The initial consultation appointment provides the opportunity to discuss your current situation and past experiences and the influence they may have on your wellbeing. We will also consider any specific issues that have prompted you to seek help. If we decide to carry on with further sessions we will work together to form an approach that will support you towards the changes you would like to achieve.
Many people prefer to have sessions online for the convenience of having therapy at home or to fit in with work commitments and to save travel. In my experience online counselling can work equally as well as ‘in person’ counselling for those who would prefer it.
An initial consultation provides the opportunity to discuss whether a limited number of sessions or open-ended therapy would be helpful depending on individual needs. Some people come with specific difficulties of a recent nature and are helped with time-limited focused counselling. Others may have emotional difficulties and situations that have troubled them for some time or which may be confusing and longer-term therapy may be appropriate.
Counselling sessions are usually once weekly and psychotherapy sessions may be once weekly or more frequent depending on individual need. Wherever possible I reserve a regular appointment space for your session as this provides consistency and continuity which is an important aspect of the therapy process.
Both counselling and psychotherapy aim to help people who are experiencing emotional and psychological distress to develop greater understanding of their difficulties, to make desired changes and to have more freedom to make creative choices in their lives. Both forms of therapy are based on a trusting relationship between the therapist and client and value regular sessions to provide consistent support and continuity.
One of the main differences is that in counselling the focus is more likely to be on current problems that are fairly recent. Sometimes in time-limited counselling, the emphasis may be on a particular difficulty. Psychotherapy is useful for longer-term problems, often involving established patterns of responses that may stem from the past, or childhood experiences. Psychotherapy may also be chosen for difficulties that are not clearly defined and sessions may be weekly or more frequent to provide the extra time and support required to work on a deeper level or when a gradual process may be helpful.
Psychodynamic and Attachment Therapy Approaches take the view that emotional difficulties stem from unresolved experiences and internal conflicts. This approach to therapy aims to provide the time and space to talk as openly as possible about current difficulties, memories, dreams and past experiences. It can help develop understanding of the connections between previous experiences and present difficulties and to gain awareness of emotional and behavioural patterns that may no longer be helpful. Often these patterns may be outside of our awareness and the therapy can help to bring them into consciousness and provide the opportunity for different choices.
This approach can bring increased freedom to choose how we respond to ourselves, in relationships and to events in our lives. Regular sessions are valued as they provide continuity and the consistent support needed to develop trust and a commitment to working together. The therapy can enable internal patterns to be modified and changed leading to a stronger sense of self and to make long-lasting changes that may be desired.
Cognitive Approaches to Therapy
Cognitive Approaches to Therapy are based on the concept that when people have unhelpful and unrealistic ways of thinking, it can have a negative effect on feelings and behaviour.
It works by helping us to address negative automatic thoughts that we may not be aware of, that are based on faulty thinking patterns and beliefs. The aim is to develop more realistic and helpful ways of thinking and a gradual move towards trying out new behaviours. This can bring relief from unwanted or excessive emotions and physical affects as well as the opportunity to develop more realistic expectations and helpful responses to life experiences.