Psychotherapy Explained

What is Psychotherapy?
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy gives you an opportunity to share your problems with someone skilled at listening to you and interpreting your experiences.

It can help you to understand how your past experiences and current behaviour may be linked, and can lead to a more creative understanding of present circumstances. It will allow you space to explore thoughts and feelings about yourself and your relationships with others, and may help you to make significant changes in your life.

Psychotherapy with a trained practitioner offers an environment in which you can express your feelings and gain a deeper insight into your issues. Sessions are confidential, so you can talk about things you might not feel comfortable discussing with anyone else. The aim is to help you find better ways to cope, or to bring about changes in the way you think and behave that will improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Psychotherapy can be short or long term. The number of sessions will depend on you, your therapist, the type of therapy and the depth and complexity of the issues you want to resolve. It is usual for therapy to last for several weekly sessions, and some types of therapy may last for many months or even years.

Is it really safe to talk?
All personal information which emerges in the sessions is confidential. No information will be disclosed to a third party without your prior consent, unless in exceptional circumstances, e.g. requirements of a Court of Law.

Individual members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) subscribe to a Code of Ethics in all aspects of the counselling process and practice.

As its name suggests, psycho-therapeutic counselling is a type of counselling that draws from theories and approaches used in psychotherapy. Its emphasis on the therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and the patient differentiates it from most other types of counselling.

How do I find a therapist?
You may consult your doctor who may agree to refer you to a listed therapist although not surprisingly, many surgeries have limited resources in this respect. Alternatively, you may contact a recognised practitioner yourself, through one of the professional bodies such as BACP or Counselling Directory, and arrange an initial session.

What actually happens?
At the initial session the therapist will try to understand something about you; your background; your present circumstances; and your reasons for coming. It may be possible to agree then and there whether to continue, or you may want to go away and think about it. You may decide psychotherapy is not for you – or that it is not the right style or the right therapist.

If, then or later, you decide to go on, the counsellor will agree a plan with you. This will cover the frequency of sessions and whether they will be for a time-limited period or open-ended

It will include arrangements for breaks and holidays, the fees for each session and how they are to be paid. Whichever scheme you agree to, there is no obligation to continue longer than you feel necessary.

Time-limited Counselling means working for an agreed number of sessions focusing on the immediate issues.

Open-ended Counselling, as its name suggests, does not define the period but continues, discovering and addressing underlying difficulties that affect how you feel, how you work and your relationships.

Sessions last for 50 minutes during which you are free to talk as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. This is your time and there is no pressure to progress faster than comfortable.

Therapists do not sit in judgement. We endeavour to help you to understand your own circumstances and address the issues which trouble you.