Q: How many sessions will I need? How long will I be in treatment?
The duration of therapy varies greatly depending on the client’s presenting difficulties and their personal goals.
Some people can do what they need and want to do in 10 sessions or less. In most cases, this is a matter of solving a specific problem and/or getting back on track. A long-standing problem usually takes longer than that, but in some cases it can still be sorted in shorter term therapy (less than 20 sessions).
Some people solve their initial problem in a few sessions but then decide to spend more time to resolve some others, or come back for another problem at another time. Some people decide to do long term psychotherapy. Some of these are overcoming chronic depression and/or the effects of childhood trauma so that they can lead a normal life. Others, typically highly educated and relatively privileged, are investing in personal growth and wisdom for the sake of a richer and more fulfilling life, and/or to enable them to cope with very challenging roles at work. Long term therapy can foster numerous benefits, most often by increasing earning power, improving physical health, or making a functioning marriage possible.
During the assessment, I will give you an indication of the proposed duration of therapy on the basis of our understanding of your difficulties. Our therapeutic contract is always agreed jointly, and so ultimately, you have the final say as to how long you would like to come to therapy for.
Q. What is your therapeutic approach?
As a Counselling Psychologist, my training is broad based and covers varied models of therapy. I am fairly practical, and lean towards a Cognitive Behavioural approach. That said, I incorporate elements of other therapeutic models into treatment when they are appropriate. I strongly believe there is no single treatment model that is right for everybody. Together, we will decide upon a path forward that best suits your difficulties, personality, and present needs.
Research tells us that it is the therapeutic relationship rather than a particular model that best predicts change. You can be assured that I will bring to therapy empathy, I will listen to your concerns without judgement, and I provide you with a safe place in which to explore your difficulties.
Traditional Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidenced-based treatment based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. The essence of cognitive work is to examine underlying thoughts behind the emotional problems and to generate alternative, more balanced thoughts. Cognitive therapists aim to work on your thoughts and behaviours to help improve how you feel.
Recent developments in Cognitive Therapy have led to a focus on mindfulness based approaches such as Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Rather than focusing on the content of your thoughts, these approaches focus on helping you develop a better relationship to your thoughts. Through doing so, they teach you stay in the present, notice the good things in your life, and not dwell so much on the negative aspects. I am keen on Mindfulness based CBT approaches, and almost always incorporate elements of them into my work.
Q. What about privacy and confidentiality?
Chartered Psychologists adhere to clear and strict guidelines on confidentiality. Any information disclosed to me (including case notes, records, and psychological test results) is confidential and cannot be disclosed without your direct consent. If there is any need to disclose information to another professional (for example a medical doctor, lawyer, pastor or third party billing source), you will be consulted first. There are some legal limitations to confidentiality, however, and I will discuss with you during your first session.
Q. What is a Chartered Psychologist, and what does it mean to be registered with the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC)?
The British Psychological Society (BPS) represents the professional body responsible for developing and supporting the discipline of psychology and disseminating psychological knowledge to the public and policy makers. Through its Royal Charter, the Society is charged with overseeing psychology and psychologists. It has responsibility for the development, promotion and application of pure and applied psychology for the public good.
Becoming a Chartered Psychologist requires the completion of a rigorous postgraduate training course (typically a doctoral degree lasting 3- 4 years). This training is accompanied by an extensive period of directly supervised practice. Following this training, the title of ‘C.Psychol.’ (Chartered Psychologist) is awarded. ‘C.Psychol.’ represents the benchmark of professional recognition, and reflects the highest standard of psychological knowledge and expertise. It is a mark of experience, competence, and reputation for anyone looking to learn from, consult or employ a Psychologist.
While the BPS is still the key professional body for psychology and psychologists, The Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) regulates the profession, and through their process of registration, ensures that the public is protected from exposure to bad professional practice. HCPC Registration ensures that Registered Psychologists meet specific criteria with regards to character, health, conduct, standards of practice, and education.
Q. What will happen at my first appointment?
Your first appointment acts as an assessment, and provides an opportunity to better understand the nature of your difficulties and what you are looking for in therapy. By the end of the assessment, I will be able to tell you how I might be able to help and what I can offer.
Of course, the first appointment is also an opportunity for you to decide whether or not you would like to work with me! It’s vital you feel comfortable with your therapist, and it’s not until you spend face-to-face time with somebody that you can definitively make this decision.
Q. Do you accept private insurance?
Yes. I am a registered provider with most of the major UK insurance companies including BUPA, AXA/PPP, Norwich Union and SimplyHealth.