What is Therapy?
Therapy offers a unique and confidential relationship that can help you make sense of your life. It provides you with a safe and supportive environment to explore thoughts, feelings and concerns.
Feelings like anxiety, depression, and unhappiness are often linked to past experiences and emotions that are hidden deep inside of us. Therapy can help bring these into our consciousness providing people with a better understanding of many difficult states of mind. Gaining insight into what is driving your thoughts and behaviour can dramatically change your outlook, improving how you feel and how you interact with others.
Not seen a therapist before? Some common questions answered.
Do you work online?
I do work online but not exclusively (lockdown aside) as I find psychodynamic therapy works better with some face to face interaction. Mostly my clients come to the practice and then have some sessions online to fit their schedules.
What type of therapy do you offer and how does it fit with CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or other types?
I offer psychodynamic psychotherapy. This concentrates on discovering the root cause of distress and through understanding, achieving change and some form of acceptance. It is rooted in the Freudian principle of uncovering the unconscious processes that drive behaviour. So, for someone with relationship issues, psychodynamic psychotherapy would focus on exploring the past to explain why this keeps recurring. CBT counselling would concentrate on the thought process and patterns of behaviour to identify strategies to help break the cycle. There are many other types of therapy - Wikipedia is a useful site for additional descriptions.
I am also a coach, trainer and clinical trial therapist researching new mental health interventions. Over the years I have adapted my style to include a range of techniques developed throughout my professional career including body work, breathing, CBT, existential therapy, coaching, training, neuroscience, unconscious bias and heuristics, and positive psychology. I tailor my approach to the needs of the client. However, my principal focus is on helping people explore the unconscious as I believe this works at a deeper level and therefore the results are more significant and enduring.
How long will therapy take?
This is determined by your situation and your goals. Short term therapy generally consists of 12-20 sessions. Long term work is open ended. Sometimes people are resistant to long term work because it can be painful dealing with the issues that surface. But the benefits of persevering are life changing. People do not question whether they should stop going to the gym after a year!
How will I know when to finish?
When you start therapy, I ask you to think about what you want to get from therapy and the changes you want to make. At appropriate points I review with people whether these aims have been met and whether they are ready to leave. The end of therapy is an important part of the process and I recommend it is done in a planned manner with time to discuss - however it is up to clients when they choose to leave.
How do I find out if I want to work with you?
For therapy to work you have to want to work with your therapist. I offer an initial consultation that provides you with an experience of what therapy is, how I work and gives you the opportunity to decide if you want to work with me.
I have heard therapy is just about sitting in silence. Is this true?
No although sometimes silence can help people reflect and delve deeper. I always wait for clients to initiate the session so that they begin with what is on their mind, not on mine.
I have heard therapists are often cold and won't answer simple questions about themselves?
I do not like to give details about my life because it detracts from the therapeutic process. Removing the need for you to ask how I am or take my emotional state into consideration makes it easier for you to concentrate on what you need from the sessions.
Will you think my problems are not as bad as others?
Mental distress is debilitating regardless of how your experiences compare to others. My focus is to help ease difficult states of mind, not to judge whether you are right to feel as you do. A core belief of therapy is that all feelings are valid and welcome, but not all have to be acted on.
Is Freud outdated and just interested in sex?
Like all founders his views and theories have been updated and revised. But he introduced us to so many significant ideas that it would be reductive to dismiss him out of hand. Without Freud we might not have our current insight into dreams, the unconscious, the part our childhood plays in our future and so much more. My approach draws on Freud's ideas as well as a host of other prominent analysts who have built on and revised his work.
Will you tell my employer?
No. I adhere to strict professional guidelines about confidentiality and will not tell anyone about your sessions.
How confidential is therapy?
Therapy is highly confidential and everything spoken about in the room remains private. The only time that confidentiality might be broken is if I thought there was a serious risk to someone's safety in which case we would discuss this together.
How do I pay?
I invoice people at the end of the month, and you can pay by bank transfer. Unfortunately, I cannot accept credit or debit cards or cash.
Can I really be back at my desk in an hour?
Sessions are 50 minutes so if you work nearby this is possible though you may want some time in between.