Frequently Asked Questions about Therapy

I've got lots of friends whom I can speak to, why will a therapist be different?

Talking to friends and loved ones can be very supportive, and it’s great if your problems are sorted out in this way, but sometimes it is difficult for the people we know well to be objective and honest because of their feelings for us and for their roles in our lives. You may be reluctant to share certain aspects of your life with them or you may be concerned about overwhelming them with your problems. Furthermore, our family and friends cannot recognise the type or seriousness of a psychological problem nor the best way to help us cope with it. Talking to a trained professional can provide the outside perspective you need to understand where you are stuck and how to take steps to get better.

I thought only "crazy" people went to counselling and therapy.

Many people come to therapy, including those who do not have a mental illness. Everyone has problems at one time or another and sometimes it can come to a point when you are not able to find a solution to your problem on your own. Not being able to find a solution to one’s problems does not mean you are “crazy”. It means you are human.

What should I expect when I go to see a therapist?

You can expect your therapist to listen to your experiences and ask you pertinent questions about your life. Your therapist will probably ask you some questions about your background, including your family and your relationships with others. The therapist will also ask what you hope to get out of therapy or what your goals are. Most people come to therapy once per week for 50/60 minutes.

Therapists are individuals, so their style will vary from person to person. However there are some things that you can expect from every therapist. Firstly, there will be an assessment session where you can get a feel for the therapist and the therapist can get a feel for you to see if there is mutuality in working together. There is then a further assessment phase. When the assessment phase is complete, your therapist should have a good understanding of your problems and what may be causing them. He or she will help you develop an understanding of how you can resolve these problems, and will come up with a plan for how the two of you might work together (that is, a treatment plan). The length of the treatment plan will depend on the complexity of your concerns.

What are my rights as a client?

You have every right to expect your therapist to display respect for you and to convey this respect by keeping appointments as scheduled, by contacting you if scheduling changes are necessary and by giving their complete attention to you during therapy sessions.

At any point during therapy, you are encouraged to ask questions regarding your therapist’s qualifications, training, experience, specialisation areas, limitations and personal values. You should receive thoughtful and respectful answers.

Since your needs are primary to your treatment, you are encouraged to negotiate therapeutic goals and renegotiate them whenever you wish. You are further encouraged to ask questions regarding the therapy process, specific treatment methods, therapy fees, methods of payment and estimated length of treatment.

You may refuse any intervention or treatment strategy suggested by your therapist and you may refuse to answer any questions.

Within the limits of published ethical standards and the law, information you reveal to your therapist will be maintained as confidential and will not be communicated to another person or agency without your written permission. The rare legal limits to confidentiality will be clearly described at your assessment session.

How do I make the initial contact with a therapist?

When you phone or e-mail a therapist, you can say a little about what area your difficulties lie in and ask whether the therapist can work with you. You can then set up an initial assessment where you can get a feel for the therapist and the therapist can get a feel for you to see if there is mutuality in working together.

How much will it cost?

The cost of therapy sessions vary from around £30 per session upwards. Some therapists offer a free assessment session. There are organisations around the UK that offer [Free Services], but these are often subject to a waiting list in most case

What do therapist’s qualifications mean?

Certificate – normally one year of training

Diploma / MA / BSc – normally a four year training course with around 250 to 450 supervised client hours

UKCP (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy), BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy) BPC (British Psychoanalytical Council), BMA (British Medical Association) registered – Post-qualification registration with monitored continual professional development, a set minimum amount of supervised client work a year, an ethical framework within which to work and disciplinary procedures. You would normally need to be registered to work in Government agencies.

Senior Trainee – has or is nearing completion of a four year training course and is working towards qualification