Often people come into therapy because certain events cause them to feel overwhelmed and they realise that their usual mechanisms for making sense of and operating within the world no longer serve them. This can follow loss and bereavement, pregnancy and birth, relationship or job loss or a traumatic event. Seeing a psychotherapist can help to work though these difficult times.
Other people might come for therapy because they feel that it is time to address recurrent issues and/or long held traumas or explore how they can live life more fully and develop richer relationships with other people and the world around them.
Do I need to see a psychotherapist?
This is a very common question for people coming for therapy but I suggest asking a different question; ‘do I want to see a psychotherapist?’ which might free you from society's taboos around mental health. A great many people see a counsellor or therapist at some point in their lives and find that it helps them live a fuller life. I do not think anybody needs to be 'really' unwell to ‘need’ therapy, or that anybody should have to cope on their own. If you think talking to someone might help, then why not give yourself the permission to try it out.
What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling?
Psychotherapy is usually more in depth than counselling and looks at the underlying processes as well as the content of whatever issues are immediately apparent in order to help you focus on more fundamental patterns of relating to yourself and others.
Psychotherapists generally undergo longer training (although many counsellors have extensive continuing professional training too) which equips them to explore issues in greater depth. Extensive personal therapy (4 years/160 sessions minimum) is an essential part of training and this enables psychotherapists to have direct insight into complicated mental and emotional processes and have faith in the ability of psychotherapy to help.
What is the difference between psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?
Increasingly, CBT is becoming the treatment of choice within the NHS mainly because its task orientated approach can be measured more easily. Primary care teams offer short term CBT of 6-8 sessions, where clients are encouraged to understand how thinking and behaviour affect mood. More research is being conducted to find new measures of effectiveness of talking therapies and there is more and more evidence to suggest that the quality of relationship with a therapist is more important than the type of therapy offered.
I have trained in CBT and run psycho-educational workshops based on the approach so incorporate a range of cognitive and behavioural tools into a relational approach.
How do I identify the right therapist/approach for me?
Research suggests that the second most important factor of successful therapy is the quality of relationship between client and therapist, so I would always suggest that people choose a therapist who they feel they can trust enough to talk openly with. Incidentally, the most important factor of successful therapy is the clients’ commitment to the work.
Some people may be interested in reading more about a therapist's approach to therapy. There is a lot of information available. I offer some pointers about my approach in the section here.
How many sessions should i have?
This is the clients choice. I offer both brief (6-12 session) and longer term psychotherapy. Brief psychotherapy seeks to address specific, issues often relating to difficult situations or events. There is no upper limit for longer term therapy and many people want open-ended therapy. There is no ‘normal’ and it is the client who decides what they need.
How does Psychotherapy work?
My clients will often comment on how good it is just to talk. Talking to someone who gives their full non-judgemental attention releases the burden of secrets that weigh us down, make us stressed and tie us in knots. A psychotherapist can draw on their knowledge and experience to reflect back, share observations, make connections and raise questions which may help you to raise awareness of the patterns of thinking feeling and behaving that you struggle with.
Psychotherapy is a collaborative process and it is the client’s desire to address their issues that determines what they get out of it.
How much do sessions cost?
I charge £40 per session. Session are 50 minutes long. I offer some sessions for cost price for people on low incomes.
Is this accredited and regulated?
It is important to check out what training and accreditation therapists hold. BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy) are the two key organisations which accredit and regulate counsellors and psychotherapists. I abide by the Code of Ethics in Professional Practice of the Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership, which is consistent with the standards set by the UKCP. All my work is supervised by Accredited UKCP supervisors. Is it confidential?
Confidentiality is a core principle of psychotherapy and it is essential for clients to feel that it is safe to talk. Some exceptional circumstances exist where we would need to share information in the interests of safety of a client or others which I would explain to all clients at first meeting.