Counselling is generally regarded as an approach that focuses on the immediate or pressing problem and is usually shorter term. This is frequently for a period of 6 to 12 weeks though in some cases it can be longer. Whilst psychotherapy also helps with the kinds of difficulties brought to counselling more often it is the treatment of choice for deep seated issues that may have built up over a much longer period of time, even stemming from childhood.
If you are unable to attend your appointment please let us know as soon as possible. The required notice for cancellation is 24 hours, therefore where there is less notice of cancellation or if you do not attend your appointment you will be charged the full fee. You are advised to give as much advance notice as possible of holidays or needing to cancel your appointment for any other reason. Likewise your therapist should give you plenty of notice of when they mare likely to be on leave or absent for whatever reason.
Whilst the initial consultation can last for up to an hour or more the standard counselling or psychotherapy session lasts for 50 minutes.
Attendance for both psychotherapy and counselling is generally on a weekly basis and is usually one 50 minute session once a week. However, there may be instances when it is important and in fact beneficial to come more often.
If you have never been to counselling or therapy before you may feel nervous and apprehensive. This is quite normal and people often find it a relief to say how they are feeling at the beginning of the session. You do not need to prepare in any particular way before you attend your session and once you arrive, anything you need to know will be explained to you. The first session is an ideal opportunity to ask any questions you may have and for you to see whether you feel comfortable talking about your concerns. To begin with you will be asked for some background information and then invited to talk about what brings you to counselling or therapy. Some people have a clear sense of why they have come and what they want whilst others might only know that they are in distress without knowing why. Both positions are fine, they simply describe a different starting point. Towards the end of the session there will be the opportunity to discuss how the session has gone and whether further work would be useful or necessary.
Our Practice Manager Rachel Tuck, as well as our Clinical Lead Tina Mann, are available to respond to enquiries at various times during the week and are happy to speak with before you make your first appointment. If either are unavailable when you call please leave an answer message giving your name, telephone number and convenient times when they can call you back.
While the researched benefits of counselling and psychotherapy are well documented the actual changes vary from person to person as every process is completely individual. However, clients often report changes such as a significant improvement in their initial concerns, an enhanced insight into their situation, improved self-worth, or more specifically:
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Greater sense of self worth
- More intimate and satisfying relationships
- Feeling more empowered
- More success in a chosen career
- Improved physical health
- Feeling calmer and more relaxed
- Greater personal awareness and understanding
- Having greater choice
- Feeling more alive / having more energy
- Better communication skills
Some people come to believe in life that being unable to solve a problem or sort out a personal difficulty on their own or having uncomfortable feelings like vulnerability and fear are signs of being dependent or weak. However, most therapists believe that human beings are at their most healthy functioning when they have a full range of feelings and expression. Whilst it is important to be resilient and independent too much independence can be isolating, make personal relationships extremely difficult and often prohibit the natural process of benefiting from the wisdom, experience and support of other people. For the person that fears appearing weak, it is both an act of considerable strength and courage to acknowledge difficulty and ask for help, a process through which they can in fact become stronger and even more able to take care of themselves.
Individual counselling and psychotherapy is on a one-to-one basis. However, if you wish to bring someone with you to your first session this is fine and they will be able to wait for you in the waiting room.