We can arrange our first meeting by phone or email, whatever forum is most comfortable for you. Our first session together is a half price 50 mins (at a cost of £25), for an assessment, because you need to feel comfortable with me as your counsellor. You tell me your difficulty, and we work out whether therapy is right for you. You can ask anything you need to about how counselling can help you and, should you decide to continue, after that, it’s entirely your decision how long you stay in therapy. I will always follow your lead. I work a lot though Skype or FaceTime if that suits you as I recognise the emotional, physical and work demands of many lives is such that meeting face to face is not always a practical option. In this I have clients both nationally and internationally.
Will we meet at the same time each week?
It is preferable to meet at a set time each week but this might not always possible for you. So we can be flexible and arrange the next week’s appointment at the end of each session if this suits you better. I see people in the daytime and the evenings (9am – 7pm), Monday to Thursday.
I'm worried about what to say at the beginning
I have no expectations of you and what you should or shouldn’t be saying. If you are worried about what to say and how to say it, we will explore what’s difficult for you. It might be because your difficulty is making you anxious, or it might be something deeper, and we explore what’s underneath. If you are silent, we look at what the silence means and what you are experiencing in the silence. While I am not here to offer advice, I can also give practical strategies to help you explore and manage challenging issues. It’s your space to be however you feel you need to be, and this often changes from week to week depending on what is happening for you at the time.
Is it confidential?
I work to the highest standards of professional ethics, and this includes an absolute commitment to confidentiality. Everything will stay between us except for certain specific circumstances which I will explain to you. These limitations to confidentiality will be if I feel you or anyone in your life is at risk of harm; an issue is disclosed that I am legally obliged to report; or if I am subpoenaed.
Does a therapist give advice?
Therapy is not for giving advice as I believe you are your own best expert, but I will work with you to help you empower yourself and find solutions to whatever might be worrying you. I might interpret what is happening for you or notice patterns for example, but I will always be sensitive to you and what it is that you feel comfortable discussing or processing. In certain specialised areas such as addictions, we do work with set strategies and clear actions alongside deeper psychotherapy. I also provide practical help when necessary, eg. how to manage anxiety with tools and techniques.
How long does it take?
This is very variable and depends on the individual. Some people take as much benefit as they want from, say, twelve sessions, while others choose to be in therapy for a number of months or even years. Clients may decide they no longer need counselling and return down the line as necessary, as our emotional well-being fluctuates just as our physical health might. It is entirely your choice and you never need to worry should you wish to end therapy as I will always follow your lead.
How does couples therapy work?
I use the word ‘couples’ to mean more than one person coming for therapy at the same time, as you may be having difficulties in any type of relationship, such as with your partner, a child, another family member or a friend. My role is to facilitate a respectful, safe space for you both to express yourselves freely, and also to be fully heard without interruptions or accusations. As your therapist I am not on one person’s ‘side.’ I am there for your relationship, and therefore support you both. The aim is for each partner to feel secure enough to say what is on their minds without feeling judged. I will try and help you to identify and work towards resolving struggles and problems.
I am not based in Bournemouth, but would still like to make use of your services. Do you offer online counselling?
Yes. Online counselling via Skype or FaceTime can be arranged. This is also an option if you are not able to travel to my consulting room owing to ill-health etc. To learn more about how this works see: Online Counselling.
Do you have disabled accessibility?
Yes, the path from the road is flat and this continues through to my consulting space. Clients in wheelchairs or mobility scooters easily access this via a ramp up one step. However, the toilet is not equipped for disabled access.
Are you an affiliate of any Employee Assisted Programs so that I could access therapy with you through the workplace, therefore at no cost to me?
Yes, I am affiliated to BUPA, AXA PPP Healthcare, LifeWorks, Cruse Victim’s Support, PamAssist & RedArc. You would approach them for counselling and request me as your therapist. Usually 4-6 sessions will be authorised.