South East London

Welcome to South East London Counselling

Counselling is recognised as a very effective way of dealing with personal problems. These could include family or marital crises, sexual or relationship difficulties, or stress at home or at work.

Personal counselling gives you a chance to explore your issues confidentially, starting from where you are in your life.

A skilled counsellor can help clarify the paths you are choosing, the conflicts that are holding you back and the strengths you can develop and build on to make things better.

Why Counselling

Most people come to counselling at a time of crisis. This could be due to an event such as a death or the break up of a relationship. It may be intense feelings, anxiety or depression for example, or behaviour like loss of temper or drinking, that have got out of control. The therapist will listen and try to understand you and your situation, as well as the crisis itself.

But don’t wait for a crisis before getting help.

If life seems pointless or you suffer from general feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction you can be helped.



When SELC was started in 1992 the word counselling was used as a general term for offering help at a personal level without any medical assumptions of illness or treatment. Its aim was to help people improve the quality of their lives. Counselling was to help people deal with life events like injury or loss, specific psychological problems (like phobias or panic attacks) or more general unhappiness or dissatisfaction.


There is no universally agreed definition of the difference between counselling and psychotherapy but generally psychotherapists have a longer and more intense training than counsellors. We are all, both counsellors and psychotherapists, required to be in regular supervision with someone qualified and experienced so that our learning carries on beyond our training. We have all been in therapy ourselves and most of us carry on studying, attending lectures and workshops or further training. In addition, SELC members, for example, meet regularly for talks and discussions.


Psychiatrists start as medical doctors and go on to specialise in mental health. They often develop understanding and expertise in the talking therapies and, as doctors, they are the only ones legally allowed to prescribe medication.

Psychology is an academic discipline. A useful working definition is ‘the science of mental life’. The discipline applies systematic, scientific, thinking and experimentation to psychological problems and illnesses, developing Behaviour Therapy and, more recently, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT).


1. COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THEORY This starts from the proposition that the world we respond to is constructed by our minds to deal with the things we’ve been exposed to. New thinking effectively changes our situation. The psychologist aims to identify, teach and support more satisfactory ways of thinking and behaving to address the problems we are facing.


This starts from the premise that useful psychological understanding comes from consideration of the condition of being human; the person in their total situation is more than the sum of the parts. Humanistic therapists aim to articulate and develop each person’s understanding to activate, release and focus their striving for a healthy life.

Humanistic therapists aim to articulate and develop each person’s understanding to activate, release and focus their striving for a healthy life.


This continues the strand of thinking developed by Sigmund Freud. It starts from the idea that behind the life of our activities, thoughts and feelings we have an emotional life that drives or inhibits us- sometimes both at the same time. Psychodynamic therapists believe that it is our relationships, to our selves and others, which are most significant. They try to offer a healing relationship.

Nobody has a complete understanding of human nature and, although there are intense arguments between members of particular schools of thought, the core ideas of the 3 streams are not incompatible with each other.



Whatever brings you to seek help, the therapist will start by trying to understand you and the situation you’re in. Sometimes it starts easily with you telling your story but it can be very awkward. You will be talking about things that are troubling you and that you may be ashamed of. You may also feel at loss confronted by someone who’s an expert and still expects you to know where to begin and what’s important to tell.

On the other side, we, as therapists, won’t mind where you start and will appreciate the awkwardness of the situation. We have had our own therapy and know that, whatever anyone says, however it seems from the outside, however we believe it ought to be, life is generally not straightforward and easy. So we want to give you the opportunity to talk about things in your own way, to see what’s difficult and what’s important to you. It is the beginning of a process of working together to get to the heart of your concerns and find the things that will really help.

The initial meeting will be different from any subsequent ones. Sometimes it’s called an assessment because the therapist has to decide whether you can benefit from therapy and what approach to use; some comments, suggestions or interpretations may be tried to see how you respond.

