Relationship counselling FAQs

Do I have to be referred to Marriage Care?

No. Many organisations and GPs do refer people to Marriage Care but you can contact us directly and register for our counselling services.

Is counselling open to everyone?

Our counselling service is open to all seeking help with their relationship and we welcome everybody over the age of 18.

However we can only offer counselling to those living in the UK.

What should we expect in a session?

A session lasts for 50 minutes. There will only be you, your partner, and the counsellor present in the room or the Zoom session if working online. Sessions are recorded with your consent, for supervision, training, and personal development purposes (anonymised). If counselling online over Zoom, we ask that you are both using the same device in the same location, on a stable internet connection, somewhere private and undisturbed where you cannot be overheard. Children are not permitted in the counselling space so it’s important you make arrangements for childcare if this is likely; the session will need to be halted if children are present. Your session is confidential within the limits of the law, client safety and the safety of others. Sessions are normally held at the same time and day each week.

Throughout their work with you, our counsellors are continually checking, reflecting, and reassessing what would be most helpful, and whether we are ‘the right help at the right time and in the right way’. Individual face to face appointments are an important and usual part of the way we work with clients – even if the majority of the work is taking place online over Zoom.

How can counselling help me?

Counselling helps you take time out from your situation and see it from a fresh perspective. Working with a counsellor gives you, or you and your partner, a chance to think about what you can do to change your situation for the better. It can also give you a chance to explore complex or difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment.

Is Marriage Care relationship counselling confidential?

Marriage Care counselling is confidential within the limits of the law, client safety and the safety of others.

Do Marriage Care counsellors have professional training?

Marriage Care counsellors have all received professional training in relationship counselling. Our services are provided by both experienced and counsellors-in-training, which contributes towards Marriage Care’s ability to provide low-cost counselling services. Our counsellors only begin seeing clients following a significant period of academic study. They receive regular supervision and are committed to ongoing professional development to ensure we maintain good practice.

As an organisational member of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) we are bound by its Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, the Ethical Guidelines for Researching Counselling and Psychotherapy (where organisations undertake research) and subject to the Professional Conduct Procedure for the time being in force.

Will I have to pay a fee?

Marriage Care is a registered charity, however we charge a fixed fee of £25 for our counselling sessions, and invite clients to make a donation on top of this fee wherever possible. We also request a non-refundable registration fee of £25 which covers the whole registration process including an initial appointment to understand your circumstances. You will never be turned away because you cannot afford to give very much, please contact the Appointments Service if you would like to discuss this.  All of our counsellors are highly trained professionals but they receive no payment for the sessions they provide – giving their time on an entirely voluntary basis. However, in order to maintain their ongoing training, supervision and the overall service each session costs Marriage Care around £65. You can read more about this in our useful donations guide leaflet at the bottom of this page.

How do I get an appointment?

You can register on-line, which  includes paying a £25 non-refundable registration fee and completing an initial survey that will be emailed to you and your partner, or just to you if you register as an individual. Shortly after the surveys are completed you will  be offered an initial appointment for us to understand your circumstances and how Marriage Care can best support you.If our relationship counselling service is the best option for you, then you will be placed on our waiting list for counselling sessions. 

When a counselling session is available for you our appointments team will contact you with the details. Please be aware that our calls will come from a withheld/private number. 

If you have any issues with the registration process you can call the Appointments Service on 0800 389 3801  between Mon – Thurs (9am–6 pm). Please note we are often closed on Wednesday between 12 pm–2 pm for staff training. 

How long will I have to wait?

There is likely to be a waiting list for counselling but once you have taken the first step by registering with us, we will keep in regular contact with you and will telephone you as soon as an appointment becomes available.

Where do I go for my counselling sessions?

We have a range of venues in various location which are listed on our booking page, but we also offer counselling via webcam (zoom) or, if you are attending on your own, telephone counselling is also available.

Can I have relationship counselling on my own?

Yes. You will be welcomed either on your own or with your partner. If attending as a couple you will need be in the same location using the same device.

 How long is the counselling process?

You will have regular weekly appointments. The number of appointments you have will be agreed between you and your counsellor; up to eighteen sessions.

How long is a counselling session?

Sessions usually last for fifty minutes.

Can we bring children with us?

No; please make sure you can access our webcam or telephone counselling without being disturbed by children, as this will distract from the counselling process.

What do I do if I am unhappy about the counselling I receive?

We welcome your comments about your experience with Marriage Care and when the counselling comes to an end you will be emailed a link to a short survey where you can leave your comments. However, if you are unhappy with any aspect of our service please tell us. You can address your concerns/comments to our Marriage Care National Support Office:

278-290 Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, NG1 3LY

0800 389 3801.


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