My standard fee is £70-80 per session. I have a small number of spaces for clients of very limited financial means, although these are often full. If you need to discuss the fee and what you can afford to pay, please let me know on initial contact.
How will I know you are the right therapist for me?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions you could ask.
Research has confirmed what many clinicians intuitively knew – that it is the quality of the therapeutic relationship that is key to whether the treatment works or not. That means that a client needs to have a sense that they feel comfortable enough with the therapist to be able to engage in what can sometimes be very painful and challenging work. Many people know within a minute or so of meeting someone whether they connect, so it is important to trust your gut instinct on this.
The other important issue to consider is the model that the therapist uses, or put more simply, the beliefs the therapist holds about the origins of emotional distress. My belief is that the roots of our emotional distress can often be traced back to our childhood and early infancy, often before we learn to talk. Obvious examples of this would include abuse of any form (sexual, physical or emotional), neglect, or being cared for by carers who are struggling in their own right, perhaps with untreated mental health problems, financial difficulties, or who are very isolated. All of these can (but not necessarily will) mean that the carer is not as available as a young infant needs.
Another core aspect of the model I believe in is that there are aspects of ourselves that are out of our awareness. In psychotherapy terms this is called the unconscious, but in everyday terms it can be understood if we think about how overwhelming it would be for our brain to hold an active memory of every single thing that happens to us. Most things get filed away, sometimes in easy access files that we can call on quickly and easily, other times in hidden, dusty files that have not been opened for years, or that might have been forgotten about altogether. But these files might start showing their need for attention and understanding (for example, via dreams), or in a similar vein to computer viruses, impact on the other healthy files (such as when depression, anxiety, low self-esteem might make all aspects of life difficult to manage) . It is at this point that therapy can help make sense of these 'files', memories or events.
Going back to the scenario of difficulties in early childhood, such difficulties may also present themselves via our unconscious. This is purely and simply because they happen before we have words to understand them, and because our memory of our early life is implicit (meaning embedded within ourselves, perhaps in our body, but outside of our awareness), not explicit (within our awareness, when we can bring a memory to mind).
How long will I need therapy for?
This is one of those "How long is a piece of string?" questions. In general, if you usually cope pretty well with life, but something has happened to trip you up (such as a relationship breakdown, a bereavement, losing a job, to name but a few possibilities), then shorter term work might be right for you. In such situations, I would normally recommend a specific number of sessions (the minimum being 6). This would be discussed at assessment. It is worth noting that short-term therapy is more focused than on-going therapy, meaning that both client and therapist need to be mindful of staying 'on task'. Also, that it won't, of course, have as in-depth an impact as long-term psychotherapy.
On-going/long term therapy might start with a specific focus, but tends to grow organically as the work progresses. It can be of particular help for people who have experienced many difficulties in their life, especially in childhood; who struggle to make and maintain relationships, or have a particularly low self-esteem. You might have a very clear sense of what went wrong (e.g. abuse), or feel that there was nothing in particular to cause your stuggles. Both scenarios can feel challenging for people.
Perhaps a more quantifiable question to ask is about the frequency of sessions. Often people come to therapy once a week, but many people can really benefit from twice weekly sessions (or sometimes even three sessions per week). This makes the gap between sessions, when we might feel adrift and alone, shorter and more manageable. Plus progress can be more obvious, and the work deeper. Many people say they notice a real difference between once weekly sessions and more frequent sessions.
Working out what the right length and frequency of therapy is for you is central to how I work, and is done in collaboration with you from day one.