Frequently Asked Questions
What happens in the first session?
We will meet at an agreed time either on Zoom or in my therapy room in Newport. It’s normal to feel nervous before your first session, even if you have had counselling before with someone else. I hope I will put you at ease when we begin.
The first session is a chance for you to talk to me a little bit about the issues that have made you seek counselling. I may ask you some questions about you and your situation and together we will map out your expectations and hopes from our work together.
In the first session you can say as little or as much of your situation as you feel comfortable with. A big part of therapy is the creation of trust between us as a client and a therapist, and that can take a little while to develop. I will never push you to talk about anything you are not ready to address. At the same time, I’m not just a passive listener, but will actively reflect on the things you tell me and open up my insights and connections I can make, based on my training and clinical experience, as well as life experience.
The first session is also your time to ask any questions you may have about the process of therapy. I will be happy to explain the approaches I use and discuss your preferences around how you want to use the therapy hour. Some clients are more keen to learn about details such as how our nervous system affects the way feel, which can be helpful when managing e.g. anxiety, whereas other clients prefer to use the session time to explore events of feelings in their own pace. Most clients opt for a bit of both, as well as coping strategies while they work towards a more permanent change.
Before we meet for the first full session, you will have received a Therapy Agreement via email. This explains what you can expect of the sessions and also has all the practical details for you to refer to. We will spend a short amount of time at the beginning of the first session going through this agreement and I will also ask you to fill a contact information sheet for me to keep.
How do I find the right therapist for me?
The success of therapeutic work often comes down to the relationship between the client and the therapist. It is therefore important that you look around for someone that resonates with you and trust your gut instinct. There are some important factors that should be considered once you’ve found a therapist you’d like to approach:
1. Make sure that they are a member of one of the professional bodies such as BACP, UKCP, NCS or BPS. These professional bodies ensure that their members have had the appropriate level of training to work as counsellors and psychotherapists. They are also part of the Professional Standards Agency which gives you as a client the protection if anything was to go wrong. Only by being part of a professional body, can your therapist acquire appropriate insurance to work with you.
2. Have a look at their qualifications. Counsellors need to have at least a Diploma or a Master level qualification in counselling or psychotherapy. This means that they have not just learned their theory, but done their practice hours before qualifying. You deserve to have a therapist who has the training and experience that is needed to handle your therapeutic process safely, skilfully, ethically and confidentially.
3. Finally, trust your instinct and choose one that you feel connected to.
Do I need a diagnosis or a referral to have therapy?
No, you can self-refer and there is no need for you to have a diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed by a GP or a psychiatrist, it is a good idea to mention this to me when starting therapy as it can work as a reference point to us both. However, counsellors and psychotherapists do not diagnose, we work with the material that you bring to us, helping you make sense of your experiences.
Clients come to counselling for many reasons that do not carry a mental health diagnosis. Therapy can help you come through a painful breakup or cope with a loss of a loved one, or offer clarity when making big life decisions. It is used to find coping strategies when being yourself feels unbearably hard. Seeing a counsellor is a private matter, unless we are asked to collaborate in a care plan with your explicit consent, no one else, such as your employer or your family will find out that you are accessing therapy.
Confidentiality: Is counselling confidential?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer is that while counselling is confidential in almost all situations, there are a few exceptions that we will have to break confidentiality for. If you disclose information about organised drug trafficking, money laundering or activities related to terrorism, then I would have to speak to the relevant authorities about it.
Also, if you tell me that you are at an extreme risk to yourself (or to someone else) then I would have to make sure that there is support for you, or the person who is at risk. Do note that it is normal to talk about suicidal thoughts and self harm in counselling, and I am happy to discuss them in confidence. I would only have to break confidentiality if I knew that you have an imminent plan to end your life, and you are about to act on it.
What does confidentiality mean then? It means that I will never reveal your identity or details you’ve told me about yourself to anyone else. I will not disclose that fact that you are my client to anyone else. When I speak about your issues to my clinical supervisor, they will be kept anonymous and no identifying details will ever be revealed.
Confidentiality: How about social media? Will you look me up on Google?
No. What you bring to the sessions is the information that I work with. I will never google your name or follow or befriend you on any social media platform. You are welcome to follow my Instagram page and comment on my posts if you wish to do so, but I will never publicly acknowledge you as a client in order to protect your identity.
Confidentiality: What If we meet outside of the therapy context?
Sometimes we might meet on the street by chance or happen to be doing our shopping in the same place. On those occasions, I will take my cue from you - if you greet me, I will greet you back. I will never seek your attention or come for a chat in order to protect your identity as my client.
How often should I attend?
There’s no one answer to this. I often see clients weekly to start off with, and once we are coming closer to ending the process of therapy, then every other week.
