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Adult Counselling

We provide counselling for those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, sexual abuse/violence, and domestic abuse. For adult counselling, we require you to make a self-referral by calling our office number or emailing at [email protected]. A staff member will then support you with this.

Adult Counselling Process

During an Initial Assessment with a counsellor, you will have an opportunity to discuss whether to begin counselling. If you both agree that it may be helpful, you will be offered 6 sessions to start with.

You will have regular meetings with a counsellor who has been trained to listen carefully to what you say, and to respond in a way that will help you look at yourself and your experiences differently. The relationship you build with your counsellor is an important part of the process, enabling you to think about how you relate to other people in your life.

You may find that feelings and memories which you have buried are stirred which can be difficult, but your counsellor will help you work through this and by the end you should be more able to manage your feelings about the past, and be confident that you can get on with your life.

Counselling styles vary, but the core values and principles (such as respect for your individuality and privacy) are the same per counsellor. Counsellors at PARCS have specialised knowledge of the many effects of sexual violation/domestic abuse, so you can expect that the person you talk to will be familiar with the difficulties that you are having.

Counselling at PARCS is confidential. While there are some limits on confidentiality if someone is at risk of significant harm, this will be explained to you in detail before you start your counselling. If this happens, your counsellor will always try and discuss it with you.

Counselling for domestic abuse

Our service is committed to raising awareness of domestic abuse in the community and to working with other professionals and agencies whose clients may be affected by interpersonal abuse.

What is domestic abuse?

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 18 or over who are/have been intimate partners regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group. (

People experiencing or who have experienced domestic abuse may minimise what has happened or is happening or blame themselves. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed or alone. This is a normal response to abuse. If you are not sure whether this applies to you, why not give us a ring?

Counselling for domestic abuse process

PARCS provides a space to consider and explore:

  • Increasing empowerment, self-esteem, and choice
  • Trust and boundary setting
  • The dynamics of domestic abuse and breaking the cycle
  • Whether to remain in or leave a relationship
  • Feeling safe and less isolated
  • The ability to express needs and form safe relationships

Children and Young Person’s Counselling

The Young Persons’ Service at PARCS offers individual counselling for people aged between 11-24 years who live in Portsmouth City and Southeast Hampshire.

Children and Young Person’s Counselling Process

We will invite you to a first appointment so that you can meet your counsellor; you are able to bring a parent or carer to this first appointment if you want to.  They are welcome to wait in the waiting room during further sessions if this is what you want. The first appointment is important because it provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about PARCS or about counselling in general. During the meeting the counsellor will take time to learn more about you and see if PARCS is the right service to support you.

Referrals can be made by you, by family members or other professionals.

Community Engagement and Projects

Problematic Sexual Behaviours

In early 2022, we launched a Problematic Sexual Behaviours service that supports children and young people (aged 8 to 17) in Portsmouth (PO1-PO6) who are displaying problematic or developmentally inappropriate sexual behaviours.

The Problematic Sexual Behaviours Service offers a two-tiered approach to support. We can work directly with children/young people who are demonstrating problematic or developmentally inappropriate sexual behaviours. This can include working with children and young people to understand sexual/personal boundaries, reflect on sexual persuasion and facilitate conversations to support healthy sexual development. Or we offer a team around the worker to support the knowledge and skills of professionals working with children through sharing resources, supporting session planning tailored to the young person’s needs and providing a reflective space for professionals.

Project Catalyst

Project Catalyst aims to create a collective of feminist leaders who use the platform to disrupt dominant societal narratives of sexual violence through relational activism.

Project Catalyst provides a platform for self-defining young women and non-binary people aged 18-26 years, who have been subjected to any form of sexual abuse, or are allies to those who have, to influence the world around them. The young people involved are called Consultants who speak on behalf of the charity at local and national events and co-create creative awareness campaigns for consciousness raising or education.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

PARCS strives to be an inclusive service. We have Equality and Diversity Inclusion Ambassadors within PARCS/Family Action who assess the organisation’s understanding and implementation of inclusion for all those who access the service. This includes staff, volunteers and service users.