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FREE Counselling Support

Often counselling can give you the space to safely explore confusion, pain, anger, sadness and connect to the powerful feelings that can arise following abuse, oppression, trauma or bereavement. Or it can simply help you get to know yourself better.  It’s all about finding the right therapeutic relationship that helps you feel safe enough to explore yourself and your world.

Would you like a check-in with a qualified counselor?

Fill in a referral form to book a mental health support session below



My name is Paul Ainger

I am a qualified Person-Centred counsellor. This means that my work is based on equality, respect, acceptance and understanding.

I come with over 20 years’ experience supporting adults and young people in many areas of their lives including homelessness, substance misuse, addiction, trauma and mental health issues.

For the past nine years, I have been working for a local mental health charity as a support worker and counsellor. I also volunteer as a counsellor for the NHS and a north Nottinghamshire charity for young people."

More Information

"I have particular experience working positively with the following groups of people:

  • People with generalised and/ or complex mental health histories

  • Children and adolescents

  • Survivors of domestic and sexual violence as children or adults

  • Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people

  • Lesbian, gay, bi and asexual people

I have also made a list below of some of the issues that I work through with clients as well as some frequently asked questions for you to consider.

As a Person-Centred Counsellor I do not act as an “expert” who has all the answers to your problems but a companion on your journey to find the answers that are right for you. It is important that the counselling helps you to explore those things based on your needs and expectations.

I won’t tell you which way to turn or what to do, but I can help you work through difficult feelings for example, or a sense that life is not really on the right track right now, or a sense that you’re not coping. It can help you make changes, or it can help you come to terms with what cannot be changed.

Your first session is our opportunity to get to know each other and look at whether counselling is the right thing for you and if I am the right counsellor for you. It is a good time to discuss any worries or questions you may have about counselling.


When we start counselling, we make a verbal agreement with each other. This sets the boundaries of our work together, making sure it is a safe, respectful and non-judgmental space."

Issues to address

"Some of the issues I can help with

  • Abuse

  • Addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, purchasing, sex, pornography)

  • Agoraphobia

  • Anger management

  • Anxiety / panic attacks

  • Bereavement and loss

  • Bullying

  • Depression

  • Family

  • Female concerns

  • Gender / Transsexual / Transgender

  • Identity

  • Illness (cancer, AIDS, HIV)

  • Low confidence

  • Low self esteem

  • Male concerns 

  • Mental Health Disorders

  • Money worries (debt, redundancy)

  • Professional burnout

  • Relationship issues (affairs, divorce, separation, growing apart, controlling behaviour, unfulfilled sex life, marriage, infertility, pregnancy)

  • Self-harm

  • Sexuality

  • Stress

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Termination / miscarriage / abortion

  • Traumatic experiences (post-traumatic)

  • Unhappy / unfulfilled life

  • University / professional qualifications

  • Workplace issues (lack of purpose, direction, stress at work, redundancy)"

Frequently Asked Questions  

What happens in the first session?

Thinking about starting therapy might be daunting and you might wonder what to expect from the first session. Essentially it gives you the chance to see whether we would work well together.


You may choose to say what brings you to therapy. I usually explain my approach to therapy and do my best to answer any questions you may have. I will also ask some questions about you, what brings you to therapy and what your initial worries are.


At the end of the first session, we can agree to work together, or you may choose to think things over in your own time.

How does therapy work?

Therapy works best when we are both clear on what you want to get out of it. You may start just wanting to feel better. Later, you may want to make specific changes to your life or make new decisions. Therapy does not cure you of your personal demons, but it can give you the tools to work through the obstacles in your way. I see therapy as working with my clients to help them to be the best version of themselves.

How does online/virtual therapy work?

I prefer to work face to face with clients but for those who cannot leave the house due to mental or physical health / mobility issues I can also offer sessions online, available via Zoom. Preferably use a desktop or laptop that is static and has a big screen, make sure your device is either fully charged before the sessions or plugged in. It is important to sit back so we can see each other from head to waist as though we are sitting in front of each other. Make sure you are in a private room where you will not be interrupted. It is advisable to use headphones so you will not be disturbed, so others cannot overhear our conversation and to minimise interruption by external factors. 

Are sessions confidential?

Confidentiality is a fundamental element within therapy in order to provide you with a safe and private space to talk. I will not give information to your doctor or anyone else without your permission. The only time I might break confidentiality is if there is a serious risk of harm to you or others, and in very rare cases where required by law.

How many sessions will I need?

It depends entirely on your situation, the difficulties you bring and your personal preference. Therapy does not always offer an immediate solution to long standing and often, painful problems. I offer 6 sessions initially although we can negotiate to continue if you feel the sessions are of use to you. We will review your progress together at regular intervals to help you with this.

How long and how often are the sessions?

The sessions are 50 minutes. They are on a weekly basis at the same time and the same place. They give you the opportunity to talk about anything that is on your mind, and usually you will start talking rather than me setting the scene.

Will I need to agree to a contract?

In our initial session, we will discuss your expectations of counselling. If we decide to work together, we agree to a working contract, this will ensure we work within safe and clear boundaries. This includes confidentiality, GDPR, (data protection), ethical and professional practice, my digital policy, holidays and cancellation policies. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions if you are unsure of anything.

What if I don’t like it?

Sometimes counselling can be uncomfortable to start with, as there is no magic cure. Sometimes things can feel worse before they feel better but if you are prepared to explore your feelings, it may enable you to make more sense of the world around you. If you wish to end the counselling before the allotted sessions, we can discuss this and agree an ‘ending’ session.

Will you tell me how to solve my problems?

I will not provide you with solutions, however I will help you explore different ways of dealing with a situation, but the choice to do anything about it, is exclusively yours.

Will I have to talk about things I would prefer not to discuss?

I will encourage you to talk about many aspects of your life, and to express your feelings. Your wish not to discuss a particular matter will always be respected.

What should I do if I feel better and don’t want to see you again?

Discuss this with me and we will arrange an ‘ending’ session. You can choose to stop at any time you like. However, for the therapeutic process to be most effective, it is best to give notice and to work towards an ending. 

Do you keep notes?

I am obliged to make some notes after sessions. These notes are brief, anonymised and kept in a secure place and password protected in line with the GDPR

Who are the UKCP and BACP?

BACP stands for British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The governing body which is set up to ensure that its members adhere to Ethical Codes of Practice and that practice is therefore safe and professional. More details can be found here.

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