FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW LONG DOES A SESSION TAKE?
A counselling session is 50 minutes long, what is commonly know as the Therapeutic Hour. How many sessions you may need will be something we will discuss in the initial assessment and reassessed at regular intervals.
Counselling usually refers to short-term work addressing a specific problem. Psychotherapy can be a longer-term process as it tackles deeper aspects of the individual, exploring and making sense of patterns and experiences from the past, issues manifesting in the here and now and fears about the future. In reality the two processes often overlap. Sometimes my clients believe that there is a specific issue which needs addressing but in time underlying causes of discomfort and unhappiness, fear or anger are found and a longer-term exploration agreed upon. In others, what appears overwhelming and impenetrable transpires to be more immediate and containable and a shorter period of therapy proves successful. Again, people are wonderfully diverse and unique and no one rule fits all.
In the following section I have addressed some of the key questions my clients ask when they approach the decision about whether or not to engage with personal therapy. Knowing a little of how wonderfully diverse and unique people are, this section may not answer all of the queries which you may have in your mind. In which case, please feel free to contact me by email or by telephone for a confidential discussion which will involve no obligation on your part.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I FIRST CONTACT YOU?
With everyone who contacts me and wishes explore the option of therapy, I request an initial assessment. I recommend that this is done face to face although if necessary it can be conducted by telephone or via Skype. The initial assessment has proved an important step for me and for my clients. It gives us both the opportunity to explore the circumstances which have brought you to counselling, what you hope to achieve and to agree if counselling is the most appropriate way forward for you and, most importantly of all, to decide if we would feel able to work together. The very nature of successful psychotherapy and counselling can involve intense emotions, and an often previously unexperienced level of honesty and vulnerability. It is imperative that you feel you would have the potential to have this quality of working relationship with me, and I with you.
HOW DO YOU SAFEGUARD CONFIDENTIALITY?
Client confidentiality is paramount. As a member of the BACP, I abide by the organisation's Code of Ethics. I will not disclose what is discussed with my clients with third parties. The only, and rare, exception is where I may be required to by law (in the prevention of terrorism, serious crime or child protection). All notes of sessions are kept securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
My approach to confidentiality will be discussed during an initial assessment and explained thoroughly in the Counselling and Psychotherapy Agreement.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I CAN'T ATTEND A SESSION?
Counselling sessions are usually held weekly and at the same time on the same day. This session is committed to you during your time in therapy. If sufficient notice is given (a minimum of 48 hours) you will not be charged for a missed sessions. However, if a cancellation is given in less time than this, or if a session is missed without notification, you will be charged for it. You will not be charged for any sessions that I am unable to attend, due to illness, holiday or an unforeseen circumstance.
WILL I HAVE TO SIGN A CONTRACT?
No. However, I do ask clients to agree to a Counselling and Psychotherapy Agreement. This is a document which provides you will clear guidelines on the process and procedures at Changing Space - my expectations, boundaries and procedures, including timekeeping, missed sessions, payment options, holiday procedures, confidentiality, and risk assessment. At any point you are able to end your therapy with me. The initial assessment meeting does not oblige you to continue with any further sessions.