All sorts of people use Relate’s wide range of services to understand what’s going on in their relationship and change things for the better. If you have a question that is not answered here, please ask your counsellor or one of our admin team. You may also find the film below helpful.

    We support anyone who is distressed as a result of a relationship, whether current or past.
    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 also gives you a chance to explore complex or difficult issues in a safe and confidential environment.

    Counselling involves individuals, couples or family groups having sessions with a counsellor where they talk through an issue or work through a problem.

    The counsellor is trained to help people understand themselves better, relate better to others and make decisions about what to do next.

    Your counsellor will help you talk openly and honestly.

    We strongly believe we offer a good service but don't take our word for it read our testimonials and client feedback which is dotted throughout our Welcome and Service pages. We ask clients to complete a post counselling questionnaire and this is where these comments have come from. The comments are verbatim, completely unedited and we update them at least once a year. Please do take time to read them especially if you are new to the counselling process they may help to reassure you.

    You will initially have an assessment session with an experienced relationship counsellor.

    You and the Relate counsellor will discuss the issues you bring and how Relate works. Sometimes a one-off appointment can be enough to help you, but more likely your counsellor will recommend some ongoing Relate counselling. If your counsellor doesn’t think we are best placed to help, they may suggest another organisation that would be better placed to support you.

    When you first arrive you will be asked to fill out some forms in order to help the counsellor understand more about your situation and record your on-going progress. These forms are confidential and will not be shown to your partner. If you are unsure about how Relate will use any of the information held about you, please ask your counsellor or a member of staff.

    If you decide to have ongoing counselling the appointments team will discuss dates and times with you and match you to the next available regular slot. This may or may not mean you have to wait- it often depends on how flexible you can be - daytime appointments often being more available than evening ones.

    You might be coming to counselling with your partner, your family, a family member or alone. Many people also find it helpful to come on their own for counselling and sex therapy, whether or not they are in a relationship.

    The initial sessions will incorporate separate sessions to capture details and assess the issues you're facing and see whether couple counselling is the right way forward at this time.
    Sometimes your counsellor may suggest continuing separate sessions at Relate (or another specialist organisation) if we think this may be more beneficial to you and/or your relationship. The focus will always however always remain on your relationship. Your counsellor can talk the process through with you if necessary.

    Relate counsellors have all received specialist training in relationship counselling. It takes two to three years to become a fully-qualified Relate counsellor.

    They undergo further training to specialise in areas such as family counselling, children and young people counselling and sex therapy.

    Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a “counsellor-in-training”. Counsellors-in-training receive thorough academic and practical training and are carefully assessed throughout this process and after they qualify. All counsellors continue with on-going training and consultation with other professionals to make sure they give you the highest standard of counselling.

    No. You do not need a GP referral to make an appointment for our counselling services. Please just contact us directly and we'll help you find the right service for your needs.

    Relate Mid Thames and Buckinghamshire's counselling services are BACP accredited.

    Relate works to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) ethical framework for counselling professions, the College of Relationship and Sex Therapists (COSRT) and the Association for Family Therapy (AFT).
    The Department of Health’s publication, “Talking Therapies” also recommends Relate as a reputable provider of counselling.

    The cost of the an initial assessment is £75.

    The cost of ongoing sessions will be determined by your household income.

    People often ask why if we are a charity do we charge?
    Relate NTC is a 'not for profit' charity and the money that we charge goes straight back into providing the best service possible.
    We try to keep the cost of counselling as low as possible, but we need to make a charge to cover the cost of what we spend.

    We have a limited bursary fund for clients who cannot afford to pay the full cost.
    Please do ask us if you think a bursary is what you need.

    We also deliver funded services - further details under 'Services' tab.

    To confirm your appointment you will be asked for a payment in advance of all booked appointments.

    Yes. counselling is a very effective way of negotiating a separation or divorce. It can help you to process any emotions that you might be struggling to deal with, or bring the relationship to a conclusion with as little pain or misunderstanding as possible.
    Relate family counselling is an effective way of ensuring the voice of the child is heard in these difficult circumstances.

