Categories
FAQ

What can I Talk about in Counselling?

Counselling focuses on you and the problems that you’re bringing into therapy.  So, it may not be such a surprise that you can talk about anything you wish to in counselling.

[iC_leaflet type=”bacp_c1″]You might be worried that your therapist may be shocked or distressed about what you might need to talk about.  This is usually not the case, but many trained counsellors also focus on keeping their feelings and responses contained so that the counsellor does not distress you.

You may even discuss your concerns about your counsellor if you wish; what they might think about certain topics.  Different therapists will respond differently, but they’re all focussed on the benefit of you.  Be assured that your counsellor is ready to hear what you need to talk about.

Counselling and the Law.

You should be aware that there are some subjects that would come under the law.

For example if you wished to talk about your part in terrorism, intended harm to self or others, you talk about a child who is in distress, not being looked after well or is being abused, or any other criminal activity, then your counsellor would be obligated by British law to break confidentiality.

This does not mean to say that your counsellor will immediately run out of the room to dial 999.

Again, different therapists will treat different matters with different approaches.  Most counsellors should inform you about confidentiality before the therapy begins (usually the first session).  Some therapists will give you a document that has everything written down.  Some therapists will remind you, if you begin to stray into legal subjects like these, about the law and confidentiality.

Sometimes, the law requires a counsellor to take action without informing the client – matters such as terrorism or child abuse can fall into this category.  Again, the client should have been informed at the start of therapy about this  – and whilst a counsellor may always wish advise clients beforehand that a subject which has been brought for discussion requires the counsellor to take action, the counsellor may be legally bound not to tell the client of the action before it is taken.

Categories
FAQ

How do I Find & Verify a Therapist?

Searching for a Therapist.

It’s an unfortunate truth with UK law that, presently, anyone can set themselves up and describe themselves as a “therapist” or a “counsellor”. They are not legally required to have to have any formal training, any qualifications, any experience, any insurance, nor do they need to be a member of a professional body that oversees & regulates their therapy practice.

People like these exist – some look quite legitimate – and they can make finding a properly-suitable therapist quite dangerous for the layman.

However, when you know what to look out for, professionally qualified therapists can be easily recognised.

Even if you are still unsure that a therapist/counsellor you’ve found is legitimate or not, the following questions put to the therapist will help you decide.  Do not be afraid to ask your potential therapist to proove their legitimacy!

Vetting Questions to ask a Potential Therapist.

Any of these questions would be appropriate to put to a therapist (private, NHS, charitable, spiritual, religious etc) during the first interview.

  • What are your formal qualifications to practice as a therapist – or are you still in training?
  • Who awarded you your qualification? (Check that the awarding body is also a suitable member of a recognised professional body) -or- who is overseeing your practice whilst in training?
  • If you have no formal qualifications, and are not in training, what is your rationale for offering me therapy?
  • What professional bodies are you a member of … and what is your membership number?
  • If you are not a member of a professional body, what are the circumstances around this?  Was it your decision not to be a member?
  • Does your professional have different levels of membership (e.g. member, accredited member, senior accredited member) – and, if so, what level of membership have you attained?  Are you aware of the next level, and are you working towards it?  If you are not working to the next level, what is your rationale?
  • How do you regularly ensure that are practising to your best (e.g. do you attend regular supervision, or are a member of a group supervision group)?
  • When was your last training course or self-directed learning (continued professional development/CPD)? (Check that the therapist stays up to date with current learning).
  • Do you have indemnity insurance – and who is it with? How does your insurance protect me as a potential client of yours?
  • (If appropriate…) … having learned of my/our needs for therapy, what will be your treatment plan for me/us?
  • Is your treatment suitable for my needs?
  • Have you offered this treatment before?

Trust your Instincts with the Answers.

How do you feel with the therapist’s responses to your questions?  Were the answers given freely?  Some therapists – later on in the therapy – will not immediately answer questions, preferring to investigate the nature of the question first (psychodynamic/psychoanalytic is a legitimate model of therapy, albeit different from other models), so it might be best to bare the therapist’s response with this in mind.

How does the therapist appear to you?  Does the therapist’s website and marketing material give the appearance of professionalism?  For example, does the website look healthily maintained, or is it a bit out-of-date/bedraggled?  Do the marketing materials look professionally produced, or kind of written on craps of paper in crayon?

Services such as VistaPrint can give a professional appearance to anyone in return for some money – but these services also produce rubber-stamp images (i.e. the choices of branding can be used by anyone, over and over again).  Looking professional is a good indicator of the professionalism of the therapist, but on its own it’s not an indication of the therapist’s qualifications, practice or experience.

