For many clients the counselling style of helping is something new for them. As such, it is not at all unusual for new clients to this type of work to have many questions and reservations about what is involved. I hope I am able to answer some of your questions in this section.
I am more than happy to provide you with additional information if I haven't covered your particular query here.
Sometimes the client's expectations about what can be achieved through counselling can be unrealistic. On occasions this might also be true of the therapist. The initial hopes of a possible solution, resolution or acceptance with regard to the presenting issue can often get dimmed in the reality of the work that will be needed to get there.
I believe positive outcomes are more likely if we share our hopes and concerns at the beginning of the process and try to determine what might be achieved in the time we have available.
During the process of the work, expectations and possible outcomes may well change. I believe it is beneficial to work in a 'fluid' rather than 'rigid' way and to make adjustments as we go along in order to ensure our work remains relevant and appropriate.
How many sessions will I need?
This can depend on a number of different factors. We can discuss your particular requirements when we meet. The number of sessions can always be part of our on-going review process. I do not require you to commit to long-term work as a matter of course.
How long does a session last?
I work to a 'therapeutic hour' of 50 minutes duration.
How often will I attend?
There is an expectation that sessions will take place on a regular basis, usually weekly. This is particularly important at the start of the work when the therapeutic relationship is being formed. Sometimes clients prefer to re-negotiate their attendance in light of changing personal circumstances. This we can discuss as and when it occurs.
What if I'm late?
Punctuality can play a key part in ensuring that the work remains safe and effective. There is always the possibility that clients might be late from time to time owing to unforeseen circumstances. If you are late we might be able to work to the agreed time we would end the session. However there may be occasions when this might be of little therapeutic value, owing to insufficient time remaining.
What happens if I can't attend a session?
Please give as much notice as possible if you have to cancel a session. Once a session has been booked in my diary that timeslot is reserved exclusively for you and is no longer available to be booked.
A cancellation fee of the full session fee will be charged if less than 24 hours notice is given. Cancellation fees are charged regardless of the reason for the cancellation.
I would discuss the situation with you if non-attendance was becoming a matter of concern.
Your safety and well-being is my major concern and I will do my best to ensure that our work together remains ethical and safe. My work is informed by the ethical frameworks of the two professional bodies I belong to - BACP and UKCP.
Two of the keys features that play a part in this process are confidentiality and supervision, which are explained in more detail below.
I am registered with the Information Commissioner's Office which determines how I protect and process the data I hold on you.
I provide counselling work within a confidential setting. In broad terms this means that anything you share with me during a counselling session will remain private and will not be shared with anyone else. You should be aware that some details of my work is shared in supervision, although you do not have to be identified in this process. I can explain how this works in more detail when we meet.
There may be rare occasions when it might be necessary for me to consider breaking the confidentiality agreement. If this was the case I would want to bring this to your attention so that we can both explore how it would be best to proceed.
Our confidentiality agreements cover me discussing my client work in supervision. In supervision I explore my professional practice and clinical work with clients. The purpose and focus of supervision is not on the client but on how I am working with them. I can do this without sharing details which might identify you.
Regular and on-going supervision of my work is an ethical requirement of my membership of the BACP and is an activity all qualified counsellors engage in and helps ensure my work remains ethical and safe.
I hope you find our work together to be productive and beneficial. Inherent in the process is the possibility for difficulties to be experienced between the therapist and client. It is usually beneficial for these difficulties to be acknowledged and worked with. However, even with the best intentions of both parties sometimes things can go wrong.
During our work together I would welcome your feedback and encourage you to bring anything you are unhappy with to my attention. By doing so will enable us to explore what is going on in an open and honest way and hopefully resolve the situation that feels OK for both of us.
If you have any serious concerns about the way I work with you these can be addressed through the professional conduct procedures of my professional bodies. I can provide you with details of how to do this.