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Face-to-Face

Consulting Rooms A Brief Guide to working with me… Not every psychotherapist works in the same way and so, as a guide, I have tried to put together answers to the kind of questions that most clients ask.

How long will the therapy last?

There are differences of approach between all the major schools of psychotherapy, however researchers seem to agree on one thing – the most important element in any therapy appears to be the working relationship between the therapist and the client, and that is why I offer a free preliminary consultation, at this first meeting we can start to get a feel as to whether we can work well together.

Clients always want to know – “How long will this take?” and my simple answer is: “I do not know!” A rough rule of thumb is that the longer that you have had an issue then the longer the longer the therapy takes. Having said that, sometimes the preliminary consultation is enough. One of the most important shifts I have ever made was made in a single session with a psychotherapist who I never saw again.  So after our preliminary consultation we normally work for 6 weeks and then review.

Time

My therapy hour lasts 50 minutes which allows time for a change over between clients.

If you are late then you miss some of your sessions. If you come 30 minutes late then you only get a 20 minute session. Your session time is yours, you have bought it and it belongs to you, so it’s up to you how you use it.

Voice Dialogue sessions last longer, sometimes up to two hours or even more for couples and we can discuss how that works when we meet.

Money

I charge on a sliding scale between £50 and £90 per hour – you choose. If you find you are paying the top rate and you do not have a lot of money you will get resentful. If you are paying the lowest price and you show me your new Rolex President, with the diamond bezel, then I might get peeved, so the sliding scale works for both of us. Please understand, this is how I earn my living.

Having said that. I do have two sessions a week which i offer at much lower rates for ex-servicemen and women, and the immediate family of people serving in the military and this year I founded ‘the Long Boat Home, ‘ a project to bring low-cost therapy to Veterans. (see; www.thelongboathome.co.uk)

Cancellations

I realise that life sometimes gets in the way of therapy and sometimes you have to cancel. Please give me as much notice as you can and I will endeavour to fill your time with another client. If you cancel within 48 hours of the appointment then it’s seldom possible to make that replacement and I will charge you for the session that you missed. If I have to cancel for any reason then, of course, there is no charge. I will warn you of any holidays I am taking at least a month in advance nor do I charge for time that I am away.

Confidentiality

Everything you tell me is confidential… but there are exceptions here, and I would like you to understand what they are.

Like all professional psychotherapists I work under supervision. This means that I am likely to discuss your case with my supervisor – who is also sworn to keep the facts confidential. This is of benefit to you because it means that there is more than one view on the work.

There are also some other exceptions to confidentiality. Most sane people, at one time or another, have thought of suicide or not wanting to live, and they may talk about that in therapy, however, if you make it clear to me that you are actually planning to take your own life and you are taking action towards that end then if I can not persuade you not to do that, I will call your doctor.

There are even legal exceptions to confidentiality – If you tell me of a child who is presently being abused, then I am legally and morally bound to pass that information onto social services.  Similarly, if you tell me that you are going to commit an act of terror I have to inform the police – so now you know.

Sometimes I bump into clients in the street or socially – this happens. If I do see you in the street I will not say “Hello” unless you do and this in not because I am being rude, its simply to allow you your confidentially. If we are introduced and I ask “How are you?” – do not tell me – under those circumstances, these words are a social nicety, not a therapeutic enquiry: again this is for your own feelings of safety.

Note taking and recording

I tend to be concise in note taking however, I do tend to write down dreams, and whatever I write you are welcome to look at.  If you wish, we can record each session and I will give you a copy of the recording as an mp3 file or on a disk. I do not have, nor can I, produce cassettes but you are welcome to tape your own sessions.

Disabled access

Because my consulting room is in a basement there is no wheelchair access so if that is an issue for you then we can work at the Minster Centre over in Queens Park, where we do offer those facilities and there, parking can be arranged.

Ending therapy

Endings have their own natural feel and ideally we would recognise that the work is coming to an end we would set a date and spend some time discussing that ending, but life is seldom ideal. What I want to emphasise at this point, even before we have met is that we have to spend time on endings and once the work goes beyond the six weeks mark then I want an agreement of a months notice. The longer the therapy goes on the longer we should take to create our ending. Should I retire or take a sabbatical I will give all my clients at least twelve months notice

What if there are problems?

If you feel that things are not working for you in therapy then its important that you are able to tell me and we can discuss it, this is important because these difficult conversations are like the grit around which a pearl is created.  I work within the ethical guidelines of the UKCP and if you feel I may have breached any of those ethics then they will handle any complaint for you.

Your part in all this

Out of 168 hours in a week we will spend 50 minutes together. If you simply do the therapy and then forget about it ‘til the next time’,  then progress will be slow. To get the most out of therapy please use it a context for the rest of the week.

I would ask you to keep a dream diary. This is simply a notebook you keep by your bed so that when you wake up you can jot down the main points of your dreams. If you do not dream – keep the book anyway and see what happens, but do not do what I did when I first went into psychotherapy – I woke every two hours to record my dreams. After two weeks I was ragged with tiredness and that is not the way to do it. The dream book is to support your work not to make things more difficult

Support

I am with clients most of the day and my phone is often switched off, so please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can

Other Questions

This guide is a “work in progress”. If you have other questions please turn to the contact page and email them to me and I will be glad to help.

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