All sorts of people use Relate’s wide range of services to understand what’s going on in their relationship and change things for the better. If you have a question that is not answered here, please ask your counsellor or one of our admin team.


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

    Counselling involves individuals, couples or family groups having sessions with a counsellor where they talk through an issue or work through a problem.

    The counsellor is trained to help people understand themselves better, relate better to others and make decisions about what to do next.

    Your counsellor will help you talk openly and honestly.

    You will initially have a one hour session which includes wellbeing paperwork and 50 minutes face to face with an experienced counsellor. You might be coming to counselling with your partner, your family, a family member or alone. Many people also find it helpful to come on their own for counselling and sex therapy, whether or not they are in a relationship.

    You and your counsellor will discuss how Relate might be able to help and, if appropriate, your counsellor will recommend a Relate counselling service, Relate sex therapy or another Relate service. If your counsellor doesn’t think we are best placed to help, they may suggest another organisation.

    When you first arrive you will be asked to fill out some forms in order to help the counsellor understand more about your situation and record your on-going progress. These forms are confidential and will not be shown to your partner. If you are unsure about how Relate will use any of the information held about you, please ask your counsellor or a member of staff.

    If you require ongoing counselling a member of the Appointments Team will discuss your availability.

    Relate counsellors have all received specialist training in relationship counselling. It takes two to three years to become a fully-qualified Relate counsellor.

    They undergo further training to specialise in areas such as family counselling, children and young people counselling and sex therapy.

    Your Relate Centre may talk to you about seeing a “counsellor-in-training”. Counsellors-in-training receive thorough academic and practical training and are carefully assessed throughout this process and after they qualify. All counsellors continue with on-going training and consultation with other professionals to make sure they give you the highest standard of counselling.

    Relate Mid Thames and Buckinghamshire's counselling services are BACP accredited.

    Relate works to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) ethical framework for counselling professions, the College of Relationship and Sex Therapists (COSRT) and the Association for Family Therapy (AFT).
    The Department of Health’s publication, “Talking Therapies” also recommends Relate as a reputable provider of counselling.

    The cost of the initial assessment is £65.

    The cost of ongoing sessions will be determined by your household income.

    As a registered charity we strive to ensure that our service is available to everyone and we have a limited bursary for clients who cannot afford to pay the full cost.
    We are a 'not for profit' charitable organisation.

    We also deliver funded services - further details under 'Services' tab.

    To confirm your appointment you will be asked for a payment in advance of all booked appointments.

    Yes. Relate provides relationship counselling for individuals and couples. Other services include family counselling and sex therapy.

    Yes. All our service offer professional counselling support to LGBTQ+ couples, individuals and families.

    Our professionally trained counsellors will support you in a non-judgemental way . Our counsellors and trainers will always give you the respect you deserve.

    Family Counselling service does not rely on a strict definition of who constitutes a family, it can include parents, children, step parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, close family friends.

    You might find it useful to think about how you want counselling to help. For example, are you looking to feel better about something in the past or do you want to make a change to your life now?
    Please try to get to your first appointment in good time so that it allows you some space to settle and consider the issues you want to raise in the counselling room.

    We strive to offer you the best counselling experience in a professional, positive and informative way.
    We welcome feedback and want to hear your views on our services. Please do help us by completing the questionnaire that you will be given both before and after counselling.
    If however you are unhappy with any aspect of our service please do talk to us about it and should you wish to make a formal complaint, please ask for a copy of our complaint procedure. Alternatively you can send feedback on our website. Just fill in the form.

    Relate offers private and confidential help to our clients.

    We will not give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation unless we have reason to believe that someone, especially a child, is at risk of serious harm.

    We will give you more information about confidentiality when you come for your first session.

    Counselling sessions are available at various times throughout the day and on several evenings a week until 9.00 p.m. You do need to make an appointment.
    Our appointment team will be able to give you details.

    Sessions are usually once a week for 50 minutes but this can be flexible according to your particular circumstances.

    Counselling will continue for as long as you and the counsellor feel it is helpful. The number of sessions depends on you.

    Most people find anything from six to ten sessions is about right for counselling, but Sex therapy can be a longer process.

    In Sex therapy, your therapist will carefully assess with you what the sexual difficulties are and how they can be helped.

    This usually means he or she will design a sequence of tasks and exercises that you complete together (if you’re attending with a partner) or individually at home.

    The therapist will discuss your progress at each session and work at your pace to build on new learning and experience.

    Sex therapy is a talking therapy and you will not be asked to undress or do anything sexual at the sessions.

    Violence and abuse is an issue for some people who come to us for help with their relationship.

    We know that in this situation working with both partners together may not be safe.

    If this is the case then we would suggest each partner receives individual specialist support either from Relate or another agency.

    The counsellor will explain at the first
    session how we work.

    Relate keeps confidential records and statistics about our clients. Records are kept for a limited period and are then destroyed.

    Relate complies with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

    We will give you more information about this when you come for your first session.

    If you are unable to keep an appointment, please telephone the office as soon as possible and another appointment can be scheduled for you .

    However, if an appointment is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice, full payment will be due.

    No, it is not appropriate to bring your child or baby with you and we are unable to offer crèche 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. For a first assessment appointment for family counselling, please discuss the age/s of your children when booking and the appointments team will guide you as to what is suitable.

    Usually no one has to wait more than one week for an initial appointment. The waiting time for ongoing counselling depends on your availability and the centre you would like to attend.
    There may be a shorter wait time for daytime appointments (before 4pm)

    Yes. Whether you are single or your partner does not want to be involved you are welcome to attend.

    Only you can make this decision. However if you both want to work together it demonstrates that it may be possible for you to develop or reform a relationship. If your partner will not come with you, you can come on your own to work through your own emotions and make the right decisions for you.
    If you have already made the decision to separate, Relate counselling can help to manage this very difficult and painful time.
    This is particularly true for children whose parents are going through separation and divorce. Family counselling can enable the child's voice to be heard.