Where to start
The whole psychotherapy, counselling and psychology field can be very confusing if you are unfamiliar with how it all works and have no experience of seeking such help and don’t know where to start. Here are a few points to consider:
Are you ready for change?
A good psychotherapy relationship is one in which you can safely tell your truth – truths that may be uncomfortable to reveal, discuss and work with in other kinds of relationship. If you feel ambivalent about starting therapy, or feel a bit stuck or scared to look at difficult things this can also be a source of uncertainty when considering the therapeutic change process, and in these cases only you can decide whether you are ready and what you are willing to tackle. Now may not be the right time. Ask yourself how you will do if you just carry on as you are without help.
Strong motivation to engage, to accept help, to making a commitment to facing some discomfort in the service of personal growth, and to make a real effort to apply new learning each week are essential requirements if your work with any psychotherapist is to have any chance of success. If in doubt, an informal chat with a prospective therapist can often allay any fears, answer any queries, and help you be clear on your level of motivation without spending very much money.
Once you are clear that you are suitably motivated, start looking around at fees and get an idea of what costs might be involved.
- It’s useful to check around your area and compare fees, which can vary widely. However, fees should not be considered an indicator of quality or competence.
- Decide what your budget will allow. In terms of how much money you spend for your support and wellbeing needs, it can be useful to get therapy fees into perspective by, for example, considering the average hourly rates you might pay a plumber, mechanic or electrician, or what some people spend on a night out or a holiday. It’s up to you what value you give to therapeutic work in terms of your development as a human being.
- Compare session length offered: do fees reflect 50 or 60 minute sessions for example?
Choosing a Practitioner
- Look at the type of therapy offered but beware of any marketing hype that suggests one type of therapy is better than another. Remember, like any other field of endeavour, very often it is the individual practitioner’s talent, experience and skill that counts more than anything else.
- Look at the experience, qualifications and personality of the therapist and how they come across to you on a personal level
- Check out my blog post: On Choosing a Psychotherapist
- Know the differences between a psychotherapist, psychologist, counsellor, psychiatrist etc
- Look for any additional support a therapist might offer, like between-session support, home or location visits, or help in urgent circumstances
- Is the therapy process made clear to you before you start? Is there an assessment process and discussion about how therapy might proceed in your case?
I offer an initial meeting for a reduced fee of only £30 where we can meet informally to discuss things and clarify your direction, any uncertainty you might have and your level of motivation, with no obligation to divulge painful or difficult details and no pressure to continue beyond this first meeting. Confidentiality and privacy applies to any meetings we have.
During our first meeting you’re free to ask all the questions you like about the process, services offered and anything else that concerns you or may be helpful to you in getting the right help.
Visit my Blog
You can also get more information on what therapeutic work involves by visiting my Blog page, for example:
There are other posts covering depression and other topics and I usually add new posts once or twice a month.
I also offer an assessment-only service in which I can make a comprehensive assessment of your needs and offer recommendations to you on what types of therapies or support may be of most help in achieving your aims, with a summary analysis of what your presenting difficulties are and how they appear to work (referred to as a problem formulation) based on the information you have given me. Assessments can take anywhere between one and four sixty-minute sessions, with two sessions being average.
For a small additional fee (see Fees page) I offer detailed support plans tailored to your specific needs that outline all of the above plus discreet therapeutic tasks that could enable you to tackle each specific problem step by step.
Please go to the Appointments page if you would like to meet for an initial informal chat to discuss possibilities and options that might be available to you. It could save you a lot of time trying to figure out what to do on your own or finding out by trial and error.