Here are some of the most frequently asked questions...

Can therapy help me?

When you are struggling with something in your life, it can feel like no-one can help you. Therapy is different from talking to friends or family as the time is dedicated to helping you. Friends and family often have opinions and biases that make it difficult to get an objective response. Therapy isn't about me imposing my agenda on you, it's about helping you to explore what will work for you and how to put things into action. I have experience of working with people dealing with all kinds of issues and I'm practically unshockable so it is ok to share what is going through your mind.

I work in different ways according to what you need. Some people need a structured approach whereas others need the space to talk things through where they can go from one topic to another, depending on what feels most important at the time.

If you need help with something that I feel another therapist would be better at, I'll let you know and you will have the choice whether you want to go and see that person or stay with me.

How do I know if you are the right therapist for me?

It is vital that you feel comfortable with the therapist that you choose to work with. I’ve written an article about how to choose a therapist with some questions for you to think about. You'll find it on the Blog page.

The best way to find out if I’m right for you is to contact me so we can discuss what you want to focus on in therapy. If I can help, I will let you know during this conversation. You can then choose whether you want to book an assessment appointment.

If you decide at any point that you would rather see another therapist that’s fine. Just let me know, and if you would like me to, I can recommend another therapist and immediately transfer your care. We do not need to spend further sessions discussing this - I trust you to make the decision for yourself.

Is everything I tell you confidential?

Yes, with two exceptions.

If you are at risk of harm, or you tell me about someone else being harmed or at risk of harm, especially where children are involved, I am required to inform the appropriate authorities. If at all possible I would discuss any breach of confidentiality with you first, unless to do so would increase the risk to whoever is in that situation. This is a very infrequent occurrence.

All therapists have regular clinical supervision as a matter of course, so our therapy sessions may be discussed with a supervisor to ensure that you are getting the best possible service. Supervisors are bound by professional ethics, and none of your personal information is shared beyond this consultation apart from the rare circumstances detailed above.

What will we discuss in therapy?

What we discuss will depend on what your concerns are. I will be led largely by you. At the start of therapy, if it is relevant, I will ask you about the past as a way of understanding you as a person and how you have come to be as you are. This will include looking at your strengths as well as any challenges you have experienced.

What if I don't want to talk about something?

If there is something that you don't want to talk about, I will respect your decision not to talk about it. I do not believe that everything that happens to someone needs to be talked about in therapy for them to live a good life.

If you want to refer to something that you've experienced but not go into it more than that or if you want to elude to something without being specific, I won't push you to disclose. All you need to do is say "I don't want to talk about that" and that is good enough for me.

Will I have to come for ages?

Most cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment plans last for between eight and twenty sessions, depending on what you want to work on.

It is harder to predict in advance how many sessions will be needed for counselling. I have worked within the NHS using a 6–12 session model for many years and have seen people make amazing changes in this time.

Some people benefit from longer-term therapy. I have experience of providing this so it is available if you wish.

I have a positive, solution-focused approach to therapy. Whatever kind of help you need from me, it’s my aim to work with you to achieve your treatment goals as soon as possible. Regular review sessions help us monitor your progress towards those goals.

Do sessions have to be weekly?

Not at all. We can negotiate what works for you.

Sometimes it is difficult for people to attend weekly due to other commitments. Sometimes it can be therapeutically useful to have bigger gaps between sessions, for instance when you are coming to the end of therapy, or when you are trying to achieve particular goals before your next session.

It is usually advisable to attend weekly at the beginning of your treatment plan so you can get started with necessary changes and establish new thinking and behaviour patterns.

Do I have to attend on my own?

No, if you prefer to bring someone to support you during your sessions that’s fine.

People who are close to you may have a valuable contribution to make, and there may be times when having someone with you makes the difference between being able to attend and not being able to attend.

There are some situations where it’s not helpful to have others with you. For instance, if the person who comes with you tries to use the time for their own issues, this will hamper your therapeutic progress.

In another example, if you have anxiety issues, having someone there to make you feel safe can prevent you from learning that you can manage on your own. In this situation, we would negotiate a gradual withdrawal of that person from the sessions as your confidence grows.

What happens if I need to cancel an appointment?

Life throws unexpected things our way and sometimes it is necessary to cancel an appointment. If you do so with more than 24 hours notice there is no charge. If you give less than 24 hours notice, I reserve the right to charge full fee unless there are mitigating circumstances. 

Will my insurance cover our sessions? How does that work?

I am registered with a range of healthcare providers and insurance companies such as Bupa, Nuffield Healthcare, Aviva, AXA PPP Healthcare. Some healthcare providers will refer you to me directly and others will give you a list of therapists to choose from and ask you to phone and arrange your appointment with the therapist. If you are arranging the appointment yourself, you will need to provide an authorisation number and your membership/policy number at your first appointment. 

If you are notified that there is an excess payment, this needs to be made to me unless otherwise stated by the healthcare provider/ insurance company.