Online Counselling

Questions & Answers

Here are some of our frequently asked questions...

How do I know if I need counselling?

Here are some signs that might mean you need counselling. Some of these signs are fairly common; many young people will do the things on the list at some point. But when the things seem harder to cope with than they usually do or last longer than a few weeks, counselling is worth a try.

Long periods of sadness

You may seem to be sad for several days or weeks. Nothing helps you feel better. You try to have fun and do other things to distract you but nothing works. You may be tearful and not be able to stop. Young People often show sadness through their actions, so you might be getting into trouble more often than you normally would.

Living in the past

You may find yourself focussing more on the past than the present. Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about death, your parents’ divorce, or a recent difficult change etc. That is normal right after the event for a while, but not if you find it impossible to eventually move on and talk about the present.

Withdrawn behaviour

If you have little or no interest in being with friends and want to stay alone all the time. Perhaps you have stopped being able to have fun and can’t enjoy anything you do.

Self-harm

If you are hurting yourself or have thoughts about hurting yourself.

Problems saying good-bye

If you find it hard to say goodbye when you leave your parent or someone you care about on a daily basis. This is a problem if it never bothered you before.

Cannot concentrate

You may have a really hard time getting things done. You are often distracted. Perhaps you can’t settle on activities or jobs that you’d normally be able to do. You may not be able to follow instructions well and find it hard to concentrate.

Changes in daily habits

You may notice that you have changed what you normally do. You may have trouble getting up. Or you might not be able to get to sleep. You may have nightmares. You may eat much more or much less than before.

Feeling a sense of false responsibility or guilt

You may feel you are to blame for a parent’s divorce or a death. Or you may believe you have to take responsibility for a parent or a sibling.

Feeling angry

You may be feeling more angry than you normally would. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking your anger out on others or yourself.

Feeling anxious and worried

If you are worrying a lot. You may be worrying about your work or that someone you love will die. Perhaps you feel worried but you’re not sure why.

Many young people do the things above at times. If the problems start suddenly after a divorce, death, or other stressful event, you may need extra support. Getting help is important if:
• the signs are more extreme than is normal for you
• they are lasting longer than you would like them to

What is online counselling?

Online counselling is a 1-2-1 instant text chat with one of our qualified counsellors that’s a lot like texting, and you can do it on your computer, phone or tablet.

Online counselling sessions are weekly with the same counsellor. Appointments will be arranged for a day and a time that suits you.

How do I get some counselling?

If you live in Gloucestershire, and are between the ages of 11 and 21, you will first need to contact us to let us have a few details. If you find it hard to talk on the phone you can ask someone you trust to do this for you. Or, you can give your details by text chat to our online receptionist during our office open hours.

If your counselling has been set up by an organisation outside of Gloucestershire your referring organisation will send us your details.

Once we have your details we’ll send a ‘how to’ guide with instructions to start your online counselling.

What information is needed to make a referral for online counselling?

When you contact us to make a referral for face-to-face counselling it would be helpful if you could give us the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Ethnic Origin
  • School or college
  • Contact details
  • GP name and address
  • Brief summary of why counselling is required
  • Relevant background information
  • Other agencies involved (where known)
  • Previous counselling history
  • Disabilities that may affect access to counselling

Can I choose a lady or man as my counsellor?

This may not be possible, or it might mean a longer wait for counselling. If there is an important reason why you would prefer a male of female counsellor let us know and we will try our best to get you the counsellor of your choice.

When is the online counselling open?

Online counselling, sessions are weekly with the same counsellor. Appointments will be arranged for a day and a time that is convenient for you.

How secure is the online counselling?

We’ve done everything we can to make sure the conversations you have with our counsellors are as secure as possible.

The conversations you have with us are scrambled when they’re sent across the Internet, so it’s very unlikely that information will fall into the wrong hands.

Does anyone have to know I am having counselling?

If you’re under 16 years of age, we prefer it if a parent or carer knows, but if you don’t want anyone to know, that’s OK; just tell us when you contact us.

Is what I say confidential?

Confidentiality means not telling anyone else you’ve contacted us, or telling them what you’ve said. We always want to keep your contact with TIC+ confidential, which means you can feel safe talking to us. Breaking a young person’s confidentiality is not something that TIC+ does easily. We will always think about this very carefully. Breaking confidentiality can be a difficult dilemma for counsellors. There are lots of things they have to think about to work out whether they need to pass your details onto someone else, or not. We want to give you the best possible help and support we can.

We would only need to say something to someone else or do something if:

  • You ask us to.
  • We believe your life, or someone else’s life, is in danger.
  • You’re being hurt by someone in a position of trust who has access to other children, like a teacher or police officer.
  • You tell us that you’re seriously harming another person.
  • We’re worried about the safety of someone who isn’t able to speak for themselves, like a young child, and we need to tell someone to keep that child safe.

Our counsellors may also need to confidentially share what you have talked about with their TIC+ supervisor to make sure they are giving you the best possible help that they can.

Sometimes the people involved in suggesting you have counselling such as parents, teachers, doctors etc. might ask us for an update report to find out if you are still going to your appointments and how well it’s going. We will ask you at the start of your counselling if you agree to us sharing this information or not.

How many sessions can I have?

Your first session will be an assessment session. In this session you and your counsellor will decide if counselling is the right option for you and agree how many sessions you might need.

How long is the online session?

Online counselling sessions take place weekly and will last up to fifty minutes.

What happens in my counselling session?

Counselling is a safe place for you to talk about the things that are worrying you. The counsellor will listen without judging and will help you to find better ways to cope. They’ll always go at your pace and won’t ask you to share anything until you’re ready.

What happens if I disconnect during a session?

Ideally we would like you to let us know if you’re leaving the counselling session, but this may not always be possible. If you get cut off or have to leave the conversation unexpectedly, we’ll allow some time for you to reconnect and re-join the chat. We won’t be able to keep your slot open indefinitely as there may be other young people waiting.

Do you keep a copy of the chat?

We don’t keep a word-for-word record of what you say. We just keep a brief written summary. This means you don’t have to go through everything again next time you speak to us. The only time we might need to keep a full record of what you tell us is if we believe you or another person is at serious risk of harm. We keep these notes securely for seven years or until you reach the age of eighteen, whichever is longer. If you want access to your notes, you’ll need to send us a request in writing.

How much does it cost?

Online counselling is free at the point of use for all children and young people using our service.

What if I have something to say about the TIC+ counselling service?

If you have anything you’d like to tell us about your contact with TIC+, we’d like to hear about it — please use the feedback form. If you’re unhappy about any aspect of our service, please let us know as soon as possible using the complaints form.

Walk through the process...