New to talking therapies?
If you are looking here, there must be a fairly strong reason to look for this kind of support and so I imagine that you are struggling with conflicting feelings. 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.
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
Our first session, in my view, would be an opportunity for both of us to interview each other! I will want to get to know you and hear what you want from the work. For your part I would expect you to be checking out whether you feel I am going to be able to help you. You can ask any questions you like in order to get a feel for this. In a broad sense I feel that what we are doing is working out if we are on the same page in terms of what we are trying to achieve.
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 counseling 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?
We can work with just about anything you’d like to bring. I am able to work with 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. If I feel that something is beyond my safe capacity to work with, it is part of my ethical commitment to say that this is the case. This may be a difficult situation to deal with and my focus would be on helping you to understand that I have limitations and difficulties and to help you to find someone who is better able to help you move forward.
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 (though of course this is not always the case) and Psychotherapy tends to work in the longer term and because of that has more space to explore underlying issues.
Often it can be difficult to know how long the process will take, and it may be that as you discover more about yourself you may want to continue further exploration into areas that at first you didn’t imagine. But as always this is in your control.
My Qualifications and Training
I am an Accredited member of the National Counselling Society (MNCS Accred). 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 am also in the advanced stages of training on a Post Graduate (Advanced) Gestalt Diploma in Psychotherapy. I am studying with the Welsh Psychotherapy Partnership leading to registration with the UKCP. 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.
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 1.6.2020) working online on Tuesdays and in Exeter on Wednesdays. Other times are due to be available in the near future as the Lockdown situation unfolds. 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 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 work as part of my college’s Affordable Therapy Service. This service aims to provide high quality psychotherapy at relatively low cost from therapist who are in training towards UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy)registration. It means that I am overseen by my college and I am in regular supervision at a frequency related to the number of clients that I see as stipulated by my college. The fees I charge are also limited by the service.
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