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First Step Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland
Supporting male survivors of sexual abuse and rape, and their loved ones

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“I’ve come to terms with my past, it’s not going away, but it doesn’t have to define me. I’m so much more than that. There’s new history being made every day.” – Client

Counselling is a form of help that focuses on your needs.  It offers you the opportunity to understand your thoughts and feelings.  It is a place where you can talk to someone who is not involved in your life; someone who has no preference concerning your decisions.  Counselling is not about telling you what to do or how to run your life, but it is about exploring your difficulties with another person.  This might mean you talk about past and present relationships.  You may begin to turn your thoughts and feelings into actions that help you come to terms with your experiences and make new choices.

The team have helped me save my life. I was at a point where I had given up on everything. I was supported brilliantly throughout and now I am at a place where I can like my life without the past haunting me. I will forever be grateful.” – Client

Who can access counselling at First Step?

We offer free anyone who identifies as male (aged 13+)

There are many reasons for seeking counselling.  As a male survivor you may feel a sense of:

  • low self esteem
  • loss of childhood
  • anger or helplessness
  • fear of intimacy
  • uncertainty around sex or sexuality
  • poor body image.

Such thoughts and feelings are not unusual when moving towards recovery. Counselling may be something that you feel might be helpful for you to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Our service may enable you to talk about your experiences in as little or as much detail as you want so that you may explore and discover ways of healing yourself.

How can I access counselling at First Step?

Making first contact

You can decide how best to make contact. Telephone or text to 07581 568 144 or email to contact@firststepleicester.org.uk.  Whatever works for you, works for us!

Arranging an assessment

When we hear from you we won’t be asking you lots of questions. We simply arrange an assessment meeting within one week. Ideally, the assessment will happen face-to-face. However, we also offer telephone or Zoom assessments when this is useful.

The assessment

At the assessment you will be asked to share a range of information, including: contact details; GP details; medical history. You will also be given choices. You may prefer to work with a male or female counsellor. If so, your choice will be honoured. You may want an appointment in the evening due to other commitments. Your preference will be taken into account. We want to ensure that the appointments we offer will work for you so that we can provide ongoing support.

We will ask you some details about your past experiences, but our job is not to probe. We know that these experiences can be difficult to talk about and we do not want to bring things to the fore and leave you feeling overwhelmed.

The way we conduct our assessment process, down to every question we ask in it, is based on the feedback of our clients. Nothing is written in stone as we are continually shaping the service delivery at every point to ensure the client is at the heart of all of our work.

Making a decision

The person providing your assessment appointment will discuss with you what they feel would be the most appropriate journey with us. If someone approaches us in crisis or presents signs that they would currently struggle to explore, understand and process their thoughts and feelings, then this would indicate that emotional support would be more suitable. The decision will be reached in partnership with you and there will be a discussion if this is deemed to be the most appropriate service in the first instance.

At assessment it may well be felt that you are ready and able to undertake the counselling journey.

Starting counselling or emotional support

Following assessment the next time you will hear from us will be to offer you a counselling/emotional support place. When you receive this offer it is your responsibility to say whether it is the right time and day. Remember if it is going to be difficult timewise better to say now so that you can fully commit to the work and ensure you remain with the same counsellor throughout your journey.

There will be members of staff on site. Usually for your first session we try to ensure it is the person who assessed you, we know how hard it is to come in and it is important to feel you have an established contact within First Step already.

Download our ‘Making the Most of Your Counselling‘ leaflet

  • Make first contact

    Contact us by phone, email or via our website

  • Agree assessment date

    We will see you (in person, or by phone/zoom) for an assessment within 7 days.

  • Assessment

    You will be asked to complete some information (e.g. contact details, GP details and medical history). We will ask a little about your experiences, but are careful not to probe. We will talk about what counselling involves and agree – together – what the next step should be.

  • Begin counselling (or support sessions)

    Whether we agree to offer you a counselling or emotional support place, we will next contact you when a space becomes available. We do not have long waiting lists and will be as clear as possible around how long this might take.

    Download our ‘Making the Most of Your Counselling‘ leaflet

  • Additional support

    Whilst you are a client you may find that there are practical barriers that are making it difficult to get the most from counselling. You may experience financial hardship, for example, and struggle to afford the bus fare to your sessions. You may have a housing issue and/or need help completing forms. We tailor our support to your specific circumstances. We may be able to offer support from our Hardship Fund or Advocacy Service, for example. Speak to your counsellor or the First Step team if you want to find out more about how we can support you.

  • Completing counselling

    We offer up to 26 weeks of free counselling. As this approaches your counsellor will take care to review your progress and talk with you about what, if any, support you may need going forwards. This might include accessing a peer support group at First Step, being referred to a partner organisation for a particular support need or thinking about what is available in the community.

Frequently Asked Questions