Frequently Asked Questions
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What is psychological therapy?
Psychological therapy for adults is a strictly confidential service that aims to provide professional therapeutic support for various emotional difficulties or mental health issues. It gives you an opportunity to focus on your difficulties as you see them, in a safe, therapeutic and non-judgmental way, with the goal of improving your wellbeing. Therapy is collaboratively around what would be most helpful for you, that being short-term practical psychological strategies when a little extra support is needed, or more in-depth psychotherapy when issues are deeply rooted and are impacting the present and leading to moderate or severe psychological distress.
The effectiveness of psychological therapy has been studied extensively. Current neuropsychology research, suggests that success achieved through therapy, is due to the ability of the brain to attune and adapt thanks to various neuroplastic processes. Therapy in general aims to enhance ones self-reflective abilities and gently supports individuals to stimulate the desired by them changes. This is done by maintaining open communication.
What to expect from my first therapy session?
Your initial therapy session provides the opportunity to discuss your situation with your therapist and to mutually decide what might help. Often, clients find this initial step intimidating and uncomfortable. Remember, your therapist is not there to judge but to help and will try to put you at ease. In the first session, your therapist will ask you a few questions about your situation and tell you a bit more about how they work and what to expect from the sessions. You can start by sharing as much as you feel comfortable sharing. You will be surprised how quickly time flies in the initial session.
How long is a therapy session?
Each psychological therapy session lasts 50 minutes. Longer or shorted sessions can be arranged if that is agreed between you and your therapist.
What if I cannot attend my appointment?
If something comes up and you cannot attend an agreed appointment, please remain respectful of your therapist’s and other clients' time and inform at least 24 hours prior to your session. This time slot can be offered to someone else that is waiting and has not been fitted into the weekly schedule. Any cancelations made post the 24 hours window are to be fully paid for.
What can psychological therapy help with?
Psychological therapy can prove beneficial for a broad range of issues, some of the most common reasons people seek therapy are described here – bearing in mind that this is not a full list and some problems can overlap and co-occur:
· Low mood and depression - It may be that you have been feeling down and tearful for some time, or struggle with a depressive mood for an extended period and feel unable to face the day or to complete simple tasks
· Low self-esteem - There may be a negative sense of yourself, your worth and your own abilities
· Existential dilemma - You may wish to explore your past and the impact it has on you in the present, or a difficult life transition.
· Anxiety, nervousness and worry - You may find yourself fearful and worrying constantly about life in general, the future or how others perceive you.
· Bereavement or a separation - You may have lost someone close to you and finding it hard to move forward or to find meaning again.
· Specific phobias - A phobia that has developed is interfering with you being able to live life to the full and is causing you distress and extreme anxiety.
· Panic attacks – You may have recurring and regular panic attacks, often for no apparent reason.
· Obsessive- compulsive behaviours or thoughts - You may be concerned by recurrent and persistent thoughts, images or impulses that cause anxiety and a drive towards compulsive, ritualistic behaviours or thoughts.
· Disordered eating - A variety of abnormal eating behaviors such as restrictive dieting, compulsive eating or skipping meals.
· Self-harm - You might be caught in a cycle of self-harm that is causing significant worry to those around you and creating a sense of being stuck and unable to move forward.
· Stress and burn-out - There may be a general sense of not coping well, whether at University, work, at home, as a parent or partner.
· Relational issues - There are issues within your relationship or family that you would like to understand better.
· Health condition - You or a loved one may have received a mental or physical health diagnosis and you would like to make sense of this for yourself.
Do I need to get a referral from my GP or other health professional to see someone?
Psychological therapy can be on self-referral basis, so you do not need a medical referral for it. However, referrals from your GP or other medical professional are often received and are acceptable. Communication regarding your mental health status with your medical doctor can be maintained if necessary.
What language is being used?
English is the main language used for the psychological sessions as well as for all written communication. However, if a client feels that they need to bring in an interpreter to help them with their language of origin this can be arranged.
What if my problem is 'not that bad' for therapy?
People often think that their experience does not qualify as ‘bad enough’ for therapy. However, individual experiences are unique and have a very subjective impact on every person. Emotional problems are meaningful if they disturb ones’ wellbeing and day to day functioning. Apart from resolving certain issues, therapy also stimulates personal growth through understanding of own thinking and behaviour so there is no such thing as 'not that bad'.
Are the appointments at flexible times and how often do I need to attend?
There are daytime and afternoon appointments to suit individual schedules. Please state your preference when you get in touch. Weekly and fortnightly appointments are often available and suitable for individuals. Research shows that regular weekly commitment to therapy produces best outcomes, therefore new clients are recommended to attend once a week to start with, unless agreed otherwise.
Should I worry about confidentiality?
Confidentiality is very important in psychological practice. Clients need to feel assured that all sessions will be conducted in confidence and this will be maintained and applied to all records in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998). The only exceptions are: if you direct your therapist (with written consent) to inform someone else, if it is determined that you, or someone else (eg. a child or a partner) is at risk of harm, or if it is a legal requirement and your therapist is summoned to do so (eg. to a court of law). Wherever possible, they will consult with you before breaching confidentiality and discuss this with you first of all.
How long does psychotherapy take?
How long psychotherapy takes depends on several individual factors: the type of problem or disorder, the client’s personal characteristics and history, their level of motivation, goals, as well as what's going on in the client’s life at the moment. Most people find benefit after a few sessions, especially if they’re working on a single, well-defined problem and didn’t wait too long before seeking help. Other people may need ongoing psychotherapy or experience situations that require longer term therapy, sometimes years. They may experience multiple problems or deeply rooted beliefs. Regular sessions can provide the support they need to maintain their day-to-day functioning. It's important to think of psychotherapy as a process rather than a quick fix and to give it a chance to work. Some continue psychotherapy even after they solve the problems that brought them there initially. They attend follow up sessions once a month as they wish to continue to experience new insights and to maintain improved well-being and functioning.
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