Frequently Asked Questions
1. What happens in therapy?
2. How long will I have to come for?
3. How much does it cost to have a therapy session?
4. How confidential is therapy?
5. How do I know that the service you provide is going to help me?
6. What sort of therapy do you offer?
7. What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
1. It may come a surprise to learn that therapy (as I understand it) is not, in the first instance, about making you 'feel good', or about solving all of life's problems. Instead, it is about taking time to grapple with difficult life issues and, hopefully, learning to live with yourself and others in a more compassionate, self-aware way. My aim is to help you think about your situation in such a way as to develop greater awareness and understanding, and with this awareness and understanding to decide whether you wish to make any changes. I provide a safe, confidential space for you to think and reflect on your life - what is going well and what is not going so well. Where that reflection leads is a very personal matter: I do not judge or tell you what to do. But the essence of good therapy is that it leads to greater self-awareness, greater sense of choice - and perhaps to greater courage to live in a more fulfilling way. (Back to top)
2. This depends on your needs. Some people find that after only a few sessions they have some clarity and focus and are ready to end therapy. Other people value the ongoing support and relationship with me and continue to come for weeks, months, or years. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to therapy. The frequency and duration of your contact with me is something that we review from time to time as we work together. In terms of how often you need to come, initially this will be at least weekly - anything less turns into a chat. Ultimately, however, a therapist should never tell you that you have to keep coming for sessions - you are free to leave when you feel ready. At the same time, it is helpful for us to agree in advance when the therapy will end so that we have time to bring things to a close.(Back to top)
3. My fee is £60 per session for individuals and £75 per session for couples. If you are able to give me a week's notice I do not charge for missed appointments. Without a week's notice, you will still need to pay for any sessions missed. I accept payment in cash or by cheque or bank transfer.(Back to top)
5. Seeing a therapist is not like seeing a doctor where you remain fairly passive and the doctor 'treats' you. And 'being helped' means different things for different people. There will be times in your life when therapy is 'right' for you, and times when it may not work so well. Ultimately, you are the one who will decide whether therapy is beneficial for you and this will be a very personal decision. Naturally, you want to be sure that the person you are seeing is professionally qualified and sensitive to you and your situation so you have a right to ask certain questions of any counsellor you contact: - how experienced are you in helping people with similar issues to myself? - are you supervised regularly? - what happens if I am not happy with the therapy? A good therapist will happily answer such questions. Another good sign would be a therapist who reviews with you every so often how you feel the therapy is going, and whether there is anything else that could make the sessions more helpful. This is something that I do with all my clients.(Back to top)
6. My therapy is based on a non-pathologising understanding of people. I recognise that all of us encounter 'problems-in-living': this does not mean that there is something intrinsically wrong with us as individuals. Rather, it reflects the fact that life is unpredictable and throws challenges at us which we may struggle to overcome alone. Sometimes the strategies that we adopt to deal with these challenges may turn out to be unhelpful in the long-term. Equally, our culture and society may impose ways of thinking and being which exacerbate the problems we encounter. I therefore believe in the importance of exploring wider sociological factors that impinge on individuals - racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia - intensifying their problems. I value a wide range of approaches to thinking about 'problems-in-living' which inform ideas about who we are, the sources of human suffering, and ways of responding to this suffering. What you will get from me is time, attention and compassion. I do not rush you, or impose a pre-determined way of working onto your life. I don't believe that it's possible to have one way of working that is right for everyone: your situation is unique, and we will think together about what can really make a difference in your life. Time and again, research points to the fact that it is not the particular model of therapy that is the most effective factor in promoting awareness or change, but the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. (Back to top)
7. Psychotherapy is a generic term that describes many different ways of helping people who are dealing with emotional or mental distress. For instance, the prescription of antidepressants by a GP could be seen as a form of psychotherapy because it is one way of helping someone to deal with depression. Sometimes there is an assumption that psychotherapy takes longer than counselling, or that it deals with deeper issues. However, this assumption is probably based on the confusion of psychotherapy with psychoanalysis which is a specific (usually long-term) way of working with patients. Counselling, therefore, is just one form of psychotherapy - a way of working which is about enabling you to think through issues which have been troubling you, and which may lead you to make some decisions to do things differently in future.(Back to top)