Below you will find a number of frequently asked questions about engaging in therapy. If you have a question you have not found answered by the information here on the site, you can contact me and I will endeavour to respond to your query as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
When you get in touch, I will give you a call to arrange your first appointment.
- I will send you a Therapy Agreement to read through and complete before your first appointment.
- Take some time to consider what is bringing you to therapy, what you would like to achieve, and we will talk about this in your first session.
- You don’t have to know what the problem is to come to therapy - we will work together on developing an understanding of what is happening for you and this will help us decide what direction to take.
This is very dependent on the difficulties you bring to work on, and on the approach we take.
- Less problematic issues that have been present only for a short time, generally less than a year, can take 6 – 15 sessions.
- More severe or complex difficulties, or problems that have been around for a long time, usually take longer, sometimes between 15 – 30 sessions.
- I book my sessions in blocks of 6, so that we are consistently reviewing progress towards your goals.
- When we are using a DBT approach specifically to work therapeutically with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder using DBT, you need to be willing to commit to 6 – 12 months of skills work and therapy. You can read a bit more about this in the DBT section, or ask for a 10 minute phone consult to discuss this.
Therapy approaches of CBT, DBT, and ACT, are known as Third Wave approaches in psychotherapy. Generally they are present focused however sometimes to understand your current problems fully we need to explore how they were formed in your past experiences. This can be especially relevant with CBT for trauma, and for DBT.
If you find yourself in distress between sessions and are struggling to manage, there are a number of excellent crisis agencies that you can contact, many of which are 24/7 services. These include the Samaritans, CALM (for men experiencing mental health problems), and Papyrus (for teens and young people). You can find these in the Useful Links.
If you feel unable to stay safe then please contact your G.P, or in emergency attend your local A&E. See the Useful Links section to find contact details for support organisations.
Payment is taken at each session in cash. You may also pay by bank transfer but please request the details in advance, as payment is required at the latest on the day of the session. At present there are no card paying facilities.
Coming to therapy for the first time can feel daunting, but I am here to listen and support you.
Your first session, and often the first couple of sessions, is about us getting a good understanding of the difficulties you are having and how they are currently affecting you. I may give you some questionnaires to complete.
The decision to come to therapy can be as daunting for a child as for a grown up. Mentioning or chatting generally to your child about therapy and having someone to talk to can help you gauge whether your child is ready for therapy. Perhaps your child has even mentioned that they would like someone to talk to. You can validate any feelings of apprehension, explain that this is normal for anyone coming to therapy, and encourage their curiosity to try it out to see what they think.
Being open with your child and involving them in the decision about seeking support means that your child will be more engaged in therapy and successful in making changes for themselves. Let your child know well in advance so that they can get used to the idea if you have made an appointment for them.
- Sessions last for 50 minutes, though for younger children these are slightly shorter to avoid overwhelming or exhausting your child.
- They are also held weekly, usually at the same time, and will generally focus on one thing each session.
- In your child’s first session I will ask them to complete some child specific questionnaires. I may also ask you to complete some questionnaires about your child.
What we talk about in sessions is confidential for both adults and children, however there are limitations to this. If you tell me that you are at risk of harming yourself or someone else, or that there is a risk of harm from someone else towards you, this is disclosed outside of your session and usually to your G.P or the person with clinical responsibility to you e.g. if you have a psychiatrist.
Except in case of emergency, should a need to disclose arise I will always try to discuss this with you first.
The building is located beside the Just Cuts barbers on Northgate Street in the centre of Chester. It may help you to plan your route prior to the session if you don’t know the area – there are directions and parking options described in the Contact Me section that you may find useful.
You will need to provide a minimum of 24 hours notice in order to cancel your appointment. Sessions cancelled with less than the required notice period are charged at half the session rate. Sessions that are unattended without notice are charged in full.