How do I choose a therapist?
Choosing a therapist can be both daunting and confusing given the number of therapists and types of therapy available. The main two organisations that regulate counselling and psychotherapy in the U.K. are the BACP and UKCP. Both organisations can provide information about different types of therapy and hold a register of practitioners with recognised qualifications, and who by virtue of their membership are committed to adhering to a high standard of professional ethics.
It is important that you feel comfortable relating to your therapist. The quality of the relationship between client and therapist has been shown to be an important factor in the outcome of the therapy regardless of the particular style of therapy utilised. I am happy to offer a short telephone of face to face free consultation if you are researching into the appropriate therapy and therapist for you.
What can I expect from the First Session?
The first session is primarily an assessment, both of our suitability to work together, and of the most appropriate therapeutic approach. You will have the opportunity to learn more about how I work and to talk about your reasons for coming to therapy and your expectations of it. There is no obligation to proceed, but if you wish to do so we will both sign a contract outlining what you can expect of me in terms of professional and ethical practise and what is expected of you as a client.
As a BACP member I am required to have such a contract in place for all my work with clients, but this does not obligate you to continue with the therapy for any particular number of sessions.
How Frequently Need I Attend and For How Long?
This is very difficult to answer since it depends on a number of factors. These include the nature and complexity of the issues you wish to address, and your current circumstances, and your ability to engage with the therapy. As an outcome orientated psychotherapist I will frequently review with you your goals and the extent to which the process is enabling you to move towards them. I will also try to help you to formulate goals which are realistic. As an NHS therapist I typically work with people for 8-12 weeks and this is often sufficient to use CBT to address a particular issue. Where issues are more complex or longstanding longer term counselling might be indicated.
Can Therapy Change Anything?
Often we face difficult or distressing circumstances in our past or present, much of which we cannot control. Although circumstances and past events often cannot be changed, our way of relating to them nearly always can. Psychotherapy can help us to do this by becoming more aware of our feelings, thoughts, actions and perceptions. Often as this happens we realise that these are stuck in patterns that are no longer desirable or helpful.