Where can I get SARSAS counselling?

  • Somerset (Taunton, Bridgwater, Glastonbury, Minehead, Yeovil)
  • North Somerset (Weston-Super-Mare)
  • BANES (Bath)
  • South Glos (Iron Acton)

Counselling in Bristol is available through our Consortium partners – see www.survivorpathway.org.uk

About Counselling

Counselling is provided by female practitioners who are qualified, trained and experienced in working safely with people affected by rape and sexual abuse, and work using a ‘trauma informed approach’. This means we understand how the trauma of rape and sexual abuse can affect a person and can help you understand how it may impact on you and your day to day life.

The sessions will be personal to you and your needs at the time, as each person may experience similar feelings as a result of rape and sexual abuse, but no experience and resulting needs in counselling will ever be the same.

Examples of things trauma counselling can offer you include:

  • A safe space to talk and receive full attention to your needs
  • Psychoeducation (explaining how the brain works) on how you’re feeling and why
  • Help to develop tools to reduce, halt and turn the volume down on overwhelming trauma symptoms such as flashbacks, night terrors, panic and anxiety
  • Support towards upgrading your quality of life day to day and making the experience of intense feelings feel more manageable
  • A place to think things through and help you look after yourself and others
  • Learning how to make sense of what happened to you and why, and to understand more about who you are.
  • An investment into your healing and moving forward with your life

SARSAS is an organisational member of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) http://www.bacp.co.uk/ and all of our Counsellors adhere to the standards set out in the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions


Who can access this service?

  • Gender: Adult and young women and girls in all areas, and young men up to age 18 through Somerset Phoenix Project
  • Age: 13 years and over

How do I access support?

You will need to contact SARSAS to arrange an initial Assessment appointment.

This is an opportunity for you to find out more about us and the services we offer. We will also find out a bit more about you. Together, we will decide what might be the right service for you to access.

How long will I have to wait after the Assessment until I start my counselling?

We do have waiting lists in most of our areas. We will offer you an initial counselling appointment as soon as we can but it is likely that you will have to wait at least several months until a space becomes available. We do prioritise young people. We will be able to give you an idea about likely waiting times at your Assessment. Other services including Helpline and E-support will be available to you while you are waiting.

Is the support provided in an accessible building?

We aim to provide counselling in accessible buildings wherever possible. We will check your access or other comfort needs when arranging an initial Assessment in order to do all we can to meet them.

How many counselling sessions can I have?

SARSAS usually offer 12 sessions initially, with the option to continue up to 24, depending on your needs. We will mutually agree how many sessions will be beneficial to you, as you progress through the work and regularly review your progress.

How long are the sessions for?

Sessions last 50 minutes to an hour, every week at the same time.

Will I see the same person each week?

Yes. Only in very rare circumstances such as if your Counsellor leaves SARSAS, or if you feel unable to work together for any reason, in which case we will offer you another Counsellor and as much notice as possible.

When can I access counselling?

We have different availability at our various venues, always on weekdays. We will talk to you about this at your initial Assessment. If your availability changes after your Assessment, please let us know.

Do you have weekend or evening availability?

We do not have any weekend availability. We have limited availability for evening appointments in certain areas. We will talk to you about this at your initial Assessment appointment.

I do not speak English. Can I still access counselling with SARSAS?
We are able to access an interpreter to support you in your counselling sessions.

Do you offer online, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or telephone counselling?

We can provide counselling online, by Zoom and RCEW online counselling rooms and telephone counselling. Since COVID-19, SARSAS Counsellors are fully trained to effectively provide sessions remotely and effectively when it is suitable for you.

What if I have to miss a session?

Depending on the counselling you are having, we prefer if you can let us know at the beginning of counselling or up to 3 sessions in advance, which you are unable to attend, for example due to holiday. Any other session missed, will be counted as a session.

Will you tell anyone what I tell you?

What you share with SARSAS remains confidential; however, there are some exceptions. We may need to share information if you tell us that you or someone else, especially children, are at risk of harm, and certain other legal requirements. We can discuss this more with you in your initial appointment.

Can I talk to my counsellor about what happened to me?

Yes. Many people want to talk about what happened to them but have been unable to tell anyone. Our Counsellors provide a safe space for you to be able to do that.

Re-telling traumatic events has a potential to re-traumatise and be triggering, so we aim to create a safe space first.

Will I have to have to tell my counsellor everything?

No. You can tell your counsellor whatever you are comfortable with at the times you feel able to. Many people experience the benefits of counselling without sharing the explicit details of what happened to them and there is no pressure to speak about the abuse you experienced within the sessions at any time – we can work with the feelings without knowing the facts.

The police are investigating the rape/sexual abuse. Can I still access counselling?

Yes. SARSAS Counsellors are trained to deliver pre-trial therapy, in a way that will not jeopardise your upcoming court case. However it does mean there may be some limitations to the work in that you will not be able to discuss any details of the incident(s) during sessions, but can receive support which focusses on the impact on your day to day coping. We will talk to you more about this at the initial appointment if you have a case that is being investigated.

What happens when the counselling ends?

You can re-refer back to SARSAS for a further Assessment of your current needs and new support plan after a 12 month break following ending counselling. You will be able to use other services including the Helpline and E-support in the meantime.

Can I see my SARSAS counsellor privately after ending?

No. SARSAS Counsellors are unable to provide counselling to previous clients, when they are working in private practice. If you would like to access private counselling afterwards you can search the BACP website http://www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk/therapists and the Counselling directory.

How much do I have to pay for sessions?

Nothing. SARSAS counselling is free of charge. As a charity, we are always in need of funding and any donations are gratefully received, however there is absolutely no obligation.

Counselling placements: Unfortunately we aren’t able to facilitate counselling placements at the current time

Want to talk?

Our two helplines have been combined. Anyone can call either line at anytime.


0808 801 0456

0808 801 0464

Mon and Fri: 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu: 6pm – 8pm

Live Chat

Tue and Thu: 12noon – 2pm & 6pm – 8pm, Wed: 6pm – 8pm

What to expect when you call

These lines are open to all.  Girls, boys, women and men can call either of our two helplines. Trans and non-binary callers  are welcome.

Want to talk?

From Monday 23 March our two helplines will be combined. Anyone can call either line at anytime.


0808 801 0456

0808 801 0464

Mon and Fri: 11am – 2pm,
Tue, Wed and Thu: 6pm – 8pm

Live Chat

Tue and Thu: 12noon – 2pm

What to expect when you call

These lines are open to all. Girls, boys, women and men can call either of our two helplines. Trans and non-binary callers  are welcome.

Listening, believing & supporting