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NHS counselling - are 20 minute sessions the norm?

(17 Posts)
Prolesworth Tue 19-Jul-11 10:00:56

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madmouse Tue 19-Jul-11 10:02:15

No my sessions were always a full hour. It depends what kind of counselling it is, but after 20mins I was only just about ready to start talking about the painful stuff!

Prolesworth Tue 19-Jul-11 10:02:22

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Prolesworth Tue 19-Jul-11 10:03:43

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cestlavielife Tue 19-Jul-11 13:59:58

i got one hour sessions on nhs via gp

ristretto Tue 19-Jul-11 14:13:59

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GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Tue 19-Jul-11 14:16:39

That is rubbish. Twenty minutes? What a bloody waste of time. I'm sorry OP that you're getting such crappy treatment. I cannot believe that any therapist worth their salt could condone a twenty minute session. There are just so many reasons why twenty minutes is not good enough. Can you go back to your GP or whoever referred you?

mycatthinksshesatiger Tue 19-Jul-11 14:17:04

It's usually 50mins or an hour - was it an "assessment" session? A kind of chat an maybe form-filling exercise to see what your aims are for the sessions etc? They are often shorter in length than the main therapy sessions depending on organisational policy. Did you get any kind of written info about the standard length of sessions?

Isthreetoomany Tue 19-Jul-11 14:26:11

I know someone who works in counselling and who has talked about this happening, as part of the public sector spending cuts. she is a counsellor herself and in her local area there is apparently (understandably) a lot of resistance from counsellors to work to these short sessions, but it is according to her part of how they are being told to see more people but use less funds.

skintoff Tue 19-Jul-11 16:33:19

In my area you have an initial assessment carried out which determines what 'level' of counselling you will recieve.
First off I got six 30 minutes sessions which was then upgraded to up to ten 50 minute sessions.
I am currently mid way through my counselling and it is only now that I feel comfortable enough to discuss some of my issues as the counsellor was changed from one level to the next.
Do you have another appt booked?
I had to wait 4 months from my assessment till the sessions began (30 min ones) Wonder if that is what has happened with you?

Prolesworth Tue 19-Jul-11 20:32:19

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GhostInTheBackOfYourHead Wed 20-Jul-11 10:56:37

Sorry to only see your post now. Yes, ask for clarification next week. I'm sorry you're disappointed. It's particularly rubbish for things like this to happen when you're a bit vulnerable. I hope you get some longer sessions iin the future.

Prolesworth Wed 20-Jul-11 11:22:49

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TigerseyeMum Tue 02-Aug-11 09:00:46

Ah, the way most services work now is you get a 20 minute triage which counts as a 'session' but then subsequent sessions will be either 30 minute telephone CBT sessions, 60 minute face to face CBT sessions or 50 minute face to face counselling sessions.

It sounds like you have been triaged, which is different to actual counselling sessions. Although if it was your first session with the counsellor one of the things (at least) you could expect to happen is a discussion of duration and frequency of sessions.

NHS counselling is in a mess at the moment though with most budgets being cut so traditional services are being ousted in favour of quick, cheap, target-based interventions.

I do counselling, CBT and triage on the NHS and it is a real fight to provide good treatment in the present climate (hence the long hours and lots of unpaid overtime) hmm

I suspect most NHS counsellors will flee to private practise before long (I will as soon as I can)

Hope it gets better for you.

Triggles Wed 03-Aug-11 20:45:10

Wow. DH was told by GP (over a year ago) that they could only offer "phone counselling" that took literally almost 4 months to set up and was useless - the counsellor rang DH and chatted to him a couple times, a week apart, for maybe 10 minutes or so, and that was it. DH ASKED GP for actual face-to-face counselling and she said it wasn't available on the NHS. And they had assessed him as being fairly high risk level of depression according to the counsellor on the phone. grrrrrrr

TigerseyeMum Wed 03-Aug-11 21:09:03

No, many areas no longer have counselling on the NHS because the NHS has moved to 'evidence-based' therapies such as CBT and guided self help.

In our area counselling funding has been cut by 75% so few people receive it.

I do telephone and face to face CBT but as I am a trained counsellor I also offer a few sessions of counselling per week on top of my regular hours. I get a nominal amount of pay for it and when the money runs out I will either offer it for free or stop doing it.

We are pretty good in our area though - we see people within a week for some interventions, whereas I know people in other areas who have waited more than a year and still have been offered nothing.

TigerseyeMum Wed 03-Aug-11 21:09:46

Just to add - counselling is no longer available because GPs - who by and large have had the spending power - have chosen not to fund it.

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