Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
‘Psychotherapy’ and ‘Counselling’ are terms that are often used interchangeably. Although they are very similar, there are some subtle differences between the two. However, both offer you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and any personal or relational issues that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable.
Counselling generally focuses on talking about things that are causing the client distress in the here and now, while Psychotherapy is typically longer-term and involves looking at the client’s ‘way of being’ in the world, and any patterns or themes that might have developed in their life as a whole rather than on specific problems.
There is also a difference in the length and depth of the training involved. Generally speaking, Psychotherapists will have received longer and more in-depth training than that undertaken by most Counsellors. There is some overlap between the two but while a Psychotherapist is qualified to provide counselling, a Counsellor may or may not possess the necessary skills or knowledge to provide Psychotherapy.
What is helpful to ask myself before starting Counselling or Psychotherapy?
How would I sum up my problems? What would need to change to help me feel better? Do I have a goal for therapy? I need help, what would help look like? What changes am I prepared to make? Am I looking after myself?
What should I expect for the initial consultation?
After making initial contact, we will arrange a mutually convenient time for an initial consultation which carries no obligation to continue. This session will be 60 minutes, rather than 50 minutes as with regular sessions. This session will give you an opportunity to get a sense of how we work and for us to gain a deeper understanding of the difficulties you are experiencing. It will also give you an opportunity to decide whether the therapist is right for you. If it is agreed that our style of working is suitable for you, we will go through a simple contract to establish the rights and responsibilities of both client and therapist, explain the limits of confidentiality, as well as answering any questions you may have. We will then start regular sessions.
If the therapist is not right for you, we maintain a network of qualified and respected colleagues to whom we are happy to make a referral. We do not offer crisis support, so if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feel unable to keep yourself safe, therapy within the private practice environment is not safe for you.
How long do sessions last?
Your initial consultation will last for 60 minutes (at a reduced fee) and subsequent sessions will last for 50 minutes.
How often would I need to attend?
Therapy involves a working contract, so this will be agreed at the initial consultation. You are the paying client and can determine how often you wish to come. Initially, if you can afford it, it is advantageous to attend weekly to get the work started, which is likely to be more effective if there is continuity. However, some clients attend every fortnight or every three weeks. Some clients attend weekly to begin with and then reduce the frequency later on.
How many sessions will I need?
The total number of sessions you have will be ultimately determined by you, your individual needs and the changes you would like to make. Some people use therapy sessions to support them in everyday life and by attending weekly on an on-going basis they have a space whereby they can reflect and learn from experiences that have occurred that week. Others attend with a clear goal and leave when they feel that goal has been reached. Your therapy could, therefore, be short term or long term depending on the issues you wish to explore, but regardless of how many sessions you have in total.
Will my therapy sessions be confidential?
We will always listen to you in a respectful manner, protect your identity and any discussions will be confidential. As a members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), we follow their confidentiality and ethical guidelines for good practice. There are some circumstances in which confidentiality may be broken, for example if we think you may be at risk of harming yourself or others, if you disclose some forms of abuse or acts of terrorism, or if issues relating to the child protection act come to light. If it is necessary to break our confidentiality, we will discuss this and make a plan together, if possible. For this reason, it is essential that we have your contact details and that of an emergency contact and your GP. Your therapy cannot commence without this information, and your consent for us to use it when necessary. You should be aware that we also discuss therapeutic work during clinical supervision, as part of professional development, however your identity will never be shared with them.
Will you keep notes of my therapy sessions?
In light of new data protection legislation from May 25th 2018; we need to tell you what information we are collecting from you, how we store it and what we use it for. We also need your explicit consent to collect and store this information. This will require you to sign a privacy statement. This statement describes how we collect, use, store and disclose information that we hold about clients. We recognise the importance of protecting personal and confidential information and this statement is part of our commitment to clients, ensuring that we process your personal information fairly and lawfully. This will be covered in the initial consultation.
What if I am unable to attend a session?
We politely ask clients to give 48 hours’ notice of any cancellations where possible. If leaving less than 24 hours’ notice, you will be charged the full fee of £45.
Can I bring a friend or relative with me to sessions?
You may want to ask someone to drive you/escort you to your sessions and wait for you outside until they are over, but it is important that you attend the actual sessions themselves, on your own. Individual counselling and psychotherapy is based upon one-to-one communication between the client and the therapist. It is better not to have another person you know in the room as that may affect you being able to talk honestly about your feelings.
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