Although exact figures are hard to come by, statistical surveys suggest that as many as one in four of us in Britain suffer mental distress at some time in our lives. This is reflected in the increasing numbers who turn to counselling for help. But for the majority of people considering this approach there is the added concern of not knowing what they might be letting themselves in for. How does this form of therapy work, and why? How do they choose a counsellor? What qualifications should the therapist have? What happens in a counselling session? How long does it take? What sort of results can they expect? When does it end? Without knowing the answers to questions like these, going for counselling is a something of a leap into the unknown; not an ideal situation for someone who may already be under considerable stress. As a consequence, many who could benefit from counselling may hold back and so delay dealing with their difficulties.