What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Counselling tends to focus on a particular issue for a shorter period of time. The focus is on what’s happening to you in the present rather than delving more deeply into your past experiences.
Psychotherapy is more of an in-depth process focussing on how early childhood experiences shape who we are in the present. Being able to work through some of these issues will take a longer period of time.
The term ‘therapy’ is often used to describe both.
What happens during an initial therapy session?
The initial session offers an opportunity for you to ask questions and check out the practical arrangements and setting and most importantly, decide whether I am someone that you would feel comfortable talking about your difficulties with.
An initial session, as will all future appointments lasts for 50 minutes. Initially I will go through some paperwork which covers confidentiality and ethics and then we can talk about the reasons that have brought you to therapy and what your aims for therapy might be.
Towards the end of our meeting we can then decide together whether you would like to continue with further sessions or if you prefer, you could go away and think about what you’d like to do next. My standard fees for sessions are £55 but I can also offer concessionary rates for those on low incomes or who are key workers.
What kind of therapy do you do?
My therapeutic approach is Integrative and based on a relational and developmental framework. Essentially, that means that our therapeutic relationship and the developmental history you bring, will be important issues for us to think about when we work together. I recognise that everyone is individual and experiences life in their own unique way. Depending on what your difficulties are and what would help you most, I draw from a range of different psychological and practical approaches to find the most suitable way of working with you. I try to take into account all aspects of who you are and the issues which are affecting you, including your social, cultural and ethnic background where relevant.
Central to my practice is the belief in the healing power of the therapeutic relationship. As such, I aim to offer a space that is safe, secure and contained where you can explore ways of gaining insight, understanding and potentially finding change in your own way and in your own time-frames.
I believe that we all have the potential to make changes and having the support of a safe and confidential therapeutic relationship can help us to find that power, even when it might seem difficult. My approach involves helping you to integrate all of your experiences, achieving a better connection between your mind and body and through self-acceptance, finding a greater internal sense of ‘wholeness’ and strength. It may also help you to respond to the challenges we face in our lives in a more resilient and flexible way.
How much are counselling sessions and what methods of payment do you accept?
My standard fees are £55 for a 50-minute session. Fees for sessions can either be paid for by cash or cheque if we are meeting face to face or by bank transfer if we are meeting on Zoom also on the day.
What is your cancellation policy?
I require 48 hours’ notice for cancelling a session, otherwise the fee is payable in full.
Where do you see your clients?
I offer face to face counselling from therapy rooms in Ealing, West London which can be easily accessed from the surrounding areas of Hanwell, Greenford, Perivale, Gunnersbury, Chiswick and Acton and I also offer Zoom counselling which is accessible to everyone.
How long are counselling sessions and how often are they?
Both initial sessions and all further appointments last for 50 minutes. I often see people on a weekly basis, however both the frequency and appointment times may be varied depending on what works best for you and on our mutual availability.
What times and days can you see people for counselling?
I can offer appointment times Monday-Friday evenings between 6 – 9 pm and Saturday mornings between 10 and 1 pm. Please contact me on 01748 902547 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss making an appointment.
How often will we meet?
For counselling to be most effective, we would meet once a week but this can also be flexible depending on your availability and schedule.
What if I have mobility difficulties/identify as having a disability?
If you have mobility difficulties or a disability, I would be happy to discuss in advance any particular needs, concerns, issues or questions you might have.
What’s it like being in therapy?
Being able to talk to someone who is really listening and not judging you can be a great relief. You may start to get some ‘lightbulb’ moments where you suddenly gain insights into what has been going on. You may feel less burdened and not so alone by sharing your problems.
However, therapy is not always an easy process as it will involve you discussing upsetting emotions and possibly re-experiencing some painful memories. Connecting with these thoughts can feel difficult to start with and initially, you may feel some distress. However, this process is part of the journey and in time, you should start to feel better.
It is also important to realise that counselling is not a quick fix and some sessions will feel more helpful than others which can feel quite frustrating. Sometimes, moving forward is not so clear cut and involves making difficult choices. We may have to accept that there are some things that we cannot change and this realisation can be hard.
However, all of these struggles can be critical steps on the journey of self-acceptance and ultimately feeling better and more in control. Many clients who have used counselling and psychotherapy have made important and valuable changes in their lives as a result and would tell you that while it may not have been easy, it was well worth doing.
How many sessions will I need?
There is no set number of sessions as this will depend on what you bring to the therapy to work on and how you work in and between the sessions. You will able to get a clearer idea once you meet with a therapist and discuss the issues you are bringing.
If you are bringing a specific issue then sometimes ‘short term work’ of usually 6 -12 sessions is enough to make the progress you need and in other cases a much longer period of time is needed to experience some benefits. I am committed to work with you to provide a space to work through whatever brings you to this point in your life.
When and how does therapy end?
Firstly, to say that you are under no obligation to continue your counselling arrangement at any time. That said, most therapists would agree that it is always beneficial to work towards a planned ending in any counselling arrangement. If we have been working together for some time then I would recommend a notice’ period of at least four weeks so that we are able to work towards a positive therapeutic ending. However, if this is not possible or we have been working together for a shorter time then a final ‘ending session’ would be helpful in order to formally acknowledge the work that has been done.
At regular intervals, I will be reviewing with you whether you are finding our work helpful and these reviews will help give us an idea about where we are in the process; whether you still want and need support, or whether you’ve got what you need for now and it’s time to look at ending. Ending doesn’t mean you can’t come back at some later date if you want to, it means you’ve done what you need to for now.
Some people feel uncomfortable with endings and may wish to avoid them, but therapeutic endings can be an opportunity to experience a ‘different’ goodbye and to prevent any worries later that you’ve left ‘unfinished business’ behind.
Will our counselling sessions be confidential?
I will ensure the content of our sessions is confidential to you as the client and to me the counsellor, although on occasions I will need to discuss our work with my professional supervisor, although your identity would remain anonymous. In exceptional circumstances, where I am concerned for your safety or the safety of others, I may need to seek help outside the counselling relationship due to my legal and ethical obligations, however I would always in the first instance try to gain your agreement. I am also legally and ethically obliged to disclose information that relates to the identification of a driver involved in a traffic offence and any information relating to acts of terrorism.
records or information will you hold in relation to me and how will you ensure
the privacy of my personal data?
I will ensure the privacy of any records or information I hold in relation to you. I do keep brief handwritten notes of our sessions which I will keep securely for 6 months following the completion of our work together, after which they will be safely destroyed. You have the right to request to see the information I hold in relation to you and the right to request that information relating to you be deleted or amended at any time.
What if I have a query, concern, comment or complaint?
I actively encourage clients to give me feedback about the work we are doing and the service I am providing, and to let me know if they have any queries or concerns so we can discuss the issue together. I abide by the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions and for more information about this and about professional conduct and the organisation’s complaints procedure please go to www.bacp.co.uk/prof_conduct/