Our Philosophy

Person Centred

Counselling services are informed by a person centred philosophy where clients set the agenda and pace of the counselling intervention. Key to counselling are the qualities of empathy, acceptance and congruence.  The service is an organisational member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and therefore subscribes to the Ethical Framework laid down by the BACP (click highlighted text to follow link for document) which emphasises principles of fidelity, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and self respect. This also means that we are subject to the BACP’s Professional Conduct Procedure, in addition to our own internal policies and procedures.

By providing a safe and supportive environment for clients to explore their issues, it is hoped that they will achieve a better ability to function individually and within society and achieve a greater degree of autonomy and resourcefulness.

Equal Opportunities

We are committed to equality of access to our services and undertake not to discriminate against anyone for any reason. We actively welcome enquiries and referrals from any member of our community who thinks we may be able to help them, irrespective of their background, lifestyle or circumstances.

Where clients are unable to access services within our own premises we will do our utmost to provide services in more accessible venues, including community venues or the client’s home if necessary.  We make no charge to our clients for any of the services we provide.


You can expect all aspects of your counselling to be treated with confidentiality and to have our confidentiality policy fully explained to you by your counsellor. Confidentiality may be breached where we have reason for thinking that there is a risk of serious harm either to you or to another person, including children. You can ask for a copy of our confidentiality policy if you wish.

Volunteer Charter

Sunderland Counselling Services is an established and respected voluntary sector organisation which is committed to the promotion of volunteering while ensuring safe professional practice and a productive working environment.

Operating according to the Volunteer Charter, underpinned by the Equal Opportunities Policy, all volunteers are provided with the opportunity to access training and supervision appropriate to their role and which will also assist them in their own professional development.  Volunteer roles are evidenced at all levels throughout the service, as are the high number of volunteers who have achieved paid posts both within the service and externally with statutory and voluntary sector agencies.

Beliefs, Values, Policy

We believe that:

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  • Every person has the right to a decent home, adequate income, employment, food, choice, participation, concern, respect, dignity and self-determination.
  • The diagnosis of mental illness should not be used to deny individuals the enjoyment of full rights and responsibility of citizenship.
  • Every person has the right to live in the community in their own home or with a minimum of restrictions.
  • Appropriate and unrestricted community care for individuals should be free, accessible, flexible, responsive and comprehensive.
  • Access to information about the benefits, side effects and potential hazards of any treatment must be made available to service users, potential service users and, where appropriate, their carers.
  • Every person has a right to have access to records and reports pertaining to his or her own treatment and care in the community.

General Statement of Policy

Sunderland Counselling Services will:

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  • Be an ethical, law abiding association of caring individuals.
  • Be an equal opportunity organisation committed to the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, marital status, age, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Be a registered charity.
  • Encourage participation in the organisation amongst people who have suffered mental and / or emotional distress, their relatives, carers and friends.
  • Work independently but in close co-operation with other relevant bodies and agencies.
  • Offer its services in accessible locations.
  • Protect as appropriate, the confidentiality of its clients, workers and those with whom the organisation deals in any way.
  • Support carers, relatives and friends of people suffering from mental and / or emotional distress.