Frequently Asked Questions
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing.
Q. What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
This can be a very confusing area and I could probably talk about this for several weeks but here is a short(ish) summary:
A counsellor generally puts their focus to what’s happening to you in the present. This could be difficulties at work/home, one specific traumatic event such as a bad break up or losing your job, or even just feeling more stressed than usual. A counsellor will look at your immediate presenting symptoms and behaviour (e.g. feeling more anxious than usual) and how that’s impacting your life, rather than delving deeper into your childhood or past.
Looking at these symptoms, the counsellor will focus on equipping you with workable, short-term tools that can help you break out of negative thoughts and habits. This means that counselling normally has a shorter duration, lasting anywhere from just 6 sessions, and rarely more than 6 months of treatment. One of the most common forms of counselling is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). Counselling will not generally be effective for re-occurring patterns of anxiety or low mood – it will not get to the root cause of the issue.
A psychotherapist’s approach is more in-depth. This means that a psychotherapist will turn their focus to emotions and experiences you encountered growing up - as a child or young adult - as well as your presenting symptoms and issues, in order to shed light on how these experiences have shaped who you are today.
A psychotherapist will place an emphasis on creating a space for you to feel comfortable to open up and share experiences from your past. The idea being that once these buried experiences (and their accompanying emotions) are brought to the surface, they can be fully processed, and ultimately, released. For this reason, psychotherapy is normally a frequent (anywhere from 1 - 5 times a week) and long-term process (6 months to several years), allowing you the time and space to fully open up.
Whilst a counsellor might be more focused on helping you with symptoms (anxiety, stress, difficulties sleeping etc.), a psychotherapist also deals with mental health conditions that have developed over a longer period of time. This means a psychotherapist will often work with more complex mental health conditions too, such as trauma, OCD, and anxiety disorders. Also, depending on their approach, a psychotherapist might choose to use counselling techniques alongside psychotherapy as part of their treatment plan.
Q. How many sessions will I need?
This will depend on individual circumstances but from my experience you will probably need more frequent meetings to begin with, typically once a week for instance. The total length of a course of therapy once again depends on an individual’s needs and situation. Some problems can be solved in under 6 sessions but some may take many more and over a longer period of time. The average number of sessions is between 6 and 20.
Q. How long does each session take?
Each counselling session lasts 60 minutes.
Q. Can I trust you?
Without question! I am fully qualified and a registered member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy professional association (UKCP) and a member of Neurolinguistics Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (NLPtCA). I adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Q. Who is counselling for?
Counselling and therapy is for everyone who would like to change some aspect of their life that isn’t working for them anymore.
Q. What availability do you have?
I can usually see you within seven days. I have appointments during the day between 8.30a.m. and 5.30p.m. I do not work evenings or weekends. Often if you have young children it is much easier (and just as effective) to do couples therapy online as no babysitters are needed and it is from the comfort of your own sofa.
Q. What will happen in the first session?
I will always have a short conversation with you on the phone before arranging an appointment so I can hear what you would like help with and to answer any questions you might have. In the first session, whether this is individual or couples therapy, I will use the appointment to understand very specifically what you would like out of the process so I can tailor everything we do to meet your needs. I will assess whether I can help (usually yes), if not I will give you some options and if we are a right fit for each other, I will explain what to expect and what we will do in more detail.
Q. Is it confidential?
Our appointments are completely confidential. I do have supervision in line with my professional body requirements, however, all information if presented anonymously.
I do, however, have a legal duty to inform appropriate outside agencies (e.g. your GP) if I believe that you are at risk of harming yourself or others.
Q. Where will sessions be held?
The sessions will be held at either the Blend Centre in Sale, The Affinity Centre in Cheadle or online.
Q. Are online sessions as effective as face to face? How will online sessions work?
I have been seeing clients online (over zoom) for several years now and can say from experience that (as long as the internet connection is good!) it makes no difference at all and you will get exactly what you want out of the process irrespective of which format you prefer.
For online sessions, you will need to have either a Zoom or Skype account (both free to download) or have facetime on your phone and we will connect via any of these.