Frequently asked questions
How long does a counselling session last?
50 minutes for individuals (a therapy hour).
How much does a counselling session cost?
Can counselling help with depression?
Research has shown that counselling for depression is effective, and can often be longer lasting than medication.
Can anybody benefit from counselling?
In general terms the answer to this is yes, but sometimes clients present with particular issues and / or symptoms that may require a counsellor that specialises in those matters. This is where it is important to have an initial consultation for both the counsellor and the client to assess whether it is appropriate to work together. Sometimes people are not in a position where they are ready to explore their issues.
How many sessions might I need?
This will depend on the nature of the issue, the time, and financial outlay that you wish to commit to. This is an important issue to work out at an initial consultation and also needs to be kept under review as the sessions progress. It is also necessary to review progress made at regular intervals. You are always in control of the process and can elect to have more or less sessions as you may require.
What happens if neither of us feel that we can work together?
It would be expected that this would become apparent at an initial exploratory consultation. When the initial contract is made it is expected that both the counsellor and the client will keep to its terms. If a major therapeutic rupture occurs during the sessions this can actually be a real opportunity for deep therapeutic work to occur. If the relationship becomes untenable a negotiation would need to be had as to how to proceed.
Do I have to pay if I don’t attend a session?
Yes, unless not less than 48 hours advance notice is given.
What happens at an initial trial session?
The most important thing is for each the client and the counsellor to feel that they can work together therapeutically. If so, the process is discussed, as are the aims and goals that you may have. The content of the contract is discussed, dealing with matters such as session timing, regularity of sessions, punctuality, payment terms, confidentiality etc. The relationship is, out of necessity, kept within tight boundaries. If either party feels that it is not right to work with one another there is no obligation on either to take the relationship forward.
Are the matters discussed confidential?
Yes, save as to any matter that may indicate the possibility of harm to you or others, or child protection issues, where a referral may need to be made to your GP or other appropriate agency. These are matters that would be explored with you in the first instance, and is covered in the contract referred to on my website, the terms of which apply.
Do I have to put in a lot of effort to the process?
As with all things you get out of counselling what you are prepared to put in. The counselling sessions are your opportunity to explore issues. The work is essentially done by you with the assistance of the counsellor. The process is not necessarily an easy one, and can be emotionally painful at times. The intention is to work through, and understand, the emotions and reasons for them, increasing awareness in your choices as you go forward.
What is the key to counselling and change?
In my view, and in the view of many experienced commentators on counselling, the key to making effective change through counselling comes down to the strength of the therapeutic relationship. This does not mean that the counsellor and the client are ‘friends’, and in fact this may often seem to be far from the case. Difficult things are explored in the therapy room, and the counsellor may well be the focus of anger, sadness or whatever emotions may be coming up. These moments enable effective therapeutic discovery and change to be made. I also believe that deep seated change can be brought about by finding meaning in life.
How do I know that my counsellor is reputable?
If you know that your counsellor is a member of a reputable professional body such as the BACP or the UKCP you have a quality assurance that the counsellor has undergone rigorous training and maintains the highest standard of ethical behaviour. The BACP maintains a register of members that can be checked online. An example of a quality assurance mark (mine) is set out below:
Get in touch
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how counselling and psychotherapy works, or to arrange an initial appointment. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of starting therapy, and whether I can help you.