Counselling FAQs2020-10-02T16:02:45+00:00

Frequently asked questions

Counselling

If counselling is new to you, check out these common FAQs. If you have a specific question, please do get in touch using the contact form and we can see if I would be a good match as a counsellor for you.

What type of Counselling do you do?2021-05-16T10:09:31+00:00

I am an ‘Integrative Counsellor’ which means that I have several different Counselling approaches that I work with. How we work together will depend on the range of issues that you want to explore. The most important thing is that we develop a good rapport. You need to know that you can trust me with whatever sensitive and private issues you might bring.

Being listened to by a Counsellor is very different than being listened to by a friend. You might be concerned that a friend would either judge you for what you are saying, want to turn the conversation around to themselves or might be inclined to give advice. I listen with empathy to try to get into your world with you and listen without judgment. Never underestimate the power of someone coming alongside you.

I can offer CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) if it is relevant to the specific issues you want to look at. CBT can be useful for understanding that our thoughts are linked to our feelings and behaviours. For example, CBT might be useful for working with some aspects of anxiety or tackling how our thought patterns can sabotage us.

If you want to be a bit creative, I use various tools and techniques that can be helpful in exploring issues a bit further. For example, using images and objects, journalling or letter writing.

It’s important to understand that I do not offer a ‘blue light’ emergency service, and am therefore only contactable within limited office hours. Session times are booked and planned in advance. If you are at a stage in your life where you think you need more urgent and frequent help, you might require a different type of support right now.

If you are experiencing severe depressive symptoms and/or suicidal thoughts, please discuss this with your doctor immediately. The kind of Counselling I offer is not suitable for supporting anyone in crisis or with severe Postnatal Depression or any psychotic illness.

Should I have my Counselling face to face or online?2021-02-05T15:49:43+00:00

There are pros and cons of each approach, so it really is up to you how you decide to work. I charge the same fee whichever approach you prefer.

Counselling via Zoom

Benefits of working online via Zoom video call:

  • You can create a comfortable and private space in your own home from which to attend therapy.
  • You may find it easy to talk, focus and express yourself in your own environment.
  • Avoiding travel and parking for an appointment can alleviate stress cost.
  • For people with disabilities or certain anxieties, working online is more accessible.
  • You won’t be ‘seen’ going to therapy if privacy is important to you.
  • We may be able to be more flexible about scheduling as there will not be an issue regarding room availability.
  • During concerns of Covid19 working remotely prevents the spread of infection.
  • Research shows that online therapy is as effective as in-person therapy.
  • I can work with clients who are based anywhere in the UK, as you don’t need to travel to meet in person.

Challenges of working online include:

  • Internet connection difficulties or problems with older technology.
  • It is important that you have a private space at home where you will not be disturbed or overheard by anyone. This can sometimes be a challenge in family life.
  • Given that only the top half of our bodies will be visible, we will have to use more verbal explanations as a result.
  • If you work using a screen all day, it may be demanding to have another online activity.
  • If you are interested in exploring the more creative aspects of therapy that might include working with objects or art for example, this can sometimes be a bit more limited online. Having said that,  often with some lateral thinking we can find ways around some of these challenges.
  • Whilst I follow best practice security measures, when using 3rd party applications there is always a very low risk of a breach of security.

Counselling Face to Face

Benefits of working face to face

  • Being out and meeting someone in person can be a rich experience if you do not have many social connections
  • Some clients like the energetic connection that meeting in person can bring
  • Some clients need body language and vocal tone to effectively communicate with a therapist
  • Meeting face to face is what feels more familiar
  • No technology difficulties
  • A wider range of creative approaches can be used

Challenges of working face to face

  • For those with physical disabilities, social anxieties or practical constraints, sometimes meeting outside of your own home is difficult
  • More time is needed to travel to the venue
  • I can only meet with clients who are local to my area in Totnes, Devon
  • You might need to wait longer before starting therapy as a room booking has to be made (I don’t have my own permanent room currently as so many clients are now using Zoom for their Counselling).

Counselling on the Telephone

I am also happy to run Counselling sessions on the telephone if you prefer.

