What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

The BACP states that ‘Counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long-term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing.’  Generally most clinicians would use the term ‘counselling’ to refer to short-term work and ‘psychotherapy’ to refer to work of a more open-ended nature.

Are the sessions confidential?

All sessions are confidential except in the event that there is a risk of harm to yourself or to someone else who is vulnerable.

How long and when are the sessions?

All sessions are 50 minutes long and I work Monday to Friday.

How often are the sessions?

The sessions are usually on a weekly basis at a time and day agreed by both of us.

How long will it take?

We can work for a fixed number of sessions and agree a focus or have a review. You may however prefer to work within an open-ended timeframe so that your relationships and difficulties can be explored in a deeper and more meaningful way . We can discuss this at the initial consultation and it can be raised at any time during the sessions.

What should I expect from the initial consultation?

The first session is a standalone session with no obligation to continue. It will last for 50 minutes. You will be asked for some basic information and then you will have the opportunity to talk about what has brought you into counselling. This session also gives you time to check whether you feel I am the right person for you. It is important to have a sense of feeling comfortable with your therapist. It also gives me the opportunity to make sure I can help you and that therapy is the best way forward for you. If you do decide to go forward with ongoing sessions we will decide together on a day and time suitable for both of us. The sessions would normally be on a weekly basis.

Do you need to ask questions about my past?

Yes, I work psychodynamically. This means that I am interested in what you have experienced in your past which has made you who you are and has informed your choices. Very often old unhelpful patterns of behaviour which were there for a reason in our past are no longer relevant or helpful. It’s useful to explore this, adopt new ways of communicating and discard ones that are no longer useful.

Will you tell me what to talk about during the session?

Each session is your space. It is up to you to decide to talk about whatever you need to at the time. This may feel strange or uncomfortable at first but people are often surprised how they adapt to this and find it very helpful and valuable. The experience of having a therapist focused on them with a different quality of listening can be a powerful experience.

How do I know if I need therapy?

If you are experiencing anxiety or distress – no matter how big or small – then therapy can help you find a way to think about it with a fresh perspective. Most people find this incredibly helpful. The initial consultation will also offer an opportunity for us to meet and for you to decide if you think that we will be able to work together.
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