Life Force Centre

Life Force Centre
Life Force Centre

Monday, 31 March 2014


How do I make an appointment?

You can email us on or ring the office on 01206 791661 and speak to either Nicky, Alison or Karen. If the office is closed and we are unavailable to take your call, please leave a message on the confidential answer phone and we will get back to you asap. We will then take your details and begin the referral process. If you email us could you please let us know your contact details as we need to speak to you in order to take your information.

I need to make a difficult choice, will the counsellor tell me what to do?

The aim of counselling is not for your counsellor to tell you what to do, but is rather to help you explore the situation so that you can reach your own decision as to what to do for the best.

I’ve been to your website and have seen a counsellor I’d like to have sessions with. Can I pick him?

This will depend on the specific Team Counsellor’s fee and availability; if these meet your needs then we would refer you to your chosen counsellor. With this in mind it’s a good idea to perhaps choose a few counsellors from the website and then the office will aim to refer you to one of these if at all possible. If this does not turn out to be possible then we will do our best to find you a counsellor with a similar approach and specialist area of expertise.

I don’t want my GP to know about the counselling I’m having. Does he have to know?

As long as you are seeing a qualified counsellor we would not inform your GP that you are attending counselling at LIFE-FORCE. The only time we would contact your GP would be if your counsellor had a serious concern regarding your physical, emotional or mental wellbeing.

How confidential is it really?

Confidentiality is really important and LIFE-FORCE has a Confidentiality Policy to which all team counsellors are required to adhere. All of our team counsellors are members of BACP and as such are required to attend monthly supervision where they discuss their client work. However, all clients are presented under a pseudonym and any identifying details are never described.
There are situations where your counsellor may need to breach confidentiality in order to comply with the policies and procedures of LIFE-FORCE and BACP . These are as follows:

~ If you are considered to be a serious risk to yourself or to other people, then further professional advice could be beneficial.
~ Any illegal activities and acts of terrorism where not to disclose would break the law.
~ Any child protection issues where a child could be at risk of harm or neglect must be reported to the appropriate authorities as required by The Children Act 1989.

However, depending on the circumstances, your counsellor would always aim to seek your consent prior to disclosing any confidential information to the relevant professional person or organisation.

Do I need to ask my GP to refer me?

We operate an open access policy which means you can self-refer to our Counselling Service. However, if you wish to access our low cost service and see one of our student counsellors on placement at the Centre, then GP confirmation of suitability to see a trainee will be needed prior to the offer of ongoing counselling sessions. The office will arrange this for you once they have taken all of your details.

I have a history of serious mental health issues. Will I still be able to see a trainee?

If you have a history of serious mental health problems then we would not offer you an initial assessment session with a trainee until we have received clarification from your GP confirming suitability to see a trainee.

My relative/friend is seeing a LIFE-FORCE counsellor, will I be seeing the same person?

Due to confidentiality and in order to maintain good ethical practice you would be referred to a different counsellor from the one someone close to you know is seeing.

I have issues with men. Can I ask to see a female counsellor?

We always ask all clients at the referral stage whether they would prefer to see a male or female counsellor, and then we aim to accommodate this preference if we possibly can.

I just found out I was adopted and I need to speak to someone. Do you have counsellors for that?

For anyone who has adoption issues and needs to work through these the law requires that the counsellor is ASA (Adoption Support Agency) Registered. We do have a few team members who have this professional registration and we would check their availability and fees for you.

I work all week and have children to look after. Do you have any sessions at weekends?

We are open in the evenings during the week and also have some counsellors who work Saturday and Sunday mornings.

How long will it be before I have my first session?

The LIFE-FORCE office always aims to arrange the initial assessment session within a few working working days of contacting the service.

How long does a session last?

An individual counselling session lasts 50 minutes and couple counselling work is usually for a longer amount of time. Family Therapy sessions could take as long as 90 minutes but this depends on the number of members in the family who are attending the session.

How many sessions will I need?

Once you have attended your initial assessment session with your counsellor, if you both decide you wish to continue working together, then you will be offered either a short term contract, usually 6 weeks or an open longer term contract depending on what is most applicable.