Benefits of working on the telephone

  • The technology is familiar
  • A mobile phone is portable so it is possible to move away from interruptions
  • You are not actually, physically, faced with a therapist. This may be better for clients who feel particularly anxious about having counselling.
  • Telephone counselling allows the client to remain as anonymous as they choose to be.
  • Useful for clients who do not have access to transport or perhaps live in a remote location.
  • For some clients, not seeing the Counsellor face-to-face allows makes it easier to open up, which can lead to deeper engagement

Challenges of working on the telephone

  • Telephone reception can be variable and unreliable
  • The client and Counsellor can only hear each other, so sometimes non-verbal communication is harder to pick up.
  • When the Counsellor allows silences for the client to process their thoughts, it can feel strange on the phone as we are not used to having gaps in conversation usually on the phone.
  • For some people, it is important to get out of the house to have enough privacy for Counselling
  • Clients have variable phone contracts and sometimes calls are costly. Therefore I generally make the phone call to you, to avoid any problems with high charges.
Do I have to be a Carer or Mum to have you as my Counsellor?2021-02-05T16:12:39+00:00

Whilst the majority of my clients are Carers (male or female) or Mums, I enjoy the new perspectives that each client brings. My Integrative Counselling approach means that I am comfortable working with a broad spectrum of issues that life can throw up.

I also have a special interest in working with people who are going through the experience of having a Transplant. It might be that you are supporting a family member through the process, or you may be having treatment or needing a transplant yourself.

How many Counselling sessions will I need?2020-12-07T09:34:20+00:00

This can vary a lot from client to client, depending on the issues that you bring. Some people like to have a long term working relationship, and they view Counselling as a regular investment in their health like you might think of a gym membership. Having a regular weekly slot can really help to build momentum and tackle issues in a timely manner as they arise.

Others come to explore a specific issue so may only require a few sessions.

I generally suggest starting with an initial 6 sessions or so. This way we can build a rapport, and then review how helpful you are finding it and how you’d like to continue.

Is Counselling Confidential?2021-03-10T16:10:13+00:00

What you say in Counselling is between us. However, I might be required to share information in certain limited circumstances, which we will discuss in our first meeting. For example, this could be to do with either legal or ethical obligations.

For more details please see my Privacy Notice.

How do I make an appointment?2021-04-28T16:34:43+00:00

You can drop me a message on the contact form, or email me at [email protected] or call 07305 863661. I will then get back in touch with you, using the same method of communication that you used to contact me, unless you specify otherwise. Please note that it is usually necessary to leave a message as I am often in client sessions.

We will organise a mutually convenient time for a free 10-minute introductory phone call. This way we will be able to establish what you are looking for from Counselling, and check out whether it looks like I might be the right Counsellor for you.

Then we will book in our first session. My what to expect page explains in more detail about how the first Counselling Session works.

I generally see clients on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in the daytime or early evening. Please drop me a message so we can get the ball rolling and have an initial conversation.

 

 

Do you work in the evening?2020-10-05T16:27:58+00:00

I offer appointments in the daytime during school hours and limited early evening sessions.

I know you in another context, can you still be my Counsellor?2021-03-06T17:29:39+00:00

Counselling works best if we meet for Counselling and only for Counselling, and do not know each other in any other context.

Generally speaking, if we know each other, for example if we are friends or acquaintances, it is not ethical for me to be your Counsellor. Indeed you would probably not want that anyway. Living in a small town it is possible that you might ‘know of me’ through word of mouth but not ‘know me’, in which case it is worth getting in touch to check out if it is feasible to work together, depending on our connection.

Likewise, however well we get on, our relationship will be purely professional. The code of ethics precludes us from becoming friends socially, either during or after therapy.

I always say to clients that if I bump into you in the ‘real world’, I will not acknowledge you unless you acknowledge me first, to prevent any awkwardness of accidentally revealing to someone that you are having counselling, which you may not want people to know.

Similarly, I do not add clients as personal friends on social media, as I keep my private life separate from my work.

Do you work with children & teenagers?2020-12-01T09:47:18+00:00

No, I currently only work with adults over the age of 18. Many schools now provide Counselling services which can be a good first port of call.

