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The ultimate aim of therapy is to relieve distress and make you feel better but it is certainly possible that you may feel worse before you feel better. I normally start therapy with recognising and developing your strengths and coping strategies so that should feel good. It may be that we need to look at some painful memories or experiences as part of our work together but we will only do that when you feel ready.
This varies a lot between people. Sometimes one session is enough to discuss concerns and think through some ideas. Typically, people need somewhere between 6-18 sessions. Occasionally people need or want more longer-term work. A lot depends on what you want to get out of the therapy (your goals) and how extensive or embedded any difficulties are. We will normally agree a 2-3 session assessment and then come up with a list of goals and intervention plan from there. Therapy sessions are normally delivered in blocks of 6 sessions followed by a review to make sure that therapy is progressing as hoped.
We can have a 10-minute telephone conversation or exchange a few emails to consider whether we might be the best organisation to help. We would then meet for either a 60 or 90-minute initial assessment session to consider your concerns and what you hope to get from therapy. If you are concerned about a child we typically meet with the parents first and then follow this up with a session with the child if appropriate. Alternatively, if you have someone that can sit with your child in our waiting area while we meet with the parents, we could do everything in one appointment. At the end of the initial assessment appointment we will give you some initial ideas as to what we think may be going on and what help we would be effective. I would then encourage you to go away and reflect and discuss to consider how you would like to progress.
There are certainly times when we may feel that we are not the right person to help. Also it is really important that you feel that you can connect with and trust your therapist so you must carefully consider whether we are right for you or your family. If either feels that we are not right for each other then we will try to help you identify a more appropriate therapist.
A discussion will always be at the center of the assessment. We will think about things such as: your goals for therapy, your current difficulties, how your difficulties have developed over time, your strengths and copying strategies, your family history and any historical events that may be important.
We are also likely to use some questionnaires. These help to develop a clear picture of difficulties at the current time and also provide a way of establishing a baseline and helping us to monitor change over time.
If you are coming with a child or as a family, we may also use other standardised approaches to assessment such as structured play assessments.
There are many different kinds of therapies available. When choosing the best therapy, it is important to consider what the research tells us is effective for your difficulties. It is also important to consider what kind of therapy will feel most comfortable and makes most sense to you.
Visit our Therapy page for more information on what we do.
Understanding the difference between all of these different therapy professions can be very confusing. On the surface, what they do seems the same, they all involve talking therapy to help people who are experiencing emotional distress or wish to make life changes. The professions are however distinct in terms of the philosophy that informs them, the type and length of training they require, and the professional bodies who regulate and represent them. The types of difficulties practitioners are qualified to work with may depend on their qualification as well as their experience.
Practitioner Counselling / Clinical Psychologists have a relatively long training pathway and are trained to doctoral level. We are trained to work with a range of difficulties across the lifespan. We are also trained in a range of therapeutic approaches and to keep up to date with the research around what type of therapy works best for what difficulties and for whom. We are not medically trained and cannot prescribe medication.
Practitioner Counselling / Clinical Psychologists use the legally protected title ‘CPsychol’ which signifies that they are registered and regulated by the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council). Most practitioner psychologists will also be voluntary members of the BPS (British Psychological Society). For more information about psychology please refer to the BPS website
We are happy to talk to you to consider whether Counselling / Clinical Psychologist is likely to be cost effective option for you.