Low Cost Counselling – What’s it all about?

The UK Counselling Network CIC provides affordable, low cost counselling and psychotherapy to clients nationwide. We are passionate about helping people overcome the common barriers to therapy; cost and local access. We are also committed to ensuring that our low cost counselling clients get access to the same quality of service that is available in the Private sector. We are one of the few organisations that offers access to long term psychotherapy and Couples Counselling at an affordable rate.

Does low cost counselling mean less value?

Every client that comes through our low cost counselling service is nurtured and welcomed from the moment they make contact which is usually on the same day. What takes place next is a telephone assessment.  We really value this part of our service as it means that each individual client has the opportunity to share relevant personal information.  This enables us to make a sensitive match with an appropriate therapist.  This can often be based on their needs and sometimes, specific requirements such as a male or female therapist.

Once the client has been allocated a therapist, contact is made and the first appointment is secured.  Our clients are often surprised to find that we have no limit on how many sessions they can have.  We don’t believe the mental health needs of an individual should be restricted. Weekly sessions then follow by zoom, face to face or telephone.

How much does it cost?

We like to keep our structure simple so here is a breakdown:

  • Part-time salary       £15
  • Full-time salary           £20
  • Couples                      £40

Focusing on social inclusion

Many of our counsellors are attracted to the UK Counselling Network CIC because of our focus on social inclusion and affordable access to low cost counselling. As a result our team is motivated and focussed on our mission. This is passed down to the excellent service delivered to all our clients. We now have placements from all over the country and we are expanding every month.

We provide a supportive and nurturing clinical placement for trainee counsellors and offer autonomy and professional development to those qualified counsellors looking to develop their skills further. We have created a culture of inclusivity that allows everyone involved to feel empowered and part of an organisation that cares.

The Future

Over the next 12 months our main focus is to expand our client base across the country so that we can provide our low cost counselling service wherever it is needed.  We believe that offering therapy on-line will allow us to reach areas that often feel excluded from therapeutic services e.g.: rural areas and areas of social deprivation. We are also keen to develop a range of specialist services to work with marginalised client group’s e.g. neurodiverse clients.

So if you or someone you know is in need of our low cost counselling service, they can self-refer through our website www.ukcounsellingnetwork.co.uk or ring us on 0113 285 2899.

This article was written by Sally Benson, Director of The UK Counselling Network CIC

The lonely grief of bereaved parents

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel all-consuming for bereaved parents. The pain resulting from the death of a child is particularly overwhelming. For bereaved parents, this terrible experience of loss arouses all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness.

Additionally, as both parents experience their suffering together they also sensate grief at a deeply person level. They are both drawn together and pulled apart in the pain of their grief. As a result relationships can be placed under intense pressure. The situation is compounded by the couple’s experiences of their external plexus of family, friends and work. These relationships may become equally fraught for the couple as the rest of the world searches for the appropriate way to respond to the death of a child.

Society generally develops a script for dealing with death as can be seen in customs and rituals. There is a language of grief which people internalise from somewhere in our shared social conscious.

In the case of the death of a child there appears to be no such script, only a blank sheet which the bereaved couple must somehow learn to express their feelings in ways they help them to negotiate their tortured emotions and feelings.

Theres no right or wrong way to grieve

Grieving is a highly individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style.

Inevitably, the grieving process surrounding the loss of a child takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried and there is no timetable just as there appears to be no familiar script.

In counselling bereaved couples, I believe the quest is to discover a unique compass which will help couples to steer their way towards some form of acceptance. As a therapist I have found that bereaved parents can co-create their own survival script based upon the resources they did have before their loss based on their existing styles of attachment. This helps them to both comprehend and access their relationship to love and loss through bereavement, and also to consider ways in which appropriate memorialisation of their child can begin the process of reconciling that which they maintain and accept of that which what is gone.

Giving yourself permission to live once again

Bereaved parents may feel change in weeks or months, but rarely call it feeling better. For others the grieving process may ultimately be measured in years. Whatever the experience is therapy can help bereaved parents to consider the possibility that grief can be relocated into acceptance through positive memorialisation of their lost child and permission to live again rather than to merely exist.

Allan Todd  is a  psychotherapist at the UK Counselling Network CIC  with experience of delivering a specialist service for bereaved parents.

Men, Mental Health and the Therapy Room

There are many stereotypes globally that men should not cry.  We only have to look at the macho characters portrayed on the big screen and the typical stereotypes that men need to be tough and that it is a sign of weakness to show emotions or to seek help. All of which interfere with men’s willingness to enter into the counselling room.

Why don’t men talk about mental health?

