Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions & answers regarding my counselling & psychotherapy services.
What is Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Counselling & psychotherapy are helping processes involving a confidential talking relationship between the therapist & client. In a safe, respectful & confidential environment I can support you to explore & understand your thought processes, behaviours & feelings, enabling you to manage your life more effectively & satisfactorily, as you discover more about yourself, other people & the world.
Counselling tends to be short-term work, which focuses on a particular issue or problem solving. I will work with you to help you explore & understand your situation or the issue that you have come to counselling to address, & enable you to make the necessary changes in your life in order to facilitate your personal growth & development, as you gain increasing confidence & a more positive sense of self.
Psychotherapy tends to be longer term work involving a more in-depth process, exploring the past & how it influences your life in the present. I will work with you to help you explore & understand your inner world & personal experience, & the ways you have of dealing with yourself, others & the world. Furthermore, I will utilise my knowledge, skills & expertise as I explore & bring to your awareness, connections between past events in your life & your present experience.
How do I know if I need counselling?
Most people can manage to work through & resolve their difficulties in their own way. This may involve confiding in family or friends, or by working things out independently. We all have our own ways of making sense of ourselves, others & the world. We will have devised strategies over the years to help or enable us to manage our problems; many of which will be effective.
It's when these usual ways of coping start to cause us pain & upset rather than helping, that counselling can be effective. At some point in our lives we all need a helping hand. It can often be easier talking things through with someone professional, who is objective & removed from the immediate situation. In a safe, accepting & confidential environment I can support you to explore & understand those things in your life that are hindering & holding you back from being the person you want to be. I offer a fresh perspective, whilst utilising my knowledge, skills & experience to enable you to make sense of your difficulties & resolve them in a way that is satisfactory to you. I can assist you to develop new strategies & positive ways of coping in order to facilitate you personal growth & development, as you gain increasing confidence & a more positive sense of self.
What's an initial mutual consultation?
It's imperative that you feel comfortable & able to work with your counsellor, whether it is me or someone else. I offer an initial mutual consultation which is completely free of charge. This will last for 30 minutes, with the exception of couples, which lasts for 45 minutes.
The purpose of the initial consultation is to give us an opportunity to meet & discuss the nature of your current problem, and then ascertain whether we wish to go on and work together.
The business contract, that is: when and where sessions will take place, how long the sessions will last for, what time the sessions commence, how many sessions we agree to meet for and the fee, will also be discussed at the initial mutual consultation.
At the end of the consultation process, should we reach an agreement to work together, we will discuss what you would like to work on & change. You may not have a clear sense immediately of what you want to address, which is fine. Much early work is done building the therapeutic alliance, which involves exploring & understanding what is going on for you & how I can best support you to make the necessary changes, resulting in a happier & more complete you.
What can I expect to happen from a counselling session with you?
Deciding to see a counsellor or psychotherapist for the first time can often feel like a daunting & confusing experience! It can be difficult knowing who to choose, how to go about it & what to expect... my job is to help you understand your process by offering you a safe & confidential space in which you can explore & tackle your problems, by creating an atmosphere of warmth, trust & acceptance.
Each person's counselling experience is different, as individual's bring their own unique experiences & viewpoints to the sessions. In your session you will be free to talk about your difficulties & your situation. I will actively listen to you, providing warmth, empathy, non-judgement & acceptance. I will also challenge your thinking when appropriate. I will ask specific questions that are designed to enhance your thinking, your emotions, your behaviour & your way of relating to yourself, others & the world. Frequently in sessions we will explore past events & how they are possibly impacting on the present in order to affect change. We will also explore what is happening for you in the "here & now" in order to assist you in making the necessary changes resulting in a happier & more complete you. Furthermore, through sessions we will explore what is happening in the "here & now" of your session, exploring our relationship, using your reactions & experiences in order to enable you to find new ways of relating to yourself & others, whilst generating change. We will regularly review our work together, assess progress & look at how we are relating to each other & experiencing our relationship.
In a safe & confidential environment I can support you to achieve the changes you want to make in your life, providing a professional service in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, acceptance & warmth.
All sessions will last for 50 minutes except couple counselling sessions, which are 80 minutes long.
How often do I need to go?
The frequency of sessions is variable. I recommend weekly sessions initially as much early work is done building the therapeutic alliance. This involves exploring & understanding what is going on for you & how I can best support you to make the necessary changes, resulting in a happier & more complete you. In my experience, people find it easier making significant changes if they attend their sessions regularly & consistently.
Generally, people reduce the frequency of their sessions to fortnightly or perhaps less often when it feels right to do so. We would discuss frequency of sessions in the regular reviews our work
How long can I expect counselling to take?
The overall length of time you will be in therapy depends upon the nature, severity and extent of your problems and the issues we are addressing, and is also determined by how long you want to take. Some people achieve the results they want in just a few weeks, others may take months or even years. It is important that we go at the pace that suits you. We would discuss the expected length of therapy during the assessment period, and we would quickly develop a strong sense as to whether we feel a short term or longer term approach is best.
What is the cost?
The initial consultation is free.
Individual counselling and psychotherapy is charged at £55 per 50 minute session. Couples counselling is charged at £70 per 80 minute session. If you are on a low wage or have particular circumstances that make paying this fee difficult please let me know as I usually have a small number of lower fee spaces available.
How do I know who will be the right counsellor for me?
I would strongly advise trying out sessions with a few counsellors before making a final decision. Most counsellors will offer a free initial mutual consultation, in order to help you experience what it feels like to work with them. It's imperative that you feel comfortable & able to work with your counsellor, whether it is me or someone else. There is no way of knowing for sure if someone is the right counsellor until you become engaged with the work, but your own feelings are generally a good guide to whether you will be able to work with the counsellor you choose.
Will the issues I talk about in counselling remain confidential?
What you talk about in counselling is confidential and will only be discussed outside of our sessions for two reasons. The first reason would be if I had a concern about your well-being that would lead me to think you may be a risk to yourself or other people. I will ask you at the initial mutual consultation for your GP and any other emergency contact numbers for use in such a situation.
The second would be as part of the supervision of my own practice where I am required to discuss my work with an external practitioner. This is to oversee my work and ensure I work within the correct procedures & ethical requirements. No details such as your name or address would be used in this situation, so that you would effectively remain anonymous to the supervising practitioner.
Will counselling definitely work for me?
It's not possible to say that counselling will be the right way for every person to resolve their issues. For some people it is highly effective, while others do not experience this to the same extent. A lot depends on finding the right person to work with and on your own way of resolving problems in your life. Many people find that counselling is most beneficial as a way of exploring & understanding difficulties; whilst enabling them to develop new strategies & positive ways of coping in order to gain increasing confidence, a more positive sense of self & enhance change.
How do I find out more?
I offer a free half hour mutual assessment session where we can discuss your issues and needs and work out whether therapy would be suitable for you. You will get a flavour of how I work during this meeting, and also get a sense of whether I would be the sort of person you would want to work with. For more information, or to book an appointment call me on 07842613004.