Clients who access counselling usually want to focus on a specific issue over a limited number of sessions. Sometimes, for example, people have experienced a recent bereavement, have been through a relationship break-up, have been diagnosed with a serious illness or are struggling with an addiction. The empathic counselling relationship can help the client to work through such difficult issues in order to implement change and to be able to move on again.

Sometimes counselling clients may wish to stay longer to undertake psychotherapy.