What does it mean to reach out for help?  To explore anxieties and fears that are present?  We find that once a male therapy client is in the room, he can get in touch with his emotions. He is able to see the impact that his emotions are having on his life but might not feel comfortable in sharing them. He can see how his anger is affecting his partner, or how he doesn’t share emotions with his friends and family.  Common assumptions may be explored.

If male therapy clients have learned to hide their emotions, they most certainly won’t have the skill of understanding their emotions, nor the ability to share their emotions with others.

There are other signs that might give us a better picture of the state of men’s mental health:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide.
  • Men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK.
  • Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women according to the Government’s national wellbeing survey.
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men.
  • Nearly three-quarters of adults who go missing are men.
  • 87% of rough sleepers are men.
  • Men are nearly three times as likely as women to become dependent on alcohol, and three times as likely to report frequent drug use.
  • Men are more likely to be compulsorily detained (or ‘sectioned’) for treatment than women.
  • Men are more likely to be victims of violent crime (1.5 more likely than women.
  • Men make up the vast majority of the prison population.​ There are high rates of mental health problems and increasing rates of self-harm in prisons.

It is important to identify beliefs linked to being male, potentially exploring past experiences and how this affects other areas like work, performance, general satisfaction in life and also their physical health.

Second, it is important to help men to develop their emotional vocabulary. This can be daunting for some men; however, it is doable with persistence and self-compassion.

What should you do if you are worried about your mental health?

If you’re concerned you’re developing a mental health problem, talk to your GP. It can be daunting, but most people find that speaking to their GP and getting help and support can make a big difference to their lives and it is the first step.

You may be advised to seek counselling and unfortunately, NHS waiting lists are approx. 18 months. At the UK Counselling Network CIC, we offer low-cost, affordable counselling and you are able to access assistance within 2 weeks.  Reach out if you or someone you knows needs support. Tel: 0113 285 2899

The Complexity of Mental Health in the UK

What is mental health?

Someone described as having good mental health would be a person who can feel, think and act positively to their emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Most people over their lifetime will experience some form of mental health issue. This is natural and is just the same as a person having a physical injury or disease.

What mental health problems exist?

There is a range of diagnosed mental health problems that exist. It is said that one in four people a year will experience some form of them. Anxiety is a common mental health problem. This feeling of constant nervousness or worry can even lead to panic attacks. Panic attacks are when a person might feel their heartbeat elevate, they could feel faint and struggle to breathe.

OCD can also be a type of anxiety. The term means obsessive-compulsive disorder. A person could experience obsessive thoughts or constantly be repeating activities obsessively.

Mental health problems can even affect your daily activities. Something as natural as eating may become a problem. Having a mental issue where food is the focus does not always mean you are over or underweight. You may be diagnosed with something like anorexia, bulimia or unhealthy binge eating disorder but this does not mean that if you aren’t, that you cannot have an unhealthy relationship with food.

A personality disorder could mean you have attitudes, beliefs and behaviours difficulties that affect how you feel and think about yourself and others.

These are just a few examples of mental health problems. If left untreated the symptoms could worsen and a person could be left feeling suicidal, depressed and even use self-harm as a way to cope.

Who do they affect and why?

It is important to remember that these issues can affect anyone. They do not discriminate on gender, race or age. Anyone can be affected by mental health issues.

Reasons for having these mental health issues could be lifestyle factors like work, lack of sleep, loneliness or diet. It could also be something a person has experienced during childhood. A recent bereavement or one that has not been worked through and therefore impacted on mental health. A physical health problem that has started to affect mental health. There are many reasons why someone could feel be affected by mental health and some of these things are out of their control.

What to do if you are experiencing mental health issues

The most important thing to do is to seek help for mental health issues. A person may not feel comfortable talking to their family or friends about these problems. At the UK counselling network CIC, the company offers low-cost counselling sessions. Charging affordable counselling in this way ensures that it is accessible for everyone, meaning anyone can get support with sliding payment scales from as little as £15.

The UK Counselling Network CIC offers a confidential and safe place and you don’t need to be diagnosed with a mental health condition to access support.

What types of counselling are available?

Group counselling, this type of therapy can be particularly effective if you are feeling alone. Working with a group can ensure you feel supported and help you to see you are not alone.

Couples counselling, whether you are looking to work on communication or take a look at the deeper issues in your relationship. Couples counselling can offer a great way to do this.

Individual counselling sessions to focus on yourself.

Do you need to wait until Covid restrictions lift?

Not at all! These issues are real and you may need support now. That’s why at UK Counselling Network CIC, they offer online therapy sessions that take place via Zoom video chat. So you don’t even need to leave your home.

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