Counselling for adults

We believe that mental distress is often the result of difficult events and situations.

We all struggle at times, but sometimes the struggle becomes too much and we can become overwhelmed with stress, depression, anxiety, and more.

This can cause severe mental health problems to arise. We work on the principle that the individual should have a place to talk about these difficulties before they become so severe that medical intervention is necessary. Sadly many people approach us only when breaking point is reached. Recovery can then take longer but we believe that individuals are resilient and with support can get life back on track.

How can counselling help me?

The counsellor is someone trained to listen and help you sort out what you want to do about the problems in your life.

He/she will help you identify how the circumstances are affecting you, how other people may be contributing to your difficulties and also how you may be contributing to your own problems. Counselling can provide a safe place to talk about your fears and goals and offer an opportunity to explore alternatives and to look objectively at your options.

Our counselling staff are all qualified to at least Diploma level in Counselling and many staff have MA or MSc level qualifications, as well as a range of previous professional backgrounds. This applies to paid and unpaid staff. We do have some trainees who are currently on Diploma or MA/MSc level courses. Many of our counsellors are also individually accredited by the BACP.

All staff have ongoing professional development and are supported to reflect on their work through supervision.

The video below shows a example of a counselling session

This clip shows 30 minutes from a full 50 minute counselling session. The client and counsellor have not met before, and this will give some understanding of how a counselling session might go.

There is no such thing as a typical counselling session, since we work with what the client brings and each client is an individual. You will see that the counsellor is working hard to establish a relationship in which the client can feel safe and able to explore the problems he is bringing, and therefore start to make changes needed to improve his mental wellbeing.

Every session is individual, and every counsellor brings their own style to the interaction. At the heart of it is the attempt to really understand the issues the client is bringing, and to help the client find his/her own solutions by being offered a space in which to explore and think out loud about what concerns them. The counsellor can offer their insight and offer supportive challenge, but ultimately counsellors believe the client is the expert on their own life.

What counselling is not

The relationship with the counsellor is a working one, it is not a friendship. We hope you will feel safe and supported in making decisions. The sessions are not advice sessions, although a counsellor might offer strategies for coping with symptoms (such as panic attacks, etc.)

Is North Staffs Mind the right place for me?

We are not the only agency offering counselling and you might find one of these listed below offer a more appropriate service for your need.

  • Bereavement Issues: The Dove Service (they also provide support for those living with or affected by serious illness) 01782 683155
  • Sexual Abuse / Rape: SAVANA, 01782 433204
  • Drug / Alcohol Issues: ADS One Recovery Staffordshire – 01782 224771, Community Drug Service – 01782 425100
  • Relationship Issues: MarriageCare– 0300 3893801
  • Group support for mental health issues: Changes– a local user led service offering various groups aimed at helping people recover from mental health problems, 01782 289592
  • Private Therapists – there are many counsellors / psychotherapists in private practise. If you need an immediate service you are much more likely to be able to access private counselling quickly. We cannot recommend any one but you can find reputable therapists through the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy on 0870 4435252. Alternatively you can visit contact The Headroom a personal therapist matching service.

What if I think Mind is the most suitable place for me?

Please ring us to book an initial session stating that you have read the information on this page. This initial session (which we call a reception interview) is to find out about what you want, and for us to explain how we work. We will also ask if you wish to see a male or female counsellor and check your availability for sessions.

The counsellor you see for this initial session will not necessarily be the one you end up seeing for your actual counselling but they will help you decide if counselling is the right approach for you. Once that is agreed upon you will be added to the waiting list.

How long is the waiting list?

You will always have to wait several weeks – this varies but can be up to 10 weeks. We apologise for this delay but we see over 800 new clients every year and we have very limited funding to deliver the service. We can sometimes offer an appointment more quickly but we cannot guarantee this.

The more available you can be then the less time you are likely to wait, if you restrict when you can come it makes it harder for us to find a suitable appointment. We work Monday to Friday in office hours, but also until late on several evenings, and on Saturday mornings.

Is what I say confidential?

We undertake to keep the session confidential within certain limitations. The counsellor will discuss their work with a “supervisor” – to ensure they are working ethically and effectively. You will not be identifiable to the supervisor. There are also certain legal requirements where we would have to breach confidentiality – for instance under anti-terrorism legislation, the Proceeds of Crime Act or if we are concerned about child protection issues.

What does it cost?

The service is free to you as we receive funding from the local health services to provide a certain level of service. Although we receive funding in this way we are not part of the local health service and do not operate in a similar way. The funding we receive is to provide a contracted number of sessions only, and we always have more demand than we can cope with – which is why we have waiting lists.

*We are always pleased to receive donations from people using our services. Please ask if you wish to make a donation, or give online.

What if I do not get on with my counsellor?

We hope you will be allocated to a counsellor you feel you can work well with. However, from time to time there are personality differences, and a person may feel that the counsellor they are seeing is not someone they can work with. In this case we would ask that you let us know and we will try to allocate you a new counsellor as soon as we can.

How long does counselling last?

Each session is fifty minutes long. We normally offer up to ten sessions to each person that we help. Counselling has to be time limited but we hope you will receive enough sessions to support you with your issues. In unusual circumstances we may offer a few more sessions. Sometimes you may complete your counselling in fewer than ten sessions. This is negotiated with you.

Placement opportunities

All our paid counsellors and most of our volunteer counsellors are fully qualified. North Staffs Mind offers placements to students undertaking Diploma level qualifications in counselling. This is to offer students an opportunity to gain the hours of client experience required by the course.

We usually have one intake of trainee counsellors per year, with selection taking place in the autumn with induction and then client work beginning in the New Year.

As we always have more applicants than places, our selection process is a competitive one. Candidates are usually invited along to a selection session with other candidates, and are then required to undertake a variety of tasks which are observed by staff team members.

Following this we invite suitable applicants back for a further interview,and then make a decision about offering a placement.

We offer a placement for 12 months in the first instance,but if the trainee is deemed suitable, this can continue for a further 12 months or until qualification. Many people then stay with us as fully qualified counsellors in a voluntary capacity. Placements offer client contact, supervision and access to regular workshops. We charge a fee for placements to cover our costs, and these are reviewed annually.

As an organisational member of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy we cannot compromise on our requirement that trainees are on Diploma level courses before they are allowed to begin client work.The academic institution must also have agreed they are ready to work with clients.

Anyone interested in applying should visit our contact us page and request an application pack to North Staffs Mind at 83 Marsh St, Hanley or email to us. Normally applications are expected in the period from June onwards, but no decisions are made until the late autumn after selection sessions have taken place.



‘BACP’ is the registered Trade Mark of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.