What happens if I cancel a session?

Once you and your counsellor agree to work together you will be given a Client Therapy Contract which will include a cancellation arrangement. If you are unable to attend at any time then you will need to contact your counsellor and let them know. If you do not give the agreed amount of notice, then you would usually be required to pay a cancellation fee which is generally the cost of one session.

How do I pay?

Session fees are paid directly to your counsellor at either at the start or end of each session and payment should be by cash or cheque made payable to your counsellor.

Will the counsellor write reports for me?

Your counsellor will write a report for you about the therapeutic work if you need them to for some professional reason. Normally there would be an additional charge for this service. Your counsellor may keep brief case notes about your sessions however, these will be stored in a secure location and will be destroyed after 7 years.

What if I don’t get on with the therapist? 

We always tell all clients at the referral stage that if you don’t connect with the counsellor that we refer you to then you can contact the office who will arrange an appointment to see a different counsellor. We always do our best to find the right counsellor to suit the needs of each individual client enquiry.

I can’t get a babysitter for my 9 year old daughter. Can I bring her with me?

Unfortunately we do not have a creche or child-care facilities. Due to the nature of counselling and the need for quiet, therapeutic space it would not be beneficial to bring children to the counselling sessions; unless, of course, it is for child or family counselling sessions.

I’m in a wheelchair. Is LIFE-FORCE accessible? Do you have disabled parking?

LIFE-FORCE has a disabled-friendly policy and we will do our best to accommodate the needs of disabled clients. The building is furnished with a disabled ramp at the rear of the premises, and providing the wheelchair is not wider than 27 inches, then disabled access is possible. Depending on the time of day, disabled parking can be provided, alternatively visitors can be dropped off at the back entrance to the Centre. We also have a ground floor therapy room for clients who cannot manage the stairs. Visitors who can manage the three front steps and have a disabled blue car-parking badge can park outside the front of the building and can then enter via the front door.

Someone will be bringing me to my sessions. Is there somewhere they can wait for me?

Visitors are welcome to wait in either the Rainbow Room if free or alternatively they can wait in the Centre’s kitchen where they can make a hot drink whilst waiting for a friend or relative.

I’ve had 6 sessions funded by my GP practice but I can’t afford to pay for any more sessions. Does this mean I have to stop coming?

If you can’t afford to continue with your qualified counsellor in a self-funding capacity you can close the work and then your counsellor can refer you back to the LIFE-FORCE office with a request for low cost counselling with one of our mature students on placement at the Centre.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?

Please feel free to phone the office and speak to either Nicky, Alison or Karen who will do their best to answer any other questions or concerns that you may have.

3 East Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 2QL
Telephone Number 01206 791661

What is Counselling?

Counselling is a process which involves skills of caring and listening and prompting. A counsellor will be supportive but give little or no direct advice, since the aim is to help the individual to develop insights into their own problems.

Through talking and sharing a person is helped to explore their thoughts, possibly difficult or painful feelings and related behaviours and thereby reach a clearer self understanding. During this exploration the person is helped to find and use their inner resources and strengths so that they can cope more effectively with life by making appropriate decisions and taking relevant action.

Longer term counselling tends to deal with more deep-seated personal issues which may bring about really profound changes and the healing of old hurts. In the process of therapy the person is encouraged to look closely at their past, their childhood and their relationships with their parents and other important people. This exploration helps increase awareness and understanding of current patterns and negative habits that may have become unconscious, daily habits and so lead to possible change and self-growth.

What Is Offered? 

A wide range of therapeutic approaches are offered and can be selected to meet the needs of each individual client.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 

This therapy is based on the concept that the way we think (cognitive) about things affects how we feel emotionally and how we act (the behaviour). While it recognises that past events may influence present thoughts and behaviours it focuses on alleviating difficulties in the here and now. The counsellor helps the client to identify, question and change negative or self-destructive thoughts, thus altering habitual responses and behaviour. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy thus focuses on present thinking, behaviour and communication rather than on past experiences and is orientated towards problem solving (goal orientated). It is usually a more short term approach to problems such as phobias, panic attacks, obsessions and addictions

Integrative Approach 

Many of our team members have trained at LIFE-FORCE and are therefore able to offer an integrative approach to counselling. This way of working is based on the Humanistic/Rogerian approach where the therapy is client-led, while at the same time the counsellor draws on and integrates other theories such as the psychodynamic model into their practice. This means the counsellor can provide a more interactive exchange which is still non-analytical, yet is adaptable to suit the needs of each individual client. The client is encouraged to explore their feelings and take responsibility for their thoughts and actions, with an emphasis on self-development and achieving their highest potential through creative exploration to resolve personal issues. The work can be both short or long term depending upon which will be of most benefit to the client.

