What is a talking therapy?
A talking therapy is exactly what it says on the tin! Within my sessions I encourage you to discuss whatever comes to mind and no topics are off-limit. You don’t need to plan for our sessions, there’s no prepared agenda and you won’t be set any homework.
Do I need to have a mental health diagnosis to go to therapy?
Not at all. In the same way you’d go and see a personal trainer if you wanted to develop your physical health you can also use therapy in the same way. If you feel you would benefit from a mental health assessment click here for more information.
Perhaps you may not even feel that you have a ‘problem’ to solve but would simply value space to talk to an impartial qualified professional in complete confidence.
What is Counselling?
Counselling provides you with an opportunity to explore yourself and your presenting issues in a safe, non-judgemental and confidential way. The process can foster growth and lead to positive changes in your life. Common to the beliefs of many it is not about advice-giving and is typically a shorter-term intervention.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (England and Wales) recommends counselling as a psychological wellbeing intervention.
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy focuses on you gaining deep insight into the problems you face. It explores your thoughts, feelings and the significant events in your life, observing how they might be affecting the present. Psychotherapy aims to help you develop or find suitable ways of coping and is usually a longer-term intervention.
Is there much of a difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Short answer – no! However this remains a hotly-debated political topic as can be better understood in this quote: ‘There is no essential difference between the activities currently labelled “counselling” and “psychotherapy”… [T]o suggest that there is is the result of any one or a permutation of the following: muddled thinking; a refusal to accept research evidence; a failure to listen to clients’ experiences; a lust for status; needless competitiveness; power mongering; a desire for financial gain; or some other unworthy motive prompted by professional protectionism.’ (Thorne, 1999, p.225).
I personally prefer to use both titles which reflects my PGDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy and hopefully avoids any confusion (you can just call me Steph!).
What can I talk about?
Anything and everything. You decide which issues concerning your childhood and/or adulthood you want to explore.
“But you can’t tell me anything I don’t already know!”
Whilst that’s completely true sometimes it’s more about connecting the dots and seeing things from a different perspective. I can help you positively notice any emerging themes, patterns, and psychological defence mechanisms which may be significantly impacting your life and relationships.
Often when we’re in something it can be hard to see the woods for the trees. Therapy helps us helicopter above and give us a clearer line of sight.
Are your needs being met?
We are all born knowing what our needs are. As babies we instinctively indicate to others what we want – food, warmth, a cuddle – but as we grow that inner guidance can get muffled. Over time we are conditioned by family, society and our culture to think, feel and act a certain way.
We may learn to keep our feelings private in case we are judged or rejected and we feel selfish for putting ourselves first.
We run around trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations! We feel tangled up, burned out, confused, frustrated, conflicted, anxious, depressed, ashamed, scared, guilty, and maybe even resort to self-medicating ourselves just to switch off.
How can therapy help?
Through the process of therapy, you can learn to really listen to your needs, separate out any negative or unhelpful ideas keeping you from your goals, and begin the process of real self-acceptance. It’s not always an easy or linear process but the results are incredibly rewarding and often life-changing.
“I’m not sure what my problem is, I just know I don’t feel OK.”
Don’t worry, you’re not alone – many people aren’t clear in the beginning and discovering where the issues lie is a natural part of the process.
If you would like to understand your feelings a little better you can always visit the NHS mood assessment.
How long do sessions last?
Sessions last for 50-mins and held weekly. It is politely requested that you provide at least 48-hours notice if you wish to cancel or rearrange a session otherwise you will be charged in full.
Everything discussed during our sessions will remain completely confidential and not shared with anyone else. Exceptions to this rule will be outlined in our initial consultation so you are clear on the boundaries. In accordance with BACP ethical standards I receive monthly clinical supervision however any cases discussed are totally anonymised.
General Data Protection Regulation (changes from the Data Protection Act 1998)
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that you understand the nature of the data I collect about you. I have produced a summary document which you will be required to sign and return if we choose to work together.
Thorne, B (1999) ‘Psychotherapy and counselling are indistinguishable’ (pp. 225-232) in Feltham, C. (1999) Controversies in Psychotherapy and Counselling. London: Sage.