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Just click on the question below to view the answer:

  1. What is counselling?

  2. In what areas do you specialise?

  3. What is your approach to therapy?

  4. How will this approach help me?

  5. How confidential is it?

  6. Limits of confidentiality

  7. Can I have a fixed appointment every week?

  8. How much will it cost me?

  9. How long is it likely to take?

  10. What qualifications do you have?

  11. To which professional bodies do you belong?

  12. Do you subscribe to a code of ethics?

  13. Do you have Professional Liability Insurance?

  14. Are you supervised and have you had counselling yourself?

  15. Do you regularly participate in ongoing training?


What is counselling?

There are a number of definitions of counselling, but one of the most comprehensive is the one used by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP):-

"The overall aim of counselling is to provide an opportunity for the client to work towards living in a way that he or she experiences as more satisfying and resourceful. The term 'counselling' includes work with individuals, pairs or groups of people often, but not always, referred to as 'clients'. The objectives of particular counselling relationships will vary according to the client's needs. Counselling may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis(es), developing personal insight and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others. The counsellor's role is to facilitate the client's work in ways which respect the client's values, personal resources and capacity for choice within his or her cultural context.

Counselling involves a deliberately undertaken contract with clearly agreed boundaries and commitment to privacy and confidentiality. It requires explicit and informed agreement.

There is no generally accepted distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. There are well founded traditions which use the terms interchangeably and others which distinguish between them."

(From the BACP Code of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors, January 2001)

From the above, it will be seen that counselling is not about giving the client advice, instruction or answers. Rather it is about helping the client to find his or her own answers.

In what areas do you specialise? 

Here at Personal Potential, I can offer help with most problems which may cause distress to people:

  • Relationship difficulties or breakdown

  • Bereavement

  • Survival of abusive childhood, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse

  • Post traumatic stress (e.g. after car accident, violent assault or other life threatening situations. This is increasingly common for Combat Veterans)

  • Phobias

  • Anxiety and panic attacks

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

  • Depression

  • General dissatisfaction with life

  • Feeling unfulfilled

  • Feeling unable to cope

  • Feeling 'stressed'

  • Facing serious acute or chronic physical illness

What is your approach to therapy?

The model that I use is known as integrative, in other words an approach that integrates the different theories that have been developed over the years to form a (hopefully) harmonious approach that is best able to meet the differing needs of different people. The core approach, however, is the Person Centred approach developed by the late Dr Carl Rogers.

I may also use, where appropriate, relaxation and Guided Imagery techniques, hypnotherapy, past life regression therapy, art therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), psychodynamic approaches & cognitive behavioural approaches.

How will this approach help me?

Because of the wide range of therapeutic options available, it is not possible to answer this question in general terms, since the therapeutic approach will vary depending upon your particular problem. If you contact Carl Stonier directly, he will be happy to discuss the options and how they might help you.

How confidential is it?

Very. The counselling takes place in a room that is quiet and private and you will normally be seen only by the counsellor. It may also be possible to arrange to see you in your own home, though there will usually be additional costs involved in such an arrangement.

Everything that you say will be treated with absolute confidence and will not be disclosed to any other person, except in the exceptional circumstances outlined below under 'Limits of Confidentiality'. Written notes of counselling sessions are not kept, the only written records being the minimum necessary, namely, appointment times, name, address and phone number.

Limits of Confidentiality

All counsellors have supervision by another experienced counsellor, sometimes individually and sometimes in a group, and part of this supervision involves discussion of client work. However all discussion is anonymised and it is impossible for the supervisor or anyone in the group to identify an individual client.

In exceptional circumstances, for example where there is disclosure of intent to self-harm or to do harm to another person especially a child, or where there is disclosure that indicates that children are currently at risk of harm, then the counsellor may have to inform other professionals. However this will normally be discussed with you beforehand.

Can I have a fixed appointment every week?

Usually, this will be possible, but if, for any reason, it happens that you cannot be offered your usual appointment time one week, then an acceptable alternative will be negotiated with you.

How much will it cost me?

The normal cost for individual therapy or couples is £35 per session (one hour duration). As a special offer the first two sessions are offered at a discounted fee of £50 (i.e. a saving of £20). The normal £35 fee for the third session will be payable in advance at the second session etc. The cost has not been increased for 9 years. If you are able to pay more than the standard rate, this will allow Personal Potential to offer subsidised therapy to those on lower incomes. Trainee counsellors who require personal therapy as part of their training will be charged £25 per session

The cost for groups will vary depending upon the group size and purpose. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.

Similarly, the cost for Employee Assistance Programme packages is negotiable. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

The cost per session for supervision is £35 for qualified counsellors and £25 for trainee counsellors.

It may be possible to offer therapy at reduced fees in some circumstances, so if cost is a barrier, please feel free to contact Dr Carl Stonier to discuss options.


How long is it likely to take?

Unfortunately, it is as hard to give a definitive answer to this question as it is to the perennial question about the length of a piece of string. Most client problems are resolved within 4 to 6 sessions. Some problems, such as phobias, may be resolved in just 1 session. A small number of problems can be very difficult to resolve and will need ongoing therapy for a long time. If this is the case, then there will be a periodic review, usually every 10 to 12 sessions, to ensure that you are still making progress and gaining benefit from your counselling.

What qualifications do you have?

Carl Stonier's qualifications include:

PhD Psychology (University of Hull)
for research into the effects of a counselling and guided imagery programme on the outcome of people with Ischaemic Heart Disease (link to thesis)

MA in Counselling Studies (University of Keele)


Diploma in PsychoSexual Therapy (DipPST, University of East London)


Level 3 Advanced Practitioner Certificate in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, AAMET)


Certificates in Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR); Systemic Practice;  Supervision

 Registered General Nurse (RGN)

 Registered Nurse for the Mentally Handicapped (RNMH)

  Diploma in Nursing (London University) ( DipN(Lond) )

To which professional bodies do you belong?

  • The Association of Humanistic Psychology (GB)

  • Association for the Advancement of Meridian Energy Therapies (AAMET)

  • The Royal College of Nursing

Do you subscribe to a code of ethics?

Yes. All Personal Potential counselling will maintain the highest standards of ethical practice which is founded on 5 basic ethical principles:

  • Respect for autonomy
    Valuing and respecting the right and ability of each individual to make their own choices in life

  • Beneficence
    Working to achieve positive and beneficial change.

  • Non-maleficence
    "Above all, do no harm."

  • Justice
    Impartial, non-discriminatory practice and equal treatment for all, regardless of colour, race, culture, gender sexuality, religion or personal values

  • Fidelity
    Loyalty, integrity, action in good faith.
Counselling is a complex matter which constantly presents challenging ethical dilemmas, and this can occasionally lead to actions which, whilst intended in good faith, and applied using the above principles, can lead to misunderstandings or complaints about professional practice. Carl Stonier has had one such event within 25 years of practice, and has used this experience to enhance learning and understanding of the issues involved, and therefore provide an even better therapeutic experience for clients.

Do you have professional Liability Insurance?

Yes, through Balens.

 Are you supervised and have you had counselling yourself?

Yes and yes. Both of these are seen by Personal Potential as part of the development and maintenance of ethical and competent practice.

Do you regularly participate in ongoing training?

Yes. Currently about 4 courses per year are attended. Again, this is seen as part of the development and maintenance of ethical and competent practice.