Frequently Asked Questions
What is PlusGuidance?
PlusGuidance is an on-demand therapy service that helps anyone get instant access to the therapy they need from the privacy and comfort of their own home.
Users can choose to speak to a therapist via secure video call, voice call, instant messaging, or offline in-person.
Our mission is to improve the world's mental health by creating immediate access to talking therapies.
How do I get started?
You simply need to browse our therapists and message one or more you think might be a good match for you. You'll need to create a free account before you can submit your first message.
Click here to see how it works.
Is online therapy effective?
Yes! Online therapy has been proven work just as well, and in some cases better, than traditional, face-to-face therapy. Wagner, Horn, & Maercker (2013) found that online therapy is just as effective as offline therapy at beating depression, and it was more effective than offline therapy at reducing depressive symptoms in the 3 months after the initial study. Here's more evidence.
What makes online therapy different to regular face-to-face therapy?
With traditional therapy from other organisations like the NHS, a therapist is allocated to you or you are assigned to a long waiting list. When you use PlusGuidance, however, you have the freedom to choose from a wide range of specialists, and no time or travel expenses are spent making your way to appointments.
You can choose to remain anonymous, and you can have your session in the comfort of your own home. You can have a therapy session at any time time of day (subject to your chosen therapist's availability) – perfect for those with a busy work schedule.
What are the benefits of online therapy?
Online therapy can be a good alternative for those who are are unable to or uncomfortable about getting face-to-face help. On our website, we also have the added benefit of enabling you to very easily choose a therapist you feel most comfortable with.
Is therapy for me? How do I know if I need therapy?
Therapy is suitable for and can be beneficial to anyone in need of talking to someone. People who need therapy come from a wide range of situations and backgrounds, and they have a wide variety of needs. For a list of things that therapy is known to help with, have a look at our service pages.
No problem is too small for therapy. If you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, have a challenge you would like help with overcoming, or if you just want to have a chat with someone and get something off your chest, then therapy could be right for you.
What sort of therapy do you offer?
Finding the right therapist and the correct type of therapy to match your needs is the most important element when finding an effective therapy service. Depending on your individual needs, we offer therapy types such as:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness Therapy
- Humanistic Therapy
- Integrative Therapy
- Family/Systematic Therapy
- Person-Centred Therapy
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Existential Therapy
- Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
If you are thinking about getting any of these or other types of therapy, you can search for therapists offering this on PlusGuidance. Just click the "More search options" link below the main search field here and pick a therapy type in the "Therapy type" search field.
Are all therapies the same?
Not all therapies are the same, but they do have similarities. All therapies should make you feel that you are supported and help you to make sense of your individual circumstances. By the end of any therapy, you should feel that you are better equipped to cope with the future.
Each type of therapy is designed to help a different set of needs, so therapies will differ from each other in certain ways. Psychodynamic therapy concentrates on talking about your past, whereas other therapies may choose to focus on the present or even the future. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) often involves ‘homework’ for you to do. Some therapies, like mindfulness therapy, are more spiritual.
How many people get counselling/therapy?
There are currently no statistics available on how many people receive therapy in the UK. However, it is clear that a growing number of people are seeking therapies like therapy. Over 1.25 million people used the NHS mental health services in 2010, the highest number since data collection began, and this number increases every year. Research also shows that 1 in 4 British adults will suffer with a mental health problem at some stage in their life, so it is very common to experience some sort of difficulty that therapy could help with.
Can I refer someone who might need therapy?
The most effective way for someone to get therapy is if they come to the decision of their own accord. While it is distressing to know someone who might be in need of therapy, but hasn’t come to this decision themselves, the action needs to come from them.
What we can suggest to you is to look up some of the therapists we have, and if their experience meets the need of the person you are worried about, take their details and encourage the person who may need help to contact the therapist in their own time and interest.
About Our Therapists
Are all your therapists professionally qualified to the highest standard?
We have a strict criteria for our 'verified' therapists (i.e. all therapists shown in our public search directory). We manually check that everyone has had core training in counselling or psychotherapy to diploma level or equivalent. They also must have an up-to-date professional indemnity insurance as well as proof of identification.
How do I know whether you have the right therapy service for my needs?
Many specialists will have practiced in different areas and settings and in many parts of society, although some specialists may be better trained to help deal with specific issues, such as relationship difficulties, personal problem-solving, anxiety and abuse. Whatever type of therapy you and your therapist decide is suitable for you, it will always be tailored to you and your individual needs and requirements.
How do I find a therapist?
We operate on a matching search system that is designed to help find the specialist most suitable to you. If, however, you aren't completely comfortable with your chosen specialist, you can easily find another. The therapists are here to help you, so your ease and peace of mind is of paramount importance. The session types differ between the therapists but will take the format of instant-messaging (IM), video, asyncronous messaging, voice or in-person sessions.
How flexible are the therapists around meeting my schedule?
