Below are some FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions that you may have. Please get in touch if you need more information or have further questions.
Q: Do I have to be referred by a GP/Professional or will you contact my GP?
Your engagement with services is confidential. There is no need for us to inform your GP, unless otherwise agreed at the outset. Your details are held on file for legal purposes only. We have strict confidentiality policies in place (see below). These will be explained to you when you engage with services. No one will know you are attending services unless you tell them or you have been referred via a third party.
Q: How can psychotherapy help?
Therapy gives you time and space to express your thoughts and feelings in a confidential and safe environment with a qualified professional. Sessions allow you to explore, talk about and focus on the problems, issues or difficulties you are experiencing in a constructive way.
This can help you to develop self-awareness, a deeper understanding of yourself, and assist you to find solutions to your issues by making changes regarding the unhelpful or difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviours you may be experiencing.
Therapy can be hard work, so it is important that you are committed to engaging with therapy regularly and consistently. Therapy is a collaborative, yet focused and structured problem-solving approach in setting and working towards realistic therapeutic goals which you and your therapist will evaluate on a session-by-session-basis.
You and your therapist will work together, in a therapeutic partnership, to work towards your goals.
It’s important to note that psychotherapy is not a ‘cure’. However, it provides all of the benefits highlighted above (and more) and can help you to cope better with your life, address any difficult or distressful thoughts, feelings and behaviours you may be experiencing and to feel more positive generally.
Initially, some people may feel worse before they feel better. This is because the process of change can be uncomfortable, but this passes quickly as the benefits of change begin to take effect. Try not to let this put you off therapy – therapy is hard work at times but really worth it once you start experiencing the benefits. Get in touch if you have any more questions.
Q: How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions needed is unique to each client and will depend on your goals, how you use your time between sessions and how much support you have out-with therapy.
Some clients engage in short-term therapy, while other clients attend therapy on a longer term basis. Even with limited time or finances, realistic goals and therapeutic benefits can be achieved.
Sessions are generally on a weekly basis; however, some clients attend fortnightly, twice weekly or monthly and so will attend therapy over a longer or shorter period of time.
Similarly, while sessions are typically 50 minutes in length, ‘double sessions’ are available. Just ask your therapist about ‘double sessions’ if this interests you.
Q: What about contact between sessions?
If you need to contact your therapist in-between sessions, please text or email them. Contact is limited to practical arrangements.
If you ‘bump into’ your therapist outside of appointments, you can choose to acknowledge or ignore them. They will follow your lead.
If you choose to acknowledge them, you can smile, say hello etc. and they'll return the gesture. It's not appropriate to get into conversation.
Your therapist will not instigate this or ask how you are: they wish to ensure your privacy and confidentiality and that boundaries are adhered to.
If you need more information or have questions about this, please feel free to ask your therapist.
Q: What is ethical framework?
All therapists/practitioners adhere to the ethical and professional guidelines of either: Confederation of Scottish Counselling Agencies (COSCA); British Psychological Society (BPS); British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP); International Stress Management Association (ISMA); United Kingdom Counselling and Psychotherapy (UKCP); Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC); British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP); or National Counselling Society (NCS), NMC, AFH and NHC.
Some staff and volunteers hold Membership with more than one organisation and hold Membership with other professional organisations too.
This not only assists the practitioner’s development as a mental health clinician, but ensures they are working as safely, ethically and as effectively as possible.
Q: What about confidentiality and privacy?
Your confidentiality is taken very seriously and will be broken only in extreme circumstances.
Examples include: if your therapist believes that you or another person/persons are in danger of serious harm, or if required by a court of law. Where possible, this will be discussed with you beforehand.
We have several confidentiality and boundary policies in place to ensure your details are as safe and secure as possible. More information will be given when you start engaging with any of our services.
All information given is subject to the Data Protection Act and your details and notes will not be passed on to third parties. We hold a current ICO Certificate of Data Protection and abide by current GDPR.
Q: What can psychotherapy and counselling help with?
There are many reasons why people come to therapy and benefit from attending sessions. Getting help and support, as soon as possible, is really important, although we understand this isn’t always possible, for many reasons.
There is a myth that individuals can only attend therapy for ‘big’ issues in life. However, we are client-centred and understand that different things affect us all differently. The key is that if you are having a difficult time, need to talk about some thoughts and feelings you have or need some support with personal issues or mental/emotional health, you are more than welcome to attend therapy sessions.
It's important not to minimise or dismiss your issues, difficulties, problems or experiences because other people don’t understand them. If they are causing you problems, seek help and support.
Therapy can help with a range of issues, problems, difficulties and experiences. These include: anxiety; depression and low mood; stress; confidence; self-esteem; identity; sexuality; eating disorders and eating/food problems; relationships; negative body image; self-harm; physical health; negative thoughts, grief; OCD; assertiveness; personal development; and much more.
Q: What about payment and cencellations?
Your first therapy appointment is called the Assessment Session and must be paid in advance of the appointment, via BACS Transfer. When you book your first appointment, you will be given details on how to do this. Your appointment will not be booked until payment of the first session has been made.
Further appointments must be paid for (in cash) in advance of your next appointment. You will be given a receipt each time you pay. The next appointment will not be confirmed until payment has been made.
If you do not return to therapy, for whatever reason, your payment will be returned to you via cash or BACS Transfer (provided 48 hours notice of cancellation is provided).
Appointments cancelled or postponed without 48 hours’ notice before the start time of your appointment are charged at full price. This is because a cancelled or missed appointment, without notice, isn’t easily filled and results in a financial loss for your therapist. When you cancel with less than 48 hours' notice, the therapist still has to pay for room hire and other costs, even if no appointment actually takes place.
Fees and cancellation procedures will be explained by your therapist and form part of the Working Agreement you jointly enter and agree upon. If there is an Emergency, meaning you are unable to provide 48 hours’ notice and thus, unable to attend, the fee will be waived, although room hire will still be charged (currently £15).
If you wish to make another appointment following cancellation, postponement or missed appointment, you will still be required to pay for the appointment in advance, and this can be done via BACS Transfer before your next appointment.
Q: What about social networking?
Staff/volunteers are not permitted to communicate with you via social networking. This is to protect the therapeutic nature of the relationship and ensure confidentiality is maintained.
Q: What are endings?
Generally, the ending of the therapeutic relationship and therapy sessions is by mutual agreement between you and your therapist. However, you are free to end therapy at any time, for whatever reason..
On rare occasions, the therapist may end the relationship and therapy sessions if they believe that you are not benefitting from the service, that therapy is not right for you at the moment or they feel that they are not able to support you with the issues you are bringing to therapy. The therapist will discuss this with you and offer suggestions for further help and support.
On these occasions, you and your therapist will discuss this and decide on a course of action (e.g. referral to another service or therapist, offer suggestions, take a break from therapy etc.).