Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling makes less use of the theories that exist concerning why we do what we do, or feel what we feel. Counselling provides an environment for you to be heard and explore your own beliefs. It is often short term.

Psychotherapy has a closer link to the science of emotions and feelings and the interpretation of observed behaviours. This is why you see many psychotherapists offering different ‘models’ because there are different theories about what makes us who we are. The models will influence the questions the counsellor asks and how they interpret your replies.

How do I know what type of counsellor is best for my problem?

Research has shown that the best results are achieved when the client and counsellor have a good working relationship. It does not necessarily matter what their model is. You may want to try a few counsellors before you start.

Why do counsellors have so many models?

A model is a reflection of what a counsellor believes about what helps us to change: what will make therapy successful. Some counsellors will be highly trained in certain models, for example Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Transactional Analysis (TA), and will have a qualification in that field. Others know many theories and some common approaches and can work with these to suit your needs, counsellors who describe themselves as integrative, work like this. I am an integrative counsellor. NHS counsellors, in the IAPT services tend to work with a simplified CBT model. This is about changing beliefs about behaviours, and does not usually address underlying emotions.

How long will it take?

At the beginning of counselling it is usual to identify what you want to have achieved by the end of the therapy, this is done in negotiation with your counsellor. Your counsellor will have some inkling whether this will be long term work- usually a minimum of 12 weeks, or shorter term. Your counsellor will help you to be realistic about what can be achieved if you have financial constraints.

What actually happens for an hour?

Each counselling relationship and each session is unique. My sessions will involve me doing a lot of listening, especially at the beginning of our therapy together. It can be quite hard at first, especially if the problem is longstanding; it might even be vague and difficult to articulate. We might use art or other tools to help you express yourself, sometimes being quiet can also help. Sessions will change as we get to know each other.

How much does it cost?

Initial assessment with no obligation is £22.50

Appointments are £45

Trainee counsellors £35

Discounts available for booking 5 or more sessions in advance

Counsellors talk about the ‘relationship’ why?

Sigmund Freud who probably is one of the most famous psychodynamic therapists known, used to have his ‘patients’ lie down on a couch and sit behind them so they could not see his face. He interpreted what they said, or even what they did not say in line with his scientific theories about the mind and mental illness. A few decades later an American, Carl Rogers, who was the instigator of the ‘Person Centred Approach’, sat facing his patients and used communication skills and body language to help the ‘person’ interpret their own problems. His practice was a stark contrast to Freud’s, yet both Rogers and Freud were successful. There has been focus on the role of the relationship ever since.  Scientific understanding of the brain, as well as observed human behaviours and philosophical ideas have all led to an understanding of the importance for us, as people, to seek reassurance of our own experiences through others. (This is called intersubjectivity). My role as a counsellor is to provide you with a relationship that encourages you to be you and for you to experience another person (me) who is able to accept you in your totality. Carl Rogers wrote about certain core conditions counsellors should provide, I adhere to these;

Unconditional positive regard– I respect you for being you

Empathy– I empathise with your experiences

Congruence– I am true to myself and facilitate you to be true to yourself.

Does counselling work?

Yes, I believe counselling works most of the time, but I have heard incidences of people dissatisfied with their counselling experiences, so clearly it does not work for everyone. For our counselling to work there are certain givens that I expect of you and you can expect of me;

  • I will provide a written contract
  • You must want to commit to weekly sessions, and NOT be doing it to please someone
  • I will provide an environment where you feel safe to explore difficult feelings
  • I will abide by the BACP ethical framework
  • I will use the core conditions described above
  • We must be prepared for an emotional roller coaster.
  • I will tell you when I do not have the appropriate skills to help, and will refer you to a different therapist.  For example trauma can be hard to resolve and specialist treatment such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) may be appropriate.
  • You must say if you feel I am not doing what you want.

In counselling overcoming the barriers can be as useful as understanding the problems.

Do you use other techniques such as hypnosis or meditation?

I am interested in meditation in particular something called mindfulness. If you want to use this approach we can. There is increasing neuroscientific evidence to show the benefits of meditation on anxiety and stress. Creative techniques such as drawing or holding and describing items such as pebbles, or writing poems are often used by therapists. If you are willing to discuss your dreams I have found them a useful tool to access unconscious ideas. I will not ask you to do anything you do not want to do. I am not trained to do hypnotherapy and do not use it, I can refer you to a hypnotherapist if we think this would be useful.

Here are two other ways to contact me

I hope I have been able to answer most of your concerns.
If you would like more information about my practice please contact me and I will try to answer your questions.

Telephone me:

07419 324764