Curvy Counselling with Frances Varney

Counselling & Psychotherapy in West Yorkshire

Welcome to Curvy Counselling

Hi, I'm Frances, a counsellor and psychotherapist in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

I counsel online and on the phone, from my quiet garden office.

I offer sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 8am to 8pm.

If you’re considering having counselling, then you’re considering taking the brave step of opening yourself up to another person. That’s scary, and you don’t know who to trust. Finding the right counsellor is key to counselling working for you. I hope this website tells you a little about who I am, so you have an idea of whether that may be me.

I’ve always been interested in how people work.

At school, I was the person people came to with their troubles. Then I did a psychology degree,

and I expected to continue in that field after university. But life had other ideas and I wound up in the Civil Service, where I stayed for 18 years.

It was work I enjoyed, but had no passion for.

During that time, I sought out a counsellor

to help me with my own issues.

And it was the best thing

I have ever done for myself.

Having counselling gave me back my honesty,

passion and self-belief.

My positive experience as a client

led me to retrain as a counsellor, and

ultimately to me leaving the Civil Service

and setting up in private practice.

Why 'Curvy' Counselling?

Two reasons.

Firstly, counselling is rarely a straight path to where you

want to go. It’s hard work, and there can be twists and

turns along the way. Sometimes, like peeling off the

layers of an onion one by one, we come to tackle the

same issues again and again, at deeper and deeper levels.

Secondly, I'm fat, and this has hugely shaped my sense of self.

A particular field of interest of mine is weight stigma, and how it impacts people.

On the whole, fat people in the UK are judged negatively, and not accommodated.

We're expected to change to fit in.

My experience as a fat person has made me passionate about working with other people

who have also been judged and found wanting. Whether that be because of weight, skin colour,

sexuality or any other reason. So the 'Curvy' is a nod to that part of me and my practice.

My qualifications and experience

  • MA Counselling and Psychotherapy, University of Leeds (2016)
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills and Theory, University of Leeds (2013)
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology – Royal Holloway University (2001)

I attend continuous professional development courses to expand, reinforce and keep my training up to date.

I’m a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and work in line with the BACP’s Ethical Framework.

I've counselled for a number of diverse organisations, including a faith-based charity and a women's centre. The majority of my clients to date have been women, who have been working through issues such as grief, loss, trauma, abuse and poor self-worth.

My approach

I’m trained in various approaches to counselling / psychotherapy and I draw on these as needed, so my style is ‘integrative’. But this may mean little to you, and in fact it probably means little generally. This is because different approaches to therapy can all be helpful.

It can be argued that the most important factor in any counselling / psychotherapy is the strength of the relationship between the counsellor and client. We call this the therapeutic alliance.

I don’t mean that the relationship between the counsellor and client must be all sunshine and roses, but the counsellor and client must be able to collaborate well together to achieve the client’s goals.

'Let us twain walk aside from the rest.

Now we are together privately, do you discard ceremony.

Come! Vouchsafe to me what has yet been vouchsafed to none - Tell me the whole story.

Tell me what you would not tell your brother, wife, husband, or physician.'

To You, by Walt Whitman

What issues can counselling help with?

Counselling can help with a wide range of issues, such as:

Stress and anxiety

Relationship problems

Difficulties at work or in retirement

Body-image concerns


Issues relating to sexuality

Bereavement and loss

Abuse and trauma

So that's me and what I offer. But the counselling will most definitely be about you.

And you are the expert on you, even if you don't feel like that right now.

My role is to support you in finding your own answers to your questions.

To help you find your own path, and your own voice.

One more thing to consider...

Is now the right time for you?

Having counselling can be so hard. Sometimes it can feel like you’re being dismantled before being put back together.

It’s not always wise to embark upon the process if life is currently a major struggle. It may be better to batten down the hatches and just survive the current situation and leave counselling for when things are a little easier.

On the other hand, counselling can be an immense support in difficult times. And we may not want to embark upon a process at all; we may just want a session or two to speak about something pressing. We may just want to offload to someone who isn't part of our lives. So there are no hard and fast rules. It’s just something to consider.

If you think now may be an OK time for you, but aren’t sure, you may like to book a session and talk it through in order to decide.

Random quote - April 2024

'To go wrong in one's own way is better to go right in someone else's.'

My location

I work from my peaceful garden office in Keighley, West Yorkshire, but I offer sessions remotely. This means that I can work with clients across the country and abroad. We will meet online or over the phone.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss any adjustments you need to make meeting like this accessible for you.

Fees & availability

I offer sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, in the daytime and evening.

All sessions are 50 minutes long. The fee is £55 per session.

I offer a limited number of sessions at a concessionary rate to students or clients on a low income. Please contact me to check availability.

Get in touch


Phone: 07562 311 450

Please contact me if you’d like to know more or to book a session. You can call, email or send me a message using the contact form.

If you call and I can't answer, I won't call you back unless you leave me a voicemail with your name and number.

I reply to contact as soon as possible, and usually within 24 hours, although this may be longer at weekends.

When we book a session, I’ll email you a copy of my counselling contract (below). The first session will be an introductory session. This is a lot like normal counselling, but we’ll also be seeing if we both feel we can work well together. There's no commitment to continue.

The introductory session is £45, and ongoing counselling is also £45.

Some frequently asked questions

How long will I need to have counselling?

It depends on what you want to achieve and how deeply you want to explore things. Some people want to work on a particular issue for just a session or two, and that's enough for them. Around 10 to 15 sessions is quite common. And other people may know from the beginning that they want long-term therapy. It's really just what's right for you at this particular time, and you can decide as you go along.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

If I have capacity I'll try to arrange your first session within a week, depending on your own availability.

Will everything I say be kept confidential?

Confidentiality is one of the great benefits of counselling. You can say things to me that you can't say to the people in your life, knowing it'll go no further. But I can't promise 100% confidentiality, because as I say in my contract, there are some situations where the law requires disclosure. However, such instances are rare, and usually only happen after talking to the person concerned.

Can a friend or relative be in the session with me?

I'm afraid not, I only offer 1:1 counselling. I understand that a family member or friend may wish to support you, or that you may want them just to be next to you when we talk, especially at first. But this can make it harder for you to open up about what really matters to you. Your counselling is for you, and you alone.

©2022 Frances Varney

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