+ What happens in a therapy session?
The foundation of face to face therapy is two people sitting in a quiet room talking confidentially. What we talk about is up to you. If I think you might benefit I might introduce tools such as cards, or awareness exercises. You don't have to do these if you don't want to.
Online counselling is slightly different. There is a complete focus on conversation and it is more difficult to do non-verbal exercises and use awareness tools.
+ What happens when we first meet?
The first meeting is to see what you would like to get from therapy and if that's something I can help you with. It is also a time for you to see if you to get a sense of whether we'll work well together. We'll also talk about how therapy might work, the costs, frequency, confidentiality and the business of payments and cancellations. We won't be doing any therapy, and there's no obligation to book another appointment.
If we decide to continue I'll probably book you in for 3 sessions and I encourage you to view these as "no strings attached" sessions in which we will explore what you are bringing to therapy, you will experience a bit of what therapy with me is like and sense whether it is a good fit for you. If at some point you feel therapy with me is not for you that's fine and a quick phone conversation to end is all that's required. During this time I will also be deciding whether my skills and experience are a good fit for you. If I decide that you would benefit more from a different therapist or approach I will tell you my reasons and may point you inthe direction of other therapists if you wish.
+ There are so many therapies how do I know if TA is the right one for me?
Though I primarily use TA, I have training in other forms of therapy that I also use if I feel they would help. This is true of many therapists. Research indicates that the kind of therapy the therapist uses is less important than how comfortable the client feels talking with the therapist. This is why it's best to have an introductory session to see how we get on and also talk about what therapy might entail.
+ How does it work?
Transactional Analysis therapy helps you look at situations differently. TA has a range of metaphors to simplify the complexity of human relationships and explain patterns of behaviour. As you become familiar with these tools you begin to look at things differently, forming new connections in your brain. This is called "neurogenesis". The more curious you become about yourself and how you interact with other people and your environment, the more powerful this process becomes and a positive feedback process begins. Once this positive feedback process is well established, your curiosity combined with the things you learn in therapy help you continue the process on your own and therapy draws to a close.
+ How long does it take to work?
I've found that around 10 to 20 sessions is usually sufficient to learn enough TA to use it effectively in your life. You may decide to finish at this point or continue working with me to explore the deeper roots of your behaviours, thoughts and feelings.
Coaching and online work tends to be shorter, around 2 - 6 sessions.
+ How do I know if it's working?
Transactional Analysis, is based on a "contract" which is an agreement between us about what we are doing. This helps us assess whether therapy is working. It's quite common for the process of therapy to sometimes feel uncomfortable as difficult subjects are explored. This doesn't mean it isn't working, however if it goes on for a while I would be discussing this with you.
If therapy doesn't seem to be working we would discuss why this might be and search for a process that could be more beneficial for you. If this involves ending therapy with me and moving on to therapy with someone else that is fine with me.
+ Can I take breaks or stop therapy?
Yes you can stop and start therapy as it feels right for you. If you take break for a few weeks I can usually hold your space. If you want to break for over a month we may have to arrange a new appointment time when you return.
You are also able to stop seeing me at any time. I prefer it if you tell me during a session so we can arrange to have a final ending session to ensure the ending process is completed. If for any reason you can't tell me during a session, please let me know by email or phone. It helps me improve my service if I have some idea about why you want to stop.
+ Do I have to be referred by my GP?
No - I operate outside the NHS so no referral is required. If you are anxious about seeing a non-NHS therapist your GP will be able to give you guidance as to whether your condition would benefit from therapy and the pros and cons of whether to seek support from within the NHS or privately.
+ Will I get a diagnosis?
No - A counsellor or psychotherapist is not qualified to make a formal diagnosis, for that you need to see a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. If I feel there is something that needs to get checked I will ask you to raise it with your GP.
+ Can I see another therapist while I see you?
That depends on the type of therapy you are receiving from the other therapist.
One to One Talk Therapy
I would not be willing to continue to see you if you get therapy from another talk orientated therapist, however you can try out another therapist for a couple of sessions if you are wanting to change therapist. I would expect both myself and the other therapist to informed about what you are doing.
Couple or Family Therapy
I am happy for you to attend Couple or Family Therapy while undertaking one to one therapy with me. I would expect you to inform the other therapist that you were seeing me, likewise I expect to know that you are in couples or family therapy with another therapist.
Same as for Couple or Family Therapy
Peer Support Therapy
I am happy for you to attend peer support groups. You do not need to tell anyone in the group that you are in therapy with me.
I am more than happy for you to engage in other forms of alternative therapy or practice and I commonly suggest this to my clients. I have found mixing talk therapy and alternative therapies such as Yoga and Dance very beneficial.
+ What happens if something happens to you as my therapist?
If I get ill or can't attend a session I will contact you and leave a message using the method we agreed in our initial consultation. If there's a sudden emergency or I am incapacitated I have a "Professional Will" which is held my my therapeutic supervisor, Ronen Stilman. He has the contact details of my clients and would contact you to inform you of the situation and make arrangements to refer you to another therapist or support you in ending therapy.
+ How does therapy usually end?
Usually we come to a point were we both realise the process is complete. We would discuss this for a session or two to make sure this is the case and then schedule a final ending session.
+ Do you see couples or families?
No. I usually see individuals only. The session is your space, and is kept private for you. If at some point in the therapy you feel you want to work with your partner or a family member in a therapeutic way I would recommend you approach a couples counsellor to do this. You can still come to individual therapy with me while you do this, or you may choose stop seeing me.
The exception to this is where ADHD and/or AS is involved. I see couples where one or both partners has ADHD or AS and they are wanting to explore how to build an ADHD/AS friendly relationship. I also see parents of ADHD/AS children, but not the children themselves.
+ Do you see children?
No I don't see people under the age of 16. This is the age of majority in Scotland. If you are an online client living outside Scotland the minimum age is 18.
+ Can we be friends after therapy?
No. It is unethical for therapists and clients to have ongoing friendships after therapy. The therapeutic relationship is unusual and though it might feel like a special friendship, in reality it is very different. Often an important part of the therapeutic process is the knowledge that the relationship will end and the process we go through around bringing it to an end.
+ What happens if we meet outside the therapy room?
During our initial consultation we will discuss how you would like this situation to be handled. If it happens I will try to follow these instructions. If I don't remember what we agreed, I would not acknowledge you but am happy for you to acknowledge me and would take my lead from how you interacted with me. I am happy to be introduced to others as your therapist if that's what you would like. I'm equally happy for you to completely ignore me if that's what you would prefer.
Remember that I am not perfect, I may be caught off guard, or if we haven't met for a while I might not place you as a former client. You or those around you might notice recognition, if this is not what we agreed, my apologies.
In the unusual situation of us meeting in another therapeutic situation eg group therapy, I would appreciate it if you approached me discreetly so that we could have a brief conversation about boundaries.
For more information or to arrange your introductory session please contact me here.