We’ve collected the most commonly asked questions about Relate and our counselling services. If you have a general question about our services, it’s covered here.

Relationship counselling

Is Relate Relationship Counselling confidential?
Relate counselling is completely confidential. We will not give your name or any information about you to anyone outside Relate; unless someone’s personal safety is at risk.

How can counselling help me?
Counselling helps you take time out from your situation and see it from a fresh perspective. Working with a counsellor gives you, or you and your partner, a chance to think about what you can do to change your situation for the better. It can also give you a chance to explore complex or difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment.

Relate are concerned with all aspects of relationship counselling. If you have a problem which is directly connected to your current relationship, a past relationship or to forming new relationships then Relate can help you to work through the issues surrounding it.

Relate can help in a number of ways. It can help to restore the communication between you and your partner, to address issues from previous relationships which are affecting your current situation and develop increased confidence to deal with future problems as they arise.

Do Relate counsellors have special training?
Relate counsellors have all received special training in couple counselling. It takes two to three years to become a fully qualified Relate counsellor. They undergo further training to specialise in areas such as young people’s counselling, family counselling and sex therapy.

Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a ‘counsellor-in-training’. Counsellors-in-training’ have gone through a rigorous selection and training process and will be receiving close professional support.

All counsellors continue with ongoing training and consultation with other professional to ensure they give you the highest standard of counselling.

Can I come to Relationship Counselling on my own?
Yes. Whether you are single, or if you have a partner who doesn’t want to come or you simply want to discuss things alone you are welcome to bring any aspect of your current, past or future relationships to Relate by yourself.

What happens if I have a complaint about Relate relationship counselling?
Relate always welcomes feedback and is keen to improve its services. We have a complaints procedure which aims to make the process straightforward and fair. Should you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, please raise it with the manager of the service.

Your complaint or concerns will be investigated and you will receive a reply within four weeks.

Who can have Relate Counselling?
We work with all people, including individuals and those in same sex relationships. The minimum age to apply for Relate couple counselling is 16 but there is no upper age-limit. Young people’s counselling starts at 11 plus.

Do you work with people in the same sex relationships?
Relate helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples and individuals with building stronger relationships. We can help with the issues that affect the LGBT communities, from the big problems that might threaten your relationship and have a big effect on you and your family to smaller issues that just make things a little less than perfect. Even if things are going brilliantly for you, we can help keep it that way.

How long will ongoing counselling last?
As each person’s situation is vastly different from the next, we cannot give an average number of sessions. Your slot is yours for as long as you need it. Some people find that one or two sessions will help them work through their problems and help them to move forward, while others may find they need to attend for several months.

Sex Therapy

What happens at a Sex Therapy session?
In sex therapy you and the therapist work with the problems you have identified. The therapist will design a programme of exercises especially for you and you will be asked to do specific exercises at home. At your sessions, the therapist will discuss your progress with the exercises and the best next steps for you. You will never be asked to undertake any sexual tasks during the sessions.

How long will Relate Sex Therapy take?
Relate deals with every client’s situation individually and the length of time therapy takes depends on your circumstances. Sessions are usually weekly and therapists always work at your pace, not to a timetable, so you will never feel rushed or obliged to come back unnecessarily.

How can Sex Therapy help me?
Sex therapy can help where people have ‘gone off’ sex; lack of desire is the most common problem for female clients. It can also help with problems such as erectile dysfunction or if sex is painful, where this is not caused by a medical condition. If you meet with a sex therapist they will advise you if any other agencies are better placed to help you.

Sex therapy is very successful in helping people re-establish an active sex life. 93% of people who have completed Relate sex therapy said they felt their sexual relationship improved after using the service*. Working with a Relate sex therapist will help you to overcome the problems you’re having and find a way to move on from them.
* Statistic from Relate Internal Research: 1998/99

Do I have to be referred for Sex Therapy?
No. Many people are referred to sex therapy by their GP but you can also make an appointment with Relate to discuss any aspect of your sex life or relationship without a referral.

Can I come to Sex Therapy on my own?
Yes, if you are single, or if your partner doesn’t want to come along, or if you simply want to see a Relate sex therapist alone.

What training do Relate sex therapists have?
All Relate sex therapists are qualified in couple counselling having undertaken training for two to three years. They then undertake further training to specialise in sex therapy.

Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a ‘sex-therapist-in-training’. Sex-therapists-in-training’ are fully qualified Relate counsellors who are receiving additional training in sex therapy and will be receiving close professional support. All Relate counsellors and therapists continue with ongoing training and consultation with other professionals to ensure they give you the highest standard of service.

Young People’s counselling

My child has been affected by the breakdown of my relationship. Is Young people’s counselling (YPC) suitable for them?
Our YPC counsellors have been trained specifically to help children affected by the breakdown of a relationship within the family. We offer a listening service to those between the ages of 11-25. YPC can help your child to understand the way they are feeling about their situation and to develop coping strategies, as well as build their self-confidence.

Can I discuss my son/daughter’s case with their YPC counsellor?
YPC clients are treated with the same confidentiality as those attending couple counselling or sex therapy. While it may be possible for you to pass on information that you feel your child’s counsellor will find helpful, their counsellor cannot discuss any aspect of their case with you. Breaking the confidentiality would break the bond of trust between client and counsellor.

Is there a charge for Young People’s counselling?
We ask for a contribution of £43 for every YPC session. However, if there are financial concerns then we may be able to help fund the sessions.

Family Counselling

How do I know if family counselling is right for me?
We use a carefully planned assessment to identify whether Relate is the most appropriate agency to provide this help for you or whether another source of help would be more appropriate.

Who could be involved in family counselling?
Family Counselling is open to couples and other family members seeking help with their family difficulties. ‘Family member’ could be parents, children, siblings and extended family members, including those from different generations and blended families.

What can we expect to gain from a course of family counselling?
You may gain an increased understanding to make choices about how you manage your relationships within the family setting, develop more effective ways of managing areas of difficulty within the family and develop better communication both within a couple relationship and across generations. We can also offer information on other courses of help which may further improve your situation.

Can Relate help if my problems are connected with other family members, rather than just between my partner and myself?
We offer Family Counselling to assist family members who are experiencing some difficulties in their relationships with one another.

Education & Learning (Workshops)

Who runs Relate workshops?
Workshops and Courses are run by qualified trainers, who are also qualified Counsellors. Their approach is sensitive, understanding and non-judgemental.

What happens at a Relate workshop?
Generally you will be together with between 8 and 12 people at a similar life stage; however we do have some courses that are run in schools & colleges and some professional courses that are much larger. Course materials are based on modern adult learning principles. During the course you may take part in group discussions, case studies, questionnaires, games. Some courses for professionals include role play in order to practise essential skills.

Can I attend a Relate workshop on my own?
Yes, most of our courses and workshops are for individuals. However, the Couples course requires both partners to attend. Increased benefit can be gained if both parents attend the Parents Apart workshops. Please enquire with each course.

Who do I contact if I have questions about Relate workshops?
If you have any questions or concerns prior to attending a Relate workshop please speak to the appointment secretary on 01737 245 212.

I have a question that’s not been answered. How can i find the answer?
You can ask us anything else you would like by calling us on 01737 245212 (Reigate) or 01372 722976 (Epsom). We will be glad to help you in any way we can.