Frequently Asked Questions

How can counselling or psychotherapy help?

Counselling and psychotherapy helps you build resources within yourself to approach difficulties in your life. Often the origin of our difficulties is in the past but the link may not be obvious. Therapy can help you make connections between your past and your present. With the help of your therapist who is trained to pay attention to your inner world of thoughts, feelings, and ways you respond to stress, you are gradually able to gain greater insight into yourself. This insight can in turn become a powerful resource as instead of feeling stuck in old patterns of being, you can have more ownership and choice in the way you live your life.

What if I am not sure what my problem is, or I don’t know how to start?

It is normal for most people to feel lost and overwhelmed at some point in their lives. You can talk with your therapist about anything troubling you, however large or small you think the problem is. It may be that you do not have a specific concern but an underlying feeling of unhappiness or that something is not right. Your therapist will work sensitively alongside you to help you gain insight into your situation.

What happens in a session?

When you meet your therapist, they will introduce themselves but will not talk about themselves. This is to give you time and space to use your session in whichever way may be most helpful.
Regular sessions differ from the assessment session. In a regular session your therapist will not ask as many questions, nor will they be writing notes.
Some people may 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.

How many sessions do I need?

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

How long is a session?

Sessions are usually once a week and last for 50 minutes.  Your therapist may suggest more frequent meetings if it is appropriate.

I am interested, what do I do?

To find our more about our service or to make an appointment, please ring ACPS on 0117 930 4447.  If we are not able to take your call, please leave a message and we will contact you as soon as we can. Alternatively you can email us using the contact form on the right hand side of this page.

What happens when I contact ACPS?

When you contact ACPS for the first time, we will take some details and offer you an appointment for an initial meeting. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to explore your reasons for getting in touch, and to clarify whether and how therapy can help you. This meeting lasts for 50 minutes, and there is a fee for this meeting.
If therapy is appropriate for you, we will then make every effort to match you with one of our therapists who best suits your needs.

How long will I have to wait?

We try to make an appointment for you to have an initial meeting with one our therapists within 1-2 weeks of your phone call. We will try and see you as quickly as we can, but at times of great demand, there may be a delay before we can offer regular therapy sessions.

Is the service 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 your therapist might consider breaking confidentiality is if there is a serious risk of harm to you or others, or in very rare cases where required by law to do so. Wherever possible, your therapist would always discuss this with you first.

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.

Does ACPS have wheelchair access?

Some of our consulting rooms in Bristol are on the ground floor and have wheelchair access. Please telephone us if you do have special requirements so that we can make arrangements to suit your needs.