Starting therapy – what to expect

Once your booking is confirmed and paid for I will send you all the information you need to prepare for your first session. This includes a simple questionnaire about your life to complete and return a few days in advance. When we meet we will be able to talk about your reasons for seeking therapy. I will try and answer any questions you may have and we will discuss what our work together might entail. If, after our first meeting, we are both happy to continue, we will probably agree to meet for a further four or five sessions. These sessions are important as they give us the opportunity to make a thorough assessment of your needs, your resources and your limitations. Clients usually find this initial ‘map making’ stage helpful in all sorts of ways, even though they may also become more aware of painful feelings and of the extent of the work that may lie ahead.

At the end of the assessment period we will review how the work has been going and talk about what could be achieved if we continue working together. It is important that we are realistic about the practical and emotional resources that you are able and willing to commit to your work in therapy. Most people find that in order to get real and lasting benefit from therapy it is important to give it a high priority in daily life. This may involve spending time between sessions reflecting on particular issues, observing their responses in certain situations, completing activities such as reading, drawing or writing in a journal, or trying a new behaviour, to name a few. If giving therapy a high priority is likely to be difficult for you then we can discuss other options that may be more suitable.

Length and frequency of sessions

The first session will be an hour long. Subsequent sessions last for fifty minutes. Very occasionally a double* session (90 to 100 minutes) may be necessary but this would be discussed and planned in advance. Sessions usually take place once a week. This is particularly important during the early stages of therapy as we build an effective working relationship and establish a rhythm to our work. As the work progresses it may be appropriate to space the sessions further apart. Occasionally, if the work is particularly demanding or you need extra support, sessions may take place more frequently, providing I have the availability. Sometimes it may be possible to schedule an extra session by telephone or by Skype to help you in a time of crisis. However, please be aware that I am not able to provide additional support outside of pre-arranged sessions. If you feel unable to cope with the intensity of your feelings between sessions we will discuss what other resources are available to help. However, it may be that our work will need to be placed on hold while you access other types of support.

*Please note double sessions cost twice the usual fee.