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Frequently Asked Questions about psychotherapy and counselling

 

Why psychotherapy?

Many people find it helpful to talk to a professionally-trained person, outside of their family or circle of friends. A psychotherapist such as myself has no particular personal involvement in your life and also has experience and training in dealing with psychological, emotional and relational issues.

What kind of problems do you deal with?

People seek psychotherapy for many different reasons. Some people come to explore long standing issues or patterns that they can see in their lives that they are finding unhelpful, or they might come at a time of crisis in their lives; others come without a clear sense of what the problem is but are aware that something does not feel right or useful in their lives and they want things to be different.

I am always happy to discuss your problem over the phone or by email initially.

It is most useful for us to meet for an initial consultation in person. if I don't think I am the right therapist for you I will let you know and recommend other places that you could seek help.

Here are some of the kinds of issues that prompt people to contact me:

  • relationship problems
  • difficulties with a partner or other people in your family, work setting or social network.
  • communication issues; a feeling of distress or loss after a separation or break-up; problems with relationship choices and not connecting meaningfully with people or meeting the 'right' person; difficulties with children, parents, colleagues or others in your life.
  • stress, either at work or in life generally; or a feeling that you just can't cope as you used to.
  • life events and stages - things happen (or don't happen) to us in life that we can't control and can find unmanageable or very distressing or overwhelming. 
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • having persistent and negative thoughts and not feeling able to deal with them; a physical feeling of anxiety or fear that sometimes leads into panic or fear.
  • depression
  • feeling flat, low, overwhelmed or not able to enjoy things or function as you would like to.     
  • a need to set goals, make changes and move towards your hopes and ambitions in a positive way.
  • bereavement - the loss of someone close to you.
  • issues or questions around sex or sexuality
  • a feeling that the same unhelpful patterns seem to be repeating in your life or that life isn't all it could be.
  • a history of childhood trauma, family dysfunction or abuse
  • problems with eating or substance use as a way of managing difficult feelings
  • feelings of hopelessness, isolation or difference
  • a traumatic past event that is still affecting how you function.
  • obsessive thoughts or feelings
  • lack of motivation, a feeling of restlessness or frustration in work or life or a wish for a career change or to identify how life could be better.
  • loneliness and a lack of connection with people or successful relationships
  • issues around parenting - bringing up children can be a very challenging experience and can often make people feel inadequate or out of control.

It is useful to to talk these things through and have a space for you to think about yourself and the dynamics in your relationships.

What kinds of therapy do you offer?

As an Integrative Relational psychotherapist I draw on the following in offering:

Psychodynamic psychotherapy, existential psychotherapy, Humanistic Integrative Psychotherapy, Attachment-based therapy, Trauma therapy, Coaching, Counselling, Brief Solution Focussed work and EMDR,  

How much do you charge?

My fees reflect my training, experience and accreditation. I am happy to have a talk with you on the phone to determine something about what kind of therapy would be suitable and to discuss my fee structure.

When do you see people?

I have regular weekly appointments available in the daytime and some evenings. I may also be available on other days by arrangement.

How often would I come for sessions?

Most people come to psychotherapy couples/family therapy or for EMDR therapy or counselling once a week but sometimes twice a week or more frequently, depending on the nature or stage of the work. Occasionally, towards the end of the work we may meet fortnightly.

Life coaching has a different structure with less frequent sessions but some longer ones.

Where are you based?

I work from consulting rooms based in Bishopston and St Andrews in North Bristol and in Clifton. The rooms are easily accessible with ample parking and are comfortable, quiet and private.

How is working with a therapist different to talking to a friend?

Many people find it helpful to talk to a professionally-trained person, outside of their family or circle of friends. As well as having experience and training in dealing with psychological, emotional and relational issues, a psychotherapist will focus on you and your issues but has no particular personal involvement in your life.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

There is not always a hard line between the two and some (but certainly not all) counsellors and psychotherapists probably work in some similar ways. On the whole, psychotherapy training is longer and more intense and usually involves the therapist being in personal therapy themselves. Psychotherapy tends to involve longer term work with clients on more deep-seated issues, often concerning unhelpful patterns that a person notices in their life. Psychotherapy tends to engage at a deeper unconscious and more complex level. Counselling tends to be focused more on one or fewer and maybe more specific issues and often for a briefer time. I offer both of these interventions. It is worth choosing carefully who you want to work with.

What is an Assessment?

The first session is a kind of mutual assessment. It is a chance for me to learn something about you and why you are seeking therapy. It is also a chance for you to experience something of how I work and decide whether you would feel comfortable working with me. I am committed to being as open as possible about how I think the process of therapy works, so I would encourage you to ask questions. I will tell you whether I think the way that I work as a therapist would be useful to you. If we decide not to work together I can discuss with you what other kinds of help are available. Sometimes more than one assessment session is needed.

What is EMDR?

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) is one of the NICE Guidelines (NHS) recommended specific treatments for trauma or PTSD. Experiences such as an attack, a road traffic accident, an incident of domestic violence or any traumatic experience that is specifically affecting you in your life are frequently treated this way. Also it is used in the treatment of abuse.  It can be a very powerful tool in processing difficult or shocking experiences that are in the past but can feel stuck and very real for us in the present and it involves some different processes to most other forms of psychotherapy.

Stress and anxiety management

I also sometimes deal specifically with stress and anxiety management, either general issues of stress or specifically work related issues, or when stress has lead you to be absent from work from some time and it is difficult to feel able to go back. As well as one-to-one work in this area, I also offer workshops to help manage issues of stress and anxiety as well as to develop assertiveness.

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