What to expect when you come

Many people talk to us over the phone (01202763836) before setting up a therapy session.  Our administrator will discuss your condition and whether it is something I can help with, set up appointments, explain how to get to our office, and discuss how payments are made, whether by medical insurance or privately.  A referral letter from your GP is helpful and allows us to communicate what is happening to them, allowing a more coordinated treatment.  Some people, though, do not want to involve their GP.

If you are covered by medical insurance you would need to contact the insurance company before the first session to let them know you have arranged to see me and whether they will cover the treatment.  If they do, they will provide you with an authorisation number, which you would need to give me along with your membership number and contact information for the medical insurance company.

My office is based in a house in Talbot Woods, which is a quiet setting, and it is easy to find parking outside the house.  Just walk up the drive and ring the bell and I’ll meet you and take you to the counselling room, which is spacious, comfortable and does not feel at all clinical.  After introductions and an offer of tea or coffee we will start our session.

The first session can be regarded as an assessment session.  The aim is for me to understand your problem and what help you are looking for.  You needn’t prepare too much in advance – we will chat and I will ask you questions to try to identify problems, issues and symptoms.  During the first session I will probably give you some psychometric assessment questionnaires to fill in to help pinpoint problems more accurately.  This first session is usually longer than subsequent sessions, maybe 1hr 20mins.

At the end of the session I will explain how I see the problem with any diagnosis, and explain what I can do to help you.  We would make a preliminary treatment plan together, and I would explain what the therapy involves and how long it would take, and we would arrange a time for the next session.  If I don’t think I can help you personally I would tell you at this point, or if you don’t want to pursue therapy any further we would not make any further appointments.

If you are paying privately, you can either pay at the end of each session, or we could send you an invoice if you prefer.

The interval between sessions is decided by both of us at the end of each session – it is usually fortnightly at first, depending on both of our schedules, but the intervals tend to get longer towards the latter half of therapy.

We may agree ‘homework’ assignments between sessions, which puts into practice some of the ideas that have emerged from the sessions.

The therapeutic approach I use might be called Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy.  Cognitive Behavioural treatments rely on practical changes in current thinking and behaviour, whereas Psychotherapy tries to help people explore and understand some of the root causes of their problems.

My approach is a combination of both, judging what is most appropriate at the time.  I believe I have developed a skilled synthesis of both approaches from my training and experience over many years in different health settings.