Common questions.

Where do I start?

Contact me on 07700806464 or at fivemiletherapy@gmail.com. We'll talk about your concerns and how I might be able to help. I can answer any questions and tell you a bit more about the service. This initial consultation is free and confidential.

If you decide I'm not the right match for you, then that's the right decision. If I think you may be better served working with a different counsellor or another professional, then I’ll let you know.

 

What will happen next? 
 

I'll confirm your appointment date and time and send you a brief form to complete and an agreement about confidentiality.  At the first appointment, we'll talk about what you want to be different, start to explore your main concerns and agree how we will work together. We'll take it at your pace, talking about what you think is important. 

What happens in later sessions?

There is no typical therapy session. With most types of therapy you can talk about whatever you like, from everyday events, work or relationship dilemmas, family conflict, feelings, and thoughts, to regrets, aspirations, memories and dreams. 

 

If you have never had counselling before you might find it unusual to share private or personal issues with someone you hardly know. The relationship between us is different from a friendship because each session will focus on you and your needs. It's quite usual for clients to take some time building up a sense of trust with their therapist. 

 

Talking about things that have been buried for a long time or that evoke painful or difficult feelings can be hard. If a particular issue is too difficult for you to talk about we can put it to one side until you feel ready to look at it again.

In family or parenting support, family members attend together where possible, and we'll look at your concerns about family life and what you'd like to be different.  

 

How might counselling help me?

If you have supportive friends or family, the idea of talking to a stranger in detail about your life may seem odd, but even if you have the strongest network of family and friends, sometimes there are issues you wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing, or, the person you’d usually discuss these problems with is part of the problem.

Parents can also find it hard to talk about how challenging it can be to manage the demands of family life with close family members. We can look at ideas and tools to help you navigate different stages of family life. 

Therapy offers a non-judgmental, confidential sounding board. There are no taboo topics, so you can talk about things that are hard to say to anyone else, or that other people find difficult to hear.

It's also an opportunity to make sense of your life events, experiences and relationships and help you build resilience so you're better equipped to cope with the future.

 

What can counselling help with?

The reasons people come for counselling are as varied as those seeking it. These are some common issues people come to therapy for: 

  • Family communication problems

  • Child and adolescent behaviour difficulties

  • Couple or family relationship difficulties

  • Separation, divorce and step-family life

  • Loss and bereavement

  • Meaning and purpose of life issues

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Self-esteem and confidence issues

  • Depression

  • Unhappiness

  • Career or work-related issues

How does family therapy work?

Family and Systemic Psychotherapy – often called Family Therapy - helps people in close relationships help each other. It enables family members to express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely, to understand each other’s experiences and views, appreciate each other’s needs, build on family strengths and make useful changes in their relationships and their lives.

 

Family therapists don’t take sides, blame, or provide simple answers. Rather, they aim to engage family members in sharing understanding and exploring ways forward that work for them. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to help a family free up their strengths; sometimes difficulties are more complex and families may need longer to find solutions that work for them.

Why are there different approaches in counselling and psychotherapy?

Different therapies have different ways of addressing issues. For example, family or systemic therapy looks at your wider relationships; cognitive behavioural therapy is about how you think and behave, and attempts to address recurring thought or behaviour patterns. In loss and bereavement therapy, there may be more emphasis on supporting you with very difficult emotions.

 

Psychodynamic counselling looks at your past while other therapies concentrate on the future. Many therapists are 'integrative', meaning they combine a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches to best help their clients.

Is counselling confidential?

Yes. Everything you discuss in therapy is confidential — between you and your counsellor. There are certain legal exceptions to this policy for example if you are at significant risk to yourself or if others are at risk, particularly children.

 

Regular consultation with a senior therapist, bound by the same code of ethics and conduct, is a requirement of the profession and may involve a anonymised discussion about the challenges you are facing. We will discuss the confidentiality agreement further during our first appointment.

Is counselling non-judgmental?

I don’t judge behaviour or personal life experiences and I respect each client for their individual choices. I operate a policy of non-discrimination. I do not discriminate on grounds of age, race, gender, sexuality, religion, illness or ethnicity.

How long does counselling take?

Each session is about 50 minutes. In terms of number of sessions, there's no right amount of time. Some people come for one two or three sessions and feel they've explored some issues and made some headway, and decide that's enough. Others take up to 12 sessions to work on a more complex problem. Some people continue for longer.

The decision is in your hands, you decide what's right for you.

Can I stop at any time?

Yes, whenever you feel necessary and without explanation. Or you may wish to take a counselling break and start again, when ready, at a later date.

Where can I find out more?

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

What happens in therapy

 

Family therapy information: http://www.aft.org.uk/SpringboardWebApp/userfiles/aft/file/Information%20Sheets/WhatIsFamilyTherapy.pdf