfortable opening up to a professional every week, and if the rapport isn’t there then it’s best to raise that straight away. We’re happy to find you another therapist who may be more suitable to your situation, issues and requirements.

What if I can’t commit to weekly sessions?

Counselling and psychotherapy work best when you have weekly sessions. That’s why we offer therapy seven days a week, to fit around your busy schedule. You may be working shifts, or have irregular work patterns. Our therapists our also available weekends, which may be a time when you, too, have time for yourself. To explore options, call the reception team on 020 8673 4545.

Do you offer therapy for small children?

Yes, we have specialist child and adolescent therapists trained to work with small children. The focus is on play, so children can express themselves in their preferred way. Call 020 8673 4545 for more information and appointment availability.

Do you offer therapy in different languages?

Yes. If English is your second language then you can still access therapy through The Awareness Centre. The team of multilingual therapists currently offer counselling more than 30 different languages. Call 020 8673 4545 to find out more.

Do you offer therapy in sign language?

Unfortunately we do not currently offer a sign language service.

Do you have disability access?

Yes, our ground floor consulting rooms are fully accessible. We have ramps up to the front door, wide-access doors, and a toilet suitable for disabled users.

Do you offer counselling sessions via home visits, telephone and Skype?

We do not provide a home visit counselling service, however some of our counsellors work via phone and Skype. It can be a helpful and powerful way of accessing therapy if you’re not able to travel to the centre. Just ask the reception team when you call to book an appointment and they can refer you to a therapist who offers telephone or Skype therapy.

Our Therapy Services

If you have a specific question in mind that’s not answered here, then please call The Awareness Centre on 020 8673 4545, or email

If we are unable to offer a specific service, our reception team will make every effort to provide you with contact details of a suitable care pathway to another organisation.