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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some frequently asked questions I receive.

Q. What will happen in our first session?

A. The first session is a chance to meet each other and see if you feel we could work together, it is important that you feel safe and comfortable with your therapist. There will be time to ask any questions or concerns you may have. It can take time to find the right counsellor for you, you may wish to talk to several counsellors before making your choice and this is completely fine.

Q. What type of therapist are you?

A. I trained as a psychodynamic therapist, this means I sensitively help you look at how past experiences may be unconsciously impacting your current life and behaviours. Psychodynamic counselling endeavours to get to the root cause of your problems and address the symptoms and emotions they bring up for you now. Psychodynamic therapy can help you reconsider and reconnect with your past in a meaningful way. It gives you a safe space to consider how formative experiences might influencing your relating patterns now, giving you opportunities to consider ways to adapt and change. It is always your choice what you talk about, as your therapist it is my job listen and support you whether you wish to look at your past or explore an issue that is troubling you right now.

Q. Is counselling confidential?

A. Yes within the therapeutic room all that is said remains confidential. There are certain disclosures, for instance those relating to terrorism, female genital mutilation or where a child is at risk where confidentiality would need to be broken. This can be discussed when we meet if you have any concerns.

Q. How often will we meet?

A. Sessions are weekly, usually at the same time each week.

Q. What is the difference between short and longer term counselling?

A. Brief or short-term counselling usually provides support for a particular issue or situation, perhaps a job loss, a relationship breakdown or a bereavement. Typically, this would be between 12 and 24 weekly sessions. Longer term counselling gives clients the opportunity to work on deeper issues with more time to work in depth. It is my job to help you identify issues and patterns of behaviour and work with you to understand how you came to be having difficulties. We can talk about how many counselling sessions you might need at the first session or at any point once we have started. You are always free to leave at any time.

Q. What is the fee?

A. The session fee is £55-60 depending on time and location. Sessions are usually weekly and 50 minutes in length. There is no cost for the first meeting as this is your opportunity to see if you would like to talk to me. Concessions are sometimes available for daytime appointments; please ask, this can also be discussed in the first session

Q. How will I pay for sessions?

A. Payments can be made via Bank Transfer, electronic invoice (this is emailed to you with a link to pay by card) or cash. You will always be provided with a receipt.

Q. How long is a session?

A. Each session lasts 50 minutes. Sessions start and finish on time, this means if you arrive late you can still make use of the rest of the session, but we will finish on time.

Q. Are you supervised?

A. I make use of regular supervision with a qualified supervisor who are themselves a therapist. Supervision is where I discuss my clinical work to ensure I offer the best possible support to my clients.

Q. Where have you worked?

A. I have worked with clients in a variety of settings...
   * In a domestic violence charity with women who have experienced a variety of challenging domestic abuse and with children who have been in a household where abuse was witnessed.
   * In both primary and senior schools with children experiencing a range of emotional difficulties. 
   * In a hospice with clients approaching the end of their lives and their families both pre and post bereavement.
   * In a general counselling charity offering support for a wide range of emotional distress.

Q. How many sessions will I get?

A. We can discuss this when we meet, some clients like to work on an open-ended basis this means they come each week until they feel they wish to stop, others prefer to come for a set 12 or 24 sessions. You are free to stop at any point should you wish.

Q. How do I know if you are the right counsellor for me?

A. I offer the first session at no cost so that you can decide. Perhaps you will find being listened to really helpful and will want to continue. If you don't that is also OK. You are never obligated to continue if you don't feel I'm quite right for you.

Q. What sort of things do people seek therapy for?

A. Here are few of things people have said when they sought therapy...
   * Work-related problems, exploitation or discrimination.
   * Problems in relationships.
   * Questions about sexual identity.
   * Interested in learning more about and improving myself.
   * Problems around supporting children.
   * Life just does not seem as worthwhile anymore.
   * Sharing a secret which has never been shared.
   * Confusion about the future or life path.
   * Lack of confidence.
   * Loss of identity after becoming a parent, or after retirement.

Q. What if I am not happy in counselling?

A. Counselling is more successful if you develop a connection with your therapist, it is through trust and connection that the therapy is more likely to work. If you feel something is not working, or there is something you are not happy with, it is important that you tell me so I can do my best to support you in a way that you find helpful.

Q. How will I feel when in therapy?

A. It is normal and expected when working though something difficult or painful to feel worse before you feel better. It is important we work at a pace you can manage. You are always in control of what you bring to therapy and it is my job to support you through difficult periods.

Q. How might counselling help me?

A.
   * Therapy can help you understand how your past might be affecting the present.
   * Counselling can also help you improve your self-esteem and confidence.
   * Therapy can help you understand yourself more.
   * Counselling can help you understand how you communicate and connect in relationships, leading to better relationships in your life.
   * Therapy can help support you in difficult periods of your life.

Q. Where are you based?

A. I see clients in two locations. Deptford in London and Bromley in Kent. Both ideally located for South East London and North West Kent. See my Contact page for more information.

Q. Why would I pay to see a private counsellor?

A. NHS provision for therapy is generally limited (typically 4-6 sessions) and can have long waiting lists. Seeing a private counsellor like myself gives you more flexibility in terms of choosing a therapist you like, location and time slots that suit, as well as choosing how long you seek support for. Your sessions are entirely private and do not appear on your medical records.

Q. Is therapy all about digging up the past?

A. No. It is entirely up to you what you talk about. The past often comes up but how much and how often you wish to focus on your present life or your history is up to you.

Q. Is counselling self indulgent?

A. I view therapy as self care. It is neither selfish or indulgent to spend one hour of your week focusing just on you, your thoughts and feelings. It can also help us think more clearly and manage outside of the therapy room in our daily lives. Many people spend an hour or two a week in the gym to look after their bodies, counselling allows you to care in a similar way to your mind and mental health.