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You may want to know what happens during the first session and have other questions you’d like answers to. Have a look around this page and see if the answers are here. If not call Donna Gibson on 07578839779, email  or use the form on the contact page to ask any further questions.

What happens during the first session?

Image of counselling room

What happens during the first session is that you’ll be warmly welcomed. You will be invited to share what’s bringing you to counselling and you can ask me any questions to have. By the end of the session you will hopefully have a feel for how I work and whether you’d like to continue to have counselling with me. I’ll be checking in with myself to see if I feel I can help. I’ll also ask what you’re hoping to get from counselling.

How can I find your counselling room?

The address is 2 Betts Avenue but the entrance is to the side of the building, opposite the side of Tenpin Bowling on Gloster Road.  There’s no waiting area so please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible.

Online/telephone counselling

You’ll be offered online counselling through Microsoft Teams. I’ll ask you for a contact number. This is so I can call you in the event of any glitches. We can then agree how to proceed.

Before your session I’ll email or text a link. You simply need to click on it at your session time. This’ll bring you into a virtual ‘waiting room’ and I’ll let you in when the session’s ready to start.

I would advise you find a suitable, private place where you can talk freely without interruption.

Image of counselling room at The Bridge Counselling Service in Ipswich

Can I park?

Parking is free. If you turn into Betts Avenue, the car park is the first turning on your right (on your left should be Greggs if you fancy a pre-counselling coffee or snack!).  You can park in any of the spaces marked ‘2’.

What about public transport?

You can find details of bus routes at First Bus.

Do you have toilet facilities?

There are male, female and wheelchair accessible facilities available.

How long and how often is each session?

The most common structure is a weekly 50 min session on the same day and time each week but we’re happy to tailor the sessions to your requirements.

How much do the sessions cost

£30 for a 30 minute session

£55 for a 50 minute session

£90 for a 1.5 hour session

£120 for a 2 hour session

Payments should be made by bank transfer in advance of your session. You can also pay by cash on the day.

Do I need to commit to a minimum number of sessions?

You can have as many or as few sessions as you’d like. I trust you’ll know when you’ve gained what you need from counselling and so I don’t require any kind of commitment.

Will I need to sign a contract?

You’ll receive some paperwork to look over but not a formal contract.

I’m feeling anxious

It’s very normal to feel anxious.  You’re meeting someone new and likely to be opening up about issues very personal to you.  Would it help if I told you that I’ll most likely feel a little nervous too?

How does the person-centred approach to counselling work?

Most people when they come to counselling don’t have a clue about the different counselling approaches but there are lots of them! The person-centred approach is one of the main approaches and is described as a ‘growth model’. It’s grounded in believing in the potential in people, not what’s wrong with them.

This approach is ideal for people who want to explore their experiences and make their own meaning from them.

Your role

Is to bring yourself, just as you are. You can come and talk. You can choose to sit in silence if that’s what you need. There’s no expectation on you to be a certain way.

What you are responsible for is what you bring to the session. What we talk about will always be decided by you. You’ll move at your own pace. You’ll also be responsible for making any changes if that’s what you choose to do.

My role

My role is to support you. I’m not trying to ‘do’ anything to you. I’ll listen carefully to understand your world as you see it. To accept you just as you are. If you feel genuinely understood and accepted by me, then often what happens is that you start to understand and accept yourself more fully.

We can be very critical of ourselves, often because of the values and beliefs imposed on us by parents, schools and society. We come to accept them as if they’re our own . Person-centred counselling aims to help free you from those conditions by examining these beliefs and values and whether they work for you now. This can lead you towards a more authentic life, one where you can drop the mask and be more who you truly are.

I won’t give you advice or tell you what to do, but I am happy to answer any questions you have. I’ll help you more deeply explore yourself and your experiences. Often I hear people say things like ‘I’d never put that together before’ or ‘I didn’t even know that was an issue for me’.

How it all fits together

To use a computer analogy, it might look at the front end like a weekly conversation about whatever is on your mind. I will be checking with you to make sure I’m understanding what you’re feeling and thinking. At the back end though, that’s where the growth is happening. It’s behind the scenes. These internal changes can often take time to become visible although often there is relief in sharing. I’m often told it feels like ‘a weight has been lifted off my shoulders’ or ‘I feel so much lighter‘.

Counselling isn’t always an easy process. We often come with painful experiences and it can be hard to talk about them. Depending on what has happened to us, we might feel very fearful of people and so trusting takes time. In my experience though, the people I’ve worked with often come to really look forward to and value their sessions because it is time just for them.