What do the counselling sessions look like?

My sessions with you consist primarily of you talking. In listening, I strive to walk beside you in your world. I then aim to respond in a way which leaves you feeling heard, understood and not judged, and able to better understand the way you are.

Can I expect to get better?

Person Centred counselling helps many people change their world viewpoints, so that they are able to change the way they view themselves, their relationships and their lives, and then act upon this change.  However, it is not for every one, which is why I suggest to new clients that they try it for five sessions and then we review whether we want to continue working together.

What if I tell you really private things?

Confidentiality is the number one ethical requirement of counselling.  What is said in the sessions stays between the two of us.  The only time I would break confidentiality is if I became concerned for your safety or the safety of someone close to you.  In that case, I would aim for us to agree together that confidentiality can be broken.

Do you do an assessment of me?

My competence is gained from the training I have received and my clinical experience from working with clients. It is my ethical duty to ensure that my competence is adequate to help you with the issues you wish to bring to counselling.  So, there is an informal assessment in the first session, in which by listening to you I can make an assessment on that.  If I decide that the issues you are experiencing are beyond my competence, then I will suggest a referral to you.  

The first session also allows you to experience what my work with you will look & feel like, so that you can make an assessment as to whether you want to work with me.  So, in a way, the first session is where we assess each other.

Do you keep notes of our sessions?

Yes, I do.  They are brief and written very factually.  I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and adhere to their guidelines in storing my clients’ session notes, as well as their personal details.

What is this ‘supervision’ you mention elsewhere?

It is a BACP ethical requirement that my work with you is supervised.  The purpose of supervision is to help me help you.  I bring you to supervision with the minimal identifying information and my supervisor is also bound by the BACP ethical guidelines.  In this way you are assured that you are offered a high quality, professional service, appropriate to your own needs.

How many sessions will I need to have?

It is impossible to predict how many sessions a given client will need.  We are all unique.  Some people start to feel in control of their lives quite quickly, within weeks, but others will feel the need to continue counselling for months or even years.  In any case, I conduct regular reviews to ensure that the client is still benefitting from our work together.  This being Person Centred counselling, it is the client's decision when to finish, and I respect this decision.

How frequently will I need to have sessions?

For best therapeutic effect, sessions are weekly.  On rare occasions, in consultation with the client, the sessions can be more or less frequent.  Some clients like to have a break after a series of sessions, before returning to counselling.

What about holidays or sickness?

I give my clients two weeks’ notice of any holidays I am taking and ask that they do the same for me.  In case of sickness, or unexpected events, I ask that the client tells me as soon as they are able, because their welfare is my concern.

How long does a session last?

The sessions are 50 minutes long.

How much does a session cost and how do I pay?

Each session is £50.  You can pay by cash or cheque if you are having a face to face session, or by bank transfer payable in advance if your sessions are via Zoom, Teams, Skype or WhatsApp.  Any rise in session cost is only expected from new or returning clients.  Established clients pay the same amount for their sessions, no matter how long our work lasts for.

Are remote sessions unsafe from a confidentiality point of view?

I have subscribed to the professional version of Zoom and Teams, which means the conversations via these platforms are confidential. WhatsApp is automatically encrypted, which maintains confidentiality. And Skype is not encrypted, but Teams is the professional version, so if you use Skype to connect to Teams, the session will be confidential.

What if things go wrong?

I am a member of the BACP and adhere to their guiding ethical principles.  In case of something going wrong, I would hope that in the first instance you would discuss the issue with me.  However, if you felt unable to do that or felt that was inappropriate, then you can take your complaint to the BACP.

During Covid, are face-to-face sessions possible?

At the time of writing this, I have had my first vaccination so I can see the possibility of returning to face to face counselling.  Being mindful of my clients, I will ensure that the counselling room is prepared in a Covid secure way, with all you potentially touch being sterile and the room we are in well ventilated.