What is counselling? 


The word 'counselling' covers a broad spectrum, from someone who is highly trained to someone who uses counselling skills (listening, reflecting back what you say, or clarifying) as part of another role, such as nursing. We use the term here to refer to a talking therapy delivered by a trained counsellor or individuals udergoing clinical training.

Counselling provides a regular time and space for people to talk about their troubles and explore difficult feelings in an environment that is dependable, free from intrusion and confidential. A counsellor should respect your viewpoint while helping you to deal with specific problems, cope with crises, improve your relationships, or develop better ways of living. Despite the name, counsellors don't usually offer advice. Instead, they help you to gain insight into your feelings and behaviour and to change your behaviour, if necessary. They do this by listening to what you have to say and commenting on it from their particular professional perspective.


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How can counselling help me? 


Counselling provides a safe place for you to talk in confidence about whatever you wish. It is an opportunity to step back from your everday life and gain a different perspective and understanding of yourself and of others. You will have the opportunity to explore difficult, painful or uncomfortable feelings with someone who will treat you with respect, not judge you. Through your better understanding of your emotional difficulties and with the support of your therapist, counselling can help you to begin to deal with your problems.


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How much does counselling cost?


At CMHA we try to provide a service to all individuals regardless of background and hence depending on circumstances we provide the following counselling services:

Subsidised: £15 Conducted by a Part Qualified trainee counsellor (Subject to waiting list)
Low-Cost Counselling: £30-£50 - Conducted by a Fully Qualified professional counsellor (Short waiting list)
Complimentary: Free - Only available under extenuating circumstances* (Limited availability)

* The free service we offer may be subjected to a means tested service whereby due to extenuating circumstances the client may be unable to pay and is typically subject to a longer waiting list. This may be due to financial hardship, unemployment or retirement but will ultimately be a management decision.


受資助輔導:£15 – 由資格考核中的輔導實習員進行輔導(名額受限)

低价輔導:£30-£50 – 由專業輔導員進行輔導(名額較多)



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Can I request a specific counsellor?


All of our counsellors are professionally qualified or currently under professional training, we will allocate a counsellor who is the best match to you. You can request a counsellor who speaks your particular language or dialect or is of your preferred gender, whatever you are most comfortable with.


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Will attending counselling effect my benefits? 


No, attending counselling will not affect your benefits but please consult your benefits advisor. We will not disclose your information to any individual or organisation unless you give us permission to do so.


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What will my employer think? Will my career be affected?


Counselling is strictly confidential other than in exceptional circumstances where your life is in danger and the counsellor may ask to talk with another professional like a doctor on how best to help you. No one will know you are receiving counselling, not your employer, family or friends, unless you wanted to tell them.

Your career should not be affected by undergoing counselling. Your employer may appreciate you seeking support if your difficulties are negatively affecting your performance at work. In the long term, having a better understanding and control of your mental well being could improve your outlook on life and work.



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Do I have to tell my family and friends that I see a counsellor?


No, you don’t have to, and we will not contact your family or friends unless you or other people’s safety is at risk.

However it may be helpful if you were supported outside therapy as some clients feel more vulnerable during the therapeutic process. After talking through difficult issues it can be comforting to turn to those close to you.



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How long does counselling take?


This often depends on the kind of difficulties you are experiencing. It is better to go and see a counsellor early on when problems start, before they become too big to manage. You have a right to ask your counsellor if they think they can help you and in what ways. Often community Counselling Services are quite busy and so there may be a wait to get an appointment and a limit to the number of sessions are offered.

At the initial session a counsellor will generally give you time to talk about what brings you to counselling and then discuss this with you in a way that will help you decide what you want to do from there. You may decide you would like to make further appointments to see a counsellor. Also, another support service may be suggested to you that the counsellor feels would be better able to help you. Alternatively, you may decide that you already feel clearer about a way forward and are happy to finish there, knowing you can come back and see them if you want to in the future.

Sessions usually take place once a week. Making this regular commitment gives you a better chance of finding out why you are having difficulties. (Taken from www.Mind.org.uk)




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Will a counsellor give me practical advice?


Counselling does not offer practical advice on managing debts, how to write an essay, nor tell you what to do about personal situations in your life. Think of them more as a guide than an advisor, one who is keen to understand you as an individual and then help you make sense of what is causing your difficulties. Very importantly, counsellors are not there to pass judgements or tell you your mistakes. Because counsellors are professionals outside your family and social circle, there is no need to take into consideration their feelings or your obligations and responsibilities to them. They are there to help you.

