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Important Information for Clients

Thank you for making an appointment to meet with us. Please read the following information very carefully ahead of your appointment.

What you need to know 

We meet with hundreds of clients every year and we want them to get the most effective help possible.  That’s why, if you’re coming as a couple, we’ll talk with you together and individually because this helps us all to work out if Relate is the best place for you to be or whether another resource could be more helpful.  Many clients find that those initial conversations help them to make best use of ongoing counselling or to get to other forms of support as quickly as possible.   

Our clients want to talk with us about all sorts of issues.  We will always aim to help and support you to explore, understand and potentially make the changes that feel most important to you.  Sometimes though, clients coming as a couple or perhaps as a family or group of friends find it very difficult to agree together on what most needs to happen or change as a result of coming to counselling.  Where that’s the case, wherever possible, our practitioners will support you discover if there is any common ground on which you can both agree to work or if different forms of support are more likely to be of greater benefit. 

Individual time with a practitioner 

The content of any individual conversations is confidential between the person attending and Relate.  

Reports and client records 

Occasionally Relate is asked by clients or others such as Social Care to write reports or express an opinion on the progress made in counselling or other services.  We are not able to do this because of our duty of confidentiality to our clients, and because Relate practitioners are not trained in the specialist areas of diagnosis or social work assessment.  In addition to this, any notes we take about sessions are extremely brief, not a verbatim account of who said what and they are used only to support continuity from session to session.  However, we can in some circumstances, and on receipt of written consent from the client(s) who attended a service, provide the dates and number of sessions attended.  We are also sometimes asked by clients, their solicitors, the police, and the courts for access to client records.  These are not suitable as evidence in legal proceedings and Relate reserves the right to resist legal requests to produce the records in court.  We do this to protect Relate’s duty of confidentiality to all its clients, and to preserve Relate’s national reputation as a provider of confidential counselling and relationship support. 

Mobile phones 

Please switch off your mobile phone during your sessions as it can create an unhelpful distraction and interruption. 

Unauthorised electronic recording 

In order for you to work safely and effectively with a practitioner, it is important that the privacy of the work is respected.  Please, therefore, do not attempt to record your sessions using any device or app.  If it is found that recordings have been made covertly, services for the individual responsible will be discontinued immediately and Relate reserves the right to seek legal advice regarding possible further action. 

Authorised electronic recording 

Occasionally a practitioner, for example one who is undertaking a training course, will be required to record a session with a client or clients.  Some practitioners regularly use audio or video recording in their work and in these circumstances, you will be asked to give your written consent for this to happen.  The consent will specify all the ways in which the recording will be used (for example training, supervision or research) and will specify how and when the recording will be destroyed.  Where a session is to be provided via a video link, such as a web conferencing service, this will be made clear along with any additional data privacy information. 

Cancellation policy 

There is a £30 late cancellation fee for any cancellations made outside the centre’s cancellation period which is 48 hours.  Please make sure you have understood this to ensure you do not incur any charges if you need to cancel an appointment.  

Student practitioners 

Relate is a national trainer of relationship practitioners.  This means that the practitioner you see may be a student or a qualified practitioner who is now undertaking training in a different discipline.  An example of this may be a qualified relationship practitioner who is now training in sex therapy.  All our practitioners in training have been assessed as competent to work with their clients on a wide range of issues.  Our practitioners receive regular, ongoing and professional clinical supervision for the work they undertake with Relate clients.  Clinical supervision supports their work with you to ensure it meets the highest professional standards. If you would prefer not to be seen by a practitioner in training, please let us know. 

Sex therapy 

If you’re coming to us for sex therapy, as part of assessment or ongoing work, your therapist may suggest reading or viewing explicit sexual material to support the work they are undertaking with you.  Your practitioner will always discuss this possibility with you first and answer any questions you may have and you can decline their suggestion at any time.  

Feedback and complaints 

Our colleagues will always aim to resolve whatever is concerning you efficiently and courteously and we request that you respond to us in the same way.  We do not tolerate abuse towards our colleagues and Relate reserves the right to consider action against anyone who behaves in an abusive way to any member of our team. 

If you have any feedback or a complaint about the service you received at Relate, please let us know as quickly as possible.  You can tell your practitioner, the centre manager or you can also use the general form on the 'Get In Touch' page.


Relationship support is a private and confidential form of help.  We hold information about each of our clients and the services they receive in confidence.  This means that we will not normally give your name or any information about you to anyone outside the organisation.  However, there are exceptional cases where Relate might ethically or legally have to give information to relevant authorities, for example if we had reason to believe that someone is at serious risk of harm or to prevent a miscarriage of justice.  We will discuss any proposed disclosure with you unless we believe that to do so could increase the level of risk to you or to someone else. 

Data protection 

The information about confidentiality in no way contravenes your rights under the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 to access personal data that Relate holds on you.  Relate keeps confidential records and statistics about its clients.  All records are kept securely and are only seen by authorised Relate personnel.  These records are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018.  Some of the information we may collect is classified as sensitive personal data and we can only use such data where we have your explicit consent. This data may include racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs, physical or mental health, sexual life, criminal proceedings, and offences.  Your personal and sensitive personal data will only be used in order to provide the service to you and for managing and quality assuring the service.  Records are kept for a maximum of 6 years and are then destroyed. 
Relate recognises that on rare occasions our clients may wish to exercise their rights under the General Data Protection Regulation May 2018 and make a subject access request in respect of their personal information held by Relate.  Often during counselling and in services, more than one individual provides information.  In these cases Relate will only release information if consent has been given by all of the individuals involved.  If at any time you wish to exercise your right under the Act you should put your request in writing to the Service Manager and provide evidence of your identity such as a copy of your passport or driver’s licence and proof of your address.  When the Service Manger receives your written request and evidence of identity they will respond to your request within one calendar month.  Relates response to a valid subject access request will normally be in the form of a schedule listing and describing the personal data we hold on them.  

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