Parent Support Line

Questions & Answers

Here's some of our frequently asked questions...

How do I know if I need counselling?

Here are some signs that might mean you need counselling. Some of these signs are fairly common; many young people will do the things on the list at some point. But when the things seem harder to cope with than they usually do or last longer than a few weeks, counselling is worth a try.

Long periods of sadness

You may seem to be sad for several days or weeks. Nothing helps you feel better. You try to have fun and do other things to distract you but nothing works. You may be tearful and not be able to stop. Young People often show sadness through their actions, so you might be getting into trouble more often than you normally would.

Living in the past

You may find yourself focussing more on the past than the present. Perhaps you can’t stop thinking about death, your parents’ divorce, or a recent difficult change etc. That is normal right after the event for a while, but not if you find it impossible to eventually move on and talk about the present.

Withdrawn behaviour

If you have little or no interest in being with friends and want to stay alone all the time. Perhaps you have stopped being able to have fun and can’t enjoy anything you do.


If you are hurting yourself or have thoughts about hurting yourself.

Problems saying good-bye

If you find it hard to say goodbye when you leave your parent or someone you care about on a daily basis. This is a problem if it never bothered you before.

Cannot concentrate

You may have a really hard time getting things done. You are often distracted. Perhaps you can’t settle on activities or jobs that you’d normally be able to do. You may not be able to follow instructions well and find it hard to concentrate.

Changes in daily habits

You may notice that you have changed what you normally do. You may have trouble getting up. Or you might not be able to get to sleep. You may have nightmares. You may eat much more or much less than before.

Feeling a sense of false responsibility or guilt

You may feel you are to blame for a parent’s divorce or a death. Or you may believe you have to take responsibility for a parent or a sibling.

Feeling angry

You may be feeling more angry than you normally would. Perhaps you are getting into fights or taking your anger out on others or yourself.

Feeling anxious and worried

If you are worrying a lot. You may be worrying about your work or that someone you love will die. Perhaps you feel worried but you’re not sure why.

Many young people do the things above at times. If the problems start suddenly after a divorce, death, or other stressful event, you may need extra support. Getting help is important if:
• the signs are more extreme than is normal for you
• they are lasting longer than you would like them to

How do I get some counselling?

If you want face-to-face counselling you need to contact us to let us have a few details. You can phone, text or email. If you find it hard to talk on the phone you can ask someone you trust to do this for you. Or, you can give your details by text chat to our online receptionist.

Once we have your details we’ll send a ‘how to’ guide with instructions to start your online counselling.

What information is needed to make a referral for face-to-face counselling?

When you contact us to make a referral for face-to-face counselling it would be helpful if you could give us the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Ethnic Origin
  • School or college
  • Contact details
  • GP name and address
  • Brief summary of why counselling is required
  • Relevant background information
  • Other agencies involved (where known)
  • Previous counselling history
  • Disabilities that may affect access to counselling

Does anyone have to know I am having counselling?

If you’re under 16, we prefer it if a parent or carer knows, but if you don’t want anyone to know, that’s OK; just tell us when you contact us. If you’re in primary school, we’ll need a parent or carer’s permission.

Is what I say confidential?

Yes! Confidentiality means not telling anyone else you’ve contacted us or about what you’ve said. We always want to keep your contact with TIC+ confidential, which means you can feel safe talking to us. We won’t give out any information about you without asking you, unless you want us to. The only reason we may not be able to keep things confidential is if we believe you or someone else is at serious risk of harm. If we have to tell someone else we will always try to discuss it with you first. Our counsellors may also need to confidentially share what you have talked about with their TIC+ supervisor to make sure they are giving you the best possible help that they can.

What happens in my counselling session?

Counselling is a safe place for you to talk about the things that are worrying you. The counsellor will listen without judging and will help you to find better ways to cope. They’ll always go at your pace and won’t ask you to share anything until you’re ready.

Can I choose a lady or a man as my counsellor?

Yes! We have male and female counsellors, just let us know which you’d prefer.

Where will the counsellor meet me?

You can meet your counsellor at your school or college, or at another suitable location near to where you live. One of our counsellors may already be based at your school but even if they’re not, we can still arrange for them to meet you there.

How long and frequent are the sessions?

Sessions usually last 50 minutes and take place weekly. You may only want to stay for a short while at first and you can bring someone with you to your first session if you like.

Do you keep notes of the counselling?

We keep notes about what you’ve told us that no one outside TIC+ will see. The notes are there to help us understand your situation better if you contact us again and don’t want to explain everything. We keep these notes securely for seven years. If you want access to your notes you will need to send us a request in writing.

How much does it cost?

If you contact us for support for yourself, the counselling is already funded by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group so there is no charge to you.

What if I have something to say about the TIC+ counselling service?

If you have anything you’d like to tell us about your contact with us at TIC+, we’d like to hear about it, please use the feedback form. If you’re unhappy about any aspect of our service, please let us know as soon as possible using the complaints form.