Q and A's
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Before your first appointment is made
Q: What does my initial fee cover?
A: We charge a set-up fee to cover all the initial work relating your case, from referral through assessment and the allocation of an appointment. Our fees can be seen here. This fee is therefore non-refundable and doesn't guarantee that we will offer you the service if after the assessment it isn't deemed safe or appropriate. We have flexible concessionary rates for those who would struggle to pay our full set-up fee.
Q: How are intake appointments delivered?
A - Intakes are primarily offered as a telephone interview, but we also offer face to face appointments as well as Zoom sessions, if needed.
Q: Can I bring my child or somebody else with me to my intake appointment?
A: No, please ensure you attend your initial appointment on your own. Please let us know if you have a young baby who is breastfed and we will accommodate you. We have limited space available and do not have a waiting area for others. If you need an advocate or interpreter please let us know.
Q: I may need support to attend an appointment. Is that okay?
A: We understand that everyone’s circumstances are different, please talk to us about your specific needs.
Q: Are there intake appointments available any day, any time, and any location?
A: No, we have available slots that you may choose from, depending on where you live. Generally, we can offer you an intake appointment in Dundee, Arbroath, Perth, Glenrothes and Dunfermline. All intake appointments take place during office hours. Please note, due to great demand on our services intake appointments are booked up a fair bit in advance. We offer intakes over the telephone, online or face to face.
Q: Who will see me for my intake?
A: We have specifically trained intake workers who carry out these appointments.
Q: How soon after my intake will I be offered my first mediation/counselling/contact session?
A: It depends on what the service is, and also on the other parties (e.g. the other parent) attending their intake appointment, too. Please rest assured, we will contact you as soon we are ready to proceed. Some of our services may have additional waiting times, but we will let you know about these at your intake. The more flexible your availability is, the better the chances are that we will be able to offer you an appointment sooner.
Q: Do you accept every case for mediation/counselling/contact?
A: Not necessarily, there are criteria to be met and we carry out an assessment, based on these.
Q: If you decline to offer a service following my intake, or if the other party doesn't engage, will I get my set-up fee back?
A: No - The set-up fee is non-refundable. It partially covers all the initial work relating your case, from referral through assessment and the allocation of an appointment.
Q: What if the other party and I can't agree on what service to use?
A: If there is no joint agreement as to what service to use, we will make an attempt to offer a suitable way forward. Sometimes we may suggest one of our other services might be more appropriate or we might say our service is not appropriate at all. If there is no agreement, we will be unable to proceed.
Q: Would it help if I bring letters and diaries I have been keeping to show you?
A: No – Please do not bring paperwork/diaries/screenshots to your intake meeting or future sessions. We do not take sides or pass a judgement and evidence is not required in order for us to offer a service to you.
Q: Are mediation meetings face to face?
A: Mediation appointments can be offered via Zoom as well as face to face.
Q: Can you make the other parent attend mediation?
A: No, the service is entirely voluntary and we cannot (and do not) enforce attendance. We are not part of the legal process and do not operate in similar ways to a solicitor, an advocate or a case worker.
Q: Can I speak to my mediator outwith my sessions?
A: Generally, not. Mediators do not work set hours but their availability aside, they also have to ensure that they remain impartial and neutral throughout the process and liaising with one party separately would compromise that.
Q: Where do you offer mediation appointments and how much are they?
A: We primarily offer appointments online, or in Dundee, Perth, Arbroath, Montrose, Glenrothes and Dunfermline, but are able to accommodate alternative locations if required. For any costs involved, please refer to our Fees.
Q: Can I use what was said in mediation, in Court?
A: No, what is said in mediation is protected under legislation and information cannot generally be used that way.
Q: Is it confidential?
A: Yes. Parents can talk freely and frankly in mediation. What occurs during family mediation cannot be used in civil proceedings unless both parties want it to be or if there are issues regarding criminal activities or the children's welfare. Mediators are bound by a duty of confidentiality, unless circumstances suggest that issues being discussed may pose a risk to clients or the wider community. Such issues include domestic abuse, child protection, money laundering and terrorism. In all circumstances, care is taken to protect confidentiality and no disclosure will be made without discussing the issues first, unless there is an urgent risk of harm.
Q: Who Are the Mediators?
A: Family Mediators are extensively trained to support individuals in working through their issues after a separation or divorce. They have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the issues arising when families fracture. They all work to professional standards, have ongoing supervision and are annually assessed.
Q: What other mediation services do you offer?
A: Family Mediation is for everyone: married, unmarried, parents, grandparents, step-parents, children and young people, aunties and uncles, or siblings.
We also offer mediation which includes financial and property matters relating to the parents’ separation or divorce.
Q: What other family scenarios can mediation help?
