what is counselling

There are times in all our lives when we feel unable to cope. Sometimes the causes of these problems seem fairly clear and we know where to turn for assistance. At other times our problems are difficult to understand and we can find no answer from our own resources or contacts.

Talking to a counsellor, who is impartial and skilled, can help us work through our personal or relationship difficulties and find our own unique way forward.

Counsellors are trained to listen and to help us explore the experience and origins of our feelings, thoughts and behaviours in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental way. Counselling does not claim to be the answer to all human difficulties, but it can help us find our own answers in a supportive environment. In this way counselling assists us to move towards more effective ways of coping, enabling us to have greater control of our lives.

An expanded definition of ‘What is counselling?’ may be found on the COSCA and/or BACP website.

what do we offer

Charis counselling offers a free professional counselling service, covering a wide range of issues. For example, if you are…

  • Experiencing any kind of loss, bereavement or trauma
  • Suffering from stress, anxiety, panic attacks, depression or finding it hard to cope
  • Having difficulties within personal or family relationships
  • Having difficulties dealing with past and/or present abuse
  • Having problems adjusting to change, perhaps through redundancy or early retirement
  • Facing a problem that is hard to talk about or resolve
  • Looking to recover from drug addiction
  • Uncertain about spiritual issues
  • Dealing with low self worth or guilt
  • Having difficulties in your day to day living after a traumatic event

we may be able to help.

We also offer placement opportunities for college/university diploma students.

Supervision for counsellors (there is a fee for this service).


As a recognised organisation with COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland), Charis foundation works to the COSCA Code of Ethics and Practice.



We endeavour to provide a high quality and professional counselling service to all our clients. If you are unhappy or have any concerns about any aspect of our service please let a member of the team know. Your complaint or concern will be investigated and discussed with those involved and you will be informed of the outcome. Charis counselling Complaints Policy and Procedure document is available here.

what is art therapy

This service is currently unavailable

Art therapy is a form of therapy in which the making of images, made in the presence of a qualified art therapist, contributes towards the externalisation of thoughts and feelings, which may otherwise remain unexpressed. So the making of art can facilitate the process of bringing the unconscious feelings into the conscious mind. It is the richness of artistic symbol and metaphor that can illuminate the process of art therapy.

Do I have to be able to draw? Artistic ability is not important in this context. It is more the expression of feelings that is at the heart of the work. An art therapist would never judge artwork as good or bad. Many people fear their abilities will be inadequate, but all that is necessary is a willingness to engage with the materials and the process. We provide a variety of materials including paints, pastels, pencils, collage and clay.

How is art therapy different from counselling?

The training has similarities and differences. The use of art makes it more of a 3-way conversation, rather than a 2-way one. Art therapy is psycho-dynamically based and so works well with those who are not so able to articulate their difficulties. We work with all age groups, including children.

who is it for

The counselling (and art therapy) service we offer is available to anyone.

As an individual you may self refer by contacting us directly for an appointment, either by telephone, letter or calling in to the agency personally.

As an agency, organisation or church you may wish to make an official referral on behalf of someone. Contact will then be established and maintained with the person who has been referred.


The counselling centre is open Monday to Friday offering an appointment-based service, between 9.00am and 4.30pm.

You can make appointments with us by telephone, letter or calling in to the agency personally.

We operate a waiting list system and at the time of your call your details will be taken and the receptionist will explain how waiting times are managed.

Appointments are generally offered on a weekly basis and last for one hour.

Charis receptionists will be the point of contact for all clients and referral agencies.


All counsellors (and art therapists) are trained, or in training, to post-graduate Diploma or Masters level in one or more models of therapy, e.g. Psychodynamic, Transactional Analysis, Pluralist and Person-centred.

All counsellors (and art therapists) are accredited with their professional bodies, e.g. BACP, COSCA, ACC and BAAT.

Charis counselling is a member of the COSCA Recognition agency scheme.


‘Indwelling’: The role of the built environment in the counselling relationship and process
MSc in Counselling Research Study by Joyce Nicoll.

This research study featured Charis counselling, a purpose built counselling centre designed to implicitly convey core values of acceptance, worth, hope, peace and belonging. Various counselling models, and perhaps supremely person-centred theory, suggest that ‘conditions’ for growth in a relationship is when the client experiences the ‘core conditions’ of congruence, acceptance and empathic understanding.

The aims of the study were to explore whether and how the implicit presence of the core values of the agency can be relationally experienced by the client (and the counsellor) when ‘concretised’ in the built environment. Key findings from the analysis paper entitled ‘Building shapes to stimulate connection, choice and change’ are available on request.

  • Queens Golden Jubilee
  • RIBA-award
  • Cosca
  • cpcab