Below are some of the questions that people often have about psychological therapy.
I’m looking for a therapist, why should I come to you?
Research has shown that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is one of the best indicators for a successful outcome in therapy. Therefore, it is important to find the right therapist for you. My training in a variety of therapeutic approaches means that I am able to offer therapy that is tailored and adapted to your individual needs and requirements. My experience in a wide range of emotional and psychological difficulties, combined with knowledge of evidence-based therapies, means I am able to offer services of an ethical and high professional standard.
Why do different therapists’ fees vary so much?
Fees are usually dependent on level of training, qualifications, amount of expertise, and depth and breadth of experience. Chartered Counselling and Clinical Psychologists need to have a minimum of 6 years training. This includes a first degree in Psychology, and a Doctoral level degree in which they must conduct their own original research which contributes to the field of psychology. This is not required of other types of therapist, whose training may vary between months and years. Chartered psychologists also work as supervised psychologists during their training, often in the NHS, and so have a wide depth of experience of presenting problems. For these reasons, fees tend to vary between practitioners.
I don’t know what sort of therapy I need – how do I find out?
This will depend on lots of things – for example, how you view the world, how you think about things in your life, and how you understand your own emotions. It is important that we find a way of working that you feel comfortable with. This can be talked through and adapted as the therapy progresses. I am an integrative practitioner, which means that as your therapist, I will draw upon a number of evidence-based therapeutic approaches to create a coherent, tailor-made approach that addresses your specific needs. Your therapy can encompass many different approaches if we feel that is helpful for you.
Do I have to have a specific problem to come to therapy?
No. Although some people bring a specific problem to therapy, others may just wish to explore their feelings, or want to talk things through in a non-judgemental environment of open acceptance.
I’m not sure if I need therapy, should I come?
Attending an initial session does not commit you to therapy in any way. It is often helpful to meet for one or two sessions before you decide if it is right for you, and whether you feel it will be of benefit.
What happens in the first appointment?
When you first contact me, it is helpful if we have a free short telephone conversation (around 10-15 minutes) so that we can talk through what has brought you to therapy, and how it may be able to help you. Following this, if you feel comfortable to proceed, we will make an appointment for an initial assessment session where we can discuss your difficulties in more detail. The assessment session is an opportunity for us both to explore the issues that may be troubling you, and how they are impacting on your life and wellbeing. It is also a good opportunity to express any concerns, or ask any questions that you may have about therapy. At the end of the assessment, I will share with you my understanding of what we have discussed, and what may be the appropriate therapeutic way forward.
How long will a session take and how many will I need?
Sessions are an hour long. In most cases it will take 1 or 2 initial sessions to assess your goals for therapy. Following this, the duration of therapy will depend entirely on the level of your difficulties. Some people come with a specific concern that can sometimes be addressed by working in a focused short-term manner. This sort of work can sometimes take 4-6 sessions following assessment. However, other people may have more wide-ranging concerns or deep-rooted issues that may require long-term therapy. This will be discussed between us during the assessment sessions, but ultimately will always be your decision.
If I come and see you do I have to commit to a minimum block of sessions?
There is no minimum block of sessions that you have to commit to. The therapeutic contract is always agreed jointly between therapist and client. Depending on the presenting problem, the advice may be that a certain number of sessions is desirable, but this is entirely your choice and you are free to end the therapy at any time. Session arrangements can be flexible, and adapted to suit your particular circumstances (sessions can be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc).
Are the sessions confidential?
As a Chartered Psychologist, I adhere to the strict and clear guidelines laid out by my professional bodies – The British Psychological Society & The Health and Care Professions Council. This means that the content of our sessions, and any notes taken from them, remain strictly private and confidential. This will be discussed in further detail during the assessment session, where legal exceptions to confidentiality will also be outlined and explained.
Does my GP have to be informed?
There is no requirement for this, but for ethical and professional reasons you will be asked for your GP details during the assessment session. There are specific circumstances that a GP may have to be contacted, and this will be talked through during the assessment session. It is also recommended that you inform your GP that you are seeing a psychologist – however, this is your choice and your wishes will be respected.
Can I refer myself?
Yes, you do not need to be referred by any other practitioner. Please see the appointments page for information on this.
Will I have to lie on a couch?
No. The therapy room is furnished with a selection of chairs as well as a couch. You can choose to sit on whichever you are most comfortable with. The pictures on this website are of my consulting room.