How much will it cost?
My fee is £70 per 50 minute session including the initial assessment. I have a limited number of concessions for people facing genuine financial hardship.
Sessions will generally take place at the same time each week. More frequent meetings may be possible if I have space available. Meeting less than once a week does not really work as it tends to turn into a chat.
I prefer payment via bank transfer 48 hours before we meet. I also accept cash. I do not take credit cards.
How do we start?
Email me to arrange an initial assessment and discuss how I can help you. The first session is a one-off no obligation meeting and is a good way to help you decide if you think we can work together.
The initial assessment gives us an opportunity to to meet face to face to discuss your presenting problems and decide what areas you want to work with in future sessions. It also gives you a feel for what therapy involves, how it may help you and to ask any questions you have before making a commitment to regular meetings..
It is not possible in an initial assessment for me to give you a ‘diagnosis’ or say what you ‘should do’ – that’s not how I work. Therapy is about you uncovering what is right for you. The process takes time, it is about developing a trusting relationship, discussing issues and helping you to explore your options and how you might want to live your life.
If you would like to talk to me before the initial assessment please suggest a good time for us to talk and I’ll call you usually within 24 hours. Our conversation will be completely confidential in accordance with BACP guidelines.
How will therapy help?
Therapy provides a safe confidential place, away from your daily life, where you can explore issues and feelings which are causing you difficulty. Talking to a friend or relative can be helpful but sometimes it is easier to share your concerns with someone who won’t feel angry, disappointed or upset with what you say. At other times it is useful to have someone to explore the choices that are right for you and not what others might think or want you to do. As a qualified therapist I have been trained to help you understand what is it that causes you to feel a certain way, why you keep repeating distressing life choices and how to begin living differently. I offer open-ended or short-term therapy. We will usually meet at the same time each week.
What does therapy involve?
Often when people come to see me they are looking for relief from the distress they are experiencing. Understandably people want to see some immediate results, especially when they are in emotional pain. However, I am not like a doctor who can prescribe a cure that will work quickly. All therapy takes time and no one can instantly take the pain away.
It is important you talk to me about what your expectations and needs are. The more you can communicate about yourself – bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts – the more I will be able to explore what matters to you. If you’re not sure what to tell me, then don’t worry, we can explore what’s going on for you and I may offer some reflections and ideas that might be helpful. To start with some people find it is easier to write down their needs before we meet.
It may be that you are entering therapy for the first time and have no idea of what to expect. Therapy works best when it is an honest two-way process of communication and both of us take responsibility. I like to work collaboratively and support you in having a better understanding of yourself, your patterns of behaviour, where their origins might lie and discuss how you can start living a life that is truer to your values and sense of who you really are.
It will probably take time for us establish a trusting relationship, so it may take a few sessions before you feel comfortable. It is important that we go at a pace that suits you and you don’t feel overwhelmed. What you choose to share is your decision – you do not need to reveal everything about yourself to me. Trust that as our relationship grows you will know when the time is right for you to share things. It is particularly important to not try to rush things for a quick fix or because you feel you owe it to other people.
Being committed to therapy every week is an important decision. Change can be difficult and there may be times when you want to have a break or quit therapy. It is normal to feel some discomfort and it is usually a sign that some real changes are about to happen. Stopping at this point is like wanting to boil a kettle but deciding to turn the kettle off just as it begins to get hot. People around you may resist your changes and growth and they may need time to adapt to the new you.
Therapy can be hard work and emotionally draining at times. After an intense therapy session people can feel exhausted and emotionally drained for a while so it might be helpful to have some free time afterwards. It is not unusual when dealing with buried feelings and difficult memories to actually feel that you are becoming worse than you were before you started. Sometimes, therapy can release emotions and memories that have been “locked in” for many years, and you may feel like a child for a while, with a child’s fears. This is normal and even healthy and is actually about getting to know yourself better. In time these feelings will start to ease as you understand yourself more clearly and become more comfortable with who you are.
Like all human relationships there may be times in a therapeutic relationship when things become difficult. There are many reasons why this might happen but it is worth considering that it might have something to do with the way you relate to others and the very reason we are working together. The therapeutic relationship can be a reflection of outside relationships and the difficulties you experience in therapy are important opportunities that can lead you to understanding and resolution. Unlike most other relationships therapy offers a real opportunity to explore the dynamic of what might be going on. It is important we talk about these feelings even if it feels like as risk. However, if you really are unhappy and things are not working you always have to option of looking for something new.
Finally many people believe that once therapy is complete their lives will progress smoothly. However, even when you have changed, life will still be difficult at times; life cannot be lived without suffering. What you should hopefully be aware of is a growing sense of wholeness and peace which on the one hand enables you to enjoy the good in life while on the other hand helps you to understand and settle the unpleasant experiences and feelings much more quickly.
How long will it take?
This is a difficult question to answer as everyone is unique. Some people find around twelve sessions can bring about significant changes. Others prefer to just take as much time as they need. I like to work with people for at least three months (12 sessions) in order to be of some help. Therapy is about you prioritising your needs and the challenges you are facing in your life. Although therapy can feel unsettling it is actually about learning to get know yourself more clearly to bring about real changes that will help you to live a happier more rewarding life. Therapy works best when both parties are committed to meeting regularly – at least once a week. You are free to stop counselling anytime you like but it is best to allow at least four to eight weeks for the ending process.