Counselling by Telephone


Maxine Rosenfield

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  • Professional Skills for Counsellors

    The Professional Skills for Counsellors series, edited by Colin Feltham, covers the practical, technical and professional skills and knowledge which trainee and practising counsellors need to improve their competence in key areas of therapeutic practice.

    Titles in the series include:

    Medical and Psychiatric Issues for Counsellors

    Brian Daines, Linda Gask and Tim Usherwood

    Personal and Professional Development for Counsellors

    Paul Wilkins

    Counselling by Telephone

    Maxine Rosenfield

    Time-Limited Counselling

    Colin Feltham

    Client Assessment

    Stephen Palmer and Gladeana McMahon (eds)

    Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Law

    Peter Jenkins


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    ‘… it gave me self-confidence to know someone was listening to me.

    A child ringing ChildLine

    The Telephone Helplines Association came into existence in March 1996. Its forerunner of almost 10 years, The Telephone Helplines Group, had pioneered standards in telephone counselling including the publication of Guidelines for Telephone Helplines and Evaluation of Telephone Helplines. This group based its work on the experience of a large number of very diverse telephone helplines, covering an enormous range of help, advice and information for adults, the elderly and children and young people who come from every possible background and perspective. The publication of Counselling by Telephone is, therefore, timely, bringing together a vast amount of information and experience about telephone helplines, which has been accumulated in the last decade. It is a source book for those wishing to find information about how counselling by telephone works in different settings – the many case examples provided are particularly useful. It also helps the reader to think about the complex practical, theoretical (counselling/therapy) and ethical issues involved in setting up and providing services by telephone.

    Maxine Rosenfield's book represents the most comprehensive statement about telephone counselling in the UK to date and, as such, is to be welcomed as a significant milestone in the development of telephone counselling as an activity in its own right. A caller to a telephone helpline summarised how important a telephone service is to her: ‘I can pick up the phone whenever I need to and so what matters most to me is that someone has the time, someone has the will, to listen when I need to be heard.’ This book will help us all to structure our will to listen, to manage our helplines, to make the most helpful response to callers and to provide the best possible service for those who seek our help.

    Hereward D.M.Harrison Director of Children's Services ChildLine UK Member of Telephone Helplines Association Executive Committee 18 September 1996


    Many people have generously, willingly and openly talked with me and shared their resources and experiences to enable this book to be written.

    In particular, I am grateful to the hours spent in discussion and meetings with Luci Allen of NSPCC, Simon Armson of The Samaritans, Nicola Barden, Fod Barnes of OFTEL, Norman Barnfather, Wolf Blomfield, Francine Bradshaw, Dr Elizabeth Bryan of Multiple Births Foundation, Emma Fletcher, Hereward Harrison of ChildLine, Alan Jamieson of the British Association for Counselling, Annie Morgan, Liz Nichols, Sarah Pitman, Barbara Read of Multiple Births Foundation, Sandra Ridley of CareAssist, Adrian Scarfe of the Spinal Injuries Association, Liz Urben of Cancerlink, Terry Veitch of Community Network, Susan Wallbank of CRUSE, Claire Wheeler of The Princess Royal Trust Camden Carers Centre, Charlotte Willoughby and Chris Wynne-Davies of BT.

    In thanking those whose contributions are quoted and referred to in the book, I also wish to thank those, too numerous to name, whose conversations and debates have further aided my work.

  • Appendix of Addresses

    These are the contact addresses for organisations mentioned in the text. They are listed in alphabetical order.

    British Association for Counselling, 1 Regent Place, Rugby CV21 2PJ; Tel: 01788 550899; E-mail:

    Broadcasting Support Services, Villiers House, The Broadway, London W5 2PA; Tel: 0180 280 8000

    BT Consumer and Environmental Programmes, Procter House, 100–110 High Holborn, London WC1V 6LD; Freephone information line about calling helplines: 0800 0800 08

    Cancerlink, 11–21 Northdown Street, London Nl 9BN; Tel: 0171 833 2818; Freephone Cancer Information Helpline 0800 132 905; Freephone Asian Cancer Information Helpline 0800 590415. Cancerlink also has an office in Scotland – call London for details

    The CareAssist Group Limited, CareAssist Court, Wheatfield Way, Hinckley Fields, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 1YG; Tel: 01455 251155

    ChildLine, 50 Studd Street, London Nl 0QP; Tel: 0171 239 1000

    Community Network, First Floor, 50 Studd Street, London Nl 0QP; Tel: 0171 359 4594

    CRUSE – Bereavement Care, 126 Sheen Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1UR; Tel: 0181 940 4818; CRUSE Bereavement Line Tel: 0181 332 7227

    Family Policy Studies Centre, 231 Baker Street, London NW1 6XE; Tel: 0171 486 8211