    Yes. We welcome all individuals and couples irrespective of how they identify in terms of sexuality or gender.
    All our services offer professional counselling support to LGBTQ+ couples, individuals and families.

    Our professionally trained counsellors will support you in a non-judgemental way . Our counsellors and trainers will always give you the respect you deserve.

    Family Counselling service does not rely on a strict definition of who constitutes a family, it can include parents, children, step parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, close family friends.

    You might find it useful to think about how you want counselling to help. For example, are you looking to feel better about something in the past or do you want to make a change to your life now?
    Please try to get to your first appointment in good time so that it allows you some space to settle and consider the issues you want to raise in the counselling room.

    We strive to offer you the best counselling experience in a professional, positive and informative way.
    We welcome feedback and want to hear your views on our services. Please do help us by completing the feedback questionnaire that you will be given after counselling.
    However if at any point you feel something isn't right then we want to know about it, so that we can sort it out.
    We have a concerns and complaints process and it is explained in a leaflet you can ask us for.
    Please do talk to us in person or call us or email to

    Relate offers private and confidential help to our clients.

    We will not give your name or any information about you to anyone outside Relate, unless someone's personal safety is at risk.

    We will give you more information about confidentiality when you come for your first session.

    First appointments are usually given with 1-2 weeks of contacting Relate.
    Counselling sessions are available at various times throughout the day and on several evenings a week until 9.00 p.m. You do need to make an appointment.
    Our appointment team will be able to give you details.

    Sessions are usually once a week for 50 minutes but this can be flexible according to your particular circumstances.

    Counselling will continue for as long as you and the counsellor feel it is helpful. The number of sessions depends on you.

    Most people find anything from six to ten sessions is about right for counselling, but Sex therapy can be a longer process.

    In Sex therapy, your therapist will carefully assess with you what the sexual difficulties are and how they can be helped.

    This usually means he or she will design a sequence of tasks and exercises that you complete together (if you’re attending with a partner) or individually at home.

    The therapist will discuss your progress at each session and work at your pace to build on new learning and experience.

    Sex therapy is a talking therapy and you will not be asked to undress or do anything sexual at the sessions.

    Violence and abuse is an issue for some people who come to us for help with their relationship.

    We know that in this situation working with both partners together may not be safe.

    If this is the case then we would suggest each partner receives individual specialist support either from Relate or another agency.

    The counsellor will explain at the first
    session how we work.

    Relate keeps confidential records and statistics about our clients. Records are kept for a limited period and are then destroyed.

    Relate complies with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

    We will give you more information about this when you come for your first session.

    If you are unable to keep an appointment, please telephone or email us as soon as possible and another appointment can be scheduled for you .

    However, if an appointment is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice, full payment will be due.

    No, it is not appropriate to bring your child or baby with you and we are unable to offer crèche facilities at our counselling locations. Even small babies can pick up on emotions in the counselling room and the counsellor will be able to support you best if your whole attention is given to the counselling process.

    If you are attending for family counselling it may be appropriate to bring a child with you if you have arranged this with your counsellor in advance. For a first assessment appointment for family counselling, please discuss the age/s of your children when booking and the appointments team will guide you as to what is suitable.

    Usually no one has to wait more than one week for an initial appointment. The waiting time for ongoing counselling depends on your availability and the centre you would like to attend.
    There may be a shorter wait time for daytime appointments (before 4pm)

    Yes. Whether you are single or your partner does not want to be involved you are welcome to attend.

    Yes we do.

    We will ask when booking in your initial appointment if there are any accessibility issues for us to consider.

    The only location where we will need to make alternative arrangements in advance for you is in our Aylesbury centre where there are steep stairs and no lift access. We are able to use an alternative private room in Citizen's Advice on the ground floor.

    Please see table showing access by location

    We are also able to offer you telephone counselling if you are unable to get to our locations.

    So please do tell us if there is anything we can help with in advance of your session.