What Can I expect?
It takes a lot of courage to see a therapist and ask for help. Many people still feel there is a stigma and weakness associated with admitting they are struggling to cope. I feel the opposite is true, there is strength and bravery involved with facing our vulnerabilities and finding a new way of being. In fact allowing others to see we are not perfect is a way of letting down our guard and connecting. This can be especially difficult to do if it has been unsafe and potentially harmful to be open and honest in the past. You may be unaware of why you react in certain ways because the reasons for this have been buried away. Together we can untangle all of this.
During the first session we will have a chance to get to know each other. Each session is one hour long. You are free to ask questions of me and decide if I am the right therapist for you. I will also assess if I feel I am able to help you with the issues you are facing.
After that, we will explore what the main issues are and how deep seated they are. I will be able to advise you what type of therapeutic approaches would be best and how long therapy is likely to take. This is an estimate because things may become apparent during therapy which were not so at the beginning. This may change our course as we work together and I will always discuss this with you.
How much does it cost?
Each session is £50. This can be paid on the day by cash, cheque or bank transfer. If you prefer, you can pay up front for 4-6 sessions at a time. I do not take credit or debit cards.
I can offer some concessions for students or those less able to afford therapy.
Who do you see?
I work one to one with adults and young adults, 16 years old and over. I do not see couples but do work with individuals regarding their relationship.
How long will I need to be seen for?
This really depends on the type of issues you are struggling with. Some problems are caused by a change in circumstances such as a divorce, loss of a job, a death or other life-changing event. These are difficult to cope with and you may feel you need some help with that. This type of counselling is shorter term, usually 6-12 sessions, because you were likely functioning quite well before this happened and just need some help getting back to your “old self”.
Likewise, you may have noticed that over time you just don’t feel like your normal self. It may be difficult to find an actual cause for this. Examples of this are bouts of Depression, Anxiety and/or Panic Attacks. If you generally function well and these changes have happened fairly recently then short term therapy, 6-12 sessions, may be enough to help you find some strategies and get back on track.
However, you may feel that you’ve struggled with difficult emotions (e.g. Anger, Anxiety, Shame, Guilt and Sadness) and unhelpful ways of behaving for a long time, either consistently or intermittently. This points to a more deep seated problem and may have originated from a younger time. It may be that you have been able to manage these emotions and behaviours in the past but now they are getting out of hand and interfering with living a full life. This will take longer term therapy and it is difficult to say how long that will be. Sometimes 12-24 sessions is enough but other times longer is necessary. As we progress with therapy, we will review how you feel things are going and how much longer you might need.
Having said all this, there is no hard and fast rule about how long therapy should be. Each person is unique and responds to situations and emotions differently. Some are more stuck in their ways than others. I will always be honest with you and we will review your progress regularly so you will not be caught by surprise about how long it is taking. In the end, you are always able to stop if you do not feel it is helpful.
Is it all confidential?
Confidentiality is of utmost importance and I adhere to the ethics of the BACP’s Code of Conduct (website www.bacp.co.uk). Everything we discuss will be kept confidential. I see a clinical supervisor regularly to discuss any cases I am having difficulty with but I will always take care not to reveal any identifying information. My supervisor is also bound by confidentiality.
I will only break confidentiality if I felt you will harm yourself of others. If this is the case, then we will discuss the best next step together. I will not break confidentiality without discussing it with you first.
I do not keep electronic notes or information on clients. I will not update your GP, other referring agency or the court with specifics about your sessions unless you give me specific permission to do so.
What if I miss a session?
It is best if you can be seen regularly. We will attempt to find a time you can be seen on the same day and time each week. Therapy is much more effective if it is regular. However, sometimes you will need to cancel for good reason.
If you are not able to make a session and let me know at least 24 hours in advance, you will not be charged. We will try and find a suitable replacement time. If you have to cancel or do not let me know you are not coming within 24 hours of the session then you will be charged.
I will let you know about breaks and holidays in advance and you will not be charged for these. It is helpful if you can do the same.