Counselling comes under the umbrella term “talking therapies”. It allows people to discuss their problems and difficult feelings they encounter in a safe, confidential and professional environment. It is a skilled & ethical relationship which enables clients to address these difficulties. The counsellor’s role is not to tell you what to do but to help you develop your own resources, to work towards a better understanding of the causes of your difficulties and to help you find better ways of coping. The counsellor may look to create a plan of action with you to help work toward personal growth.

Confidentiality is the cornerstone of the counselling relationship. We give our assurance that what is discussed in counselling is confidential within the counselling service. Exceptions to this assurance are rare and only occur in extreme situations, for example where it is deemed that someone poses a serious threat to themselves or others or where a child might be at risk. In keeping with best practice, counsellors at the Centre are professionally qualified and avail of clinical supervision. The counselling service operates within the framework of and with due regard to relevant legislation in the areas of child protection and data protection as may be amended.

You can expect to be accepted in a non-judgemental manner. The counselling team is made up of professionally qualified counsellors who are accredited with relevant professional bodies and some who have completed their qualifications and are working toward full accreditation. Initially, there will be an emphasis on clarifying your hopes and expectations. After this, time will be devoted to establishing key goals and deciding on the plan of action.

Counselling is not a quick fix and can offer no magical solutions to life problems. It will aim to assist you in achieving your own solutions, improve your understanding of the problems you experience and enhance your coping strategies.

There is a nominal fee of €50 per session. This is considerably below the market fees for counselling (€60-€85). Where financial circumstances are problematic this fee can be negotiated as appropriate. Lack of finance should not deter anyone from seeking counselling at the Family Centre. However, financial contributions are essential to our capacity to continue to provide low cost counselling.

Counselling can be useful for anyone seeking help with significant life problems. If you are experiencing distress in your current life situation & are looking to find ways to adapt or change, then counselling may be of assistance. It can be very useful if you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve through counselling before you come.

An Initial Appointment will be arranged usually within 4-8 weeks. After that there may be a waiting time of between 8-12 weeks to start counselling proper. This time delay reflects the demand for our counselling service.

The frequency of visits varies for each situation but normally people can expect weekly or fortnightly appointments.

The Family Centre does not operate a fixed session contract but it does approach the work with a short to medium term focus. On average Clients attend between 7-10 sessions

The following range of areas are commonly addressed:
Marital and general relationship problems including communication, sexual problems, family crises, intra family relationships, separation, parent-adolescent relationships, domestic violence, bereavement, anxiety and stress related problems.

To a lesser extent we are involved in such areas as trauma, reactive depression, past abuse


"For many years I passed the Family Centre building in ChapelSt., Castlebar and I so wanted to go in and get support for a terrible situation in my home but I couldn’t find the courage.

Then one day I just had to go and it made an incredible difference in my life and that of my family. I don’t know what I was scared of. I felt ashamed and I thought I would be judged. I was wrong.

I just wish I had done it years ago. I would really encourage anybody needing support to trust in the warm and welcoming counsellors who work there."

The Family Centre is a non-profit organisation
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