Individual psychotherapy is a unique form of relationship, unlike any other form of treatment, and it needs certain conditions to be effective. One of these is regular sessions. In the first stages of our work together, weekly sessions will be needed. Once you have done the all-important preliminary work, and you are busy applying all your learning in real life, then you may want to change to fortnightly sessions.
When possibly this is preferable as continuity is very useful. However if you work shifts or travel for work, or your university or your employer keeps changing your hours, we will find times that work for you if at all possible.
I do not work weekends. Most of my appointments are 9.30-5 Monday-Friday. If it is completely impossible for you to attend during the day, some evening sessions are available but there is a limited supply.
Like most psychotherapists, I charge the full fee for missed sessions, whatever your reason for not attending. This can sound strict, but it is necessary. I have committed that time for you so if you don’t come, there is nothing else I can do with it. If you need to cancel a session,
I require 5 days notice or the full fee is due. If you need to cancel at short notice, or you forget to come, I will offer you a replacement session in the same week if this is possible. If you have to cancel because of a rare emergency, I will be understanding.
You can take planned breaks from your psychotherapy whenever you wish. This is a topic we need to discuss together, so please let me know near the beginning of a session, and not right at the end, if you are thinking of taking a break.
After you have experienced an initial session with a practitioner, you will have an impression of how you felt during the session, and whether they understood your difficulties and could see you for who you really are. You don’t need to “like” the therapist or feel you have things in common with them, but you need to feel they “get” you and also that you can trust their professional competence. You need to feel this person is warm and accessible enough for you to be able to develop trust over time.
It is worth checking that the practitioner is registered, for example with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), the Health Professions Council, and other organisations who accredit psychotherapists who have completed their full professional trainings, and keep them on a UK register subject to meeting ethical and membership requirements each and every year. I am a practitioner member of UKCP.
You can also ask how long a practitioner has been in practice, if they have experience of working with the issues you are bringing, and what types of training they have undergone. Don’t be afraid to ask these questions, or any other questions that are important to you.
This is an opportunity to experience what it might be like to work with me and how psychotherapy works. You can tell me a bit about yourself, and ask me any questions. In the background, I will consider your situation carefully, and how I might be able to help. Psychotherapy is a commitment for both of us, and you need to feel confident that you want to go ahead and you feel ready. It is important that we can agree on some achievable outcomes.
I have trained in Humanistic and Integrative counselling and psychotherapy, and Core Process and Group Analytic psychotherapy. As I am now very experienced, I do not tend to stick within one model or framework but I meet you as an individual, and I consider carefully what approach will work best for you in your current phase of life. It is definitely not one size fits all, and the therapeutic relationship we co-create will be unique.
You can end at any time you wish. My preference is that we discuss this together in a session and move towards a planned ending date so we can complete the work together. You will always be welcome to return should anything crop up in your life.
It is the job of a psychotherapist to welcome you with acceptance and regard you as an esteemed equal human being. There is no place for judgement and I will welcome and respect who you are and want to get to know you.
depression/ anxiety/ abuse/ confusion about who I am and what I want/ feeling unhappy and I don’t know why/ grief and bereavement/ I need to figure out how to make my relationship work better/going through a divorce or life change/ discovering I or my partner or children are gay/cross-dressing/having an affair/ I have discovered I have a personality disorder/ I had short term therapy in the health system and it didn’t work
Confidentiality is the bedrock of psychotherapy. I am not at liberty to discuss your material or reveal your identity to anyone. Where there are complex issues around legal cases, safeguarding, sensitive information, informing your GP etc, we need to discuss these in person.
There is no standard, agreed definition of the difference between the two! If you are new to personal growth and development, counselling can be incredibly helpful. Psychotherapists have a longer training, and they are expected to undergo many years of psychotherapy in the same model(s) that they are offering. A psychotherapist holds the bigger picture of your life, past and present, and focuses on your potential as a person, not just your current difficulties, and this includes all kinds of developmental, mental, emotional, psychospiritual and psychological aspects of your mind and your life. Psychotherapy can be more actively responsive, and counselling can be more reflective.
A psychotherapist has training in developmental psychology and in mental health, and is required to work in mental health as part of their training process. There is also a category of “therapeutic counselling” which is closer to psychotherapy. In practice, different practitioners, whether they be counsellors or psychotherapists, offer a great variety styles of work, and you need to find someone that you resonate with. There is no one who is right for everyone.
Psychotherapy is, in my view, a fundamental tool in enabling you to develop self awareness and understanding so you make positive and constructive choices in your life. When you have sufficient grounding in this, then therapeutic coaching can help you focus on specific issues as they come up
Many people feel uncomfortable about starting sessions online and this is understandable This is something that we need to discuss in person, as it affects you according to the current global situation. Please enquire if you are seeking face to face sessions. Read this article about how to enjoy your sessions online if this is an option for you.
This is worked out between the three of us, as generally you will need time between sessions to put your new learning into action in relationship with each other. Usually, this is fortnightly in the early stages of the work.
You can, and it will become apparent during the sessions whether both of you have the capacity and the willingness to make this work. However it is difficult for me to work with you if you each have a different agenda, for example one of you wants to stay and the other wants to leave. All I can do in this situation is help you see clearly what your choices are, and help you use good communication skills to get the best possible results with each other.
You are most welcome to come to work on your relationship. You will benefit from understanding each other in new ways, gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics between you, learn what developmental phase your relationship is in, and learn new ways to communicate with one another and get your needs met.
It may be supportive for you to come for individual work to help you get through this incredibly stressful time. If communication between you has completely broken down, then mediation would be more useful than joint psychotherapy.
Do you have an additional question? Feel free to ask it here.