Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire's services

What are your Privacy, Cookie, Data Protection and Confidentiality Statements? 

Protection of your personal data and your confidentiality is critical to everything we do here at Relate Dorset. This is outlined in our GDPR, Privacy and Cookies Statement.

Can counselling help me?

We counsel anyone who is distressed as a result of a relationship, whether current or past. We can work with you and/or your partner or other family members  to help you understand your relationship and your feelings and then empower you to make the decisions that are right for you both.

What is the cost of counselling?

Relate is a charity and each session costs significantly more than the fee we are asking for, which is a contribution of £65 for an evening appointment and £55 for daytime for Relationship Counselling, £70 for Family Counselling and £55 for Young People’s Counselling.

If you think you’ll find it difficult to pay, you may be able to access our bursary scheme, and we can discuss this with you when you speak to our booking team on 01302 380 900 or 01722 569 028 for Salisbury or use the enquiry form. 

How do I pay for my appointment?

We take payment in advance to secure your appointment. We offer a secure pay online option through an email link or payment can be made over the phone on a secure system too.

We have a strict 48 hour cancellation policy.

Do you offer Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is not currently available with Relate Dorset & South Wilts, but we work closely with organisations that can offer the service and we would be delighted to help you find a Family Mediator to suit your needs.  Please contact us through the enquiry form at the top of the page.

Where can I see a Relate Counsellor?

We offer counselling across Dorset, in Salisbury and Yeovil. See our list of locations for maps and contact information.

What training do your counsellors have?

All our relationship counsellors receive training in couple counselling, both theory and practice.

Our Children and Young People’s counsellors must have relevant training as well as experience of working with youngsters.  All our counsellors also undertake ongoing professional development and have close clinical supervision.

Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire follows the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy’s ethical framework and the Relate Federation’s own principles and policies.

How do I make an appointment?

Please call us on 01302 380 900.  We can take calls Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.  For our Salisbury office please call 01722 569 028.  They take calls Tuesday to Thursday (12pm - 4pm).

Outside these hours, or if the line is busy, for both locations the service reverts to answerphone, we will respond at the earliest opportunity to your message. You can also email us or if you are in the Salisbury area.

What happens when I come for an appointment?

Usually you will be asked to complete some paperwork prior to seeing the counsellor. At present as we are telephone, webcam and some face to face appointments a link to complete this paperwork will be emailed to you prior to the appointment.

The counsellor will see you/speak with you for an initial assessment, which is a 50-minute appointment. This gives you the opportunity to talk through your issues with the counsellor. If you decide to have on-going counselling we then look for a weekly appointment to suit you.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?

You will need to telephone 01302 380 900 or 01722 569 028 or alternatively email us at or giving at least 48 hours notice or complete the form by clicking on Contact us.

Is there a waiting list?

This depends on where/how you want to be seen and how flexible you can be. The admin team will give you a better indication when you contact us as availability varies from week to week depending on client demand and counsellor workloads.

Do I have to be referred to Relate by my GP?

Your GP may suggest you come to Relate but we do not have a formal referral process for adult counselling.

CAMHS may make a referral for Children and Young People’s counselling.

The Dorset Families Matter team may make a referral for appropriate counselling.

Can I come to counselling on my own?

You can come as a couple or alone for relationship counselling or family counselling.  You do not even have to be currently in a relationship. We are open to all and welcome anybody whether you're straight or LGBTQ+. Children and Young Person's counselling is usually just for the young person to attend.

Can I bring my children with me to counselling?

No, it’s not normally appropriate to bring your child or baby with you for relationship counselling and we are unable to offer creche 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.

Are your counselling sessions confidential?

Yes, all Relate counsellors work under a strict code of confidentiality, which will be discussed before counselling. Relate rigorously defend the confidentiality of any notes of the session.

However in cases when we are concerned for your safety, we may be obliged to disclose some information to the police or social services, but we would always endeavour to include you in this process where possible.

How often will I have appointments with a Relate Counsellor?

Most people attend weekly sessions to maintain the momentum of the therapeutic work. If this is not possible we will make arrangements for suitable times.

How long will I have to come for Relate Counselling?

Relationship and young people’s counselling may last for 6-10 sessions, but how many sessions you attend very much depends on your needs

Can I have a counsellor who speaks my language?

Please ask us for availability of counsellors who speak your language.

Is there disabled access at your Centre?

We have disabled access at most of our Centres and outposts. Please ask us about disabled access when you contact us and we will make appropriate arrangements.

My partner is violent/abusive to me. Can you help?

We do work with couples and individuals where violence is an attribute of the relationship but only where we are confident that no one will be placed at risk by doing so. In this situation we need to be sure that working together is safe. The counsellor will explain at your first session how we work.

We do also offer behavioural change programmes for both male and female perpetrators of domestic abuse, so if they want to change their behaviour, these might be appropriate.

Is it too late to try counselling?

Only you can make this decision. However if you both want to work together it demonstrates that it may be possible for you to redevelop or reform a relationship.

If your partner will not come with you, you can come on your own to work through your emotions and make the right decisions for you.

We can continue to work with you as you separate particularly if children will be affected and we can refer to a Family Mediation service which can help couples who are separating with practical, financial and legal aspects.

What is Relate's Data Protection Policy?

We regard the privacy of our users as very important and any personal information which you provide to us will be dealt with in accordance with our terms and conditions.

Full details are in contained in Relate National Privacy & Cookie Policy and we have embraced the new Data Protection Act 2018 which incorporates the EU directive on GDPR.

Not all factors discussed in the policy are pertinent to Relate Dorset & South Wiltshire so please feel free to discuss how we protect your data when you call.

How do I make compliments, concerns and complaints?

Please take a look at our compliments & complaints procedure which provides a summary of our process; you may also wish to email the Chief Executive Officer  at

She will be happy to hear your feedback and if this is a complaint try and resolve informally in the first instance. Should this be unsuccessful you will be able discuss our complaints procedure.

More help

If you weren't able to find the answers to your questions please get in touch and we'll do our best to help you.