In addition with the above questions information, if you meet with the therapist consider the following:-

  • Do you have a feeling that the therapist is someone you want to work with?  If not, don’t … and find someone else.
  • Does the therapist at least attempt to answer the questions helpfully, or evasively?
  • Do you know of anyone who has previously seen this therapist for treatment?

Bear in mind that there is no legal requirement for any of the above considerations to be set in place, so you are responsible to protecting your own well-being.

[button type=”small” color=”orange” permalink=”3989″ br=”yes”] Click for a more detailed article on this subject…[/button]

Categories
FAQ

How do I begin Counselling?

Beginning counselling in Portsmouth, Hampshire with Dean Richardson is straightforward.

It might help you to be aware that once you have arranged to meet for a first session with Dean (the ‘assessment’) you’re pretty much assured to begin counselling with him – should you choose to.  The assessment session is to ensure that the problems you present for counselling are matters which Dean and you can work with.  It is not to evaluate you to past a test that would allow you into therapy.

Dean takes on a limited number of simultaneous cases.  This is to ensure that you (or you and your partner, or the support group you may join) gets the best out of Dean as therapist.  Dean makes sure that he is not overworked by having a maximum number of cases at any one time during the week.  So, when you look on the front page for list of times Dean is available, you know that Dean is already available to take you on as a new case.

Individual or Couple Counselling.

  1. Take a look at Dean’s available appointments range.
  2. Contact with Dean – letting him know when you’d like to meet.
  3. Dean will return your contact to confirm – or offer another appointment time that’s near to your choice.
  4. You and Dean will meet for a counselling assessment to discuss your needs from counselling and to see if you and Dean both believe it will be beneficial for you to work together in therapy, or if maybe a referral to a colleague or another service might be a better choice.
  5. If there is nothing contraindicative to proceeding into counselling, you and Dean will arrange a weekly appointment (usually the same day, same time and same location as the assessment appointment).
  6. For individual counselling Dean and you meet together weekly for either a fixed number of sessions (see Brief Counselling), or until the issues you came into counselling for are worked through sufficiently for you and Dean to both recognise that the counselling is done.
  7. For couples counselling, you and your partner will meet with Dean until the issues you and your partner came to address have been sufficiently worked through for you all  to agree that the work is done.

Support Groups.

  1. Take a look at Dean’s available groups.
  2. Contact with Dean – letting him know which group you’re interested in joining.  Choose an appointment time from here to come for a meeting to discuss your needs from group therapy.
  3. Dean will return your contact to confirm your appointment time, or to offer one as near as possible to your choice.
  4. You and Dean will meet for a 50 minute talk to discuss your needs from a support group and to discuss if both you and Dean believe it will be beneficial for you, or if a referral to a colleague or another service might be appropriate.
  5. If you and Dean both agree about you joining a group, you both will arrange for you to be added either onto a waiting list to join a not-yet-meeting, or to be given a starting date to join an existing group. 
  6. Because some groups only accept new members when the membership quota has dropped below the maximum membership number, you may be waiting for your place in the group to become available.  You and Dean will look after your needs in the meantime either by arranging holding sessions with Dean, or by discussing other means to look after you whilst you wait.
  7. When your place in the group becomes available, you will be given your start date.
Categories
Couples FAQ

What is an Assessment for Couple Counselling?

Before couple counselling commences, a couple is invited to an initial assessment.

An assessment for couple counselling is often four sessions – and this time allows the couple to give a full overview of their relationship problems to the therapist, allows the therapist offers some helpful, information-gathering questions, and allows all three the opportunity to discuss if they can work together to achieve the focus discovered and set by the assessment.

The four sessions are divided as follows:-

  • Session one: all three meet to give an overview of the problems, and begin to discuss what might be an approach for couple counselling.
  • Session two: one partner meets with the counsellor on their own.
  • Session three: as session two, but with the other partner.
  • Session four: all three meet again to discuss what was learned in the previous three sessions… and to see if a focus for couple counselling can be agreed.

Sometimes the assessment can be enough to dislodge the couple into continuing their relationship work on their own.

Sometimes the couple continue meeting with the counsellor.

If the couple and therapist agree not to proceed into therapy a referral may be made to another therapist.

Click for full details about an assessment for couples counselling.

Categories
FAQ Individuals

Is Counselling Right for Me?

Are you looking for assistance with transforming problems in your life, or are you looking for someone to tell you what to do?

If the former, then counselling may be a helpful option for you. 

If the latter, then maybe counselling is not the solution for you.

