Frequently Asked Questions

How does the counselling process really work? Is it all about how "bad and mad" I am?

Counselling is a process whereby a person in a safe, private and confidential place has the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings about all areas of life. Counselling can be an effective and insightful tool to help a person better understand their style of problem solving, decision making and the consequences of those choices.


I heard many counsellors just sit and be quiet the whole session. Do your counsellors interact and talk with clients?

Our counselling model is highly interactive and educational which means our counsellors discuss and share many ideals in counselling, to include various techniques and tools to enhance and sustain a person's well-being. The key we beleive in counselling is not only listening to better understand but also being skilled in asking the right questions and highlighting positive and counter-productive thoughts, behaviors and emotions.


What are the key elements so I can determine that counselling is effective for me?

Research and clinical experience universally highlight the significance of the client-counsellor relationship. Our counselling model focuses on building a relationship with the client first and foremost, we do not rush to judgment and make a quick assessment on what is wrong but instead we keep focusing on what more do we need to share and gain insight on? Thus, if our client experiences unconditional positive regard, genuine empathy, active listening, cultural sensitivity and a sense of collaboration from our counsellor then the challenging work ahead has been greatly reduced.


What activities can I do during my counselling experience to assist me in achieving my goals I set in counselling?

We encourage our clients to work on the following positive behaviors as it may take some time before the good mood arises. Those good behaviors are: daily 30 minute brisk walking, doing a walk and talk with someone to share your thoughts (our brains work better when we walk and talk), be mindful of diet and sleep, do daily journal writing and before bed at night spend ten minutes of an attitude of gratitude of the things in life you have experienced. We will share many more techniques in counselling that also relate to your specific concerns that are CBT and positive psychology based.


Can counselling be a quick fix? I heard that is what CBT does - fixes things quickly.

Counselling is almost always never a quick fix and professional - effective counselling is a process that requires six key stages to go through before change and sustainment of that change can occur. Every client has their own pace to open up, listen, learn, experiment and change and we make sure the counselling pace is just the right mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.


How is it in a counselling room? Do I get to lay down on a couch and talk like they portray it in the movies?

Our counselling rooms are well known in Hong Kong for its abundance of warmth, flowers, plants, art work and comfortable, modern furniture. Not all rooms have couches and today it is quite normal for clients to sit in a chair or couch and pursue their well-being goals. Click on the link below to learn more about why St. John's Counselling Service is one of the preferred counselling services in Hong Kong.



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Fees and Payment

Do you have a sliding fee scale for the counselling fee?

As a mental health charity we believe that mental health is a human right not solely a workplace benefit. We use several factors in determining a person's fee, to include the day and time of appointment (evening time higher fee), frequency of counselling, the presenting issue, household income and other factors.


How can fees be paid?

Payment for the counselling session can be by cash, personal cheque, credit card (AMEX, VISA, MC) and EPS.


Do you accept insurance?

All counselling sessions require the client to pay for the counselling sessions. We are well know and accepted by most local and international insurance companies for reimbursement of mental health counselling. Clients must contact their insurance company to inquire on their benefits and reimbursement procedures for counselling.


How can fees be paid?

Payment for the counselling session can be by cash, personal cheque, credit card (AMEX, VISA, MC) and EPS.


Do you provide package deals where there is a discount if multiple counselling sessions are purchased?

Yes, we do provide a discount for a purchase of five (5) counselling sessions. There is NO REFUND though for package deals and there is no time limit on the use of those purchased sessions. All special package deals must be paid in CASH ONLY - no cheques, EPS or credit cards accepted.


Misc Questions

Is there a limit to the number of counselling sessions I can attend?

We do not place any limitations on a person who desires to seek health and well-being at our centre.


How often do I see a counsellor?

There are several factors we consider when setting the frequency of your appointment, some clients it is weekly, some twice a month.


Are there handouts and materials received from counselling?

We believe that when assigned readings, homework and other self-development materials are given there is a greater chance for sustaining new and healthy beahviors.



Setting An Appointment

Can I walk in anytime to see a counsellor?

All counselling sessions are by appointment only, we do not have stand-by counsellors for walk-in.


How long is each appointment?

Counselling sessions are fifty (50) minutes in duration, some relationship, marriage and/or family counselling sessions can be as long as ninety (90) minutes each.


Does the receptionist make appointments for the counsellor and client?

Each counsellor is solely responsible for setting the appointment for a client. The counsellor will always coordinate with the client the appointment date and time.


Is their a fee charged for a late cancellation or not showing up for an appointment?

We understand that sometimes there are unplanned events that cause a change in our daily schedule. We require a 24 hour notice for all appointment cancellations. Those who fail to cancel their appointments with a 24 hour notice or do not show up for an appointment are charged the full fee for that missed appointment. Special circumstances can allow a no fee charge.


What if I need to make an urgent appointment because I am in crisis or an emergency?

We do not provide emergency or crisis counselling services at this time. Individuals are encouraged to attend to their urgent counselling needs by visiting the nearest hospital A&E, medical clinic or calling 999 for emergency support services.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Do you ever release information about me and our counselling sessions to my employer, my family, or friends?

We NEVER release any information about our clients, to include they are clients of our centre, to any third party.


If a supporting letter is required from my employer or insurance company and I approve of this action, do I see this letter before it is released?

Any and all supporting letters and/or documents requested by our clients requires a signed consent form and once processed, any and all supporting documents are only given to the client for his or her use.