Frequently Asked QuestionsWHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSYCHOTHERAPY AND COUNSELLING?
There is overlap between the two and similar skills are used in both approaches. Both are enriching and help you to cope with problems in a more effective way. A psychotherapist generally has a longer training than a counsellor and has studied the theory at a greater depth, he or she will probably have had more clinical experience and been required to do considerable personal development work.
The distinction generally made is that counselling is short term work (weeks or months) and usually focuses on a specific concern; while psychotherapy involves in depth exploration of past experiences in order to make sense of present circumstances. It also involves understanding underlying patterns and how they influence current relationships. A longer period of reflection is required to work through this process. I do not hold the distinction as important and I work in whatever way is most appropriate and comfortable for the client.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT THE FIRST MEETING?
At the initial session we will talk about what has brought you to seek help, what you are expecting and hoping from therapy, any goals you might have. You can also talk about your concerns or anxieties about the process of psychotherapy and what will happen in the sessions. If we decide to work together we will agree about when to meet, and discuss the contract. Depending on what feels right for you we may agree to meet for a short term or for an open ended period, but this can be reviewed regularly. Sessions are once weekly.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE SESSIONS?
The sessions offer you the opportunity to talk about your difficulties or just to quietly reflect. You will be supported, listened to and heard in a non-judgemental way and together we will explore your situation. It is sometimes hard to talk about problems, especially if you are not used to it. You can bring dreams, poems, artwork if they are significant to you and help to communicate what is going on for you.
WILL IT HELP?
Sometimes just sharing your problems with someone trained to listen in a non-judgemental way can help. I can't guarantee a cure but together we could gain some insight and understanding of your problems and look for a way forward.
Part of the ethical responsibiltiy for practising psychotherapists and counsellors is to engage in ongoing supervision with senior colleagues. This is to ensure the client's interests are best served. Supervision requires that information from sessions is discussed with a recogised supervisor. The client's identity is kept confidential. With this exception all information disclosed by the client is kept confidential except in the unlikely circumstances that a client is at risk to themselves or others.