Access to the service is through a variety of means but it is recognised that self-referral remains the most suitable contact by a client.
For clients under 16 years of age it is preferable to have the consent of a parent/guardian. This may not be necessary for an initial contact, but should be discussed as part of the Counselling process.
For adults, accessing the service can be a self-referral or through a third party. Third party referrals will be accepted on the understanding that this does not entitle the third party to any confidential information about the client.
Confidential records are kept by each Counsellor in such a way as to protect the confidentiality of the client and to conform with relevant data protection issues.
New clients are offered an assessment session in order to assess their needs. Where possible this will be done by the person who will become their Counsellor. However, the Counsellor may feel that the issues emerging are more suited to being addressed by another therapist and will discuss this with the Client. An assessment is also an opportunity for the Client to check that they feel able to work with the Counsellor and we try to ensure they feel able to ask for another therapist if they so wish.
Counsellors are expected to have, or be training for, a formal and nationally recognised training qualification of at least Diploma level. They must be having regular supervision, which must be with a recognised and suitably qualified Supervisor. Students undergoing Counsellor training may be accepted as trainee Counsellors but must agree to abide by the rules of the Service and adhere to its aims.
As Pathways has grown it has become noticeable that more children and young people are being referred to the service. This is partly to do with difficulties in accessing NHS provision, through CAMHS (the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services), and the lack of provision generally for children and young people. Pathways has two Counsellors experienced in working with people under 18yrs old and a Creative Therapist so our work is increasing with that age range now.
In terms of adults, there is roughly a 50-50 ratio of Christians and non-Christians using the Service, with referrals coming from GPs, church leaders, schools, youth organisations, and self-referrals. There is some counselling provision through the NHS but this is often short-term Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.