Starting therapy can be an anxious time and as your therapist I will be supportive. Therapists, have undertaken therapy as part of there own training so they have had the first session experience too. Initially I will take some basic details from you such as address and date of birth and then tell you a bit about myself and CBT. The first session and often the first few sessions are about getting a really good understanding of the difficulties which have bought you to therapy.
Before the sessions it is useful to have a think about the areas you would like help with and when it all started. Sometimes there is a clear trigger and sometimes this is more difficult to identify. Recent examples of the difficulty you would like help with are often useful to discuss. It is also useful to think about what you would like to get from your sessions.
A CBT session will last up to an hour.
I only provide individual therapy so treatment sessions need to be attended on your own. However, I do appreciate that coming to therapy can be daunting and it can be useful to bring someone with you just for the first session.
The amount of sessions varies for each person depending on what you would like help with and your therapy goals. A general rule is, if the difficulty has only been around for a short period of time ( less than a year) it’s likely between 6-15 sessions will be adequate. If your difficulty has been with you for many years then a longer course of therapy is usually required between 12 -25 sessions.
Anything you say in the therapy session remains confidential. The only time confidentiality is broken is when the therapist has concerns that you are a risk to yourself or someone else. If this concern arises the therapist will openly discuss this with you and in the first instance you will be encouraged to seek further support yourself, for example your therapist may request you arrange an appointment with your general practitioner.
As you initially begin a course of therapy it is useful to have weekly sessions, this helps the development of the therapeutic relationship and ensures information is not forgotten in-between sessions. It also ensures consistency is maintained. Later on in therapy people reduce to fortnightly, during this time the focus shift more from the therapy session to what changes are being made in-between sessions. Often people would have a couple of monthly sessions before discharge. Following discharge a booster session can be arranged at anytime.
Depending on where you are at in therapy sessions can be structured or more informal and again it is dependent on your therapy goals. Generally we will review how your week has gone and discuss any problems. I will often ask if there is anything you would like to get out of the session. Outside our sessions I will have developed a therapy plan, which we will have discussed from what is important for you to get from sessions. This ensures the best use of time.
Tasks between sessions are an important part of CBT sessions. A lot of information can be discussed in session and to ensure this is not forgotten, material is sometimes provided for you to read outside of sessions. At the end of some sessions a discussion around how the learning from the session can be developed takes place. Work in-between sessions, ensures that the most learning is gained from each session. People get the most from sessions when they take an active role in their therapy some people take notes or have a bit of time to reflect on what has been discussed during the session.
At times a lot of information can be discussed in session so feel free to take notes of ideas and useful things that may come up in sessions. Following the session it is useful to reflect back and develop your understanding of the therapy session further. Identifying ways you can build on learning from the session is sometimes discussed at the end of session this can be really useful in working towards your therapy goal.
This is very normal, it’s not always clear and you don’t need to know to come for therapy, a key part of the initial process is helping you to understand what the problem is. Often talking issues through is part of helping things to make sense and a direction becomes clear
CBT is a therapy that mainly focuses on your experiences and symptoms which you would like help with in the here and now. However, sometimes past events play a key role in our current difficulties and it is worth exploring these in depth to get to a resolution, so you can move forward and put these events in the past so they stop impacting your present life. A past experience could be bullying, abuse, a difficult event, accident or trauma.
If reflecting back is not something you want to do that’s ok and sessions will just focus on the present
While CBT has the most evidence for it’s effectiveness it’s still not always the right therapy for everyone, so if what you read on this site doesn’t appeal to you it’s likely that it’s an approach that won't suit you. If you would like to e-mail me a question or provide a brief overview of what you would like help with I can advise what type of therapy may be beneficial for you.
Getting the right therapist is important and however highly trained the therapist is sometimes it's just not the right person for you. If you can, share your concerns with the therapist, they will not be offended but will be able to have an open discussion with you and help you find a therapist who is right for you.
There are a number of mental health helplines which can provide support and advice such as the Samaritans 08457 90 90 90. Local accident and emergency departments will be able to support you or if the crisis is less urgent book an appointment to see your general practitioner.
I require at least 24 hours notice if you need to cancel an appointment. It is the policy to charge for any missed appointments. Cancellations without appropriate notice that being less than 24 hours will be charged at half the cost of the session.
Payment is made at the end of each session payment can be made by cash, card or cheque. Your health insurers may be funding sessions and if this is the case I will often just require your membership number and you will need to have discussed funding prior to the session to ensure they are happy to cover the costs.
Feedback about your therapy is welcomed at any time. At the end of treatment I will ask for your consent to send you a short survey about your sessions. At any time you can review my service by going to the Google+ page or Facebook page all of which can be found on my websites home page.
You can contact me directly via phone, my contact page or e-mail. I do not require a general practitioner referral letter. Referrals are also welcomed from other services and agencies please contact me to discuss your requirements.
As a fully accredited member of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapists (BABCP) I adhere to their ethical framework and guidelines to ensure that you receive a professional and quality service.
Clinical supervision is where I discuss my practice at regular intervals with another accredited CBT therapist. The information discussed is confidential and the aim is to have a review of the therapy I am providing and to get advice on achieving therapy goals. This ensures a high standard of therapeutic practice is achieved at all times and it is a requirement to maintain my accreditation.