Equally you should assess whether and how you can work with this person. It’s difficult because the best therapist for you isn’t necessarily the one who makes you feel most comfortable early on. Be prepared to interrupt or ask questions if anything is unclear to you. The therapist should be interested in your questions and able to engage with them in a way that makes sense to you.

Therapy has the goal of helping us to face the realities of our lives and we often prefer to be comfortable in the short term rather than make efforts to better ourselves. Many people feel worse before they start to feel better, but when therapy is good it goes on working for us even after it’s finished.


These notes are work in progress by one of our associates and will be added to or revised from time to time. They do not represent the views of SELC or all its members.

We are very happy to receive emails with your comments or questions about therapy.

Counselling Can
Help With:

  • emotional problems
  • low self-esteem
  • relationships
  • difficulties at work
  • bereavement
  • alcohol
  • sexual problems
  • anxiety or stress
  • panic attacks
  • obsessions & compulsions
  • depression
  • drugs

What Counselling

Your first meeting with a SELC staff member will be to assess your needs. This initial interview costs £40 for individuals, £50 for couples and families.

After that you enter the private practice of the most appropriate of our practitioners and pay their fee, from £40 upwards, directly to them. Concessionary terms can sometimes be negotiated but these are limited.

This site contains a list of organisations which offer free or low cost counselling for those people who need it.

Our sessions generally last 50 minutes and take place at weekly intervals. A long term committment to counselling is not essential- many people find a short sequence of sessions sufficient for their requirements.

We are a not-for-profit organisation. We aim to offer a prompt, reliable, economical, completely confidential service which addresses your personal needs.

Who We Are

We are a group of very experienced counsellors and therapists offering a confidential counselling service from our consulting rooms situated across South East London in the Boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. Because of this spread we can offer convenient appointments for people travelling from Central London, Docklands, other parts of South London and more outlying parts of South East and South London such as Bexley, Dartford & Woolwich, Bromley & Orpington, Norwood & Croydon, Wandsworth Clapham and Streatham.

We are all highly qualified and can draw on the strengths of the different streams of theory which inform therapy: Humanistic Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Our members are experienced at working with individuals, couples, families, children and groups. We also offer staff counselling to organisations and supervision to other professionals in the field.

All our members belong to a recognised Counselling or Psychotherapy Association and are bound by the code of ethics and standards of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

south east london counselling is committed to an Equal Opportunities policy

Contact Us

To make contact with us in strict confidentiality, please use the details below to email or call us

Our Contact details:

Telephone Numbers:
0207 771 8113
0208 692 6920
0208 318 0696
0208 473 6931


If looking to make an appointment, please let us know where in S.E. London you can access and when you would be able to come. In particular it's helpful to know if you're available during the day or need an evening appointment.

Letters can be sent to:

Work 1:
3 North Several
London SE3 0QR
United Kingdom
Work 2:
95B Herne Hill
London SE24 9LY
United Kingdom

All email messages are replied to on receipt.

Answerphone messages receive a prompt response.

All email and telephone contacts, including answerphone messages, are held in the strictest confidence.

All calls and emails are dealt with individually - we do not operate a waiting list.


Initial Assessment:

  • Individuals: £40.00
  • Couples/Families: £50.00

Counselling Sessions:

  • from £40.00 per session for individuals

Concessionary terms can occasionally be negotiated.



Low Cost Counselling

The following is a list of London-based counselling organisations that offer free or low cost counselling. It is not comprehensive - there are other options to be found. Many organisations operate a means-related sliding scale of fees or ask for a donation. Some have a waiting list for concessionary places that you can join. Your doctor may also be able to put you in touch with a qualified counsellor.

The Minster Centre

20 Lonsdale Road,
Queen’s Park, NW6 6RD

Direct Line: 020 7644 6242

Switchboard: 020 7644 6240



Low-cost Counselling and Psychotherapy Service

Balham Low Cost Centre

Wandsworth Association of Therapists

293 Balham Rd. SW17

t: 020 8767 2828



The Brandon Centre

Kentish Town

t: 020 7267 4792



Free for ages 12-21

Cassel Centre

4 Waldram Park Rd. SE23 2PN

t: 020 8291 3436


for those living or working in Lewisham; sliding scale, free for unemployed.

