Frequently asked questions
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE FIRST SESSION?
The initial session is an opportunity for us to meet and explore your history and ultimately what has brought you to counselling.
Research suggests that the relationship between a client and their counsellor is a key component of a successful therapeutic outcome; the first session, therefore, also aims to get a sense of whether your counsellor is right for you and your needs.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR COUNSELLING TO BE EFFECTIVE?
Each person is an individual, so too are their lived experiences, needs and desired therapeutic outcomes. For this reason, both short-term and open-ended counselling is available.
Those wanting to focus on a specific issue may benefit from having a few sessions with a trained counsellor, while those wanting to explore deep-rooted issues may be better suited for longer-term therapy.
For counselling to be most effective, a commitment to weekly sessions is recommended for the duration of your therapy.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Yes and no, essentially both counselling and psychotherapy is therapy, however, counselling can be considered as shorter-term work; focusing on a specific issue. Whereas psychotherapy tends to be longer-term work exploring several aspects of a person’s history, relational difficulties and emotional issues, change naturally occurs as a result of the insights gained from therapy.
CAN I ARRANGE COUNSELLING FOR A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER?
Engaging with therapy is a personal choice. Ethical counselling respects the autonomy of any individual, those wishing to begin personal therapy must, therefore, refer themselves.
Due to confidentiality, aspects of a person's therapy cannot be discussed with their family, friends or place of work/study.
CAN I END COUNSELLING AT ANY TIME?
Yes, counselling is for your benefit; as such you are free to end your therapy at any time you so choose.
It may be useful for you and your counsellor to have a chance to say goodbye to each other, it is therefore recommended that you speak with your counsellor about ending therapy.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE-EFFECTS OF COUNSELLING?
Counselling aims to explore unresolved issues and internal conflicts, at times unconscious behaviours and processes may hinder aspects of your life and relationships. Delving into these aspects may at times be difficult for you, however, with the help of a trained professional you are not alone, and your counsellor will support you through the therapeutic process.
Some people experience more vivid dreams, increased self-awareness, repressed memories may begin to surface as a result of counselling; this means that therapy is working, in that your underlying difficulties are brought into consciousness and can be worked through.
IS COUNSELLING SUITABLE FOR EVERYONE?
Research suggests that psychodynamic counselling is suitable for those experiencing depression, anxiety, a difficult childhood, relational and interpersonal issues to name but a few.
Although, some current and highly problematic conditions may not be suitable for counselling, for example, acute psychosis, severe substance misuse / alcoholism, and anorexia nervosa, instead specialist treatment is recommended. However, once those conditions are less pronounced and manageable, longer-term therapy can be considered.
WHAT IS PSYCHODYNAMIC COUNSELLING?
This therapeutic intervention is broadly based on the theory that mental health issues are to some extent a result of repressed emotions and negative life experiences.
It takes the view that our unconscious holds onto painful feelings and memories, which are too difficult for the conscious mind to process. In order to ensure these memories and experiences do not surface; many people develop defences or unhelpful coping mechanisms.
Psychodynamic Counselling is one of the major traditions within contemporary psychotherapy, helping us to achieve insight and understanding concerning our difficulties - individuals can unravel, experience and work through their innate, deep-rooted feelings in order to resolve them.
HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER A COUNSELLOR IS SUITABLY QUALIFIED?
A membership with the BACP or UKCP indicates a commitment to ongoing training and professional conduct:
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
- The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
All therapists should practice according to ethical guidelines; a link to these can be found below:
IS COUNSELLING CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes, absolutely, counselling is a highly confidential activity, this means that the content of your sessions will not be disclosed to external parties. Except where it is believed that you or someone else is at risk of significant harm, or where there is a UK legal requirement to do so. Any disclosure will be discussed with you prior wherever possible.