Counselling is a form of therapeutic partnership, where you and a counsellor discuss matters that are effecting you.  Thinking of it as a form of consultation, both you and the counsellor conversationally attempt to understand the problems you face – a little like having a different perspective shared with you.  Sometimes the counsellor might help you look into your past for examples on where the current problems first started.  Sometimes the counsellor might help you look to the future to help you ponder about solutions that might help you.  Sometimes the counsellor may sit and metaphorically join you in the current problems just so that you don’t need to feel alone in them.

An aim is to bring understanding to you so that you can feel less burdened by the problems, and to support you in you making your own choices about what might help change things for you for the better.

Is counselling right for you?

Categories
Couples FAQ

Is Couple Counselling Right for Us?

Are you looking for assistance in helping you and your partner decide how to improve your relationship?  Or are you looking for someone to tell you what to do?

If the former, then couple counselling might be something that is right for you.

If the latter, then couple counselling may not be suitable for you.

A couple counsellor has no instructions or recipes that if you follow to the letter you will find that your relationship improves.  However, a couples counsellor is skilled in helping couples learn what they’re not paying attention to (or have stopped paying attention to).  Some couple counsellors will be curious about the past history of the relationship – when was there a time when things were better.  Some couple counsellors will be curious about the present day – how does the relationship nurture unhappy behaviour.  Some counsellors will sit quietly and listen (actively) to an argument go on for a while – learning about what the partners cannot see for themselves.

Couples counselling can help perturb unhappy behaviours – but both partners have to wish for the relationship to change.  Unhappy behaviours may have become necessary for one (or both) partners (eg avoiding sex) – and dislodging these behaviours might release even more unhappiness if this is not first understood – this is just one of the aims in couples therapy.

Do you think couple counselling might be right for you both?

Categories
FAQ

I want to Complain about my Counsellor

Sometimes, the relationship between the counsellor and client can encounter difficulties.

From a [tooltip text='Psychodynamics is the theory and systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychodynamics'] psychodynamic [/tooltip] point of view, the relationship between therapist and client can grow to mirror the difficulties experienced in the client’s life.  It is therefore not unexpected that seemingly-unmanageable situations in the clients personal life may be repeated with the therapist (albeit unintentionally & unconsciously).

Repeating Past Experiences.

The difference in these therapeutic circumstances will be that the therapist will try to help the client work through the problems (assisting the client in taking the opportunity to work with the problems in a different way) whilst at the same time trying to be aware of his own potential to unintentionally repeat behaviour that the client has experienced in his/her past.  It’s a very real process – it can be successfully worked through but for some clients it can be too disturbing if it occurs.

It is my approach to talk openly about difficulties as part of the therapy for these very reasons.

When Therapeutic Problems cannot be Worked-Through.

Despite the best of intentions, sometimes very difficult problems cannot be worked through between client and therapist. Whether the client cannot hold onto a spark of imagination that allows him/her to trust that this distressing manifestation is part of the transference, or the therapist hasn’t been self-aware sufficiently to work with their [tooltip text='Counter transference: the therapist`s emotional entanglement with the client; the therapist`s unconscious response to unconsciously communicated client material.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countertransference'] counter-transference [/tooltip] response to the client’s [tooltip text='Transference is a phenomenon in psychoanalysis characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transference'] transference [/tooltip] – and the client feels hurt, betrayed, let down etc.

Therapist Abuse.

The client cannot be blamed for being unable to disassociate from very real feelings of betrayal (etc). That is one matter.

Another quite different matter is when the therapist has not behaved ethically – whether by intentionally abusing the client (financially, sexually etc) or not being skilled enough or not using supervision enough to keep the therapeutic work safe.

Complaining to a Professional Body.

If , during therapy, you and Dean cannot resolve manifesting difficulties, and you wish to raise a professional complaint about Dean, you have the option of taking your complaint to his professional body: the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). 

  • This will make your complaint about me formal and the BACP have professional procedures in place to handle such formal complaints.
  • It may also be helpful to review BACP’s Making a Complaint page which gives information on what to do before raising a complaint.

Contacting the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy,
BACP House,
15 St John’s Business Park,
Lutterworth,
LE17 4HB.

Tel: 01455 883300,
Fax: 01455 550243,
Minicom: 01455 550307,
Text: 01455 560606

http://www.bacp.co.uk/

Categories
FAQ

What does Counselling Cost?

Different therapists charge different rates for different forms of counselling, psychotherapy and other therapies.

Dean Richardson has broken down his fee structure so that you only pay for the counselling/psychotherapy service you need.

All fees have two parts: a standard fee (what the general member of public will be invited to pay) and a sliding scale (what a person with limited income can be invited to consider paying).

Click to read more about Dean’s costs for counselling.