14th December 2018 


Can We Help?

Most of us have times in our lives when we feel unable to cope and need help. Palace Gate Counselling Service (PGCS) may be able to help if you are going through such a time.

Difficulties from the past, painful experiences in the present or worries about the future may leave you unable to enjoy life or to achieve your aims and potential.

You do not need to be desperate to benefit from counselling.

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What is Counselling?

Counselling provides an opportunity for you to explore your difficulties and problems in a safe environment with the support of a trained counsellor. You will be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a way that can bring new understanding, both of the problems and of yourself.

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Who will I be dealing with?

You will be with a trained counsellor working within professional codes of practice and who meets regularly with a supervisor.

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How do I make an appointment?

Just telephone us (you do not need to be referred by anyone else). An initial appointment will be made for you as soon as possible. At this first appointment we can explore with you whether PGCS is the best place for you to get help. Following this first visit a counsellor will be allocated to you and counselling sessions can start. This first appointment is free.

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I feel nervous about coming!

Everyone you meet will be friendly and supportive. Every counsellor has also experienced counselling themselves—they know what it feels like. You will soon find it possible to build up the trust and security necessary.

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Who are we?

PGCS grew out of the work of the former Palace Gate Project in Exeter which formed the ‘Palace Gate Counselling Service’ in 1994. The project was founded by members of the Churches in Exeter, who find their motivation and commitment within the Christian faith. The spiritual dimension is an essential motivation for all counsellors who work in the service. It is not however a ’Christian’ Counselling service, but a general purpose service offered to all in need, without condition or discrimination of race, faith, class, culture, gender, marital status, physical disability, sexual orientation, or financial means.

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What does it cost?

The service which will be provided for you has to be paid for and so you will be asked to make a contribution according to your means, but no-one will be treated differently, because of what they pay.

The one exception to this is if you cannot come at a regular time. For example if you work shifts we can still see you but there is a minimum fee of 25 per session.

There is no charge for initial appointments.

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What happens at the Initial appointment?

The Initial Appointment is NOT a counselling session! During this appointment you will have a conversation with one of our senior counsellors, this usually lasts 20-30 minutes.

Its purpose is to a) ensure that PGCS is an appropriate place for you to come for counselling, b) get an outline of some of the issues which have brought you to make contact with us, c) establish your availability for counselling, d) agree how much you will pay for each session and e) decide how much counselling you will be offered as a start.

After the Initial Appointment— where appropriate you will be allocated a counsellor. You will then work with the same counsellor each week at the same time, for an hour a week.

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How long after the Initial Appointment will it take before Counselling starts?

We can have over 25 counsellors working with us at PGCS. We do our best to match an appropriate counsellor to you, so it is sometimes necessary to wait a little while for certain counsellors to become free. However, your availability is usually the most significant factor in how long you have to wait.

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How long can I come for?

At PGCS we work with clients in both a 'fixed term' and 'open ended' way. Which of these two you are initially offered will be decided at the initial interview.

'Fixed term' counselling can be helpful for dealing with a variety of issues in a focussed way, but sometimes much longer term work is necesary. For us fixed term is usually up to 10 weeks, although may be less in some instances (there is a process to switch from fixed term to open ended where it becomes clear that this would be most appropriate)

'Open ended' simply means that we have not put a planned stop date on the work but keep it under review as the work progresses. Where appropriate an 'open ended' contract can last for a significant period of time to allow space to deal with deep issues.

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Times of appointments

When can you come for counselling? Once counselling starts you will be seen once a week by the same counsellor and at the same time. Should this not be possible for some exceptional reason, please talk about it at the Initial Appointment. We cannot guarantee to be able to help, but we will try. Please think carefully about when you can come for counselling. The more flexible you can be the more quickly you are likely to be able to start counselling (most employers are now willing to release employees for counselling).

Childcare arrangements also need to be planned as it is not possible to bring children with you.

The centre in Exeter operates from 9am to 9pm Monday to Thursday
and from 9am to 5pm Friday.

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I can't find the answer to my question

If you have a question about Palace Gate Counselling Service, or Pheonix Counselling that hasn't been answered here or elsewhere on this site, do phone us.

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