Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Where are you based?
A:Swiss Cottage & St Johns Wood
Q:What kind of problems can counselling help me with?
A: Counselling can help with a wide range of concerns including
Anxiety and stress
Bereavement and loss
Major life changes
OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
Phobias and fears
Redundancy and work issues
Q: What type of counselling do you provide and which is best for me?
A: We offer two types of counselling detailed below:
Short term counselling is a good step for people who do not want to make a long commitment or have a particular issue to work with such as a relationship difficulty. It is often used by people who have had counselling in the past and want to return to work on a particular issue.
Short term counselling is usually from 6 to 20 weeks, although some people only want one or two sessions. The counsellor and client can agree the issues that need to be worked on and set aims for the sessions.
Open ended counselling:
We mainly provide open ended counselling, a therapy which proceeds at the client’s own pace. This allows the client time and space to gradually develop insight into the root cause of their concerns. Clients continue in therapy for as long as they want, which can range from months to years.
Q: What is CBT?
A: Some counsellors will incorporate CBT as part of other therapies, but it only suits some personalities and some situations.
CBT can be extremely useful. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy involves learning skills for overcoming behaviours, habits or reactions that are “making things worse”. This could be learning ways to overcome panic attacks or stress, for avoiding the triggers for overeating or even from entering into unsuitable relationships.
However, used on its own it is usually unhelpful for bereavement, loss or a recent trauma. It would for instance not be used for someone coming to terms with a bereavement, but it may become helpful at a later time.
Q: How long will have to wait for an appointment?
A: Our aim is to offer you a first appointment, known as an assessment within 1 - 2 weeks.
If you need help urgently, please contact your GP, contact The Samaritans via phone on 116 123 or visit their website.
Q: What is an assessment appointment?
A: The first session of any counselling is an assessment session which lasts for around an hour and a half. During this time, an assessment counsellor will ask certain questions about you and your life. This information helps to make an initial assessment of your circumstance and the type of counselling best suited to your needs.
Q: Will the counsellor give me advice?
A: Your counsellor is not there to give you advice, tell you what to do or judge you in any way. The aim of counselling is to help you come to your own decision(s), only you know how you feel in any given situation. The counsellor might sum up what they understand you have been saying so that they can help you to form a plan of action.
Q: What does a counsellor do?
A: Listening carefully is the largest part of what all counsellors do. They make sure clients have clarified the problem areas in their own terms and help them decide what steps they want to take next. Counsellors will always let the work proceed at the client’s pace.
Q: Can I have counselling even though I’m not really ill?
A: You do not have to be in crisis or on the verge of one before choosing to have therapy. Please contact us to see how counselling can help if you are currently struggling to overcome a particular issue in your life, and you feel that counselling could possibly benefit you right now.
Q: What can I talk about?
A: Before attending your first counselling first, it may be helpful to prepare by writing down your reasons for seeking help to make describing your feelings to a Counsellor more comfortable. You can talk about anything that is on your mind, however large or small you think your problem is. You might find yourself saying things you had not expected to say. A counsellor will always help you explore your circumstances.
Q: What’s the difference between talking to a friend and talking to a counsellor?
A: Sometimes talking to a friend can be helpful and counsellors often encourage clients to use their family and friends. However there are some disadvantages to using friends as your only confidants and support.
Friends and family could feel a conflict of loyalty and find it hard to keep things confidential. They may become upset themselves by what you are telling them and could become upset if you don’t accept their advice.
Counsellors’ training means they have formal support and a work structure which helps them to deal with upsetting and difficult situations; friends may begin to feel overburdened, especially if they have their own problems too.
Q: What if I miss a scheduled appointment?
A: It is essential to the therapy work that you prioritise attending your weekly appointment once you have confirmed it. 48 hours notice is expected otherwise the full fee is charged.
Q: What do I do if I have a complaint about the counsellor?
A: We always welcome comments about the service I offer. If you do have a complaint you would like to discuss and feel you can, please tell your counsellor to see if they are able to resolve any issues.
Q: What should I look for in a therapist?
A: Things to make sure about with any counsellor or therapist you visit are:
that they have recognised academic qualifications
that they adhere to a professional code of conduct
that they have regular, ongoing supervision to ensure safe and ethical practice
that they discuss certain issues with you up front before any commitment is made to the sessions including:
their counselling approach
length of sessions
their responsibilities to you
your responsibility to them