What is in your welcome pack?2021-02-05T16:00:17+00:00

I will email you a Counselling welcome pack that contains all the practical and ethical information that you will need. It can seem a bit formal, but it is important that we set up a professional way of working to ensure that you get the best out of your Counselling and that the way that I work is clearly laid out.

Your welcome pack will contain:

  • Counselling agreement, which covers confidentiality and information about the service I offer
  • GDPR & Privacy Policy information
  • Payment Information
  • Contact Details form

I will briefly go over some key points in our first session and any questions that you may have. I encourage you to let me know anything that is important that I should know about how to work with you most effectively, so the time together can be tailored best for you.

 

How do I know you are a qualified Counsellor?2021-04-12T09:39:33+00:00

I am fully qualified and on the National Counseling Society Accredited Register. This register has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority and ensures that members of the public are meeting with a qualified member of the National Counselling Society.

As a member of this organisation I adhere to their ethical guidelines for counselling, attend regular supervision for my caseload, and keep up to date with Continued Professional Development.

I am a qualified ‘Integrative Counsellor’, which means that I have studied a variety of Counselling approaches (Person-centred, Gestalt and CBT). I have a Level 4 Advanced Diploma in Counselling from Heartwood Counselling & Psychotherapy College. During the Covid-19 pandemic I completed an extensive training course for Counselling clients online, recognised by the National Counselling Society.

As a Counsellor there is always so much more to learn. I enjoy reading Counselling books, listening to podcasts and regularly taking courses to extend my knowledge and find out more about issues that affect my clients.

For many years I have worked with Mothers and Carers, helping to run ‘Time for You’ groups to support Mums who have children with additional needs. I have also volunteered for an organisation called Counselling for Carers.

I hold an enhanced DBS certificate.

How do I set up for Zoom online Counselling?2020-12-01T09:51:43+00:00

There are both practical and technical considerations. Here are some things you might like to consider.

Practical considerations

  • I encourage you to treat the online session as you would an in-person session and implement as many of the same boundaries as possible.
  • Find a comfortable space with privacy. This could be a comfortable armchair, your office desk, garden, or parked car for example.
  • If there are other people in the house, you may wish to put a note on the door of the room requesting that other people not disturb you except in an emergency.
  • I encourage you to use headphones or earphones. This keeps the content of our sessions private, improves sound quality, and also minimises distractions.
  • Please close other applications and browser windows on your device, and put your phone on silent or turn it off just as we do in person.
  • You are welcome to bring water or a cup of tea or coffee with you to the session.
  • Please avoid alcohol and drugs prior to and during the session and please do not smoke or vape during the session.
  • Your pet is welcome to join you; however, it is important to be aware that this could be distracting for either or both of us.
  • Give yourself time after the session to process the session before rejoining your family, working, or making other calls.

Technology considerations

  • I use a secure video conferencing platform called Zoom in order to protect our privacy and confidentiality. Our calls cannot be intercepted or recorded. A lot of people have become familiar with Zoom given the restrictions of Covid19, but I can talk you through the features of it once we are online if you feel you need to gain more knowledge.
  • When you book an appointment, you will receive an email containing the link for you to join the session at the scheduled time.
  • You may like to download Zoom prior to our session in preparation, however, no prior download is necessary and you may connect directly from the link provided in your confirmation/reminder emails.
  • Bandwidth Requirements – The call quality on Zoom is usually very good. It can be improved by you using an Ethernet connection as opposed to Wi-Fi, however, Wi-Fi or 4G will usually work well too. Usually, if your internet is good enough to stream YouTube or Netflix, it is good enough for video conferencing. I recommend closing all other browser windows and programmes running in the background to make the call quality as good as possible.
  • Troubleshooting In the event that it is not possible to connect using a video conferencing platform, I suggest trying to reconnect twice. If that is not successful we can agree to have the session on the telephone instead and try to iron out any difficulties together.
How much do you charge?2020-12-07T09:29:48+00:00

I charge £45 for a 1-hour appointment, whether it is face to face, online via Zoom or on the telephone.

Payment is to be made in advance please before each session by Bacs transfer. I will send you the bank details in your welcome pack.

 

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