If you've never been for therapy before, it can seem like a daunting step into the unknown.
Don't worry, we don't bite. More importantly, we don't judge.
The first step is to get in touch.
We can chat on the phone or in person, and then if what I'm offering seems like a good match with what you're looking for, we can move on to assessment and therapy.
We'll then conduct a formal assessment. Again, don't worry! An assessment is really just a conversation in which we talk about what brings you to therapy. You don't need to unburden your deepest secrets (although there's nothing wrong with that, if that's what you need), just let me know what’s bothering you, and what you'd like to get out of therapy. I normally conduct assessments face to face, but I can also do them over the telephone or over Skype (we can even do therapy over Skype if we can't meet in person).
In the assessment session (or before), you'll also be able to ask me any questions you might have about how I work, and any concerns you might have about therapy.
I'll also give you some questionnaires. These are not compulsory, but they can help us identify difficulties and track your progress.
After we’ve completed the assessment, which normally takes a single session (but can sometimes take more), we’ll identify some joint goals for therapy, and agree a provisional number of sessions.
Now’s perhaps a good time to say a little more about CBT/ACT. Cognitive therapies are deliberately focussed and time limited. Generally joint goals are set, and progress towards these goals is regularly monitored. This is not to say that therapy can’t be flexible! Goals can be adjusted and new goals added as we discover more, and you perhaps want to explore other issues.
Therapy normally consists of weekly one-hour sessions, but again this can be flexible. It’s possible to have more than one session per week, or to spread them out fortnightly. This depends not only on what is convenient, but what might be most effective. The number of sessions depends very much on what you bring to therapy. Generally we might be looking at anything from 3 sessions to 30, with most courses of therapy being about 12 sessions.
During therapy, we’ll generally develop a shared ‘formulation’, which is basically a way of understanding the difficulties that you face and thus understanding how to move forwards. We’ll work with this throughout therapy.
Finally, we’ll bring therapy to an end. We’ll recap the work that we’ve done and I’ll generally produce a summary of the sessions. Hopefully you’ll leave therapy with a greater understanding of your difficulties and their solutions, equipped with a new set of tools for living your life well.