Counselling FAQ

What is counselling? What happens in a counselling session?

There are different types of counselling. What I offer is known as psychodynamic counselling. This involves aiming to create a safe and welcoming environment for you to express what is troubling you, and for us to try and understand your difficulties and the obstacles which are in your way. In a counselling session you are free to talk about anything you choose. It can be day to day concerns, memories, feelings, dilemmas, deeper concerns, dreams, patterns of behaviour and so on. There is no typical counselling session; all are different.

What happens in an initial consultation?

In our initial consultation or first meeting, I will ask you a few questions about the reasons why you are seeking counselling, and we’ll talk about what you hope to achieve. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask me any questions you may have. The main purpose of the assessment is for both of us to see if we are suited to working together. If I feel that another service (for instance a different type of counselling) might be better suited to you, I will tell you.

Is counselling confidential?

Yes. Everything you share with me is held confidentially, unless I feel from what you have told me that you or someone else is in danger. In that case, I may need to speak to a third party (for instance your GP), though if this is the case I will tell you before doing so.

Why might people come to counselling?

There are many possible reasons, but I will mention a few of the more common. It may be that you are in a crisis and you want some support, or that you have had a long-standing yet manageable level of difficulty which you are fed up with. It may be that you want clarity on a certain issue, for instance you would like to know why you become so anxious or so angry in a certain situation, so that you can work towards changing this. It may be that you want to address a particular pattern of behaviour, for example because you seem to keep getting into relationships with people who are not good for you. It may be because you want to work something out, for instance “am I in the right career?” or “is this person right for me?” Or that you simply want to understand yourself better. For a list of some the more specific issues I am experienced in working with, see here.

How often do I need to come to counselling?

In most cases, I will see people once per week, and at the same time and location each week. This sense of regularity is quite important in terms of maintaining a safe and consistent environment for the work to take place.

How long does counselling take to work?

It really depends on both what your difficulties are, and what your aims are in coming to counselling. Whilst we can discuss this more in our initial consultation, it is always difficult to answer this question. Sometimes progress is made quicker than expected, and at other times counselling opens up new issues which you might then want to continue working on.

Can you prescribe me medication?

No. A GP or psychiatrist is required in the UK to prescribe medication. However, we can discuss whether or not it might be a good idea for you to see another professional who can prescribe you medication, if that is something you are interested in exploring.

Do you set ‘homework’?

No. This is more the realm of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which is more structured around giving exercises, advice and practical coping methods to the client.

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