"My Experience of Counselling "

About: Inclusion Matters Sefton

(as the patient),

I had a second interview / session with a counsellor yesterday from Inclusion Matters which I found very distressing and unhelpful.

In my view the counsellor was young, rude, opinionated and lacked empathy. She seemed to have little understanding of what I had experienced and which had left me traumatised. She seemed to think she knew better than the experienced psychiatrists and psychologists I had seen and from whom I had reports. There has been a lot that has gone on for me before going for this counselling and I really did not feel this was properly understood or dealt with. I do not think they understood the severe depression I have suffered and still suffer to this day due to what happened to me. a

I was treated as if I was very young and inexperienced. I had to tell her that I was an educated woman in her fifties and that I did not deserve to be treated in the way she was treating me. She kept focusing on setting goals – I felt this was inappropriate as I needed other help and support before setting goals. She gave me a slip of paper to take home and read. One of the questions on this were inappropriate for my condition – eg did I feel guilt after consuming any quantity of alcohol. These were questions more appropriate to an addict and I pointed this out to her. What I needed was cognitive therapy not this form of counselling.

I felt the counsellor did not have enough experience or maturity. I felt that she was quite rude and self opinionated I told here I did not feel I was being helped by her and on leaving the room in a very distressed and stressed state. (She just stated in a sarcastict manner) Bye then

I walked out of the session I stated I wished to see the manager the counsellor stated I could not and that I had to put it in writing any complaint and just pushed me out in to the public reception area. The receptionist saw I was very distressed crying and shaking she sat me down and gave me a cup of water I told her what had happened with the counsellor. The receptionist stated I was not in a good state to leave I asked, could I see the manager and the Manager became involved. I explained how I felt during my session with the young counsellor and why, but did not receive any acknowledgement of this or an apology from her. The Manager said she needed to get away to a meeting she just asked what it was I wanted from them, this I found made me further depressed and unhappy as again I felt no empathy from this lady also, she just kept looking at the clock, I felt she wanted to go to lunch as when I went out into the public reception I stopped to thank the receptionist and the manager was leaving with a colleague it looked to me as if, they were going to lunch together. Iit seemed that she was not prepared to make time for me even though I was feeling very upset crying and shaking due to the experience I had just suffered.

The receptionist who witnessed all of this was the only one who expressed any support or empathy. She got me a glass of water and waited while I was able to calm down. During this time I saw the Manager leave the building – I didn’t get the impression she was off to a meeting.

As I left the building a little while later I saw the young counsellor returning from lunch with another young colleague. They both saw me and started to snigger – I felt that this was a real sign that confidentiality had been breached. I got home and rang Inclusion Matters to speak to the manager about this. Again there was no hint of an apology.

These people are dealing with vulnerable people but don’t seem to understand this.

None of my contacts with Inclusion Matters has been good! I was not able to make my initial appointment and phoned them to rearrange it. The girl I spoke to just kept saying that If I did not make it to the next appointment I would be struck off! This was also continuously said by the Counsellor at each appointment which caused me more distress. I was also upset to see that on each visit you were made to fill out the same forms in the public area answering the same questions this took time away from the 45 minuites you were given. I refused to answer any more questions on a continuous basis on my drinking pattern each visit and stated, I was not attending due to my having a drinking problem. I was also told when I stated this that they do not counsell addidcts yet they asked the questions regarding on each visit.

I have been offered further sessions in a different location but again, on taking a call from a gentleman who sounds very young I feel I am not happy to sit and talk about what has happened to cause my illness with a young male. I have been unable to attend due to hospital commitments on the Tuesdays yet, they do not seem to want to change the days to an alternative day instead of on a Tuesday.

I have now two major concerns, firstly I do not feel like the issues about my treatment so far have been addressed and I am also worried about carrying on with this service. I am not sure they have the right people to understand and address my needs but I still feel very vulnerable and my GP and others remain concerned about how I am. I am not happy to carry on with this service as I am not happy to be councelled by a young male. I have experienced a greater amount of stress and depression since attending the Inclusion Matters Programme. What happened to me was very serious and truamatic and has left long lasting implications on my life and health. I do not feel Inclusion Matteers has helped me deal with this in anyway and has shown little or no empathy not to mention confidentiality in regard to myself.

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Response from Robert Waugh, Manager, Inclusion Matters

Thank you for sending in the feedback about our service. I was really concerned to hear that you have had a difficult and distressing time. Here at Inclusion Matters, we care very much that the treatment we deliver meets the needs of our service users. You raise some serious issues about your experiences, we are very conscious that we cannot comment on some of the details of your concerns, on this public site, so would suggest a different route. We would also like to talk to you so that the service that we offer is suitable for your situation. So can I suggest 2 things that might move things forward.

I would like to offer you the chance to come and talk to me so that we can review your care and try and resolve things so that Inclusion Matters offers you the best possible service for your needs. I am contactable on 0151 955 3200. At the same time or separately, you can also use the formal complaints process as a way to get the issues you have set out, properly investigated in detail and a personal response following these investigations. If you would like to do this separately you can write to:

Patient Advisory & Liaison Service

South Staffordshire & Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


St George’s Hospital

Corporation Street


ST16 3AG

I would like to end by saying again how seriously we take any feedback and hope we can move things forward for you and also as an organisation use any feedback to continually learn about how to offer the best service for all our users.

Robert Waugh, Operations Lead Inclusion Matters Sefton

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