Frequently Asked Questions What conditions can be helped through therapy?
One of those huge questions. My opinion is that most issues we face can be helped through good and sensible therapy.
However, not all kinds of therapy are helpful for all kinds of issues, and a good therapist will help you decide on how to proceed. For example, sometimes learning to manage a little better with thoughts and feelings may be enough, and straightforward Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be enough to help - it's often the option that your GP might suggest. But with deeper issues of anxiety and depression it isn't enough to simply manage our thinking and feeling (it's also exhausting to try to do so). Here, a more flexible, personal kind of therapy (like Person-Centred counselling or psychotherapy) should help you to understand what you are experiencing and help you to move forward more freely.What use is just talking?
It may seem strange, but even just talking about what's going on and how we feel, can help us. But I believe that therapy should never just be talking. To move forward, to change and to grow, we need to learn from what we experience in therapy and put it into action in our lives. What happens in the therapy room needs to change our lives for the better.How long might I have to do therapy?
Sometimes we do therapy reluctantly, as a problem-solving exercise. I believe we get the best from it when we engage with it as a process which brings new vitality into life by helping us to live with more awareness of ourselves, what we love and value.
You may be in therapy for only a short time, or for longer; the choice on whether to continue, or to finish, is always yours. My suggestion is usually that people end therapy not when they're on a high, nor if they hit a low point, but when they feel that the time is right for ending. Part of the learning in good therapy is to understand ourselves well enough to know when is the right time to finish.When isn't therapy appropriate?
Only in very rare extremes of unmanaged mental illness is therapy completely inappropriate. Sometimes, though, therapy isn't the first support a person may need.
If you have concerns, talk with your GP, if you can, about how you feel and about counselling. Most GPs will be supportive, and may be able to offer some counselling for free through the NHS (though waiting lists are sometimes long). You can also, of course, talk to me or to another therapist. A good therapist will be aware that, sometimes, a person will need medical as well as therapeutic help, to take steps forward in their lives.What benefits can be expected?
We all want to be happy in life, to feel fulfilled, to have loving relationships with those around us, to feel positive about the future. These are all potential gains in counselling, but often it will take time to find what we need. Sometimes, when our issues are deep in us, it can take months or even years to find a breakthrough; sometimes we can find things change for us in just a few sessions.
With good therapy you will learn to "feel" feelings, to accept and value them, and to trust them. You will learn to act from a stronger sense of who you are and what you need, with less fear. You will learn to accept the hurt and pain that life sometimes brings all of us, but not to give in to self-pity nor to give up on life.How much do you charge?
My usual fee is £65 per session (50 minutes) for individuals, and £85 for couples. For most of us, that's quite a lot of money. Where the cost is a real problem, I'd rather we talked about options for reducing the cost to you, than if we didn't talk at all.Do you do a reduced rate?
I try to work with you to find what is a viable option. Sometimes, for example, a good way is to work in blocks of six sessions, taking four or six weeks' break between blocks. It means that our work remains focused, yet the total cost to you is much lower.
For students, and for those aged under 25, I do offer a reduced rate at £40 for appointments before 4pm.What other sources of therapy are there?
Good question! Often it's worth talking to your GP to see if they can offer some counselling for free (it may be, however, that the waiting list is too long for you, and that you prefer to choose the therapist with whom you work rather than being allocated one). Secondly, there are some counselling organisations which offer reduced-cost services (though one usually has to be on a very low income to benefit from the reduction in cost, and your choice of therapist is limited). And, of course, there are other therapists: check out the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (www.bacp.co.uk
) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (www.psychotherapy.org.uk
), but do make sure that the person you choose is fully qualified and registered.