Welcome and thank you for thinking about volunteering at York Women’s Counselling Service – without the regular commitment and expertise of our volunteers none of our work would be possible.
We hope that you will find your time with us rewarding and fulfilling, and are confident that your role with us will enable you to both develop your skills as a counsellor whilst also making an enormous difference to the lives of the women you support.
We want you to get what you’re looking for from working with us. We recognise that volunteering must benefit the individual as well as the charity and aims to provide an environment that is inclusive, stimulating, friendly and supportive.
However we are a small charity and need to make sure that we can maintain our high standards and sustain the work that we do. We have two counselling rooms that we pay for throughout the year and allocate a room for ½ a day to each of our volunteer counsellors, so we need to make sure that you are fully committed to regularly volunteering for us.
We’ve set out some information below about how our counsellors work; what we can offer you when you join our team; and what we expect in return. Please read and think carefully about this before applying to join our team.
Our current 12 qualified counsellors give their time voluntarily. They come from a range of backgrounds, many working in GP surgeries, schools, colleges in private practice and including some final year trainees, and share a common commitment to increase access to therapy. Without their commitment and well-being, women in York would have no service.
Each qualified volunteer counsellor provides a minimum of 2 hours voluntary counselling each week for women who would not otherwise be able to afford access to private counselling. And in return we offer peer support to all our counsellors and the opportunity to work in a small, committed team.
Our aim is to provide an atmosphere of trust, safety and support within which the client may explore her problems and concerns, and, through increasing her awareness, move towards making informed choices and finding effective coping strategies in her own life. Our counsellors always respect the autonomy of the client and her ability to make her own decisions; not giving advice unless it is requested.
If you are a qualified Female* Counsellor and are looking to gain more experience in a voluntary setting or are working towards your accreditation then we’d love to hear from you!
* This post is open to women only (exempt under the Equality Act 2010 Schedule 9, Part 1)
We welcome counselling student placement applications from those who meet the following criteria:
- You are enrolled on a BACP or UKCP accredited course
- You have a minimum of 40 one-to-one counselling hours, this is due the potential lone working aspect of the organisation as the office is not open every day and support for difficult situations may not always be available.
We do offer a small number of counselling placements to those who do not meet this criteria; for example first year diploma students, please enquire as to availability by emailing us at email@example.com
Our programme ensures that the counsellors are working within the established ethical framework but are also receiving the appropriate support for their casework through:
- A full induction: we will carry out an induction session with you before you start in your voluntary role, explaining key information about YWCS and our policies and procedures and providing you with documentation on all aspects of the organisation.
- Our part-time coach & mentor counsellor (CMC): As an experienced practitioner our CMC provides invaluable one to one sessions with all counsellors giving space for vital reflection on the difficult situations that they encounter.
- Training opportunities: through team meeting guest speakers; workshop sessions; and subsidised attendance at the Making Research Count (University of York) Partnership events.
- Contribution to professional supervision. All counsellors must have access to formal supervision and as a thank you for the unpaid hours that they give, YWCS makes a contribution of £20 to each volunteer’s professional supervision costs.
- Holding team meetings: these are held every two months, to enable you to meet and work with the wider YWCS team of volunteers, management and trustees.
In return, we ask that all of our volunteers commit to:
- adhering to all YWCS policies and procedures, ensuring that you have read and understand all protocols as set out in the documentation provided to you when you start with YWCS.
- seeing a minimum of 2 clients per week (1 client per week during your 3 month induction period). We rely on client donations to help sustain the charity’s work and in order to cover the cost of the counselling rooms, every counsellor must see at least 2 clients per week.
- ensuring that you manage your client attendance in line with our client cancellation policy. Due to our extremely long waiting lists and the donations that the charity relies on to sustain its work, we are unable to leave counselling open to clients who consistently cancel or do not attend their sessions.
- attending all of the YWCS team meetings (scheduled throughout the calendar year in advance). We do of course understand that there are exceptional circumstances when you may be unable to attend, but failure to attend 2 meetings within 1 year may result in you being asked to consider your voluntary position with YWCS
- playing an active role in the life of YWCS – we are a small charity that is largely made up of a volunteer workforce. We would love to use your skills, enthusiasm and energy to help us to sustain and improve the work we do to help support more women in need.
Our focus on development and our welcoming ethos has also enabled the organisation to continue to attract and appoint volunteer counsellors of a very high quality– which in turn has enabled YWCS to reach and support more women in need.
Emma, one of our counsellors, shares her experience
It is vital to our clients they feel ‘held’ by us, so they can trust us with their issues and experiences and do so without fear of judgement. It can take some time for this to be possible for some of our clients which is why I appreciate that we are able to offer 20 sessions in order for them to work at depth and crucially stand the best chance to move forward.”