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. It saddens me that we still have a stigma around accessing psychological support in this day and age. We go to school, college or University to learn new information and acquire new skills – yet developing our minds is often looked down upon. Therapy is about self-development and growth which also may include a process of unlearning. I don’t pathologise my clients and any formal diagnosis you may have is only of use if it helps you.
Mental disorders are constructs, not diseases, and are there to help provide descriptions around your symptoms (not explanations).
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.
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 Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy and hopefully avoids any confusion (but 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.
It is politely requested that you provide at least 72-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 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.