What is therapy like? – Further Information
The Therapy Process…
Being an Integrative Psychotherapist means that I work with several different models of therapy, depending on the needs of the client. Every client is also unique and for these reasons, the therapy work we do together will be unique. It is hard to get an idea of what therapy is like without actually doing it but here are some aspects that I think are important:
- listening to what you have to say about the problem
- exploring the issues that you bring and getting a picture of how things are for you in your world and your way of thinking about your issue.
- paying attention to and focussing on your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. You may feel that your thoughts are persistently negative, your feelings can be overwhelming or certain behaviours are out of control and destructive.
- looking at how the symptoms of your issue may get in the way of you livng the kind of life that you want to live.
- contributing information and a different perspective, from my professional knowledge and experience
- developing a good therapeutic relationship between us so that you know what is going on in the therapy and feel free to ask questions about it. Also so that you can start to feel able to trust someone to share very difficult feelings.
- developing a mutual working relationship where we both contribute – you with your feelings, thoughts and ideas about what is bothering you and me with my professional curiosity and with both support and sometimes challenge.
- building in reviews of the work so that we can see where we are headed
- although therapy is not about me telling you what to do or giving advice as such, I may, on occasion suggest things to you if I think that they are appropriate, e.g. seeking help from another professional.
- sometimes it can feel very challenging and strange to open up and explore aspects of ourselves that we have not really looked at or thought about before but this can allow us to get a better understanding of why we might behave in certain ways or find ourselves repeating patterns. This can sometimes take a bit of time but can also be very rewarding and potentialy life changing.
More about the first session…
The first time we meet it is an opportunity for us both to see if we are the right people to work together. What you can expect is that I will start off by asking you what has brought you and what you are looking for and we will think together about that.
As part of the assessment process, I will also ask you a series of practical questions about your life and your history and how what is bringing you to see me fits in. It is an opportunity for us both to see how we work together and I will encourage you to ask questions too. Talking a bit about your reason for coming at this stage will give you an idea of how I work. At the end we will decide whether to meet again. Sometimes a further assessment(s) meeting is needed.
Assessment sessions last for 1 hour and all other sessions last for 50 minutes.
Following the assessment, once we have agreed to begin working together, I often suggest meeting for six sessions to begin with, followed by a review, so that we can see how things are going and decide how to continue.
Most people come once a week but sometimes I see people more or occasionally less frequently.
More about me…
Having worked as a Psychotherapist for over 15 years I am very experienced. General issues include the area of relationships; depression; anxiety and stress; anger: eating and substance use issues; sexuality; bereavement and loss; parenting and birth; family issues; coaching and mentoring; career change, work issues and redundancy; personal development; life transitions; trauma; sexual abuse; degenerative illness; personality disorder.
I abide by the code of ethics of my training organisation – The Metanoia Institute – a highly respected and long established Psychotherapy training institute in London.
I receive regular professional, confidential supervision for my work from another experienced psychotherapist and also am involved in regular Continued Professional Development and training.
I also have a background in organisational work.
Choosing a therapist…
There is no current state regulation of the profession of Counselling or Psychotherapy so it can be bewildering to chose a therapist. So there are a few things that you may want to consider:
It could be helpful to check the practitioner’s credentials.
Are they Registered with UKCP? What is their training? What kind of and length of experience do they have? If they are qualified as a Counsellor do they have Accreditation with BACP? This is the Counselling equivalent of UKCP Registration.
A UKCP Registered Psychotherapist will have gone through a Psychotherapy training which is usually longer and more extensive than a Counselling training. They will have a lengthy experience of working directly with clients, whilst being supervised by a trained experienced person, usually within an organisation. The majority of Psychotherapy trainings also require long-term personal therapy for the therapist, over the duration of the training (so they have experience of being a client) Psychotherapists as trainees are usually required to complete placements within the Mental Health services too, to understand and have experience of more complex mental health issues.
A Counselling training is often shorter than a Psychotherapy training and may not involve as significant a requirement for client work before completion, or personal therapy. You can ask a Counsellor or therapist about this when you meet them.
It is good to try out a couple of people before you decide on the right therapist or counsellor for you, after all you are investing your time and money on this process, which is a committment. Think about whether you feel comfortable with the therapist and feel that they could understand your issues and you feel happy to work with them.
A note about CBT (Cognitve Behavioural Therapy). This is a very popular form of Psychotherapy at the moment. It is available free on the NHS (usually on a short term basis), in many areas of the country. If you have a particular interest in having CBT then you could ask your GP to be referred.
The medical profession are currently trying to improve peoples access to psychological therapies through an initiave know as IAPT. You may wish to ask your GP about this too.