A: We have successfully supported: young people who have fallen out with their parent or step-parent; adult siblings not agreeing about the care of their elderly mum; grandparents wanting to see their grandchildren; young people living with their auntie but running away due to issues in the household; adult siblings coming together to discuss guardianship of their disabled sibling. These are just examples and in fact any family matter where there is conflict is suitable to be assessed for mediation.
Child Contact Centres
Q: I have a court order to use your Centre for contact and it has to start a certain date and certain time. Does that mean you must follow this order?
A: The court order applies to you and not to us, although the order may include our service as a proposed venue. We are an independent charity offering services and we have our own processes and timescales to work through. Having said that, we have a long standing working relationship with the local courts and try our best to accommodate court ordered contact.
Q: Do I need an agency, solicitor or court to refer me?
A: No, you may self-refer if you feel that you might benefit from any of our services. If the Scottish Legal Aid Board has approved paying for your legal fees (in part or in full) then they may pay for our fees, also. In this case we require your solicitor to contact us directly, with certain pieces of information.
Q: Do you have any rules for using the Centres?
A: Yes, we have a number of rules, policies and procedures that apply to the use of the Centres. These are in place for a number of reasons, and mainly for the protection of the children, parents and our workers. Therefore, they are not flexible or negotiable.
Q: Where are the Centres and what are the costs?
A: We operate Centres in Dundee, Arbroath, Perth, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy. For any costs, please refer to our Fees. We also offer online Supervised contact and Digital Postbox contact which are not fixed to any specific location.
Q: Are there any services that can be offered before face to face contact sessions?
A: We offer a visit prior to contact sessions starting, so children - and parents - can familiarise themselves with the Centre and get to know staff. We also offer support where direct contact is not (yet) possible - this is called our digital postbox service and this is mainly supporting parents to exchange messages, stories, videos and photos about the child - but the child can be involved depending on their age and stage of development.
Q: Are counselling sessions face to face?
A: Counselling appointments can be offered via Zoom as well as face to face.
Q: How much is the service and where do you offer appointments?
A: We offer this service in Dundee only, but online sessions are available to anyone. Please see our fees here.
Q: Is there a waiting list?
A: Yes, please contact us for up to date waiting times.
Q: What are the counsellors’ qualifications?
Our counsellors are trained to diploma level over a three year period and have to achieve 200 hours of supervised practice before they are eligible for accreditation with Relationships Scotland. Couple counsellors are all specifically trained in couple work. All our Practitioners work to professional standards and have to go through an annual renewal process to demonstrate that they have met the required standards of supervision and Continuing Professional Development. You may be seen by counsellors who are in training for couple work; you will be ask first, if this is the case.
Children and Young Persons’ Counselling
Q: Is children's counselling available online or face to face?
A: Appointments are mainly face to face but can be offered online for those young people over the age of 12.
Q: Can you tell me (or the Court, the Social Worker, or Guidance Teacher), what my child says in counselling?
A: Absolutely not, unless we have a concern for their welfare or safety. The counselling relationship relies heavily on the child trusting that what they talk to the Counsellor about, will remain between them.
Q: Can I attend the sessions with my child?
A: No, the sessions are for the child alone. You may drop them off and collect them at the end of the session, and you may be able to wait for them if needed, in our waiting room. If you believe that it would be helpful to attend sessions as a family unit, please refer to our Family Therapy service.
Q: Where do you offer Children's Counselling and what are the costs?
A: We offer appointments in Dundee and Glenrothes. We request donations for sessions, depending on how much you can afford.
Q: Do you need both parents to consent to children’s counselling?
A: We prefer to seek consent from both parents. If it is a shared care arrangement then counselling cannot go ahead without it. In all other circumstances, we will discuss with you your specific situation.
Q: Can siblings be seen together?
A: No, sessions are tailored to the needs of the individual child.
Q: What are the criteria for counselling children?
A: Children have to be between the ages of 8 and 18 and their parents have to have separated and living apart.
Sexual Relationship Therapy
Q: How are sessions delivered?
A: Appointments can be offered via Zoom as well as face to face.
Q: How long does a session last?
A: Usually around 50 minutes, however the sessions at the start where more questions are asked (we call this history taking) may take longer.
Q: How often do I see the therapist?
A: Sessions will start off every week but sometimes they may be every 2-3 weeks to enable you to try out any exercises you have agreed to do at home.
Q: How many sessions do I need?
A: There is no limit to the number of sessions available to you, you will work closely with your Therapist to decide what is best for you.
Q: Who is my therapist?
A: Our therapists are all experienced counsellors who have completed specific training in sexual therapy to diploma level. All sexual therapists work to professional standards and have to go through an annual renewal process to demonstrate that they have met the required standards of supervision and Continuing Professional Development. You may be offered an appointment with someone who is working towards their final qualification. You will always be asked first, if this is the case.