Background: Despite the rapid expansion of counselling services in the UK, the take-up of the service by people from minority ethnic backgrounds, including Asian people, is low. Aims: To assess the accessibility and appropriateness of counselling service provision in the UK for Asian people. Methods: Thirty-eight Asian people (19 clients and 19 non-clients) were interviewed on their perceptions and preferences for counselling services. The perspectives of clients and non-clients were compared with each other and those of representatives of 13 counselling agencies including those which served primarily Asian and other minority ethnic groups and those which served the general population. Results: Both clients and non-clients generally viewed counselling provision positively. However, some of their specific needs and preferences related to understanding the nature of the service, choice of counsellor and language of counselling were currently unmet by both mainstream and minority ethnic agencies. Conclusion: The current compartmentalization of counselling services does not acknowledge the considerable heterogeneity of Asian people. While in the short term, minority ethnic agencies play a crucial role in filling the gaps left by mainstream services, in the long term, good practice must lie in culturally sensitive counselling provision for all. Declaration of interest: The study was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. © Shadowfax Publishing and Informa UK Ltd.
- Asian people
- Counselling service provision