The Farringdon Practice

59 St.John st. EC1M 4AN

t: 020 7250 0083



Long-term psychotherapy on a sliding scale by fully qualified, registered practitioners with many years experience.

Waterloo Community Counselling

Barley Mow Clinic, Frazier St. SE1 7BD

t: 020 7928 3462



Low-cost counselling on a sliding scale according to income, from £10 per session. Free Multi-Ethnic Counselling in a range of languages for refugees and asylum-seekers and members of BME communities.

Womens Consortium

Cricklewood, Kilburn, Wembley



Faces in Focus

102 Harper Rd. SE

t: 020 7403 2444

Free service for young people

Bereavement Services for London


Inner City Centre

t: 020 7247 1589



Low cost Counselling/Psychotherapy in the City and throughout London.


Ormiston Road Centre, Greenwich

t: 020 8853 1735/020 8854 8005


Free counselling for men and women within catchment area

Connexions Direct

t: 0800 13 2 1940


information and advice for young people. Nationwide and local.

more information on from their website

The Albany Trust Centre

293 Balham High Rd. SW17

t: 020 8767 1827



Fees on a sliding scale, some low cost places.

The May Tree Sanctuary for the Suicidal

72, Moray Road, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3LG

t: 020 7263 7070



Free for London Residents

St. Marylebone Healing & Counselling Centre

t: 020 7935 5066



Christian based service with counselling and psychotherapy.

Salvation Army Counselling Service

1 Water Lane, Stratford

t: 020 8536 5480


Croydon Pastoral Foundation

4 Frith Road, Croydon, Surrey, CR0 1TA

t: 020 8760 0665

The Awareness Centre

41 Abbeville Rd, SW4 9JX

t: 020 8673 4545



Counselling Contribution Scheme for individuals on state benefits, students over 18, living on state pension in receipt of working tax credit and clients registered as disabled. Counselling available on a long or short term basis to suit your needs.

NAFSIYAT Intercultural Therapy

Unit 4, Clifton House, 42/43 Clifton Terrace, N4 3JP

t: 020 7263 6947



Therapists from different ethnic backgrounds; some counselling in languages other than English.

Project for Advice Counselling & Education (PACE)

34 Hartham Rd. N7 9JL

t: 020 7700 1323



Counselling for lesbians and gay men, fees on a sliding scale.

The Centre for Better Health

1A Darnley Road E9 6QH

t: 020 8985 3570



The Centre for Better Health offers a low cost integrative counselling service that adheres to BACP guidelines. Fees begin at £5 for unemployed and can range to £20 for employed persons.

Southwark Carers

Cambridge House, 131 Camberwell Rd. SE5 OHF

t: 020 7708 4497




t: 0845 456 1310


Relationship Counselling from local centres. eg. Bromley, Croydon, Dartford etc.

Relationship Counselling for London

Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Pk. NW3 5BA

t: 020 7435 7111


Training Centres that may be able to provide low cost counselling and psychotherapy by students under supervision:

Westminster Pastoral Foundation

WPF Therapy, 23 Magdalen Street, SE1 2EN

t: 020 7378 2000



Fees on a sliding scale.

Psychosynthesis & Education Trust

92/94 Tooley Street, SE1 2TH

t: 020 7403 7814



Counselling can be offered to those who cannot pay the full session fee and who are considered suitable to work with 2nd and 3rd year training counsellors supervised by the Trust. If you are interested in this scheme, please say so when making contact.

Institute of Family Therapy

24/32 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HX

t: 020 8579 2505



General Lists of Counsellors and Psychotherapists by Area:

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)


South London Counselling Directory, your local guide to confidential support

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)


Guild of Psychotherapists

47 Nelson Square SE1 0QA

t: 020 7401 3266 (The administrator is available to answer the phone Tuesday to Friday)



There is a sliding scale of charges ranging from £4 - £20 per session, with an initial consultation costing £7 - £25.