How do we go about deciding if this is right for me?
We usually have a brief discussion by phone – then get together for an hour or so to see if I can be of help – and if I am the right person for you. If so, we make an agreement about how and to work.
Do I have to commit right away?
It is important to get the right therapist – and it can be good to meet two or three potential therapists before making a decision.
Rather than making a snap decision when we meet, I like people to go home and think about our meeting – and decide then whether to go ahead. All I ask is that you let me know in a reasonable time frame, so that I can plan my diary.
How often do I need to come?
Most people choose to come weekly – that way it becomes a regular part of the rhythm of your life, and allows you to view your current life – and your past – as a whole and as you live it.
Some people choose to attend twice a week or more; this is appropriate if you wish to work at depth on aspects of who you are. In this way of working, the therapy becomes a part of everyday life.
Attending less than weekly is possible; this offers a more supportive therapeutic experience than exploratory.
I hope that you will feel free to speak about anything and everything – though this is difficult and may take time. I hope you will be honest, even if that is difficult. Most people still keep secrets and that’s ok.
What about confidentiality?
What we speak about remains confidential to us. However, there are two exceptions, which are common to all psychotherapists and
– If there is a real risk that someone may harm themselves significantly, there is a duty of care to ensure that does not happen. In practice, nothing would be done without prior discussion;
– If there is any risk to others – particularly to children – there is a legal obligation to prevent that happening and to report abuse of children. Again, this would usually be discussed and, hopefully, a plan of action can be agreed.
What records do you keep?
I keep brief notes of attendance and of general content of what is explored in each session. These records are kept under lock and key and
Does my GP need to know?
It is common to ask details of a client’s GP; however, I do not communicate with GPs without permission – unless there is imminent risk to client or others.
There are things I’m ashamed of; I’m worried you will judge me.
Of course! This I perfectly natural. However, exploring the brokenness of people is my work – and that includes my own brokenness. It is not my job to judge, but to understand.
What about sexual issues?
Sexuality is part of all human beings and is expressed in many ways. All good sexuality and relationships are to be celebrated and supported. This does not, of course, ignore the fact that the acting out of some sexual preferences is damaging or illegal – for example, sexuality with
children. Whilst I am willing to explore the origins of these expressions, it can only be done in the context of the law and putting first the
protection of others.
What’s the down side of psychotherapy?
• First of all, psychotherapy can explore difficult experiences and uncover dark places – which can be painful. Revisiting painful memories can hurt.
• Secondly, people change – there would be little point in coming otherwise! Sometimes people fear they may change beyond recognition – but this doesn’t happen. Rather, at the end of therapy, people often feel they have become more fully the person they should have been.
A common experience is that people say, “I knew most of that about myself; I just didn’t know that I knew it!”
• Of course, if you change, others around are affected. They might not like how you change and might try to change you back. Or they find it hard to trust changes for the better.
What if it gets too hard?
Psychotherapy can be difficult at times. However it is my experience that clients and therapists usually manage to work at a level which the client can bear. If it becomes too difficult, it is possible to reduce the frequency of sessions or take a break. Very rarely, it may be better to draw the therapy to a close.
How much does it cost?
• My standard rate is £65 per session of 50 minutes.
• I offer a number of sessions at a reduced rate of £45.
• We can discuss rates for those who choose to come for therapy twice a week or more often.
How do I pay?
However your wish: by cash, cheque or BACS transfer. The taxman gets their share which ever way you pay!
What if I can’t attend?
• It is important that if either of us cannot attend, we give advance notice.
• Should a client cancel within 24 hours of the session, they will be expected to pay half the sessional rate.
Do you have disabled access?
Regrettably, access is not easy. It is possible to arrange for wheelchair access, but we do not have disabled toilet facilities.
How will I have to come?
• That depends – but it is important to keep all therapies under review.
• Some people come with a specific issue to explore – which can be done in a time-limited therapy of 3-6 months.
• Others will choose to look at long-standing difficulties, which might take time to explore and remedy. Typically this might take 9-18 months.
• Yet others will wish to explore in depth – or wish to see a therapist as a continual place for reflection; they may choose to come for many years.
How will I know when to end?
• Good question. Sometimes we agree to meet for a set period to work on a specific issue.
• Usually we would set a time for reviewing the therapy – say, after 3 months – and agree how long to go before further reviews – say six-monthly.
• People usually get to a stage where they are ‘talked out’ and reach a plateau. That can be a good time to stop.
I see you are a clergyman: Is this a religious therapy?
• Well spotted! I remain a Church of England clergyman and still practice. However, whilst I can reconcile both ways of understanding
the human condition, my practice as a psychotherapist is clearly separate from aspects of faith.
• I am, of course, willing to discuss issues of belief – but in terms of what that means to you and about you. Should you wish to explore and
further your faith, it is better done with an appropriate minister of religion.
• There is a positive side to me being clear about my view of the world: it means I can also be clearer about the biases within me – and so be aware not to let them cloud my attitude to the problems and difficulties of the client. My answers are mine – not yours!
• I am a Registered Psychotherapist with the “UK Council for Psychotherapy”, through the “Council for Psychoanalysis and Jungian Analysis”
College. I abide by the UKCP Code of Ethics and am subject to their Complaints Procedures.
• All psychotherapists take their work to supervision. My own supervisor is a highly experienced therapist who helps me to think afresh about my work. My supervisor does not have access to clients’ personal details.
What if we don’t get on in therapy?
• Some of the best therapies are those where therapist and client face difficulties in their relationships! Indeed, this is a very
common occurrence. This is because people bring to the therapy, aspects of themselves from the past – and replay them in the therapeutic relationship. The technical term for this is the transference relationship – and can be either positive (e.g. idealising the therapist) or negative (e.g.
being irritated or angry with the therapist). There is a lot to learn from that.
• However, therapists do get it wrong sometimes (hence the need for supervision); it is important that I monitor myself carefully to reduce the danger of my own issues getting in the way of the therapy.
• Beyond the transference relationship lies the fundamental therapeutic alliance; this means that, even if client and therapist are not getting on, the client knows and trust that the therapist is truly there for their benefit solely and can be trusted to work skilfully and ethically.
What if I want to make a complaint about how I’ve been treated?
• Should a client have a complaint, I hope this can be discussed and resolved in the session. I would always take such a complaint to
supervision to think carefully about what has been said.
• If that doesn’t resolve the issue, we may have to draw a line under the therapy.
• In the end, I am subject to the Codes of Ethics and the Complaints Procedures of the UK Council for Psychotherapy. Complaints can be taken there; UKCP has an excellent, professional Complaints system, which supports people in making a complaint and explores and manages them sensitively and thoroughly.