Frequently Asked Questions

 1. What is therapy?

Therapy provides an opportunity to talk in confidence to someone who has the skills and experience to listen carefully and to respond in depth. An aim of therapy is to assist you to make the changes which you feel would benefit you. This may involve finding a clearer understanding of what led to the problem in the first place. Often the origin of a problem is in the past, but the link may not be obvious. Therapy can help you to make the connections between past and present. Insight gained will in turn allow you a greater freedom of thought and action. Your therapist will not advise you or tell you what to do, but will be alongside to help you to make sense of your difficulties in a safe and accepting environment.

 2. What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy have many things in common. Counselling often addresses current issues that seem to have a particular focus and may be short term. In psychotherapy, you can more fully explore deeper underlying patterns and feelings concerning long standing issues that often go back to childhood. Psychotherapy is usually longer term; you decide with your therapist on the duration.

 3. Which concerns are suitable for counselling or psychotherapy?

There are times in most peoples’ lives when they feel unable to cope. It is not unusual to feel depressed, anxious or alone at some stage. You can talk with the counsellor or psychotherapist about anything bothering you, however large or small you think the problem is. Experience shows that it is often best to catch a difficulty early, before it has a chance to grow. But therapy can help even if you have reached crisis point and everything seems impossible. Many people find there are things they can’t discuss with family or friends. Your therapist will not be judgemental or shocked by what you say. He/she won’t trivialise what is important to you. Your concern may be about something that happened years ago. Or you may need to talk about a particular problem in your current life. You may not even have a specific problem to bring but rather underlying feelings of unhappiness or confusion.

 4. What is the procedure in a session?

When you meet your therapist, he/she will introduce him/herself but will not talk about him/herself. This is to give you time and space to use your session in whichever way you want.

Regular sessions differ from the assessment session. In a regular session the therapist will not ask as many questions, nor will they be writing notes.

Some people find the early stages of therapy uncomfortable as they are unsure what is expected of them or how to use the time since the therapist is not setting out an agenda. It is a good idea to let your therapist know if this happens as the communication of how you feel is an important aspect of the work.

 5. Is counselling confidential?

Your therapist will not give information to anyone else without your permission apart from their professional supervisors who are bound by the same confidentiality. Otherwise, the only reason a therapist might consider breaking confidentiality is if there is a serious risk of harm to you or others, or in the very rare cases where required by law to do so. In these instances, a therapist normally discuss possible disclosure with you first.

 6. How long is therapy?

Sometimes it is for a time-limited period which is agreed at the outset – for example 8 or 12 sessions. Or, you may not be clear about how long you need to be in therapy and sessions are then open-ended. You can talk to your therapist during your therapy to review how things are going. The ending of therapy is an important part of the process and should be planned by you and your therapist together.

 7. How long is a session?

Sessions are usually once a week and last for 50 minutes.  A therapist may suggest more frequent meetings if this is considered appropriate. The appointment must end on time even if you are late. If you are delayed, however, we still suggest that you attend your appointment.