Frequently Asked Questions
Who can benefit from therapy?
Many people ask me this at their initial session. As an experienced therapist, my answer would be ‘ nearly everyone can benefit from therapy’. I have yet to meet someone who does not have ‘issues’ that complicate their life when they need not do so. You do not have to be ‘mad’ or ‘ill’ to improve the quality of life through therapy. In fact, having the self-awareness that you might be able to live life in a better way is a sign of strength and better health than denial.
If something is troubling you that does not pass with time or you find yourself in the same unsatisfactory situation again, therapy is a good avenue to explore.
By being more self-aware, people establish more fulfilling relationships, make better-informed decisions and generally are able to live life more fully and positively.
Therapy requires commitment and a willingness to challenge yourself.
However, there are a few instances when therapy is not the best option for them, and we would talk through this together on an individual basis.
Will I definitely benefit from therapy?
There are no guarantees. However, with a wholesome committment, people often find the changes in their lives far exceed their expectations.
Will I have to dredge up my past?
It can be hugely beneficial to understand why unhelpful patterns first made sense to you as a way to decide whether they are still helpful today.
However, it is not necessary to go too deeply into the past just for the sake of it or to recall every detail. What is important is to have enough information to reach an understanding of why you experience certain situations in ways that may not be helpful or healthy for you. However, sometimes people find it hugely helpful to share a difficult experience, that is always a conversation we will have together as trust is built in the therapeutic relationship.
Will I become dependent on therapy?
Some people do experience a period of dependency during therapy and by working through it, it can prove a valuable part of the process before leaving it behind.
How many sessions will I need?
The short answer is: you will know within yourself because the same old problems just no longer seem to be affecting you.
Just how long that will take depends greatly upon the reasons why you are coming for therapy and how open you are to look at and try things in a new way. But please bear in mind that if you have been struggling with something for years or since childhood, time is needed. Even if one could force a long-term issue into a small timeframe, my experience has shown that the results are not integrated and do not last.
Therapy can last from a few months to several years.
Just some of the factors determining how long it will take are:
- the strength of the therapeutic relationship between counsellor and client
- how long the issue has been present or troublesome
- how much the client understands the core issue
- what the client wishes to achieve
- the ability of the client to self-reflect
- the complexity of the issues
- the severity of any traumas and age when they occurred
- the openness of the client to be able to see things from a different perspective
I usually work on an open-ended basis from a relational depth perspective. If you specifically wish to work within a limited timeframe, we will discuss this at your first session.
How often will I attend sessions?
Generally, therapy is undertaken on a weekly, regular basis for an agreed period of time. Sometimes people come more frequently, especially at particularly vulnerable times. In certain circumstances, it is beneficial to work a two-hour session for a period of time.
Why do you not offer one-off or less than weekly sessions?
It is my experience that less-than-weekly therapy suffers greatly in terms of efficacy and the traditional commitment of at least once a week is essential to sustain the process.
Is my problem too small?
Sometimes people ask this question. They wonder whether their worries or concerns are not significant enough to warrant attention. Sometimes that might be the issue itself in that they do not think enough of themselves to warrant attention, even if they are hurting, worried, etc. If any of the following are true, counselling is appropriate:
- something is playing on your mind and isn’t going away
- you suspect you may be talking about the issue too much with friends or relatives who may be getting bored or feel unable to help
- you have been in a similar situation in the past
- you are at a loss as to why this has happened or what you might have done
- you feel that relationships may be suffering
- you simply do not feel that life is what it should be
- you notice that the same negative situations repeat themselves time and again.
There are, of course, many other reasons for seeking therapy, but the above reasons people often feel are too minor for a counsellor ‘to bother with’. A therapist is interested in working with you to improve the quality of your life. If something is bothering you and not resolving itself, it is not considered ‘too small’ for finding a better way.
Couldn't I just talk to a friend?
Many people have good friends they confide in. This is an important part of life, sharing problems with others who care and being there for each other.
However, there are times when problems either place too much of a burden on friends or friends are not equipped to fully understand the complexities of what you are going through. This can even make problems feel worse because it increases feelings of loneliness, alienation or hopelessness.
Friends or family may have their own opinions, wishes or desires about what they think you should do, and are not always able to set these aside for your own best interest.
Talking to a therapist is very different. It helps to protect real-life relationships by not over-burdening them and it means you are in an environment specifically designed to help you work through problems. This requires the objective support of someone who is not involved in your day-to-day life.
But I can't afford it
Private therapy does require a financial as well as personal commitment. It is one of the most life-changing things you can do that has potential to affect your long-term quality of life. I find that the people who benefit best from counselling value their treatment and prioritise their spending to allow them to come. It also means you can pick and choose the type of therapy and the therapist to work with.
My fees reflect six years of training and many years experience as a counsellor and other healing professions.
If you really cannot afford private therapy, there are various low-cost alternatives such as being a training client at a Counselling and Psychotherapy Training University, seeing a newly-qualified therapist, subsidised charities and NHS counsellors via your GP.
Can clients and therapists be friends?
The answer to this is almost always ‘no’ because it is not constructive for the client. A therapeutic relationship should be completely clear of any personal needs and emotional expectations by the therapist. Friendships always bring mutual emotional expectations which would interfere with the work, and they intrude upon the clear space of therapy. This can easily invite misuse or even abuse of the complex emotions a client may experience especially at times of high vulnerability.
What is the difference between Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Counselling?
Broadly speaking counselling usually concentrates on one aspect of a person’s life, such as a bereavement, divorce or other specific event and does not always explore into other aspects of a person’s life. It is often time-limited and the counsellor can be more active in guiding the work within specific, agreed areas.
Psychotherapy often deals with wider emotional issues and can explore more broadly and deeply than counselling. Psychotherapy concentrates on emotional patterns that may be interfering with the quality of life in the individual, and provides an opportunity to gain greater self awareness things in a new way in a safe environment. It is an opportunity to gain greater self-awareness, so that events of the past do not impose upon new situations or present and future relationships. Psychotherapy is generally open-ended and may encompass many facets of a person’s life. It requires committment from the client in terms of honesty, time and willingness. However, the benefits can be tremendous. Psychotherapists do not prescribe medication.
Psychiatry is a medical field, concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions, and is carried out by a medical doctor called a Psychiatrist.
I practice Counselling and Psychotherapy.
Please get in touch
If you have any further questions or you would like to book an initial appointment please get in touch using the form below and please let me know how would you like me to contact you, phone, text or email, and what is the best time? All contacts are held in complete confidentiality, I look forward to hearing from you soon.