Counselling offers a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment in which to explore what has happened to you with the help of a qualified counsellor.

About counselling

Our counsellors are trained to understand the complexities of surviving sexual violence and abuse. They will have had experience of working with depression, anxiety, complex trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative conditions. They know how difficult it can be to tell your story, perhaps for the first time.

Your counsellor will listen, will help you to stabilise and regulate your emotions and work with you to find the strength you need to cope with and recover from your past experiences. Your counsellor will work with you to tailor your counselling sessions to meet your specific needs.

It is not your counsellor’s job to tell you what to do. It is their job to work with you so that you can make your own decisions about what to do.  They may, however, provide you with information or suggest some reading materials.

Anything you tell the counsellor is kept entirely confidential within Survive. Your counsellor will only breach this confidentiality if they think you, or someone else, is at risk of serious harm.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has produced a useful guide called Introduction to counselling’ which you may find interesting.

Counsellors at Survive are either on the accredited voluntary register of BACP (or an equivalent body) and are suitably qualified, or appropriately supervised trainees on placement.
Our counsellors also work to the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions

Survive wants to prevent sexual harm and to work towards a society where there are no more victims of sexual violence while supporting those who have experienced sexual violence. This includes facilitating support for anyone who may have experienced sexual violence and also perpetrated sexual offences. While Survive is not equipped to respond to the needs of this discrete group, it has received limited funding from the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to facilitate access to a specialist StopSo registered therapist. Click here for more information about this pilot programme.

We are working hard to support all the people who contact us for counselling as soon as possible.  However, we are experiencing unprecedented demand for our specialist services which means people are waiting longer than we would like.

There is up to a one month wait for an initial assessment, after which there could be a wait of up to 12 months for counselling to start. This wait could be shorter the more flexible that you can be about your availability for Counselling appointments.

If whilst waiting for counselling you move house and now no longer live in York or North Yorkshire or the YO41, YO42 or YO43 postcodes of East Riding of Yorkshire, we will not be able to support you and will remove you from our waiting list. We can, however, help signpost you to similar services nearer to your new address.

What to expect

After an initial assessment, which is intended to help you and your counsellor explore whether counselling is likely to be helpful to you, you will receive consecutive weekly one-to-one sessions. These sessions usually last around 50-55 minutes.

Am I ready for counselling?

You will be expected to commit to consecutive weeks of counselling.  Your sessions will be at the same time and on the same day each week. If you are currently in crisis or experiencing a period of upheaval, then it may be better to wait a while before you start your counselling journey. During this period, you can still access Survive Support Work and remain on our waiting list until you are ready.

Counselling is not considered suitable for certain groups of people such as:

  • anyone who has recently taken steps to take their own life
  • anyone in current mental health crisis
  • anyone who has recently been raped or sexually assaulted (i.e. in the last few days or weeks)
  • anyone who has drug or alcohol addiction issues (we would recommend these addiction issues are addressed prior to starting counselling)

How to start the process

You can self-refer to Survive’s counselling service by:

·       completing our online referral form

·       calling 01904 638 813

Or you can ask to be referred to us by the Supporting Victims Unit on 0808 168 9293

How much will it cost?

All our services are offered free-of-charge.

As a small charity, we rely on grants as well as client contributions to continue to offer our specialist counselling services to survivors of sexual violence. We know that some clients will want to make a contribution whilst others may be unable to make a contribution. We will never stop anyone unable to make a contribution from accessing our specialist counselling services.

If you need help deciding on what you might be able to contribute, please have a look at the guide below with suggested contributions based on your disposable income. We recognise your situation may change throughout your counselling journey which may mean you are able to give more or less or nothing some weeks.

Monthly disposable income and suggested contribution

Under £100     £1-£5 per session

£100-£200       £5-£10 per session

£200-£300       £10-£15 per session

£30O-£400      £15-£20 per session

£400-£500       £20-£25 per session

Over £500       £25-£50 per session

To make your donation, click here

Survive has contracts with Ampleforth and the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough to enable those who experienced sexual abuse within these respective settings to contact Survive direct for fully-funded counselling support. We recognise that many of these survivors of institutional sexual abuse may not necessarily want these institutions to know they are accessing our services. We have therefore agreed with both institutions that we will only provide non-identifiable aggregated data to enable us to receive payment from them for the services you receive.


The first time you are called stupid you laugh it off. By the hundredth time, you start to believe it may be true and by the thousand time, you are convinced, it is true.

This is all the softening up so that you become vulnerable.

Sexual abuse counselling services York


I was in my 40s when I reached crisis point and was unable to function.

The abuse happened when I was a child and Survive was my last hope.

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