FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have many questions about counselling in Edinburgh at the PF Counselling Service. Hopefully this list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions will help. If not, please get in touch!

Click the question to jump to the answer…

What does the ‘PF’ stand for?
When can I receive counselling with the PF?
How much does it cost?
How many sessions do you offer?
What is counselling?
Who or what is a counsellor?
Who can come to PF Counselling?
Do I need to be referred?
Do you offer CBT?
Do you offer counselling to couples?
I submitted a Request Form, why have I not heard anything yet?
I have been for an Initial Appointment, why have I not heard about regular counselling yet?

What does ‘PF’ stand for?

The Pastoral Foundation is the original registered name of the charity. In 1986 a group of people associated with the local churches felt that there was a need to offer a listening service in the area. The name Pastoral Foundation was given to the service at that time because they considered that the term “Pastoral” was appropriate to the caring nature of the service offered.

The original listening service developed into a professional counselling service offering generic counselling to individuals and couples from all over Edinburgh and the Lothians and Borders. Over the years we found that members of the public thought that the name Pastoral Foundation indicated that it was a religious or church based service. To avoid this misconception the service was renamed the PF Counselling Service.

When can I receive counselling with the PF?

We work on an appointments system and there is usually a waiting list of people who would like counselling. We aim to see you for an initial appointment within around 6-8 weeks of receiving your Request Counselling form, but after that it is currently 6 - 12 weeks before a regular space is available.

The more flexible you can be with your availability and preferences, the more quickly we are likely to be able to allocate you to a counsellor.  We recently allocated a client to a Thursday morning appointment within 5 weeks of receiving their application, because of their flexibility and the availability of an appropriate counsellor. Evening sessions are in high demand.

We also have a limited Fast Track service designed for clients without financial restrictions who would like to be seen immediately by a qualified counsellor.

How much does it cost?

Although our counsellors are volunteers and do not receive any payment for their work at the PF, the counselling service has considerable costs such as premises, administrative staff, supervision and training costs. We do not receive any guaranteed regular funding from central or local government and we rely primarily on our own fundraising efforts, together with donations and contributions from our users, in order to keep the counselling service open. The typical cost of private counselling elsewhere is around £45 per session.

As part of your commitment to counselling, we encourage all clients to make a financial contribution based on what is genuinely affordable to you. This regular weekly donation is discussed during the initial appointment and reviewed throughout the counselling work.  Donations are generally in the region of £5 – £45.

If client fees are paid by an employer or another organisation then £45 per session is charged.

How many sessions do you offer?

The PF offers up to 12 sessions of counselling initially, with an option of extending to longer term work.

Regular sessions last for 50 minutes and you would need to be available for these on the same day and time each week. Sometimes only a few sessions are required and you and your counsellor will know if it is appropriate to end sooner than the initial 12 sessions. After this period you can discuss with your counsellor whether to extend your counselling.

What is counselling?

Sometimes we can feel unable to cope, depressed, anxious, alone or facing some difficulty we cannot see our way out of. Counselling offers time dedicated to you, with someone who has the skills and commitment to help you work though the issues that are affecting you. Counselling can also be beneficial for people who want to explore their own potential for personal change or growth.

For a short video about counselling made by the professional body in Scotland, click here.

Who or what is a Counsellor?

A counsellor is someone who is professionally trained to listen to your problems sensitively and with an open mind. To understand as fully as possible what is concerning you and how it is affecting your life. Without “judging” or offering “advice” a counsellor can help you to become more aware of your own inner resources and how you can use these to help you cope and discover new ways of dealing with difficult feelings, people or situations. A counsellor will work with you within an environment of absolute respect and confidentiality. All PF Counsellors work within strict professional/ethical guidelines.

Who can come to PF Counselling?

The PF offers counselling based on a mind, body, spirit approach to life and life’s difficulties. The service is available to any individual over the age of 18.

Do I need to be referred?

No. You can self-refer to the PF by completing the Request Counselling form.

Do you offer CBT?

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is sometimes recommended by doctors and others as it has been shown to be effective for some people with problems such as depression and anxiety. It is increasingly being provided by the NHS as an alternative to drugs in such situations.

At the PF we have a wide range of counsellors from many different therapeutic traditions. We believe that all counselling can help with the many problems people face in life and we do not focus on any one therapy or style. The PF does not offer specific courses in CBT, and cannot provide a ‘CBT counsellor’.

Do you offer counselling to couples?

No, not usually.  Couple counselling requires specialist training, which only some of our counsellors have had, so we can only offer it when such a counsellor is available.  You might like to approach Bright Light, which is a specialist couples counselling service.

I submitted a Request Form, why have I not heard anything yet?

Unfortunately, demand for our services means that there is a waiting list even for an Initial Appointment.  You can keep up to date about our waiting list and waiting times by visiting our Waiting List page.  When we are able to offer you an appointment at a time when you have said you are available, we will phone or email you.

  • Did you receive an email from us when you filled in the Request Form, containing a copy of the details you submitted?  If so, you can be sure you are on our waiting list and we will be in touch as soon as possible.  If not, please get in touch to check whether we received your form.
  • If possible, please add pfcounselling.org.uk to your list ‘not junk’ or ‘not spam’ of email addresses.  We have found sometimes that offers of appointments have been filtered by clients’ Junk of Spam systems and diverted away from their Inbox.  This seems to apply particularly to people using AOL and Hotmail email systems. Please check your Spam folder regularly.

I have been for an Initial Appointment, why have I not heard about regular counselling yet?

Unfortunately, demand for our services means that there is a waiting list for regular counselling after Initial Appointment.  You can keep up to date about our waiting list and waiting times by visiting our Waiting List page.  When we are able to offer you an appointment with a suitable counsellor at a time when you have said you are available, we will phone or email you. Make sure you let us know if your availability changes.

If possible, please add pfcounselling.org.uk to your list ‘not junk’ or ‘not spam’ of email addresses.  We have found sometimes that offers of appointments have been filtered by clients’ Junk of Spam systems and diverted away from their Inbox.  This seems to apply particularly to people using AOL and Hotmail email systems. Please check your Spam folder regularly.