You may have heard about 'talking therapy'. This can take many forms, but in a nutshell, it usually means two people meeting in a room to work through the problems of the person who has sought the therapy. It also encompasses couples work, a further service which I provide.
Here I will explain how therapy is likely to be, although this is very general as it is always different for each person or couple.
Our first face-to-face meeting
WHAT TO EXPECT
Meeting me for the first time may cause you to feel some anxiety. This is normal, as most people feel apprehensive when facing a new situation. You will meet me in my therapy room, either in person (or remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak), which is quiet and safe. Nothing will be expected from you. You are free to say what you want, or to say nothing if you prefer. You might find it hard to talk, or hard to stop talking. You might fear what will come out, once you start. You may cry, and this is a safe place (maybe the only place) to do so. What you say will be in confidence and will stay in the counselling room. There will be no judgement.
For individual therapy I offer a free 30-minute session, or you might have opted to have a normal hourly session. Here I will explain how we will work together - the length of sessions, cost, our mutual commitment to your therapy, and confidentiality. There will also be time for you to talk. There is absolutely no obligation to book a second appointment following a 30-minute free session. I will leave it up to you to contact me if you want to go ahead. You don't need to decide this straight away. It can be at any time in the future or not at all.
For couples, this will be a normal hourly session. We will talk about our contract with each other, and you will then have space to discuss the issues that have arisen. The time will be shared between you, and you will both be given the chance to say what you need to, and you will be encouraged to listen to each other.
So I hope that you can see that, although taking this first step may seem daunting, when you arrive you will find that you have nothing to fear, and everything to gain.
HOW THERAPY WORKS
As with all therapy, this will be different from what you may have had already, and from that of every other person. You are unique, and you have never been at this point in your life before. So, if you have previously had counselling, although you will have a basic idea of the format, the substance of each session will not be the same.
In individual therapy, as you unfold your story, I will listen carefully, sometimes reflecting on what you are saying or feeling, but mostly giving you the space to talk about things in your own way. I will not judge you, but I will be working alongside you so that you can start to understand what is happening to you. In time you are likely to feel yourself moving from the place where you have become 'stuck'. Your new understanding should help you to work out where you want to go or what parts of your life you want to change, and also the good things you wish to keep the same.
My aim will be that eventually you should feel able to move forward independently, as you will have become your own therapist.
My clients say that therapy has brought them a new clarity, self-awareness and confidence, enabling them to regain control of their own lives.
For couples therapy, the difference is that it is the relationship which is the client rather than you as individuals. You will have the space to say what you need to. Together we will listen as you discuss the issue or issues which are on your mind. I will ask each of you to reflect on what is said by your partner and to share your thoughts if you are able to. In this way you may start to work together more effectively.