Frequently asked questions
How can I be sure that therapy will work?
Research* has shown that the therapeutic relationship is the most important component of succesful psychotherapy and counselling, coupled with a consistent approach. It is therefore important to choose the right therapist. Consideration will be given to what is occuring between us as well as the material you bring.
Can anyone benefit from your approach?
Counsellling and psychotherapy within the approaches I use can be successful with people of varying ages from teenagers to those who are very elderly. (I work with adults from the age of 18). Men and women, people of various backgrounds and cultures, religions and sexual orientation can all benefit.
The main thing is your motivation to explore yourself. I can nearly always help, provided we can build a good rapport. If this does not happen straight away we can usually find out what is going on and put it into perspective.
There may be some issues that are better dealt with in specialist agencies, e.g. active substance dependency. The success rate for depression is high, better than anti-depressants. More serious mental health issues may mean liaison with the medical services or onward referral.
What about confidentiality?
Counselling and psychotherapy are carried out confidentially, within appropriate limits. I would not disclose what you have told me except when you have agreed (e.g. sharing information with your medical practitioner), or where serious harm to you or someone else was a high risk. I would always act in your full knowledge.
Counsellors and psychotherapists could be compelled to give evidence in court, although this is extremely rare. Therapy is discussed within clinical supervision, with your identity concealed. The contract is worked out together in our first session.
How much does it cost?
My normal fee for a 50 minute session is £55. This may be reduced to no less than £45 for those on benefits or low incomes, including students whose income is reduced to study counselling. Please remember that I am highly experienced, and my fee reflects this.
For couples and for some people needing a longer session, the fee will be £65 for a 60 minute session or otherwise negotiated.
Group rates will vary according to the number of people and session lengths.
Supervisees are charged at £65 per hour (£95 for one and a half hours).
So how do we get started?
You arrange an initial session with me - preferably phoning 02380 788110 - my answer machine is always on. We use this to explore what you need from therapy and whether I am the right therapist for you.
If I do not feel able to work with you I will not charge you for the session.
How many sessions will I need?
This depends on what you want. If it is an immediate problem, e.g. a decision, it could take just a few sessions of counselling. If it is a long term issue, such as an old bereavement or past abuse, it could be months of psychotherapy.
I will never prolong the professional relationship; that would be unethical. At the outset you state what you want from the therapy and we review this at regular intervals.
So how and when does therapy come to an end?
By reviewing, we decide that together. When you are satisfied that you are where you want for now, we have some ending sessions where we celebrate what you have achieved and what the professional relationship has meant to us both.
Do I have to like you?
Not necessarily! Usually there is positive feeling, but at some point in most therapies there is antipathy, and, believe it or not, this can be the most productive phase! Unravelling this can produce some of the greatest insights about your life.
How do you work with couples?
This will depend on how deep the issues go. Couples are always seen together to start with, then, ideally, both together and separately. This is because we all bring our personal baggage from the past and our previous relationships to the current one.
What about insurance and legal issues?
I am protected by indemnity insurance, house and contents, fire and electrical safety certificates, and current CRB and Data Protection Act registration. These are essential issues to check when you engage a therapist and are conditions for accreditation. Currently there is no statutory regulation for counsellors and psychotherapists. As a Fellow of the National Counselling Society I am listed on the approved voluntary register of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.
*For the most comprehensive and up to date research see Mick Cooper (2008) Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: the facts are friendly (BACP)