Is there a difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
Not really – the terms counselling and psychotherapy (or therapy) are broadly interchangeable.
Is online therapy less effective than face to face therapy?
Not at all. Online therapy (or online counselling) has certain advantages: people often find it easier to fit in therapy sessions around other commitments; and it’s less expensive than face to face therapy (in my personal practice). In my experience, the online therapeutic relationship and conversation is as effective as in person therapy. However, some people prefer face to face or in person therapy and I think it’s important to offer both options. Some people prefer being in a room with me, to get a better sense of who I am and to be seen in a fuller way. Most people continue with whichever option then start with, but I am open to the possibility of varying in person with online sessions on occasion.
Where and when do you offer therapy?
I offer online therapy Monday-Friday including early morning and early evening. I also offer face to face therapy in three consulting rooms in South West and Central London: Richmond upon Thames (TW9) & Twickenham Green (TW2); and Islington, near Kings Cross station (N1). I also offer offer in person therapy Monday-Friday. We will need to talk to identify when I am available in each location, but I will try to accommodate you at your preferred location, if at all possible.
Is therapy a treatment for mental health problems?
Yes, but not necessarily. Most people come to therapy to express and resolve difficult life problems and feelings. This might be a serious depression and anxiety. However, I believe that everyone experiences such difficulties to some extent, and we each experience our difficulties in a way that is unique to us whether or not we have a mental health diagnosis. By engaging with such difficulties in therapy, our mental health can improve, whether or not we consider ourselves mentally unwell at the outset. Some people find it helpful to think about their difficulties as a mental health issue and some of my clients also take medication from their GP or a Psychiatrist. However, in therapy sessions I tend to support my clients to understand their experience in their own words, without necessarily using psychiatric terminology.
How Do I Begin?
I offer a free initial phone call or online meeting that lasts around 30 minutes. This is followed by an initial assessment meeting, and after that, if you wish to continue, we will agree the fee and a regular day and time to meet. I will discuss the cost of the assessment session with you when we speak.
Do I have to stay in therapy for any set length of time?
No, you’re free to terminate the therapy whenever you want (with at least 48 hours’ notice).
Sometimes it feels right to being a therapy to a close, for example when the presenting issue feels adequately resolved. However, sometimes continuing in therapy can feel challenging. In such situations it can be helpful to talk about that difficulty and I am likely to encourage you to talk about your reasons for ending. Understanding what is happening in the end of a therapeutic process can be very helpful.
However, I will also respect your choice, should you decide to end the therapy because it feels too difficult to continue.
Will you end my therapy?
It’s highly unlikely that I will cancel an ongoing therapy if I believe it is helpful for my clients.
However, I am likely to raise the issue of whether to continue in therapy or not, if I believe it’s not helpful.
A significant life issue such as serious ill health may prevent me from continuing, but otherwise my intention and practice is to remain available once I start working with someone. It is possible that I will not agree to a request to switch to a lower frequently than once a week. This is because therapy is normally most effective when held weekly (notwithstanding planned holidays, etc.). I take a view on this on a case by case basis, and I tend to be flexible if someone is struggling to afford weekly sessions.
What life experience do you have (other than as a therapist)?
Once therapy starts, I will tend not to speak about my personal or professional background. However, I am happy to answer such questions in the initial assessment session. Sometimes it helps clients to get a sense of who their therapist is at the outset. In summary: I was a Buddhist monk for 6 years before training as a therapist; I’ve worked in charities for 25 years, including in leadership and governance roles. I also work as a leadership coach (in the workplace).