Frequently asked questions:-
How much does counselling cost?
The cost varies from counsellor to counsellor. Some counsellors have concessionary rates for those who are on a low income. It is important to check whether a counsellor charges for an initial consultation and if so how much.
You can see my fees on my Home page.
Who benefits from counselling?
People come to counselling for many different reasons, perhaps they are in some kind of distress, or have experienced loss, bereavement or trauma; maybe they have lost a sense of meaning, or feel very strong feelings and don't know why.
If you are suffering from any of the above, or from anxiety, constant tension or anger, or perhaps one of the issues listed on the home page then you will be pleased to know that research has shown counselling can really help.
There are some areas of human difficulties that require specialist knowledge, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for example, and it is always important that you check that your prospective counsellor has training and experience on any specific issue you may bring. But I would say that counselling can benefit most of us. Who wouldn't benefit from being expertly listened to?
How does counselling work?
A good counselling relationship is unique. Very quickly you will notice the difference in the way you are paid attention. Years of training and experience is needed just to enable a counsellor to give this special kind of non-judgemental and empathic attention.
Being really heard in a safe and non judgemental way can have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Space to explore and understand yourself can elicit new awareness with which you can make life enhancing changes.
Things that have happened to you in the past influence how you manage things today. Counselling helps you make connections and sense out of this process, to join up the dots. Once you become aware of where your difficult feelings are coming from, you can begin to make healthier choices about how you want to live your life. You can learn to respond creatively and powerfully, not react automatically.
I am on anti-depressants, is there any point seeing a counsellor at the same time?
Counselling can work hand in hand with the right anti-depressant treatment. It is a commonly held belief that anti-depressants block the therapeutic journey. In truth they can, if used mindfully and prescribed well, support the individual on that journey. Counselling and anti-depressants can be important resources, along with others such as family and friend support and an employer's understanding, for recovery from depression.
How often does counselling take place and how long does it last?
Generally counselling happens weekly. The majority of counsellors see their clients for 50 minutes. Some, like myself, prefer to see their clients for 1 hour. Counselling does not have a fixed time limit but often an individual will find enough strength, awareness and resolution to significantly alter the course of their difficulties in only a few sessions.
Many counselling agencies only offer short term ( 6 to 12 sessions) counselling and still show good results. There is no doubt however that some people will need much longer than this to achieve the results they seek. However, in such cases the relationship between counsellor and client, albeit only for an hour or so a week, becomes a very important ongoing resource to the client. This can have a deep and lasting impact on the way they form relationships for the rest of their lives.
Are there different styles or types of counselling?
Every single counsellor will have their own style, which is why it is important you feel comfortable with the counsellor you choose. And also there are many different therapeutic and training models which counsellors and therapists work with. Psychodynamic, Integrative, Gestalt, Person Centred, to name but a few.
But every counsellor worth his or her salt will share an ability to provide a safe, empathic and non judgemental environment. Don't be afraid to ask your prospective counsellor what model they use and why.
Is counselling all about releasing feelings?
Feelings are important and validation of them and permission to express them openly is a vital part of counselling. That does not mean everyone has to cry or release anger in order to achieve their goals. Thoughts, bodily sensations, the senses, intuition and imagination are also part of the human experience. Counselling addresses all these and more according to each individuals needs. The counselling journey is different for everyone.
Well, as with individual counselling there are a variety of approaches your counsellor may take to helping you resolve your difficulties. Personally I believe that effective couples counselling requires specialist training and knowledge in relational dynamics, systems and communication. As part of my own work with you I would help you have your voice and also hear each other before moving into the content of your relationship. I believe our primary relationships can be our biggest and best source of growth and healing, but that growth and healing will not happen if either party feels unsafe or afraid to voice their truth to the other.
Do I go to a counsellor for Anger Management?
Yes, many counsellors help clients with anger management but check their site or listings first as not all counsellors work in this area. Group work can be beneficial as being in a safe environment with other people with the same issue can be enlightening. I have helped clients resolve uncontrolled anger over many years, including in men's groups. I find that often, those who come to me for anger management, realise, when their anger is under control, that their anger is part of a deeper picture and in fact, 'anger management' often results in a deeper healing and change.
I have suffered many traumas in my life. Is a counsellor the right person to go to for trauma therapy or should I see a psychologist or psychotherapist?
If the counsellor you are interested in seeing has specific training in and experience of giving trauma therapy then yes they are the right person to go to, as long as you feel right when you see them of course Sometimes with trauma therapy a client may need cross discipline support, depending on the severity and impact of their symptoms. But yes a counsellor can be the right person to see. If you are not able to function in such a way as to manage day to day life safely then I would recommend you visiting your GP.
I hope these answers have been helpful. If you have a question that is not on this page why not email me with it and I shall do my best to answer it.