What is therapy?
Therapy offers you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything that may be confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It gives you a space to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve things.
In therapy you can explore various aspects of your life and feelings, talking about them freely and openly in a way that is rarely possible with friends or family. Bottled up feelings such as anger, anxiety, grief and embarrassment can become very intense and therapy offers an opportunity to explore them, with the possibility of making them easier to understand.
Therapy is a way of enabling choice or change, or of reducing confusion. It does not involve giving advice or directing you to take a particular course of action. Therapy can change your life and sometimes others around you may resist your changes and growth, and they may need time to adapt to the new you.
Therapists do not judge or exploit their clients in any way.
At your first appointment
If you decide that therapy may be for you, at the first session you will be invited to talk about yourself and what it is that brings you here now. Don’t worry if you are entering therapy for the first time and you don’t have any sense of what you need to happen, other than you want to feel better than you do now. This is quite normal but if you can, try and express this to me. If you can, it might be useful to talk with me about what your expectations are; also, if you can, let me know what you need from therapy. Just like any other relationship, the more you know and can communicate what you want and need from our relationship, the better chance, I will have to give that to you, and you will have of receiving it.
You may be worried or scared. What will happen at the first session? How will you tell me what’s wrong? What if your problem isn’t really important enough and you’re wasting my time? You may be embarrassed. What if I think you’re really strange (I won’t)? What if your problem is embarrassing? Maybe you should just deal with this yourself and not bother with therapy. Experiencing any of these feelings is not unusual.
At the first appointment I will tell you about confidentiality and how I work as a therapist. Please ask me any questions if you are unsure about anything.
Therapy takes place by appointment at the same time each week and sessions last for fifty minutes. The therapy process may be short term and take six to twelve sessions. This is usually counselling and focusses on a specific issue which is troubling you currently. Longer term therapy may last for several months or longer. This is usually psychotherapy and addresses aspects of your life which have developed over time and which take more in-depth work to understand and heal. In both short term and longer term therapy we will review things regularly; this is to make sure that therapy remains beneficial for you.
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How you may feel
Therapy is a very personal process. Sometimes it is necessary to talk about painful feelings or difficult decisions, so you may go through a period of feeling worse than when you started. However, therapy should enable you to feel better in the long-run. If you do experience a period of feeling worse, please talk to me about it to ensure you get the best out of your therapy.
Therapy is often hard work, and sometimes it can be emotionally draining; after an intense session you may feel exhausted. Sometimes, therapy can release emotions that have been ‘locked in’ for many years. Change can be difficult, so don’t be surprised if you are tempted to stop therapy right before some real changes or breakthroughs are about to happen. Usually it will take a number of sessions before it starts to make a difference. However on rare occasions, a single session may be enough.
"It’s the relationship that heals" (Irvin D Yalom)
I am what’s called an Integrative Psychotherapist and this means different things to different therapists. As therapists all work a little differently I will explain briefly here about how I work.
It’s very important for me to understand how you feel and what it’s like being you and I won’t always get this right. I’m sorry in advance for when I get things wrong. I understand that sometimes, even the idea that another person gets remotely close to understanding what it’s like to be you, might feel uncomfortable or unsafe. That’s why we will only work at your pace.
My philosophy is, how we feel and our relationships are tied up in a jumble and sometimes we can need help to untangle this jumble and find some clarity and insight.
In our work together, we may talk about the links between how you feel and your current relationships; relationships from your past which will have affected how you felt then, and may play a part in how you feel now.
Our relationship is part of the process too, when we are working together if you feel judged or misunderstood in some way, it’s important we spot this and sort it out together. It’s okay for you to let me know when I get things wrong and, you may get fed up with me reminding you that I am okay with you telling me.
Part of working in a relational way means I am not going to be an objective observer of what’s going on for you. I hope there will be times when we can laugh together, and there might be times when we cry together. There might be times when what you need is for me to simply be with you and hear you. I also understand that it can be really difficult to begin to work out what we really feel and even more difficult to be able to share that with someone.
The therapeutic relationship provides you with the safety and space to do this at you own pace.