I understand that if you have never been for counselling before it can be overwhelming to reach out. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions I get asked about counselling to help you get an idea of what’s involved.
If there’s anything not answered here please Contact me
Do I need to come every week?
For most people at the beginning of therapy it’s useful to attend weekly.
This is because when you are going through a difficult period it can be helpful to know you have a session coming up soon where you can get support and check in.
For some people though weekly sessions are not possible – for example due to working shifts or financial reasons. Other people like to have time between sessions to “process” what we worked on and in that case we could meet fortnightly or monthly.
Many people start attending weekly and as they begin to feel better they increase the time between sessions – that’s completely fine. I am flexible and will work with you on this.
Do I have to talk about my past trauma?
I know it can be really distressing to “go back” to a past trauma and talk about it.
Some people find it really healing and helpful to talk about it in a safe space and find it helps them to let it go.
Others don’t want to go there and that’s OK too.
I use CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is very focused in the here and now and doesn’t require going back to the past to help healing.
I also use Person Centred counselling which does involve an exploration of your past and some people find it really useful to talk about significant events in their life and how it has shaped them.
There is no right or wrong – you choose what works well for you. I would never push or force you to discuss or think about something that you don’t want to or don’t feel ready to.
Is everything confidential?
Yes – everything you tell me is confidential except in a few rare circumstances
- safeguarding – if there was serious risk of harm to you or to another person (especially a child or vulnerable adult) then I might need to break confidentiality to protect the person at risk.
- criminal activity – if you disclosed details of a serious crime such as people or drug trafficking or terrorism.
- if required by law – if a criminal case was ongoing and a court ordered me to produce your notes.
I also have monthly supervision (all counsellors do this) where I talk about how I am working with my clients – this is to check I am supporting clients in the best way possible.
What training and experience do you have?
This is a really good question – and I don’t think I get asked this enough!
Unfortunately the counselling profession is not legally regulated and it would be completely legal (though not ethical) for a person to read a couple of books and then say they are a therapist and start working with mental health. I have seen many online courses that claim to qualify you as a counsellor without ever seeing a client as part of the training,
To protect yourself I would suggest ensuring your therapist is a member of a body such as BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), NCS (National Counselling Society) or UKCP (UK council for psychotherapy) as all these organisations ensure their members have undergone a minimum training requirement,
I am a member of the BACP – and you can check this by searching their register.
I have a degree in Psychology and have completed a 4 year part time diploma in counselling which involved 100 hours of supervised clinical practice. This was followed by an additional diploma in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).
I continue to do regular counselling development courses and meet monthly with a supervisor to discuss my workload and to ensure I am working safely with all my clients.
Can you help my issue?
The reasons people come to counselling are really varied and counsellors can’t possibly have expertise in everything that clients bring to therapy.
Because of that sometimes a client brings something to therapy that we don’t feel able to work with. That’s not because the client is “broken” or past help – just because we don’t have a good understanding of that issue.
Sometimes a client needs help from another source as well as counselling. For example they might see a doctor for some medication to help with their symptoms as well as attend counselling. Other people need practical specialist advice on things like debt or legal issues which again would not be within the scope of a counsellor.
If during our sessions I felt I was unable to help you with your issue or that you needed addtional support – I would talk about this with you and work together to find the best way to achieve this.
I offer a free 20 minute phone consultation where we can have a chat and check out if I am the right person to help – if I am not I will do my best to help you find the right person.
How many sessions do I need to have?
This is really individual!
As a really general guide I would say 6-8. However some people have more, some less. There is no minimum commitment – you are always free to end counselling at any time.
As part of the counselling process we do regular reviews – this looks back over what your goals were at the start of therapy and how you feel you have progressed.
Sometimes your goals change or you add new ones – that’s normal!
Some people come for a period of time and take a break then come back again if they want to work on something else.
Do I need a referral to come for counselling?
No – you can book a counselling session directly with me. You don’t need to be referred and your doctor will not be informed that you are attending.
My employer has sent me for counselling - is it still confidential?
I work alongside businesses to help them support their staff.
If your employer has sent you for counselling then yes what we discuss in sessions is still confidential. I will of course invoice your employer for the sessions so they will know the dates you attended and if any sessions were missed.
I would provide a brief update to the employer about the therapy but this would be a brief summary about your progress and not the content of the sessions. You would always be able to see any updates I sent to your employer.