Your questions about Psychotherapy and Counselling
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Counselling is usually time limited between 6 to 20 sessions and we work on a particular topic that is causing difficulty to you at a point in your life with a focus in mind. Psychotherapy is open ended, for deeper seated issues and ranges more widely and in depth.
How long does psychotherapy take?
The answer depends on a number of interrelated issues such as the changes you want to make, where you are in your life and how deep you want to go. What happens in the therapeutic relationship is something that develops organically and unfolds differently for each individual. I have worked with some people for 6 weeks and others for several years. I undertake not to allow therapy to continue when I do not think it is helping you anymore. You may feel more comfortable for financial or emotional reasons in agreeing a certain number of sessions. I am happy to work in this way for between 6 to 20 sessions. Sometimes people come with a particular issue but as the work proceeds realise that there are deeper underlying issues and want to go further in this case we can re-contract for an open ended engagement.
Is online or telephone psychotherapy the same as face to face?
No it is different because not so many non-verbal cues can be picked up. However, it is still possible to do some very deep and meaningful therapeutic work through video or the telephone.
How does therapy work?
People often know the changes they want to make but do not know how to go about it. In therapy they come up against various blocks. In my experience, if the person is really committed to working, they come to understand what needs to happen to get over the blocks and to make some of the changes they desire. Working with energetic blocks in the body also assists in unfreezing psychological patterns. It is quite a complex question. If you want to research further look at my Body Psychotherapy page.
How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?
When we meet or speak on the phone, it is important to take notice of your gut instinct as to whether you feel comfortable and I am the sort of person who can understand you. You may wish to try a few different therapists for an introductory session before making up your mind. If I do not feel I can help you I will tell you and refer you somewhere else.
Can I talk about anything?
Yes, and if you want to get the most out of therapy it is important to try to talk about the most difficult things. I provide a non-judgemental open space. Although I may challenge I will never force you to talk about something you do not wish to or are not ready for.
Can you assure confidentiality?
I will not speak to anyone about what you tell me except for the circumstances outlined in my Privacy Statement. There are legal limits to confidentiality and for further details see my Privacy Statement. If compelled by legal or ethical considerations to break confidentiality, I will try first to get your consent. We may agree together that I should discuss your case with a named third party such as a GP and in this case I would get your written consent.
How long are sessions?
50 minutes or one hour for Biodynamic massage. I may do longer sessions.
Do I need to come every week at the same time?
Therapy is thought to be more effective if it takes place at frequent and regular intervals. If you can’t commit to this, I will discuss to see if other arrangements are possible and advisable. Sometimes when advised and agreed I work twice weekly with clients. I arrange my sessions at the same time and on the same day each week. If people work shifts, I may be able to work flexibly to accommodate them. If the therapy continues over a longer period, we will agree holidays in advance. Continuity and regularity are important so 40 weeks per year plus is recommended in a longer term therapy.
Do I need to lie on a couch?
No. We usually work in 2 chairs facing each other. I may invite you to stand up lie down or move around but will never pressurise you to do so.
Can I get free therapy elsewhere?
The NHS provides free therapy but there are often long waiting lists and very limited provision for longer term in depth therapy. Some training schools provide low cost therapy conducted by well supervised trainees. There may be cover for therapy under private health insurance. If you are an employee your employer may have an Employee Assistance Programme providing time limited counselling.
Do I have to be referred by my GP?
No. There is no need to tell your GP you are having therapy. It is up to you to decide if you want to.
Can I bring my partner or spouse?
I do not currently practise couple therapy and could refer you to a couple therapist if you and your partner want to talk about your relationship.
Can I go to more than one therapist at the same time?
It is not advised to see more than one psychotherapist or counsellor at the same time because it is confusing.
How is Relational Body Psychotherapy different from other talking therapy?
It shares many features in common but Body Psychotherapy thinks of people holistically as mind, body, spirit and energy. We aim to give equal weight and attention to each and to the relationship between the parts. Find out more.
I have a mental health diagnosis and am on medication. Can I still do psychotherapy?
This will depend on the type of medication you are on. If you are on medication and/or are under a Psychiatrist or Mental Health Team I suggest you speak to them before starting therapy.