We live in a complex, busy, and often very challenging world, in which we encounter many different types of experiences that can be difficult for us to deal with. Most of the time we can get on with life, but sometimes we can’t, and we find ourselves stuck. Often we can find support in friends or family, but sometimes we can’t and sometimes, even with their support, we can feel isolated and alone.
Therapy is a process that can help you to gain a better understanding of your past and present conflicts, to recognise, appreciate and use your own resources, as well as to consider possibilities for dealing with difficult situations. This may involve clarifying choices and opportunities for bringing about change; or, alternatively, may help you come to terms with those aspects of your life that you are unable, or do not wish, to change.
How does it work?
My role, as a therapist, is to provide a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space, to help you to explore your feelings and thoughts in ways that promote insight and self-awareness; and to support you as you work towards greater clarity and understanding of where you are in your life. This might include talking about life events (past and present), feelings, emotions, relationships, and ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour.
Talking about how you feel – and being heard – is at the heart of therapy and may be enough in itself. In fact, research shows that it is the relationship between the client and the therapist that can have the most impact on change. Beyond this, it may be helpful to consider unhelpful life patterns and gain new insight into habitual ways of thinking and behaving. We can also explore fresh perspectives, different possibilities and strategies for change and growth. Therapy can help you to take stock of where you are now; it can help you to re-evaluate how you live your life, and how you engage in the world and with the people around you. Working together, we can explore the things that matter to you, where you are now, where you would like to be, and how you can work towards getting there.
A session is defined as a meeting which has been agreed verbally or in writing, whether or not it is attended. The place and format of meeting, appointment time and length of session are mutually decided. A single therapy session usually takes place weekly or twice weekly and lasts for 50 minutes/an hour at the same time and place, but this may be negotiated according to need and circumstances.
An initial session is a meeting where we plan how to go forward before we agree to work together. In this session, which is chargeable, I would explore a little about your life story and what has brought you to therapy, and you could find out if you felt comfortable and at ease and wanted to continue. You would also have the chance to ask about anything else you may not be sure about. At this meeting we will look at scheduling future appointments. You will not be pressurised to make any decisions at this meeting. If we do decide to work together, we then formalise our own working agreement and agree an initial working period. At the end of the initial working period, we can then agree to book a further block of sessions or leave the work open-ended with continual reviews.
What is shared in the session will be treated as confidential. It will not be discussed outside the sessions except in the context of professional supervision and professional training. Any such references will always be anonymous and you could not be identified through them.
While confidentiality is essential, it is not absolute, and there are exceptions. In very few extreme circumstances, it might be necessary for me to pass on information. This would only be if there were a substantial possibility of serious harm to yourself or others or if I were legally impelled to impart information. If I had concerns in this area, I would talk to you as fully as possible before deciding to take any action. I aim to maintain the highest standards of good practice and safety. For this reason, I normally request the name and address of your General Practitioner.
If you do have any concerns whatsoever in this regard, please do raise them with me. I am fully insured.
In the unlikely event that our work has to terminate because, for example, I am involved in a serious accident, and I am unable to inform you personally, I will have entrusted a BACP registered and highly trusted colleague the task of contacting you and discussing the situation with you. In this event my colleague will then have access to your contact details and the basic details of what our work is e.g. long-term therapy, consultancy and any information that is ethically necessary to impart.
As part of good practice, a therapist is required to have some supervision of their work. I do not give my supervisor anything that might identify you. Supervision helps me to give you the best service that I can.