Here is a list of answers to questions you might have about therapy. Do get in touch if you don't find an answer here.
What are Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Counselling and psychotherapy are both talking therapies, in the sense that they use talking rather than medication to deal with a variety of issues. For example, it can be useful in helping you improve aspects of your life or to deal with painful emotions or more concrete issues such as stress, bereavement, divorce, redundancy or relationship issues.
I will aim to create an environment where you can talk freely and where you will feel safe to express your emotions. You can talk about the feelings you have about yourself and any other significant person in your life. It is a confidential and safe place, where there is no room for judgement. As such, you can open up and talk about things you might not be able to discuss with anyone else.
The benefit can be a rewarding journey of self-discovery, acceptance and healing. The type of therapy and its duration will depend significantly on your personal needs, on your goals and what you will find most helpful in your particular situation.
Do Counselling & Psychotherapy work?
Research has shown that talking therapies can be very effective in regards to a variety of issues by helping people improve their lives and their relationships. A clear advantage is that it can tech clients life skills that last beyond the course of therapy sessions.
Depending on what you want from therapy, you can learn or develop specific skills to help you better tolerate painful emotions, manage relationships more effectively or improve your behaviour. You can also discover new ways of approaching situations that you find difficult. All of that can aid you to find better ways of dealing with your problems, but also it can help you identify positive changes in your life that will improve your wellbeing and the quality of your life.
What to expect in the first session?
The purpose of the first session is to get to know you and to find out if and how we can work together. It is perfectly normal to feel anxious, awkward, not to know what to say or to struggle to find your words; irrespectively if you have had counselling before or not.
During the session, you will have plenty of time to ask any question you might have about therapy, how I work, and what the process involves. In order to create a transparent and safe environment for you, the boundaries and the limits of the therapeutic relationship will be discussed, which represents our mutually agreed contract. For example, this is an excellent opportunity to ask any concern you might have about confidentiality.
Finally, you can expect questions about what brought you to therapy, who you are, and how does your life look like. This will also give us the opportunity to discuss your expectations, goals and fears regarding therapy. Ultimately, together will make a practical plan regarding what would be suitable for you in terms of psychotherapy considering your needs and your preferences. For example, depending on what you want from your sessions we might choose to work in an open-ended format or decide on a fixed amount of sessions with opportunities to review our progress.
I don't expect you to know right on the spot whether you feel that I am the right counsellor for you or not. There is no commitment expected from you. Therefore, you can take a couple of days to think about your experience and decide whether you want to continue or not.
How many sessions do I need?
People grow, heal and change at a different pace. In reality, counselling works better for some people than others and it is not possible to give a definitive answer regarding the duration and efficacy of therapy from the beginning. Before any work can begin a trustful and safe relationship must be built first, and that can take time. It is essential to know and feel that you can trust your psychotherapist before you will open up about your deeply personal matters.
During the first session, I will ask you about your expectations, your needs and what you want to achieve. Based on that, together we can create a plan for you. Still, the process will proceed largely at your pace.
To give you an idea, most people have between 6 up to 20 sessions on average. This is what can be considered as medium-term therapy.
Working more profoundly requires time and deserves care. As such, some clients choose more than 20 sessions, sometimes working together for over a couple of years. This is what can be considered as long-term therapy.