Helping You with Counselling

How the PF Can Help You

Counselling may help you if you have a sense that something is not quite right and it’s beginning to affect the quality of your life day to day. Counselling at the PF offers support to individuals over the age of 18, in the form of a confidential place where professional counsellors can help you explore the roots of your problems and work towards resolving them.

On this page you can read about:

(You can click the the words above to be taken straight to that section.)

Why Consider Counselling?

Counselling at the PF can help with a wide range of issues, including:

  • depression, anxiety
  • self confidence and self-esteem
  • bereavement and loss
  • difficulties in relationships (family, social, intimate)
  • issues from childhood
  • stress
  • work issues
  • sexual difficulties
  • gender/sexual identity issues
  • abuse, violence
  • spiritual and existential issues

At the PF you will receive a professional service where you will be given the opportunity to:

  • talk through your situation in complete confidence
  • be supported to reach a better understanding of your difficulties
  • explore and decide the best way forward for yourself

Even if you have no idea what’s troubling you, counselling at the PF could help. Counselling is also available for those who want to explore their own potential for personal change or growth.

Who can get counselling at the PF?

To be eligible for counselling at the PF, you must:

  • Be an individual over 18 years old.  We do not offer counselling to couples, children, or young people under 18.
  • Request counselling for yourself directly. We do not accept ‘referrals’ or requests on behalf of other people, even close family members.
  • Live or work in the Edinburgh and Lothian area.
  • Be able to speak sufficient English to discuss the issues you want to explore.  Although we occasionally have counsellors who are willing to work in different languages, we are not able to offer a multilingual service, or to provide translators.

Unfortunately, the PF cannot offer specific therapies, specialist treatments, or therapy in a specific modality or approach.  Most of our counsellors are not trained in specialist methods and so are unable to work with:

  • Complex or multiple mental health diagnoses
  • Severe or complex trauma
  • Complex personality disorders
  • Severe eating disorders

What is the PF Young Adults service (PFYA)?

The PF Young Adults service (PFYA) is an extension of our core service, specifically for young adults aged 18 to 25 years old.  The counselling sessions are only on a Saturday, and is limited to a maximum of one year, after an initial block of 12 sessions.

You can read more about PFYA by clicking here.

How do you get started at the PF?

If you would like counselling at the PF, the first stage is to complete a Counselling Request form. The form can be completed online here, or we can send one to you by post on request.

After we have received your Request form, you will be invited for an initial appointment as soon as one becomes available.

The initial appointment will last about 50 minutes and you will have the opportunity to:

  • find out about counselling and what we offer at the PF
  • discuss why you are seeking counselling, and hear about what it could offer you
  • talk about the things that are affecting you
  • assess your needs and discuss together whether counselling would be suitable for you
  • discuss any donation you may be able to make for your counselling sessions (including the initial session itself)
  • discuss your availability for a regular weekly appointment

If we agree together that counselling could be helpful, your name will be placed on our waiting list for a regular weekly session, and you will be offered one as soon as we have a suitable counsellor available.

The length of time you will have to wait for both the initial appointment and regular session depends greatly on your availability. The more flexible you can be, the more quickly we will be able to find a suitable first appointment.  You can find out more about this, and keep up to date while you are waiting, by viewing our Waiting List page at any time.

What do people say about counselling at the PF?

At the PF we seek feedback from all our clients after their counselling has finished.  It is collected anonymously and is primarily used to help us improve our service and client experience.  You might find it interesting and helpful as you consider getting counselling at the PF.

You can read a selection of the comments we have received this year by clicking here, or on the quotes image to the left.

Will it cost you anything?

We will welcome you to the PF regardless of your ability to pay.  However, we do ask all clients to make a regular donation at each session, according to their genuine ability to do so.  Private counselling elsewhere typically costs around £50 per session and client donations to the PF range from less than £5 up to this full amount.  We will discuss the arrangement and agree an affordable donation level at your initial appointment with us.

We will ask you if we can claim Gift Aid on your donations.  This increases the amount we receive from your donation, without any further cost to you, as long as you are a UK tax payer.

A small and efficient team of staff supports the work of the volunteers, and our main costs are administration, premises, and professional supervision of our counsellors.  We have to fundraise every year to balance the books, so every pound donated by clients and other supporters is essential to our survival.

Who will be your Counsellor?

All our counsellors offer their time on a voluntary (unpaid) basis.  However, they are all professionally qualified to at least diploma level, or in the final stages of training with an accredited institution.  All receive regular ongoing professional development to support their work, as well as professional supervision provided by the PF.  All adhere to the COSCA Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice.

Our counsellors have a wide variety of backgrounds and training, and may use, or draw from, approaches such as:

  • Person Centred
  • Psychodynamic
  • Psychosynthesis
  • Transpersonal
  • Process Work
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Gestalt
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Core Process (Karuna)
  • Integrative

How often will you see your counsellor?

You will meet with your counsellor every week, at our premises in Morningside. Each session will last for 50 minutes and take place on the same day and time each week, for the duration of the counselling.

We offer 12 sessions initially, and this can be extended up to two years in appropriate circumstances.

Initial and Regular Appointments

We aim to offer an initial appointment with one of our experienced Assessment Counsellors within around 4-6 weeks of receiving your completed Request form. This appointment lasts about 50 minutes and is an opportunity for you and us to find out about each other.  For more details see How do you get started? above.

If at the initial session it is agreed that counselling would be helpful for you, then you will need to wait until a suitable counsellor becomes available. You will then be offered a regular weekly appointment at a time when you have said you are available. This waiting time is currently 4 - 8 weeks after the initial appointment. Please note evening sessions are in highest demand and the wait for these may be longer.

Regular weekly sessions last for 50 minutes and take place in the PF premises at the same time, on the same day each week. You would be expected to attend these consistently unless you are ill or on holiday.  The weekly rhythm of counselling is important to its effectiveness.

Sometimes only a few sessions are required and you and your counsellor will know if it is appropriate to end sooner than the 12 sessions offered initially. After this period you can discuss with your counsellor whether to extend to longer term work.

Client Information

Client Information Sheet

When you become a client at the PF, you will be given a Client Information sheet. This outlines various important aspects of how we work with you as a client.  We want to ensure we help you in the most effective and efficient ways possible.  You can view this information by clicking the image to the right: