Psychotherapy FAQs

What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is one of the so-called 'talking therapies' that aims to help the client (an individual, or sometimes a couple or family), to work through problems or difficulties by talking with a trained professional - the psychotherapist. Its my belief that psychotherapy is essentially about helping you, the client, make meaning out of your experience, feelings, thoughts and behaviours. Through psychotherapy, you can examine your long held beliefs, values and assumptions and perhaps experiment with new ways of looking at yourself. As psychotherapist I help with this process by exploring your world alongside you, perhaps offering perspectives and ideas, but mainly listening very carefully to make sure you are heard and understood. As a psychotherapist I offer a safe, confidential, constructive space in which to make these discoveries about yourself.
How does psychotherapy help?
Usually clients come to me with an awareness that something is 'wrong' and at least some hope that things could be different. It might be a specific problem or something more vague that's hung around for a long time. Its likely that you will already have done a lot of thinking about what's wrong and might have experimented with sorting things out. Psychotherapy aims to increase your self-awareness and, hopefully, self acceptance. From this, growth and change can occur. Knowing ourselves better, and accepting ourselves, is deeply healing in its own right. It can also give us the confidence to make changes.
What happens in a session?
The first session is about getting to know one another and making a decision about whether we could do useful work together. You can say what's brought you to therapy at this time and what you want to get out of it. I will explain more about how I work and say something about terms and conditions so that we are clear about our contract. Together we would make an assessment about whether I am the right person for you to work with. If not I may be able to make suggestions about other sources of help. If we decide to work together then we would agree the arrangements for this.
Subsequent sessions are usually weekly for an hour (although some clients prefer other arrangements which we can explore) and I would tend to offer you the same time every week. This then becomes your space to explore your issues, your thoughts and feelings. Therapy tends to have a beginning, a middle and an end, moving from working out what you think is wrong through to how you make sense of yourself and your experience. Sometimes this can be difficult and its true to say that many clients feel worse before they feel better. The end part of therapy is to consolidate and integrate your work - as one client said, to make sure you are healed, not just feeling better.
How long would I need to come for?
The length of our contract is discussed in the first session. For some clients a few sessions - maybe four or six - are sufficient to work through what they came with. For others, especially where the issues are more vague and perhaps complex, the therapy might go on considerably longer. We keep the contract under review, giving us the opportunity to take stock every couple of months and I make a point of 'planning' endings so that we have time to close the work off properly.