New to talking therapies?
In this section I will aim to describe how my counselling and psychotherapy sessions work as far as I see it, and answer some obvious questions, with the intention of debunking some of the mystique and helping you to relax about the process.
A Safe Space
Most therapy websites use the phrase ‘ a safe space’, which can seem a bit of a cliche. However, often just having the space to talk about what is going on inside you can be hugely liberating and transformative. Particularly in the beginning it is often the case that people feel ‘like a pressure cooker with the heat turned high’. I have found in my own therapy that just being able to talk about my experiences and explore them with someone else can bring great relief. I have also found that it helps a LOT if the person you are talking with is not responding in a judgemental way and is genuinely interested in your well-being.
How long are the sessions?
Sessions last 50 minutes from the agreed time. If you are late for a session it will still end at the set time.
The initial session
In this meeting we can discuss the changes that you want and see if I am the right kind of therapist that you need, and whether you have the necessary time and energy to give to the process. I won’t pretend that it isn’t tough or demanding work. I believe that it is both these things, but I also believe deeply that it is worth the effort many times over.
What happens next?
After the first session you may get a sense that this feels right and be clear that you want to continue, or you may want to go away and think about it before committing. On beginning the work we would set up a regular meeting time (usually weekly) and agree to meet for a block of at least 6 sessions before reviewing. The suggested 6 sessions is because it can take a little time to settle in to the practice of regular psychotherapy or counselling and I feel it is really important that the client has some commitment to going through the initial difficulties that may arise.
How long does the process take?
This can be anything from a few sessions (often changes can start to be seen or felt within 2-6 sessions) to a few years. It all depends on what you want from the work and how complex the issues are. What I usually suggest is that we review our progress after the first 6 sessions and thereafter review regularly to make sure the work is going as you would like and if you would like to continue. The work is always your work – it is in your hands whether to stay or to go, and if it ever feels like you don’t have a choice in what is going on between you and your therapist then I suggest something is not quite right. The work requires a lot of trust but the trust of the client has to be earned by the therapist and should never be taken for granted.
What issues can we work with?
I am work with many issues: anxiety; depression; grief; relationship difficulties; some sexual issues; anger – often a big issue for men; confidence issues. You may not know what your ‘issues’ are but just know that you are struggling to come to terms with something – perhaps a major life event.
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?
There is a lot of overlap between the two disciplines and some argue that there is not really any difference at all. My sense of it is that it is a question of time or depth – that Counselling tends to be shorter term, focussing around a particular issue, while Psychotherapy tends to work in the longer term and is more focussed on general well-being or underlying issues.
My Qualifications and Training
I am qualified psychotherapist (Dip.Psych) with the Welsh Psychotherapy Institute, and an Accredited member of the National Counselling Society (MNCS Accred). I adhere to the aims and values of the W.P.P. and the ethical principles of the UKCP as well as being a trainee member of the UKCP. The NCS is part of the Accredited Register Programme set up by the Department of Health and overseen by the Proffessional Standards Authority. CLick the video below for more information.
I have been a boy’s mentoring group leader and have been involved in men’s groups over many years, giving me insights into men’s issues, particularly around power, self worth and sexuality.
For over 20 years I have studied and practiced in spiritual traditions including Tantra and Advaita(Non-Duality), which have given me a perspective on the whole human being that includes our essence as pure consciousness.
How to get started
I am currently (as of Feb 2021) working online on Tuesdays in Exeter and Wednesdays in Crediton, with some online appointments also available on these days. Please get in touch about times that are suitable.
If you would like more information or are interested in setting up an initial meeting please feel free to email or text or give me a call for an informal chat. There is no fee or obligation – I will welcome the opportunity to talk and find out what you need and if I can help.
I will respond to messages and am available for calls between 9.00am-6.00pm Monday to Friday. I may not respond to messages immediately but will respond as soon as time allows.
I aim to keep my services available to those on low incomes, and have assigned two of my spaces as bursary spaces, to be offered on a first come first serve basis. Please ask about these if you are interested. The fees I charge I believe are reasonable and reflect my ethos of affordability.
Fears and Taboos about Talking Therapy
I believe that there is something of a taboo around talking therapies. Somehow this practice is seen as something that makes you ‘less-than’ or ‘weak’ in some way. Yet I believe we are all fragmented and wounded in some way. There is, I believe, an idea that we need to hide that or feel shame about our broken-ness. I find this a very strange and harmful way of seeing ourselves. In my experience though, people who undertake this path often have an unusually high degree of courage. They are exploring things that many people would not dream of doing. It may be they feel that their suffering leaves them no choice, but on a profound level I see individuals moving on a journey with huge bravery and endeavour.
Quote on header image: Les Brown – inspirational speaker