Emotional support and counselling All women who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse will need emotional support of some kind, so don't be afraid to ask for help. We understand that everyone has different needs and that all women need to be listened to with respect, and without being judged when they choose to talk about their experiences. Mutual support We can offer mutual support from other women who have had similarly abusive experiences which can be very valuable: it will help you to feel less isolated and to recognise that none of the abuse you experienced was your fault. You will get this kind of support if you join one of our support groups of attend our Freedom Programme. Professional counselling or psychotherapy Some women may benefit from more formal counselling or psychotherapy – though not usually while they are still living with their abuser or immediately after escaping from the violence, when physical safety and practical issues are likely to be of greater concern. If you would like counselling, please let us know because we may be able to offer you free or subsidised sessions. The following information may help you to decide: Counselling is a two-way relationship, in which the counsellor listens to whatever you want to say, in confidence and without making judgements. Counsellors are not supposed to give advice, but they may ask questions or challenge you in ways which may help you to look more carefully at some of the assumptions you may have taken for granted. Usually you will have regular sessions, for an hour or slightly less, each week or every two weeks. Psychotherapy tends to be more intensive than counselling, and may continue for a longer period of time, as issues are explored in more depth. Some practitioners, however, use these terms interchangeably. The aim of counselling is to help you understand yourself better and come to terms with what has happened to you. Good counselling will help you to break away from past abusive relationships and work towards living in a way which is more satisfactory and fulfilling for you. It can also help you to build up your self esteem. However, counselling is not for everyone – and you have to decide whether it is right for you and whether this is the right time for it.