Different specialists have different schedules and are available at different times. Our search system will help you to find a therapist that's available at a time that fits into your schedule. It is important to take note, however, that all appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis, so you may not always be able to book one at the time you wish if another user gets there first.
Your sessions on PlusGuidance
How do I book a session?
Our booking system is simple, intuitive and easy to use. You simply click the yellow "Book a session" button on the therapist's profile, pick, pay and book the session.
How much does it cost?
The therapist is responsible for setting their own prices. These could vary from £10 to over £100 depending on the type (video, audio, instant-messaging) and length of session, though most tend to be around £35-£50 per session. Some therapists may be willing to adjust their fees if you are on a low income.
You could be eligible for free sessions through your employers' EAP (employee assistance programme). Please speak to your company about the possibility of receiving free therapy through PlusGuidance.
When can I start the first session?
You can arrange your first appointment at any time you prefer from the earliest time slot your chosen therapist has made available in their calandar. You can view their available time slots in the Calandar tab on their individual profiles. If you would like an earlier or alternative appointment, message the therapist directly to ask about this. They may have time and say yes!
How long does a session last?
One session will usually last for around 50 minutes. This may vary depending on the session format (voice, video, instant-messaging) or the type of therapy you are having. You can discuss the length of the session with your therapist to adapt it to your needs.
How often do I need to have a session?
Most people will choose to have a session once a week. However, the recommended frequency of sessions will depend on the therapy you choose to receive as well as your personal needs. Your therapist will recommend to you how often you should have a session.
Is there a set amount of sessions I would need to attend?
The number of sessions you have depends on your individual situation and the type of therapy you are receiving. Your specialist will discuss this with you. Sometimes a few sessions are required, sometimes one is enough. You can end the course of therapy whenever you feel is necessary, but it is strongly encouraged you discuss your wish to end it with your specialist so you can bring things to a satisfactory closure.
What will I have to tell the therapist?
It's your decision what information you share with your therapist. However, in order to enable your sessions to be effective, you should try to be as open and honest as you can. They are trained professionals, so your therapist will be used to hearing all sorts of highly personal things.
What questions should I ask the therapist?
You may want to ask your therapist how many sessions you will have and how often you should have them. It may also be helpful to ask them about costs and what will happen if you miss a session.
What happens if I miss or can’t attend a session?
If you are aware of any upcoming plans or prior commitments that are likely to interrupt your therapy sessions, such as holidays, let your therapist know as early as possible.
We understand that unforeseeable circumstances might arise. If you know that you can't attend a session, please let your therapist know as soon as you can to enable rescheduling the missed session. It is up to the therapist's discretion whether you will still be charged.
I'm not comfortable being alone in the session. Can I have a family member or friend with me during the session?
The therapy service that we provide generally occurs on a one-on-one basis to ensure that you get the individual time and attention during the session that you deserve.
If you feel there may be communication difficulties or language barriers during the session, group therapy may be an option. Please contact your chosen therapist with any specific questions regarding this, and they will be able to advise you.
What if I'm unhappy with the therapy session I had or don’t like my therapist?
The key to a successful therapy session is being able to trust and feel comfortable with your therapist, which is why we have a smart matching system to eradicate any difficulties when it comes to finding the right therapist for you. We hope that the service we provide and the therapy sessions you receive are up to standard and meet your individual expectations.
If after your first session you don't like the therapist or are keen to find another one, you can get in touch with us and we will try to match you with another therapist we hope you feel more comfortable with.
Privacy and Security
Is online therapy secure and confidential?
Online therapy aims to provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential environment for those who need it. PlusGuidance's data transfer encryption is akin to that used by banks and the military, meaning that all your messages are encrypted so not even our tech team can read them.
Are my details kept anonymous?
We respect that anything you tell us or our therapists is sensitive information, so we only require an email address, unique username and a few other basic details from you. Specialists will never see your email address and we do not store any payment details, so you can be sure that your details are kept safe with us.
What happen to my messages after the session?
We guarantee full privacy by encrypting any stored messages between you and your specialist so not even our tech team can read them. You can access any written messages between you and your therapist in your Messages and Email Sessions pages when you're logged in.
Are my sessions recorded?
All correspondence, be it through messaging, video or voice sessions, is kept strictly between yourself and your therapist. No video or audio sessions are recorded by us, and any message history is entirely in your hands.
Will the therapist talk to other people?
All the information that is discussed in a session on PlusGuidance is completely confidential between you and your specialist. Each specialist has been manually approved and abides by a professional ethical and confidentiality code. However, there may be some circumstances where a specialist may need to share some information with another professional, such as your GP, for example if there is a serious risk of harm to yourself or to others. This information will usually only be shared with your permission. Your specialist will explain and discuss the terms in detail with you during your first session.
Is my payment secure?
Your Visa, Mastercard and American Express payments are received through a secure payment protection scheme. Your sensitive card details are encrypted using SSL (secure sockets layer technology) before transmission to our secure payment service provider. Your card details will never be stored on our servers.