How do I know counselling will help me?
How do I know that I'll feel better for having counselling?
Professional counselling is recognised as being of therapeutic value. Whilst there is no guarantee that counselling will help every individual, research suggests that approx. 80% of people benefit from counselling. In my own practice most people I work with tell me that they have found it helpful and many people have acknowledged positive or profound changes. A willingness to be honest about and work with one's own difficulties or troublesome emotions is a contributory factor to the amount of benefit you may experience. Exploring deep or difficult issues can result in increased awareness of emotional pain for a time but this is a natural step in the process towards emotional healing.
How long is a counselling session?
Counselling sessions are normally 1 hour. Occasionally 1 hour sessions may be arranged to meet a particular need but this would be agreed in advance before booking the session(s).
Do I need to come every week?
Generally, continuity really benefits progress and so I would recommend weekly sessions particularly during the early stages. As difficulties are more able to be worked through independently this may be reviewed, perhaps reducing frequency. However, if weekly sessions are difficult for you due to specific circumstances, such as your own work commitments, please feel free to discuss this.
How long will I need to have counselling for?
As the issues brought to counselling and individual progress varies with the possibility of needs becoming apparent or changing throughout the process this can be difficult to predict and so I offer open-ended counselling with regular reviews at approximately 8-10 week intervals. The review offers an opportunity to consider progress and needs. My own experience is that most people experience improvement during this period but many will further benefit from a longer period of counselling. Whilst you may end the counselling at any time, it is beneficial for the end to be mutually agreed a few sessions beforehand. Where counselling requirements are time-limited, e.g. as a course or work requirement, we will seek to prioritise which needs may be addressed within the allocated period. However, further sessions can be negotiated if desired at the end of that time.
I feel very nervous about talking to a stranger. Will that be a problem?
Lots of people feel nervous about coming for counselling. Its very natural to feel embarrassed or anxious at first but usually this reduces as sessions progress. There is no pressure to divulge anything that you do not feel safe or ready to.
I don't want other people to know I'm having counselling. Will they find out?
The counselling is discreet and I am committed to protecting your privacy. There are some ethical and legal limits to confidentiality where I would need to contact someone else such as if I was seriously concerned for your safety or that of others or if there was a legal requirement to do so. If this was the case I would always seek to gain your consent first wherever possible. It is a professional requirement for me to have supervision for my work but what is shared in supervision would protect your privacy by the use of a codename. Other than these exceptions which would be more fully explained at the introductory session our work would be confidential.
What if I'm not happy with the counselling?
Part of the review process is an opportunity for you to express any concerns. I welcome open feedback and encourage you to share concerns at any time. If you feel you have a complaint I would encourage you to share it with me in the first instance. If we are unable to resolve the issue and you feel I have acted unethically you should contact BACP or ACC of which I am a member.