How we are different

The Idea

Thirteen years ago, several of us who have worked all our professional lives locally in counselling and psychotherapy – both privately and in the public sector – recognized that it was time to raise the profile and dignify the whole profession. The Centre in itself is an innovation. We are neither an agency nor a charity, we have to be self funding.

We decided from the outset that we would run a first class, dedicated centre, where the ambience for both clients and counsellors was as near ideal as we could make it. We included an Aromatherapy room, because we felt that in many instances “bodywork” is extremely helpful to the client’s experience of caring and holding after trauma. We now have five quiet professional consulting rooms used not only for counselling but also for training and mediation  – a bodywork room for aromatherapy and osteopathy and a play therapy room for our younger clients. There is a manager or receptionist on site at all times.

The practitioners

Our expectations of the practitioners who work from the Centre are very high. Our policy is to accept therapists only after rigorous checking of their training, experience, insurance details and supervision. Here only a small minority of counsellors are still in training, or recently qualified and working towards their formal Accreditation. Most are very experienced. This is different from many counselling centres and agencies which are staffed heavily by student placements. We believe this feels safer for clients, placements and counsellors alike. All practitioners are self-employed, all are members of their particular regulatory authorities, and all pay a room rental for the hours they have booked at the Centre.

What we offer

Apart from Counselling, Aromatherapy and Osteopathy we offer kindness, courtesy, sound information and prompt action when requested. Because there is much confusion and mystique around different counselling and therapeutic techniques, it is often hard for an enquirer to know which discipline, or which particular practitioner, might best suit their needs, or indeed where they can find an appropriately trained and experienced professional whom they can trust. We have the expereince in matching clients to counsellors.

Our staff are skilled, knowledgeable and loyal to both clients and practitioners, and are well able to field questions the public may ask. Many people phone in at the suggestion of friends, colleagues or their doctors looking for guidance. Indeed GPs themselves frequently seek information on their patient’s behalf. When required, counsellors themselves cross-refer clients to other counsellors, or indeed to other disciplines, if it is felt this would be in the client’s best interests.

We are able to provide many of the recognized, but confusing, array of psychological interventions, including Person Centred and Humanistic approaches, Psychodynamic and Psychoanalytical disciplines, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Family Systems Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and so forth.

Similarly, we are able to help with a very wide variety of presenting issues, using time-limited or open-ended strategies, as appropriate. A number of our general practitioners are specialists in their own particular fields, which include relationship counselling, psychosexual therapy, counselling children and adolescents, family therapy, anger management and critical incident work, to name but a few.

The office diary and appointment book make for an integrated and efficient service. When open, there is always someone “human” at the end of the phone, who knows and understands counselling issues and who can provide support. Because we have a wide skills base, our staff can pay good attention to matching the therapist to the client. We have no waiting list. People self-refer and are usually seen within a week. When the premises are closed, there is a telephone answering machine which is responded to promptly on re-opening.

Low Cost Counselling

Most of the self employed counsellors will hold one or two spaces or agree to see clients at a reduced rate. Please phone the reception 01634 851558 as each one is discussed individually depending on the client’s circumstances.


Measurable proof of the value of counselling to the client has always been difficult to assess by scientific methods. However, clients return to their doctors and report great benefit and appreciation of the service they have received at St. Barnabas House. It is also made clear from the clients’ comments in the Centre, that they feel safe and reassured by the attention and care extended to them from the first contact by telephone with the Office staff, right through to good matching with an appropriate counsellor. The vast majority of clients return regularly for their appointments and benefit perceptibly over the weeks, – usually a clear indicator of a good counselling relationship and effective work. We also feel proud to have received some very encouraging testimonial evidence of the value placed on us by GPs and other professional counselling agencies. The same applies to our aromatherapist and our osteopaths.

It is true to say, that in this part of the South East, the St. Barnabas House Counselling and Therapy Centre is a new departure. We are neither a charity, nor an agency. This is unique in this area. It gives us the flexibility and autonomy to make decisions about the high standards and ethos for which we are becoming respected. There is a real respect for each others skills and a sense of loyalty and purpose about the Centre. The purpose is to put the client first, introduce them to the appropriate practitioner, at a price they can afford and do a thoroughly professional and completed piece of work.