Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:
1. How many sessions may I need?
My usual suggestion when working with a client is to start with an agreement of 6-10 weekly sessions which we review together as the weeks pass. There is however nothing set in stone and the number of sessions depends very much on individual need. People grow emotionally and work through their difficulty at different rates, what is important is that you are in a place where you are prepared to commit to the process and be consistent in attendance no matter how difficult it may feel for you, to get the most from this experience it has to be a priority.
It is not ethical for me to continue sessions with a client who does not need to continue counselling.
2. Why does private counselling seem to cost so much?
£40 per week may seem expensive, but is it really? A standard block of six sessions would cost £240 in terms of money and the benefits to life quality and emotional health can be significant. Why do we invest less in our emotional health when without it we may have no quality of life or function.
Interestingly, the average person may not even consider looking after their emotional health until such a time that it is encroaching severely on their quality of life. It may well be at that point that cost does not seem important.
The cost of counselling often reflects many years of training for the counsellor, continuous training and development on their behalf as well as membership fee's to professional bodies and monthly supervision, all to protect the emotional wellbeing of their client as much as possible. This does come at significant cost.
That said counsellors have additional responsibility to protect their own wellbeing with monthly clinical supervision, they may well be supporting a number of clients whom are experiencing difficult emotions whilst juggling their own lives and life stresses.
Historically within the UK there seems to be general opinion that counselling should be free, or historically certainly charities have provided free counselling, but the costs of counselling are significant and within the UK counselling is moving away from free provision as it is no longer sustainable, even charities are expected now to work as an internal business without profit, so have had to introduce fee's or minimum donations.
3. How is the relationship with my Counsellor different to the one I have with my family and friends?
With family and friends, relationships are known as sympathetic. This means that they may base their own ideas of what is best for you on their own thoughts or experiences. It may feel difficult for them not to pass judgement or for you to feel that your own thoughts and opinions are truly heard.
The relationship that you will have with a counsellor such as myself is known as empathetic. This means that it would be my role to sit behind your eyes and work out how you experience the world, supporting you freely to express your thoughts and opinions and make sense of things yourself. I am different to a family member or friend in that I don't know you and won't pass or hold judgement. I am separate to the rest of your life and will remain impartial. The session is not about me, it is about you. I can help you to explore difficult emotions and find a way forward.
Your wellbeing and emotional safety is a priority, I am qualified and professionally trained to support clients while they experience difficult emotions.
4. Why do I have to have an initial assessment?
The initial assessment is important as its an initial meeting between us, an opportunity for you to meet me and to decide if I am the right counsellor for you to work with.
It is an opportunity for me to explore your reasons for attending counselling, so that I can understand how best I may be able to support you.
5. Will what I say be confidential?
Counselling has strict confidentiality restrictions. I work as a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and follow their ethical framework and best working practice.
As a practicing Counsellor there are certain obligations that I have to follow to best protect the wellbeing of the clients that I work with, and it is only at these times that I may have a duty of care to break confidentialiy.
I would discuss this with you in more detail at the initial assessment.
6. Am I normal?
This is an interesting question, that is asked regularly. I would argue 'what is normal?' Do we set our own parameters for how we should be to be normal, maybe we don't think we match up to our own ideas of what normal is?
Everyone is individual and that is ok. Whatever you decide to work on during your counselling journey, it is possible to make positive change.
7. How soon can I begin?
One of the major benefits of private counselling is that often there is either no waiting list or a very small waiting list. Usually you are able to be seen for an initial assessment quite quickly and then commence counselling soon after.