Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some of the questions I am often asked as well as some Q&As I anticipate you may find useful but if you do have any more of your own, don’t hesitate to contact me.
What type of therapy should I choose?
There are many different therapeutic approaches and it can be a minefield trying to navigate them when looking for a therapist. For example, a psychodynamic approach may focus more on early life and experience as a way to understand the now, whereas therapies such as CBT and Gestalt therapy are traditionally more focused on the here-and-now, on the basis that whatever is going on now is inherently informed by our past. Some people may find one more useful than the other but I believe most therapies are aimed at the same thing but from a slightly different angle. That is, for us to have greater awareness and understanding of ourselves – the thoughts, beliefs and patterns of behaviour that shape our experience.
Current research shows that the most important factor for successful therapy is the ‘therapeutic relationship’, i.e. how the client and therapist work together to bring about beneficial change. Therefore, choosing and working with a therapist that you feel comfortable with is likely to be of higher importance than what style they trained in. Having said that, training is important so in the next part I discuss qualifications, training and recognition by governing UK bodies.
How do I know if a therapist is suitably qualified?
The term ‘counsellor’ and ‘psychotherapist’ are not protected terms in the UK which means that anyone could, if they wished, call themselves either. However, there are two bodies in the UK who uphold standards for counsellors and psychotherapists and these are the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). In order for practitioners to register with these bodies they need to have trained in either counselling or psychotherapy at an establishment that these bodies recognise as meeting their standards of quality so I strongly recommend choosing a therapist registered with one of these organisations.
What is the difference between a counsellor and psychotherapist?
Training for psychotherapists is longer than that of counsellors (generally four vs. two years). This doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better than the other. Experience, insight, empathy, and further training are all important ‘ingredients’ and, as mentioned above, the way you work together is paramount so working with a therapist that ‘gets you’ is really important.
What is the difference between short and long-term therapy?
Short-term therapy – also known as time-limited therapy or solution-focused therapy – usually focuses on finding strategies to manage or talk through a difficulty that is present in your life right now. Short-term therapy is focused and generally consists of six to twelve sessions.
How long are sessions and how often do I need to come?
Sessions are weekly and are 50 minutes long. Regardless of whether you attend short or long-term therapy, regularity is really important to get the most out of therapy.