Hilary McMeeking | Counselling in Cheltenham | Fees

Fees and Frequently Asked Questions

Taking the first step and starting counselling can be daunting. With that in mind, I offer a free, no obligation, starter session for you to see what it's like.

The first session lasts around 30 minutes, so it doesn't feel too much all at once. You will have time to say a little about why you find yourself seeking counselling now and what you'd like to get from it. During this time I hope you will get a feel for what it would be like to work together going forward. I am flexible with timescales and we can meet once a week for a few sessions for short-term work (for example, if you are trying to make a difficult decision and need help to see things more clearly) or we can work longer-term. We can discuss this in our first session.


If you decide to continue after your initial session, appointments are 60 minutes long and cost £55 payable by BACs in advance.


I also hold 2 low cost places on a waiting list system, please ask for details. 


Please contact me if you'd like to book a session.


Q. I'd like to book an appointment, what do I do?

A. Call or email me and we can arrange a convenient time for you, with some evening slots available. If I am with a client I will be unavailable to take your call, so leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. If you decided to email I will respond within 24 hours, please check your junk mail if you haven't heard back from me within that time.

Q. What will my first session be like? 

A. It is important to feel safe and comfortable with me so in this no obligation session you will have the opportunity to say something about why you want to come to counselling, as well as what you'd like to get out of our time together. You can ask any questions you might have about counselling and the process, and I can let you know what to expect from future sessions. So this is an opportunity to get to know each other a little and see if we think we can work together. 

Q. What do I do next if I decide to go ahead with counselling?


A. At the first session you can either book in at the end of our time together or go away and have a think about it and let me know by email. Once you decide, and are all booked in, I will send you a few bits of paperwork to complete and then we are ready to go! Each session is an hour long and counselling works best with regular attendance. It really is important that you can set aside an hour a week for yourself, in order to get the most out of our time together. If the cost of weekly sessions is prohibitive let me know and we can look at fortnightly sessions. Anything further apart than that is not so effective, making it also not very cost effective either!

Q. How many sessions will I need?

A. This depends on each individual, what you would like to work on and where the work takes us. Person Centred Counselling is not a quick fix but because of this it is more lasting and effective. The average length of time for a client to be in counselling would be between 12 and 20 sessions, however it is very common for clients to come for much longer than this. We can review our work together regularly and this is an opportunity for you to tell me if I'm working in the way you like as well as talk about how things have changed for you, for example your goals for the future may have shifted and our work may start to take a different turn.

Q. Is everything we talk about confidential?

A. Yes, this is a confidential space, the only exceptions are:

  • If you are disclosing that you are thinking about seriously harming yourself or others.

  • If you believe a child or protected adult is at risk of harm

I will always discuss breaking confidentiality with you before I do so in the above circumstances.

However I am legally required to report any handling or acquiring of proceeds of crime. The law also requires me to report any knowledge of terrorism. It is an offence for me to notify you if I need to report criminal activity.

As part of my ethical code of practice I see a supervisor once a month where I discuss my case load. No identifying information will be shared.

Q. What if I need to cancel my appointment?

A. Cancellation is free up to 1 day before your appointment. Anything less than a days notice incurs the full fee of £55. If you are unable to attend for 3 weeks or more (not including holidays or illness) I will email you to check that you still want to attend. If I hear nothing back I will be unable to keep a space open for you after that, though you are welcome to return at any time but may have to stay on a waiting list until space becomes available.

Q. What happens if I'm unavoidably late?

A. You can still come to your session for whatever time is left of it. However it may still need to close at the prearranged time if I have a client straight afterwards.

Q. Will counselling feel difficult?

A. Counselling can feel difficult, emotional and even painful. Initially you may feel better but sometimes things may feel worse as counselling can include you working through difficult events from your life. It is important not to stop when it feels difficult though, as the benefits of working through the ups and downs of emotions or pain or stuckness is what we are working towards and will bring about the positive changes on the other side. At all times, I am here with you, to hold the space for you and journey alongside you, so you won't be alone in your pain or difficult feelings which crop up along your chosen path.

Q. What's it all about anyway and how does it work?

A. It is my belief that psychological distress occurs when a person loses sight of themselves. This can result in anxiety and lead to feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and lack of direction. Counselling often includes working through events both now and in the past as well as relationships with significant people in your life now and from childhood. We can get stuck in patterns of behaviour without realising it and looking back can often illuminate why we feel or behave as we do in the here and now. For example you may feel frightened or silenced by someone else's anger at work yet otherwise, in most situations, you are able to feel confident and able, this may be a puzzle, yet uncovering past events in your life can help illuminate why this happens to you. Being able to spot these connections can be the first step to deciding how and what you want to change. Our focus can then be on helping you to make these changes and become you again. As you can see, this can take time as unravelling the past is never easy and making changes can also be a bumpy ride.

Q. What if you say something that I'm not happy with?

A. I am very open to you telling me if I have something wrong or not 'got' you in any way. I really welcome this sort of conversation, even if it feels difficult, as it can be a very growthful part of our journey towards your goals.

Q. What is Person Centred Counselling?

A. Person Centred therapy is a humanistic talk therapy with a client lead approach. The therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator, listening without judgment and acknowledging the client’s experience without moving the conversation in another direction. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery. You will do most of the talking. I will not judge or try to interpret what you say, but may restate your words in an attempt to fully understand your thoughts and feelings. When you hear your own words repeated back to you, you may then wish to self-edit and clarify your meaning. This helps you decide whether you have expressed exactly what you are thinking and how you feel and we can work together with these thoughts and feelings in order to move forwards. I will use sensitive challenge and questions to help you focus on what you would like to achieve from the session and your time in counselling as a whole. I will help you to find other ways of looking at situations in order to find reasons for things to make more sense of them. This client-focused process facilitates your self-discovery, self-acceptance, and is a gentle journey toward healing and positive growth.

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