Person-Centred Approach 

Person-centred Therapy (also known as Client-Centred, or Rogerian Therapy) is based on the fundamental belief that human beings are essentially trustworthy, social and creative and that given the right conditions can reach their full potential for growth The counsellor, by providing the core conditions of empathy, acceptance and honesty, creates a safe space within which the client can freely express their problems, difficult emotions and feelings. The Person-centred approach takes the view that the client knows best with regard to themselves & their inner world and therefore the counsellor’s approach is non-directive enabling the client to explore issues and gain self-understanding plus greater self-esteem. The long term aim of this particular approach is the development of inner resources and the ability to perceive oneself as a whole person with the power and freedom to grow & change.

Person-Centred Therapeutic Art Work 

Some therapist’s also offer therapeutic use of art as a powerful and effective means of self exploration and personal growth.

Psychodynamic Approach 

Psychodynamic counselling is based on the importance of the unconscious and past experiences and how these can both influence and determine current behaviours, often creating inner conflict and undesirable reactions. The term psychodynamic means ‘of/or pertaining to the laws of mental actions’, implying there is a link between mind and action. The counsellor therefore encourages the exploration of difficult childhood relationships so that the client becomes aware of how these previous experiences are causing the compulsion to repeat past behaviours. The counsellor works in a more analytical style and makes use of the client/counsellor relationship in a way that aims to help the client gain insight into current relationship issues and problems. This type of counselling generally tends to be longer term to allow time for the client to work through past issues to a point of awareness and the potential for conscious change

Couples Counselling 

Couples counselling offers the parties in a relationship to work through their difficulties with a counsellor trained in this area of work. Couples counselling is for any couple experiencing conflict in their relationship. This relationship may not necessarily be an intimate relationship – it can for example be between family members, or workplace relationships between colleagues or employee/employer. The counsellor acts as a facilitator to help the couples identify areas of conflict and stuck patterns of communication and behaviour, providing a safe space where both parties can express their perceptions and expectations of the relationship. The aim is to help the couple come to a mutually suitable outcome, helping the couple to decide on what changes in behaviour and communication will help to resolve the problems. If the couple decide to separate or divorce then the counsellor can provide emotional support to help the couple negotiate through this painful process.

When Can It Help? 

We offer counselling to people of all ages, men, women, children, couples and families from any kind of background, at any stage in their life.

Gender Identity
Self Harm
Loss & Bereavement
Death & Dying
Sexuality Issues
Anger Management
Panic Attacks
Special Needs
Domestic Violence
Post-Natal Depression
Eating Disorders
Family Conflict
Gay & Lesbian Issues
Self Esteem
Weight Control

Counselling provides a safe, supportive and confidential setting in which to explore painful feelings which may include fear, loneliness, anger, sadness and grief.

3 East Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 2QL 
Telephone Number 01206 791661



The LIFE-FORCE Centre is a professional private BACP Accredited Counselling Service & Counselling School situated in the heart of Colchester, close to the town centre on East Hill.

The Centre occupies a grade II listed building which has been renovated to a high standard and tastefully furnished to provide a comfortable, warm & inviting atmosphere. The building also fully meets with the required Health & Safety Standards.

  *LIFE-FORCE Organisation was founded in 1990

  *The Centre was established in 1994

  *The School of Counselling was formed in 1995

  *The Counselling Training Programme gained BACP Accreditation in February 2005

  *The Therapeutic Counselling Service gained BACP Accreditation in March 2007

3 East Hill, Colchester, Essex CO1 2QL 
Telephone Number 01206 791661