However, sometimes Counsellors may make practical suggestions and recommendations. Counsellors however, are trained to help you come to your own understandings about what is difficult. They do this through talking about your past and present circumstances and beliefs. Having studied how humans grow and develop, counsellors have a way of understanding how common problems get in the way of this happening. Often people are thinking and feeling more confident and positive about themselves after undergoing counselling.



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Is counselling really confidential? 


In the UK, there is a strong belief in the right of the individual to privacy. Counselling offers you an opportunity to talk to someone about problems that you feel you cannot tell those closest to you and at CMHA you can be assured you know that this will be kept confidential.

All issues discussed during the counselling will not be disclosed without your consent, except in exceptional cases that may include:

  1. Legal requirement (e.g. Anti-terrorism Act);
  2. Client or someone else is actively suicidal and/or is at risk of serious harm to self or others;
  3. A child is at risk of abuse.

In which case, you will be informed in advance that confidentiality will not be adhered to, and an explanation will be given.



  1. 法律需求 (例:反恐怖條令)
  2. 受輔當事人或他人有強烈自殺意圖及/或嚴重自殘或傷害他人
  3. 小孩有被虐風險


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My English is poor. Can I still attend counselling? 


At CMHA we provide counselling in Cantonese, Mandarin or English whichever you are most comfortable with.


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What types of counselling are there? 


At CMHA we offer face-to-face counselling. Within these sessions we provide different modalities including Integrative, CBT, person centred and family therapy. At the moment we are unable to provide telephone or web counselling but we’ll be looking into providing these services in the future.


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Can I stop counselling whenver I want to? 


Yes, you can. However you are advised to let CMHA and your therapist know in advance, so that you and your therapist can discuss ending properly.


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What physical problems can counselling help me with? 


  • Change in sleeping pattern – inability to sleep or over sleeping
  • Change in appetite – over eating or eating irregularly
  • Fatigue, headaches
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Unexplained pains or aches over long periods
  • Falling ill, catching cold or flu frequently
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

The stress of adjusting to a new life at any point can lead to physical symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above difficulties we encourage you to seek medical advice and/or talk to contact our counselling service.

  • What psychological symptoms can counselling help me with?
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling depressed
  • Loss of concentration
  • Feeling frustrated
  • Feeling confused, a loss of control or sense of direction
  • Indecisiveness
  • Feeling helpless
  • Lack of interest in social interaction
  • Addicted to internet, gambling, drinking, smoking or eating
  • Loss of temper, irritability

The stress of adjusting to a new life at any point can lead to psychological symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the above difficulties we encourage you to seek medical advice and/or talk to contact our counselling service.


  • 睡眠失調──無法入睡或過度睡眠。
  • 胃口改變──過度進食或飲食不規則。
  • 疲乏、頭痛。
  • 體重增加/下降。
  • 長期不知名疼痛。
  • 經常生病、傷風或感冒。
  • 腹瀉或便秘。
  • 感覺焦慮。
  • 感覺憂鬰。
  • 無法集中精神。
  • 感覺沮喪或挫折。
  • 感覺困惑,失去控制或失去方向之感。
  • 無法做決定。
  • 感覺無力。
  • 對社交不感興趣。
  • 對網絡、賭博、飲酒、吸煙或進食上癮。
  • 脾氣不受控制,易躁怒。


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Can I have counselling in my home? 


Unfortunately our counsellors cannot travel to your home. However, we may be able to offer telephone/ webcam counselling in the future.


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Who are the counsellors at the Chinese Mental Health Association? 


We have a team of dedicated Chinese counsellors who are training or practicing counsellors. Our team is supervised by a registered Counselling Psychologist on a regular basis.


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Will my counsellor offer me any further therapy? 


Yes, you can discuss extending your treatment with your counsellor if required.


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Can I contact my counsellor at anytime if I have an emergency? 


In the case of emergency, we advise you to contact the emergency services as soon as possible. CMHA is open Mondays to Friday 10am-6pm but our counsellors are only available via appointment. At present we do not run a helpline or immediate contact service with our counsellors. Please refer to our useful contacts section here (ADD HYPERLINK).


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Can a friend or family member attend counselling with me for support? 


The services we offer are mostly one-to-one based, however if you’d like to have friend or family member attend counselling with you, you can discuss this with the counsellor before the sessions commence. If you are new to therapy and are feeling nervous about attending the session on your own, we’d encourage you to explore these feelings with your therapist.



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