These are all questions that clients have asked me in the past. If you have any questions I haven't answered here, do get in touch via the contact page. If you are looking to answer more practical questions, go to Practicalities.

What happens in therapy? This is different for every client - there is no programme or sequence that you have to go through. That said, generally we will sit down and talk about what is on your mind.  

Will you give me advice? No. The purpose is to help you to understand yourself and come to your own conclusions. I will be alongside you for the journey, but the destination is always yours, not mine.

How many sessions will I need? This is difficult to answer. Some people find that one session is enough to clear their heads and give them a renewed sense of direction. Some people will choose to spend much longer exploring, unpicking and rebuilding. An average might be anywhere between 6 and 20 sessions. I ensure that we have regular review sessions to make sure you're finding what we're doing useful.

What will we talk about? This depends on what you want to achieve in therapy. In our first session we will discuss your priorities and agree how we will work together.

What kind of things can you help me with? Counselling and psychotherapy tend to focus on the parts of your life that you find troubling, confusing, or distressing. For example, we might talk about dissatisfaction in your work or personal life, or about a habit you're struggling to break. Counselling can also be a place that you reflect on what's going well in your life, and to make plans for an even better future. 

How will I know if it's working?  In our first session we will talk about what you want to achieve in therapy, and how you will know when you have achieved this. Ultimately, you will be the judge of when it's working and when it's not, though I will frequently check in with you about how you're experiencing our work together.

Will there be a couch that I have to lie down on? No, just two chairs.

Will I have to talk about my childhood? Only if you feel it is relevant to the issues you want to work on. Talking about childhood can provide insights into your current situation, but this is not always the case. 

Is it just talking? Most of the time, yes. But there are other more creative approaches which you may choose to try, such as writing, drawing or role-play. I can also teach you some simple techniques to help you to relax and let go more, such as mindfulness.

Are there skills or strategies you can teach me? Yes - I can lead you in developing some simple and effective relaxation and de-stressing techniques which have worked for me and many of my clients. I will base these on what already works for you and together we can build strategies that are unique to your situation.

Is it confidential? Yes. What we talk about stays in the room. Very occasionally I may need to break this confidentiality - for example if you or someone else is at risk of harm - but I will discuss these with you in our first session. 

Can I bring someone with me for the first session? I can understand why clients sometimes want to bring someone with them for the first session. However, generally this isn't helpful in the long run. The first session is all about us getting to know each other, and working out whether we'll be a good fit. Having a third person there can get in the way of this.