A young biker flies through the air at Meanwhile Gardens skateboard bowl in West London.


“I’m feeling bad but I don’t know where to go” 
Who comes to Open Door, and why?

“Counselling is just about talking and being given advice, but I can get that from my friends” 
What counselling and therapy is and what it isn’t.

“They say it’s confidential, but can I trust them?” 
What we mean when we say this is a confidential service.

“I’ve heard that counselling can take years – that’s not for me” 
What coming to Open Door might lead to.

“Do I have to pay for the service?”


“I’m feeling bad, but I don’t know where to go”  Who comes to Open Door, and why?
Young people have received help from Open Door when facing every kind of problem and situation.  Emotional difficulties can affect us in very different ways – from feeling very “down” and hopeless, to having stomach aches and not being able to sleep.  Even if you are unsure whether counselling or therapy can help you, we are happy to meet with you to discuss your situation.  If Open Door doesn’t seem to offer what you need, we can talk with you about where else to go for help.  It’s important not to hold back because you think you are not worth helping, or feel that your problem is not important compared to those of other people.

Counselling and psychotherapy can be helpful in a wide variety of situations, such as:

  • events in your life, past or present, that have led to considerable distress, sometimes resulting in depression, or other extremes of emotion
  • being bullied
  • problems at school
  • irrational thoughts and feelings
  • loss of confidence or direction
  • thinking about suicide
  • sleep disturbances, eating problems, expressing emotional problems through physical symptoms
  • experiences of domestic violence or physical abuse
  • experiences of sexual abuse
  • feeling worried that you can’t control your anger
  • feeling isolated or lonely
  • finding yourself pre-occupied with things that happened to you in the past
  • excessive drinking, or drug use
  • family problems with alcohol or drug abuse
  • feeling worried about being gay or bi-sexual
  • feeling worried about gender identity issues
  • anxiety about the big changes such as: leaving home, starting work, moving school or college, relationships, becoming a parent etc.
  • physical disability
  • learning disability / learning difficulties
  • long term medical conditions
  • feeling anxious and unable to cope with the burdens of life
  • lacking confidence or feeling you are not adequately fulfilling your potential
  • experiencing difficulty making relationships
  • arguments in the family
  • finding it hard to come to terms with a life change such as bereavement or parental separation

If you have a problem that is not in this list, you can still come to talk to us about anything that you find troubling.


“Counselling is just about talking and being given advice, but I can get that from my friends” What counselling / therapy is and what it isn’t.
Of course we manage most of the challenges life throws at us without professional help. Talking to members of the family or to friends can also be very helpful, but sometimes it isn’t enough, and sometimes we don’t feel comfortable talking with people close to us about personal and private issues.

Counselling or psychotherapy provides the opportunity to talk to a specially trained professional in a confidential setting with time to discuss, in detail, the difficulties that you are experiencing.  Appointments at Open Door last for 50 minutes and usually take place weekly for a shorter or longer period of time.

We offer a range of services, mostly for young people on their own but occasionally including their parents.  For some it is enough to see a therapist for four sessions; for others we offer weekly appointments on a longer-term basis from 12 weeks to 2 years.

Bottled up feelings such as anger, grief, anxiety or embarrassment can become very intense.  Talking about them in a neutral, safe and supportive setting can make it easier to begin thinking about yourself and your circumstances more constructively.  This can be a step towards taking more control of your life, moving forward rather than feeling stuck, or feeling less overwhelmed than when facing difficulties in isolation. By working with the therapist to understand your situation we hope that you can think about ways of making choices and changes that feel right for you.

Counselling and therapy is not:

  • being told who is right or wrong
  • being judged as good or bad
  • being told how to solve your problems
  • being taken over by someone who will run your life for you
  • an instant solution to long standing problems


“They say it’s confidential, but can I trust them?” What we mean when we say this is a confidential service.
Open Door adheres to a strict confidentiality policy.  Everything you talk to the therapist about is confidential and is not discussed with anyone outside Open Door. This includes parents, other people in your family, teachers, doctors, and social workers. The only exception is if your therapist feels that you or someone else is at serious risk in some way, and then we shall first discuss with you why it is important that we contact someone outside of Open Door.

Sometimes it will feel appropriate for therapists at Open Door to make contact with people outside Open Door, for example with your GP, if they feel it is helpful or necessary. But the therapist will always talk with you about this first to ensure that you give your permission for this to happen.


“I’ve heard that counselling can take years – that’s not for me” What coming to Open Door might lead to.
We see some young people just once (though this is rare) and we have seen some for weekly sessions for up to two years. Usually young people attend appointments here for a few weeks or months.  When you first approach Open Door we will ask you some questions that will help us decide what sort of service it would be best to offer you.


“Do I have to pay for the service?”
Our services are free for young people under 18. Only those aged 18-24 and in work may be asked to make a contribution towards the cost of providing the young adults service.