If you were sexually abused as a child and you feel that counselling might help you to deal with the effects find out how we can help you.

How do I make contact with Seren?

If you want to contact the service yourself or know someone else who might want to write to:

Seren

P.O. Box 24

Fishguard

SA65 0AH

or telephone us on: 0845 4561657 or 01654 700659 and leave a message on our voice mail or

email: serenaberystwyth@hotmail.com

You need only state that you were sexually abused as a child, or you know someone who was, and that you/they would like counselling. There is no need to give any details. Please give us an address where we can write to you.

What happens next?

We will contact you and send you some information about our service. We will ask you to complete a brief reply slip to confirm that you would like your name to be placed on our waiting list for an assessment appointment with a counsellor who is specifically trained in working with people who were sexually abused as children.

Where will I see the counsellor?

Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Carmarthen or Haverfordwest.

What will happen at the assessment appointment?

You and the counsellor will discuss whether counselling with Seren will suit your needs. If you agree it will you will be put on a waiting list to commence a series of twelve 1:1 counselling sessions.

What if the counsellor knows me?

Counsellors will not see people who are known to them elsewhere.

Will I see the same counsellor each time?

Your series of twelve counselling sessions will be with the same counsellor throughout. However, this may be a different counsellor from the one you met at your assessment appointment.

What happens in the counselling sessions?

You will be encouraged and helped to talk about yourself in your own time, and the counsellor will listen to you and try to understand what you are saying and how you are feeling.

You may experience a range of feelings (e.g. sadness, anger, guilt) in the counselling sessions and also between sessions, as you talk and think about what has happened to you in the past and how you are now, and perhaps make connections between past events and present difficulties.

It may take a few sessions for you to feel really able to trust the counsellor – the counsellor will understand this and give you time to get used to the counselling situation.

Things can often feel like they are getting worse at the beginning of counselling, although you may also feel a lot of relief at having someone to talk to about what has happened to you. You can tell your counsellor about how counselling is affecting you, or if you feel that it is difficult to continue. You can also contact the office if you feel that you are having a problem working with your counsellor.

Unpleasant memories and feelings may cause you distress, flashbacks or nightmares for a while – the counsellor will help you to cope with these.

You may need extra support outside of the counselling sessions e.g. a friend/ family member to talk to; a GP/alcohol or drug worker who knows you are having counselling.

You may want to have phone numbers that you can call at any time you want to talk to someone. We will give you a list of national and local help-lines which you can keep in a safe place.

What should I do if I can’t keep an appointment?

Phone the Seren number, 01654 700659, as soon as you know that you cannot attend, and another appointment will be arranged with you. If you miss an appointment without contacting us, we will write to you about another appointment. If you miss two appointments without contacting us, we will give your place to someone else, but you can still re-apply at another time.

What will happen at the end of counselling?

We will ask you to fill in an evaluation sheet where you can say what counselling was like for you, so that we can improve our service, based on the feedback we are given.