I am not sure if I need to see a psychologist, should I come to therapy?
Coming to an initial meeting does not commit you to therapy in any way. It can be helpful to attend one or two sessions before deciding if it is the right time, if I am the right therapist for you, or if therapy is right for you.
How many sessions will I need?
This very much varies depending on the difficulties that you are experiencing. Some people experience significant improvement in their lives within four to six sessions, whereas others find that they would like to work longer-term. We will look to agree on an initial number of sessions and review things in the last of those, but you are free to end therapy at any time. Session arrangements can be flexible to suit your particular circumstances and may be weekly, fortnightly or monthly for example.
Why do therapists’ fees vary so much?
Fees are usually dependent on level of training, qualifications, expertise and depth and breadth of experience. Chartered Counselling and Clinical Psychologists need to have a minimum of six years training. This includes a first degree in Psychology, and a Doctoral level degree in which they must conduct their own original research which contributes to the field of psychology. This is not required of other types of therapist, whose training may vary between months and years. Chartered psychologists also work as supervised psychologists during their training, often in the NHS, and so have a wide breadth and depth of experience of presenting problems. For these reasons, fees tend to vary between practitioners.
What if I would like a particular form of therapy?
We can discuss this in the initial meeting as it is important that you are provided with the approach that suits you best. I tailor my approach to the individual (guided by scientific principles and knowledge). However, if the approach you want is one I do not feel sufficiently skilled in, I will try to help you to find someone who is.
Why see a Counselling Psychologist?
There are a number of different reasons to see a Counselling Psychologist privately:
1. If you are uncomfortable about anyone knowing you are seeing a psychologist, seeing a private psychologist is the only way of ensuring others are not informed.
2. Although the quality of psychology provided by the NHS is generally excellent, psychological services are under-resourced so the waiting lists are usually several months or more. Seeing a Counselling Psychologist privately would ensure treatment without delay. It is also likely to enable you to have the number of sessions that you choose.
3. Appointment times are generally more flexible when seeing someone privately, so if you work full-time you may not need to inform your employer.
Are sessions confidential?
If you do not want anyone else to know that you are seeing me, I do not need to inform anyone. Everything you say to me is strictly confidential. However, there a a few exceptions to this:
1. I work with a clinical supervisor, consistent with the British Psychological Society’s ethical guidelines, and will discuss the content of my practice (without naming you) in supervision. This helps to ensure I am giving you the best possible care.
2. If, in the unlikely event, I suspect that you are at risk of seriously harming yourself or another, I have a duty to inform your GP. I would, however, discuss this with you before I spoke to anyone else, wherever possible.
3. If I am summoned by a court of law.
Can I refer myself?
Yes, you do not need to be referred by for example a GP or psychiatrist, although you may be required to if you are looking to claim session fees on a private insurance policy.