    ICSTIS – The Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services, 3rd Floor, Alton House, 177 High Holborn, London WC1V 7AA; Tel: 0171 240 5511; Fax: 0171 379 4611; E-mail:

    Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Homestead, 40 Water End, York YO3 6LP; Tel: 01904 629241; Fax: 01904 620072

    Justfax, 37 Marshall Street, London W1V 1LL; Freephone: 0800 716909

    Kids Telephone Help, Counselling Young People by Phone, Box 513, Suite 100, 2 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3EZ, Canada

    The Multiple Births Foundation, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Goldhawk Road, London W6 0XG; Tel: 0181 740 3519; Fax: 0181 740 3041; E-mail:

    The National Council for Vocational Qualifications (NCVQ), 222 Euston Road, London NW1 2BZ; Tel: 0171 387 9898; Fax: 0171 387 0978

    NSPCC Child Protection Helpline, NSPCC National Centre, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH; Tel: 0171 825 2500

    The Office of the Data Protection Registrar, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF; Tel: 01625 545700

    OFTEL, 50 Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7JJ

    Research Society for Process Oriented Psychology UK (RS POP UK), 34 Narcissus Road, London NW6 1TH; Tel: 0171 433 3704

    The Samaritans Headquarters, 10 The Grove, Slough SL1 1QF; Tel: 01753 532713; E-mail: or to maintain anonymity use

    Scottish Vocational Education Council (SCOTVEC), Hanover House, 24 Douglas Street, Glasgow; Tel: 0141 248 7900

    Spinal Injuries Association, 76 St James's Lane, London N10 3DF; Tel: 0181 444 2121; Fax: 0181 444 3761; Counselling Line: 0181 883 4296

    The Telephone Helplines Association, 61 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1× 8LT; Tel: 0171 242 0555; Fax: 0171 242 0699; E-mail:; Web Site:


    Advice, Guidance, Counselling and Psychotherapy Lead Body (1995) First Release of Standards. AGCP Lead Body, National Council for Vocational Qualifications, April.
    Baxter, Carol (1989) Cancer Support and Ethnic Minority and Migrant Worker Communities. London: CancerLink.
    Bond, T. (1993) Standards and Ethics for Counselling in Action. London: Sage.
    Bozarth, J. and Temaner Brodley, B. (1986) ‘The core values and theory of the Person-Centred Approach’. Paper prepared for the First Annual Meeting of the Association for the Development of the Person-Centred Approach, Chicago.
    Brockopp, G.W. (1973) ‘Crisis intervention: theory, process and practice’, in D.Lester and G.W.Brockopp (eds), Crisis Intervention and Counselling by Telephone. Springfield, IL: C.C. Thomas.
    Clarke, D.C. and Fawcett, J. (1992) ‘Review of empirical risk factors for evaluation of the suicidal patient’, in B.Bongar (ed.), Suicide: Guidelines for Assessment, Management and Treatment. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 16–48.
    Condy, Ann (1995) Family Policy Studies Centre Project to Evaluate Multiple Births Foundation Project: Telephone Consultations within an Advisory Service. London: Family Policy Studies Centre.
    Culley, Sue (1990) Integrative Counselling Skills in Action. London: Sage.
    Dryden, W. (1992) The Dryden Interviews. London: Whurr.
    Dryden, W. and Feltham, C. (1992) Brief Counselling – a Practical Guide for Beginning Practitioners. Buckingham: Open University Press.
    Dryden, W. and Feltham, C. (1995) Counselling and Psychotherapy: A Consumer's Guide. London: Sheldon Press.
    Egan, G. (1990) The Skilled Helper: Models, Skills and Methods for Effective Helping,
    4th edition
    . Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
    Fish, Sandra L. (1986) ‘The Crisis Hotline as mediated therapeutic communication’. Paper presented to the 72nd annual meeting of the Speech Communication Association, Chicago, Illinois, November.
    Fish, Sandra L. (1987) ‘Therapy on the telephone: the decentralization of traditional therapy’. Paper delivered at the 95th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, August.
    Fish, Sandra L. and Gumpet, G. (1990) Talking to Strangers: Mediated Therapeutic Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
    Fletcher, Emma (1994) ‘Using telephone groups to train volunteer counsellors in a self-help setting’. Dissertation for MSc in Counselling (Supervision and Training), University of Bristol.
    Gingerich, Wallace J., Gurney, Raymond J. and Wirtz, Thomas S. (1988) ‘How helpful are helplines? A survey of callers’, Social Casework: The Journal of Contemporary Social Work, December: 634–9.
    Horton, Anne L. (1995) ‘Sex related hotline calls’, in A.R.Roberts (ed.), Crisis Intervention and Time Limited Cognitive Treatment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chapter 12.
    Jacoby, Mario (1984) The Analytic Encounter – Transference and the Human Relationship. Toronto: Inner City Books.
    Jaffrin, Stéfan (1992) Les Services d'aide psychologique par téléphone. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.
    Kagan, N. (1976) Interpersonal Process Recall: a Method of Influencing Human Interaction. East Lansing: University of Michigan Press.
    Kids Help Phone (1994) Counselling Young People by Phone: A Kids Help Phone Handbook for Professional and Volunteer Counsellors. Toronto: Kids Help Phone.
    McCarthy, Patricia R. and Reese, Robin G. (1990) ‘Crisis intervener perceptions of the stressfulness of caller problems’. Paper delivered at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, August.
    McCormick, Elizabeth Wilde (1996) Change for the Better – Self Help through Practical Psychotherapy. London: Cassell.
    McLennan, J. (1990a) ‘Helping counselling trainees to integrate microskills’, Australian Counselling Psychologist, 6(2): 39–44.
    McLennan, J. (1990b) ‘clients' perceptions of counsellors: a brief measure for use in counsellor research, evaluation and training’, Australian Psychologist, 25: 133–44.
    McLennan, J., Culkin, K. and Courtney, P. (1994) ‘Telephone counsellors' conceptualising abilities and counselling skills’, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 22(2): 183–96.
    McLeod, J. (1993) An Introduction to Counselling. Buckingham: Open University Press.
    McLeod, John (1994a) ‘The research agenda for counselling’, Counselling, 5(1): 41–3.
    McLeod, John (1994b) Doing Counselling Research. London: Sage.
    Mahrer, A. (1989) Experiential Psychotherapy: Basic Practices. Ottawa: Ottawa University Press.
    Mearns, D. and Thorne, B. (1989) Person-Centred Counselling in Action. London: Sage.
    OFTEL (Office of Telecommunications) (1994) Households without a Telephone. London: OFTEL.
    OPCS (Office of Population Censuses and Surveys) (1992) General Household Survey (GHS), annual survey of about 10,000 households in Great Britain. London: OPCS.
    Rao, Jammi Nagaraj (1994) ‘Follow up by telephone – it may be just as good to talk on the telephone as in a clinic’, British Medical Journal, 309 (10 December): 1527–8.
    Read, B. and Bryan, E. (1995) ‘Twins clinic or telephone service? The relative costs’. Paper presented at the Seventh International Congress for Twins Studies, Virginia, USA.
    Read, B., Bryan, E. and Higgins, R. (1996) A Time to Talk: A Telephone Service for Families. London: Multiple Births Foundation.
    Rice, Laura N. and Kerr, Gillian P. (1986) ‘Client and therapist vocal quality’, in L.S.Greenberg and W.M.Pinsof (eds), The Psychotherapeutic Process: A Research Handbook. Guildford Press: New York/London. pp. 77–105.
    Roberts, Albert R. (ed.) (1995) Crisis Intervention and Time Limited Cognitive Treatment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
    Rogers, Carl R. (1987) Client-centred Therapy. London: Constable.
    Rosenfield, M. and Urben, L. (1994) Running a Telephone Cancer Support Group – Evaluation of a Short-term Project. London: CancerLink.
    Ryle, A. (1990) Cognitive-Analytic Therapy: Active Participation in Change. Chichester: Wiley.
    Salminen, S. and Glad, T. (1992) ‘The role of gender in helping behaviour’, Journal of Social Psychology, 132(1): 131–3.
    Sanders, Pete (1993) An Incomplete Guide to Using Counselling Skills on the Telephone. Manchester: PCCS Books.
    Sanders, Pete and Liptrot, Damian (1993) An Incomplete Guide to Basic Research Methods and Data Collection for Counsellors. Manchester: PCCS Books.
    Talmon, M. (1990) Single Session Therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
    The Telephone Helplines Association (1993) Guidelines for Good Practice in Telephone Work. London: Telephone Helplines Group/Association.
    The Telephone Helplines Association (1995a) Helpline Evaluation – Guidelines for Helplines Seeking to Conduct an Evaluation of their Service. London: Telephone Helplines Group/Association.
    The Telephone Helplines Association (1995b) Calling Helplines. London: Telephone Helplines Group/Association (leaflet).
    The Telephone Helplines Association (1996) Telephone Helplines Directory First Edition. London: Resource Information Service.
    Wallbank, Susan (1994) Counselling by Letter – Guidelines for Good Practice. CRUSE Bereavement Care.
    Waters, Judith and Finn, Eric (1995) ‘Handling client crises effectively on the phone’, in A.R.Roberts (ed.), Crisis Intervention and Time Limited Cognitive Treatment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Chapter 11.

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