Both person-centred counselling and CBT are useful to address a wide range of issues. Whilst each approach differs, both are types of ‘talking therapy’ and are used for short term work.
CBT involves working together collaboratively to identify and change unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours. This typically starts with goal setting and working towards them within a structured framework. You would be expected to engage in homework tasks between sessions, which may involve small ‘behavioural experiments’ to support new ways of thinking and behaving; or exercises to monitor mood/thoughts. In recent years, other therapeutic approaches have emerged from CBT. These include Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Both are used to manage unhelpful ways of thinking so that tangible behavioural changes take place.
Person-centred counselling is less structured and non-directive. Through actively listening, empathising and encouraging self-reflection; the aim of this approach is to help you better understand yourself so that you are able to find a way past your issues using your own inner resources.
Deciding on which approach is right for you, would be informed by how you would prefer to work and the difficulties you are having. Nice guidelines recommend the use of CBT for depression, anxiety and specific phobias; whereas counselling is generally considered more suitable for working through specific life events. For example: if you were struggling to adjust to a bereavement, divorce or redundancy - counselling will provide you with a safe reflective space to speak about your difficulties and process what has happened.
Many people prefer to work within an integrative framework depending on their individual needs; we would discuss therapeutic approaches from the outset.
In the past, remote therapy has been viewed as a less effective substitute for traditional face to face therapy, but there is a clear evidence base disputing this myth. More people than ever are now opting for online or telephone support; not least because it’s convenient, but it is also physically safer in these unprecedented times and offers greater flexibility.
Remote therapy can be particularly beneficial if you are unable to leave your home due to poor mobility or anxiety related issues such as agoraphobia or social anxiety.
Knowing whether or not remote therapy is right for you can be difficult to assess without having at least one session. However, it may not be suitable if you are experiencing acute emotional distress, are feeling suicidal or you are suffering from an enduring mental health condition that is not being managed by mental health professionals within the community.
People come to therapy for many different reasons and from a wide range of backgrounds. There is no issue too unimportant to address in therapy. If whatever you are experiencing is causing you some degree of emotional or psychological anguish, then this is enough to justify reaching out for support. You do not need to be suffering from a particular mental health condition to warrant professional help; some people use therapy as an opportunity to work on self-development; others to address a particular event or to change unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviours. Whatever you are seeking support with, you will not be judged. Therapy will provide you with a safe and confidential space to start overcoming your difficulties.
Depending on your issue, I may suggest an approximate number of counselling or psychotherapy sessions based upon current clinical guidelines, but you are under no obligation to attend a minimum number of appointments.
Having a confidential space to talk things through can provide you with significant emotional relief. For less complex issues, one to six sessions may be enough to support you. If you’re experiencing chronic or more severe issues and are seeking long term results, more sessions would usually be needed.
As an ethical therapist, I seek to foster independence and will never encourage you to have more therapy than you need.
When you feel that there is no further work to be done in session, this is usually an indication that you are ready to move on independently. I will regularly review your progress with you and we will mutually agree an ending in advance.
At the start of your therapy journey, a weekly commitment is expected. Attending therapy at least once a week builds trust and gives you the continuity needed to benefit from sessions. Having too big a gap between sessions, can lead to a loss of focus and spending time playing ‘catch up’ rather than progressing. As you move towards the end of therapy, it is typical to reduce the last few sessions to fortnightly appointments to foster independent growth.
Where possible, scheduling your sessions at the same day and time each week is preferred.
People often start therapy with the expectation that it can ‘fix’ or ‘cure’ their problems. As therapy is based on a collaborative relationship which requires personal accountability to foster independence and autonomy; it is expected that you will take ownership of your issues and commit to using your therapy sessions for personal reflection, as a vehicle for change.
My role as your therapist will be to support you in gaining a deeper understanding of yourself and your issues and to facilitate meaningful change. My responsibility is to help you find new ways of dealing with the difficulties you’re facing, not to “fix” them for you. I commit to supporting your therapy journey with compassion, empathy and without judgement.
On occasion it may be necessary to cancel a session if you are unable to keep your appointment. There is a minimum notice period of 48 hours for all cancellations. If the required notice is given, you will not be charged for missing the session and the fee you paid will cover your next session. Where insufficient notice is given, you will still be charged the full session fee. In this situation, a further payment would be required upon booking your next session.
Having therapy privately means that it will not be recorded on your NHS medical records. Should you disclose that you intended to harm yourself or others, we would discuss how your GP could support you alongside therapy. Where significant risk was identified, confidentiality may need to be broken; a sensitive discussion about this would take place first.
Every relationship has its ups and downs; having differences in opinion are normal and healthy. However, if you always seem to be arguing and feel stuck in a cycle of blame, anger, hurt, or disappointment, then it might be time to seek support.
Couples Counselling will give you both an opportunity to resolve conflict by learning new ways of communicating. It may also help you reconnect as a couple and rebuild or deepen intimacy.