Frequently Asked Questions
All sorts of people use Relate's wide range of services to understand what's going on in their relationship and change things for the better. If you have a question not answered here, please ask your counsellor or a member of staff.
Counselling involves individuals, couples or family groups having sessions with a counsellor where they talk through an issue or work through a problem.
The counsellor is trained to help people understand themselves better, relate better to others and make decisions about what to do next.
Your counsellor will help you talk openly and honestly. In Sex therapy, your therapist will carefully assess with you what the sexual difficulties are and how they can be helped.
This usually means he or she will design a sequence of tasks and exercises that you complete together (if you’re attending with a partner) or individually at home.
The therapist will discuss your progress at each session and work at your pace to build on new learning and experience.
Sex therapy is a talking therapy and you will not be asked to undress or do anything sexual at the sessions.
Counselling and Sex therapy always work at your pace, not to a timetable.
You might be coming to counselling with your partner, your family, a family member or alone. Many people also find it helpful to come on their own for counselling and Sex therapy, whether or not they are in a relationship.
At your first session a counsellor will talk with you for up to 50 minutes, and if you come with a partner or other family member, the counsellor may spend longer and sometimes will see you individually as well as together.
You and your counsellor will discuss how Relate might be able to help and, if appropriate, your counsellor will recommend a Relate counselling service, Relate Sex therapy or another Relate service. If your counsellor doesn’t think we are best placed to help, they may suggest another organisation.
When you first arrive you will be asked to fill out some forms in order to help the counsellor understand more about your situation and record your on-going progress. These forms are confidential and will not be shown to your partner. If you are unsure about how Relate will use any of the information held about you, please ask your counsellor or a member of staff.
Relate counsellors have all received special training in Relationship counselling. It takes two to three years to become a fully-qualified Relate counsellor.
They undergo further training to specialise in areas such as family counselling, children and young people counselling and sex therapy.
Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a “counsellor-in-training”. Counsellors-in-training receive thorough academic and practical training and are carefully assessed throughout this process and also after they qualify. All counsellors continue with on-going training and consultation with other professionals to make sure they give you the highest standard of counselling.
Relate works to the relevant ethical framework of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the College of Relationship and Sex Therapists (COSRT) and the Association for Family Therapy (AFT). The Department of Health’s publication, “Talking Therapies” also recommends Relate as a reputable provider of counselling.
Yes. All our service offer professional counselling support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, individuals and families.
Our professionally trained counsellors will support you in a non-judgemental way whether you are straight, lesbian, bisexual or trans-gender. Our counsellors and trainers will always give you the respect you deserve.
Family Counselling service does not rely on a strict definition of who constitutes a family, it can include parents, children, step parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, close family friends.
You might find it useful to think about how you want counselling to help. For example, are you looking to feel better about something in the past or do you want to make a change to your life now?
We welcome feedback and want to hear your views on our services. If you wish to make a complaint, please ask for a copy of our complaint procedure. Alternatively you can send feedback on our website. Just fill in the form.
Relate offers private and confidential help to our clients.
We will not give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation unless we have reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at risk of serious harm.
We will give you more information about confidentiality when you come for your first session.
Relate offers affordable relationship support to people across Bedfordshire and Luton.
Unless we have funding from other sources, you will be expected to pay an hourly charge.
We are a registered charity and do not aim to make a profit from our services.
From the beginning of May 2017 we started to use a secure online payment system which simplifies the way you pay for your counselling.
Six days prior to the date and time of your next appointment you will automatically receive an email with a link to enable you to pay online using your debit or credit card. Just click on the link and complete the payment form. You will then receive an email confirmation and receipt for the payment. This is a secure payment process that can only be accessed by you.
It is important that you pay for your appointment at this point. Any appointment that is unpaid five days prior to the appointment date and time, will automatically be deleted by the appointments system.
Any appointment which has been booked without a payment is considered a provisional booking and is only confirmed once a payment has been received.
Please be aware that we have a 2 day cancellation policy. If less than 2 days’ notice is given of a cancellation or you fail to attend your appointment, your payment will be retained.
We are continually trying to improve our services at Relate. If you have any questions about this new online payment system or comments about other aspects of our work, please call our office on 01234 356350 and speak to one of our appointment coordinators who will be happy to help you.
Sessions are for 50 minutes and are usually once a week but this can be flexible according to your particular circumstances.
Counselling will continue for as long as you and the counsellor feel it is helpful. The number of sessions depends on you.
Most people find four or six sessions is about right for counselling, but Sex therapy can be a longer process.
Violence and abuse is an issue for some people who come to us for help with their relationship.
We know that in this situation working with both partners together may not be safe.
If this is the case then we would suggest each partner receives individual specialist support either from Relate or another agency.
Relate keeps confidential records and statistics about our clients. Records are kept for a limited period and are then destroyed.
Relate complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.
We will give you more information about this when you come for your first session.
If you are unable to keep an appointment, please telephone the office as soon as possible and another appointment can be scheduled for you.
However, if an appointment is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice, full payment will be due.