Telephone Counselling – what are the options in the UK?



For many in the UK that are struggling to find mental health support through the NHS, private counselling is proving an ideal alternative. There are different ways in which counselling can be delivered: face-to-face, via the telephone, and online. We have noticed an increase in the use of technology to access therapy as the coronavirus outbreak develops. During times of uncertainty, it is normal that anxiety will increase, and accessing therapy from the comfort of your own home our office is one of the main advantages of this type of therapy.

Telephone counselling has several advantages: it is convenient as you can access the service from the comfort of your home, and for many, not seeing the person face-to-face reduces the stigma of talking about mental health issues significantly. If you want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of telephone counselling, our counsellor Danielle shared her honest views on this post.

The primary purpose of this post is to try to assess the different alternatives for telephone counselling in the UK. A quick Google search will give us these as the top results (we removed the results related to online counselling, as we will cover these ones in another post). We try to keep this page updated at least once a month. The last time we did our search to update services and prices was in March 2022.




What are the options for telephone counselling in the UK? (Updated March 2022)



The service offers a range of online and telephone counselling. We will focus on the telephone counselling service, as that is our main area of specialisation. BetterHelp works on a subscription based, and you are assigned a therapists after answering a few questions. After a therapist is assigned to you, you will be able to text with them, as well as arrange a weekly telephone counselling session.

The price at the time we wrote this article (Jan 2022) was $45 per week, but we needed to pay in advance for the whole month ($180 USD or roughly £132), each session last 30-45 minutes.


UK Therapy Guide

This service will connect you to a therapist after asking your preferences (e.g. name, type of therapy you're looking for, if you want the sessions online, over the phone, or face to face, price range…) One can also just go to the whole directory of therapist and browse therapists based on their location or filtering whether they deliver therapy online or over the phone. Sessions for telephone counselling are between 30 minutes to an hour. The price range goes from £30 to £120 depending on the therapist. The service does not offer the option to talk to a therapist immediately, but you can browse through the different profiles of counsellors and book an appointment with them.


Instant Counselling

This service will connect you with a telephone counsellor instantly. To access the service you need to choose any of the counsellors available 24/7 and pick a pack of minutes to talk to them. Prices range from £32.25 for 25minutes, £59.50 for 50 minutes, and if you purchase 2 x 50 min sessions at once, it will cost £49.50 each. You can browse all their list of counsellors, look at their specialities and see when they will be available to call them. There is no need to book an appointment with them. And if you like one of the therapists after talking to them, you can arrange future appointments directly with them. There is no need to subscribe or commit to a number of sessions. You only buy packs when you need them. When using this service you call a freephone (toll free) number, thus you don't need to pay any communication charges. The service is available in the UK, but also in America, and other countries in the Middle East.


Online Counselling Service

We know the name of the service suggests that it is all done online, however they also provide telephone counselling services. Sessions are 45 minutes long and start from £60. They provide some discounts if you can commit to more than one session (up to 25% if you buy 15 sessions in advance!). The service doesn't seem to be immediate, and you don't have a choice of the counsellor you will be talking to, which some might find it to be a disadvantage. The good thing of this service is that they also offer several modalities of therapy, including email counselling and instant messaging counselling.


Harley Therapy

This service allows you to talk to a counsellor online, in person, or over the phone. When initially accessed the service, it was not possible to book an appointment to call a counsellor instantly. However, the platform provides you with a list of therapist that will be available in the future. We accessed the service on a Friday afternoon this time, and the next available session was 3 hours later.

In terms of prices per counselling session, this will depend based on the therapist that you choose. We found that prices ranged from £30 to £200 per session. Once you click on the profile of a therapist, you will be able to see some information about them, the modes of therapy that they offer (e.g. Skype, phone, etc.), and there is the possibility to book an appointment with them in the future. The booking process requires you to create an account either by leaving your email address or your mobile number.


Counselling Directory

This service, as its name suggests, also works as a directory. You can find a list of counsellors willing to provide therapy over the phone, and you need to browse through all the different profiles. On their results page you can see where the counsellors are based, and their areas of expertise. Prices are not displayed in the results list, but we randomly clicked on 5 profiles, and we found prices ranging from £45 to £80, the length of the session also depends on the counsellor ranging from 45 minutes to one hour. You cannot talk to a counsellor immediately, but you can contact the counsellor of your choice to arrange an appointment.



This service specialises in providing relationship support. To access telephone counselling, you need to contact them first over the phone to make an appointment. Appointments can only be made at specific opening times (Mon-Thur - 8 am to 8 pm, Fri – 9 am to 1 pm, Sat – 9 am to 1 pm, and they are closed on Sunday).This service does not allow you to choose your counsellor, and their fees varied depending on the circumstances of each patient (in the past sessions were at £55 per hour, and they used to offer sessions of 30 minutes for £27.50). You do not call a freephone number, so standard charges are based on calls to UK landlines. They use to offer a free chat service, however this time that we checked they now charge £40 for message counselling for 45 mins.


Choose Therapy

This provider offers affordable online therapy. To get your first session, you need to book an initial 25 minute assessment for £20, then you'll be able to choose a therapist from a shortlist based on your needs. Each session is 50 minutes long and it costs £36 no matter which counsellor you're talking to. 



A platform that offers online therapy without subscription, you will be only paying for the sessions you take. Before starting therapy, you'll have to complete 4 steps. First you must choose a therapist, you can use filters to set your own preferences such as gender, price range, language... After this you can choose the date and time for which you want to request a session and the type of session you would like to have (audio or video). Just before submiting and paying for your first session, there are a few questions that you will need to answer so the therapist can get a better picture of the issues your are facing and how to help you best. 

Sessions are 50-60 minutes depending on the therapist. Prices for video sessions range from £40 to £130 and prices for audio sessions range from £20 to £125. An introductory audio or video lasting 30 minutes is also available, some of the therapist offer this for free, others might charge a lower amount compared to a normal session.


Other services

Some counsellors also provide telephone counselling as part of the services they offer in their private practice. You can find them using websites like Counselling Directory or just by doing a quick search on Google. Their prices vary greatly. For example, a therapist that we found called Lindsay George, that provides therapy in different modalities charges £80 for a 60 min phone counselling session. However other therapists might charge lower prices.


Are you currently employed?

More companies are now offering counselling support to their staff (and sometimes to their family members). It is worth checking with your HR department if this service is provided to you. In most cases, a third party supplier delivers this service. This is important because confidentiality and anonymity are key. One of the leading providers of staff counselling and employee assistance programmes is:


Pro-Counselling & Pro-EAP


Pro-Counselling provides 24/7 telephone counselling support to staff of companies that have subscribed to their service. Pro-EAP is an extension of the service, and includes wider support related to mental health, but also financial advice.


Is telephone counselling effective?

We have asked Fraser Smith from Get Psyched to examine the evidence regarding the effectiveness of this mode of therapy. He also looks at online counselling and when this type of therapy is more appropriate.