Sometimes weekly sessions just aren’t doable for different reasons, such as shift work. When we first meet, let me know your preferences and we can find a solution that works for you.
Monthly sessions are possible after a good working relationship has been established, and often work best as a top-up to a successful counselling process, or as an in-between during times when weekly sessions would not otherwise be possible.
How many sessions do I need?
As many as you think you do. To begin with, it takes a little while to establish trust and therefore I often encourage clients to give themselves a few sessions to ease into the process of therapy.
If you are looking to have counselling for a specific issue, such as a loss or life transition, 6 -12 sessions can already make a difference. More complex issues are good to be dealt with in an open-ended way. When we work in an open ended way, I will check in with you every so often about your thoughts on your progress. You are an active part of the process, and I welcome your feedback in order to tailor the service to meet your needs.
What is the price of the sessions? How do I pay?
The fee for each session in £50.
I ask for the payment to be made within 48 hours of booking, by Bank Transfer (BACS) or PayPal. You can pay each time you book your session, or opt to pay for a block of sessions in advance.
At times I have reduced fee spaces for clients on low incomes. Please get in touch if you feel that I would be the right therapist for you, but you cannot afford the above fee.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
No problem. Just get in touch via text, email or call to let me know. If it is within the cancellation policy, I will refund your session fee or reschedule your appointment to a time that suits you. However, if you cancel less than 48 hours of your appointment time, unfortunately no refunds can be made.
COVID-19 Cancellations: If you’ve been told to self-isolate and therefore cannot attend your face-to-face appointment, I will offer you an online or telephone appointment instead, with the provision that you are well enough to attend your session.
What is integrative therapy?
Integrative therapy is a combination of approaches which acknowledges that we are all individual and therefore there is no “one size fits all” therapeutic model. When I work integratively, I take into account your preferences and ways of learning to offer my experience in a way that is tailored to you, by combining techniques and working principles from approaches that compliment one another.
The core of my practice is person-centred therapy, which is an approach based on the belief that you are capable of positive change if you are given the right environment and support to do so. In effect, you already hold the keys to your own process of healing, and in order to unlock that process, I will be there to facilitate it for you, with you. Think of me as a sort of ally on your journey towards a better future.
I have an interest in somatic approaches and pay particular attention to how our bodies react to the emotional difficulties we face. I believe that current developments in neuroscience are very helpful in reducing the shame that can be felt when experiencing symptoms like depression and anxiety, and I am happy to bring my knowledge of this area to the sessions when that is helpful.
My work is also informed by the core principles of cognitive behavioural approaches and psychodynamic therapy. This means that I will pay attention to the beliefs you have about yourself, and your feelings and behaviours in order to increase awareness of your way of functioning in the world. I also believe that the things that have happened to you in the past, including in the early years, have an effect on who you have become.
Where do you see clients? Is there parking?
I see clients at the Beaumaris Wellbeing Centre in Newport, Shropshire. It is a lovely, calm and designated therapy space offering a variety of treatments in the same building.
My therapy room is on the ground floor and there is ample free onsite parking at the front when accessed from the Beaumaris Road side.
In normal times, the Centre has a waiting area and facilities for clients. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic we would ask you to wait outside, or in your car, until your appointment time in order to minimise any contact and transmission in the front of house areas. Toilets are regrettably closed for the same reason.
UPDATE: I now see clients also on Mondays at 7 Abbey Court in Newport. There is plenty of free parking nearby, please ask for a map before your first session if you are planning on driving.
Can I have both face-to-face and online sessions because I travel a lot for work?
Yes. The real benefit of online therapy is that you can attend your session even when you are away.
COVID-19: Is it safe to see you face-to-face?
Beaumaris Centre has conducted a thorough Covid-19 Risk Assessment and keep on top of the current situation, with the possibility of closing, if the transmission rate in the area rises above the national average. All face-to-face sessions will then be conducted online or via telephone.
Please sanitise your hands as you arrive and wear a face covering in the front of house areas of the Centre. The counselling rooms have screens that can be put between us. If you would like me to wear a mask or a visor I would be happy to do so during the sessions.
Anyone visiting the Centre is recorded for Track and Trace purposes. Therefore, if you test positive to Covid-19 soon after our session, please inform me as soon as possible so that we can take the appropriate steps to inform anyone who may be affected.
The rooms are wiped clean between each client and appointment times will be staggered to make sure clients enter and exit the building at different times. In your first session, you will be asked to fill in a Covid Assessment form.
COVID-19: Will I be able to continue my sessions via Zoom after lockdown ends?
Absolutely. I will be doing a blended practice or online, face-to-face and telephone counselling to serve the needs of all my clients.