These are some frequently asked questions that people typically ask about the counselling process. If you find that your question is not listed here, please feel free to contact us and we are more than happy to have a chat with you or respond to your question via email - whichever you prefer.
What is counselling?
Counselling is a place where you can explore personal thoughts and feelings without fear of being judged. It is also confidential (with a some exceptions outlined below), so there is no worry of there being consequences of what you say or do in the therapy room. A counsellor will not give you advice on what you should do, but will help you find ways to make decisions which you feel comfortable with.
Is it confidential?
What you share with your therapist will stay within the therapy room, with a couple of exceptions. Firstly, if the therapist is concerned that you may be at risk of harming yourself or others, she may wish to talk to someone about that, but would always aim to talk to you about that first. Secondly, it is a clinical requirement that all therapists engage in supervision. This means that your therapist will have regular supervision from a highly experienced therapist, and you would always remain anonymous. Supervision is an extension of the work in the room, to ensure that the therapy is ethical and continues to be beneficial.
So how does it work?
If you choose to work with a therapist from mb therapy, she will work with you to gain an understanding of the issues that are currently troubling you. Using different techniques, your therapist will try to help you to unravel these issues and explore them in greater depth, so that you can get a greater understanding of their origins, your patterns and how you might go about effecting change. As clients often present with some difficulties in building or maintaining relationships (with friends, family or more intimately), the therapist will also use the relationship between therapist and client to help the client recognise relationship patterns, how to identify these in the future, and make changes if desired.
There seem to be different styles of therapy; what’s the difference and how do I choose?
There are many different styles of therapy - some of the common ones you may come across are psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive-behavioural therapy. At mb therapy, we practise integrative therapy. More information can be found here. It's a good idea to do a bit of research about various types of therapy to help you decide which one might work best for you.
How long will it take?
This generally depends on each client, as everyone will bring different presenting issues with them into the room. Issues that are deeply embedded will usually take longer to unravel. However, the bottom line is that in most circumstances, the therapy will last as long as the client wishes it to.
Now I know I want counselling, what do I do now?
You need to find a therapist who you feel you can work with. An initial consultation is a dual way for the therapist to find out about what brings you to counselling and for you to work out whether you feel comfortable with that particular therapist. You may wish to arrange another initial consultation with a therapist from a different practice, so that you can compare the way you feel with each therapist.
Can I attend with my partner?
We currently only offer individual therapy, and therefore if you are seeking couple therapy, we recommend you contact Relate, the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships, or find a private therapist through the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy 'Seeking a Therapist' service, and selecting 'couples' under the type of client option.
How do I know counselling is for me?
It may be that you don't feel you have anyone you can talk to about your feelings, or that you feel like a burden on your friends and family and want to find another outlet. You may be confused about feelings that you are experiencing and want to understand them better. Low mood, anxiety, depression, bereavement, loss, relationships, stress, problems with food/eating/, poor self image, low self esteem, feeling lost, wanting to understand self better - are just a few of the numerous reasons why people seek therapy.
Will it help me? How?
There are no guarantees with counselling, and there is no quick fix or magic wand. Most of our clients get great benefit from having someone independent to explore their difficulties or concerns with, and are pleased with the way they feel or the changes they are able to implement in their lives as a result. So counselling can help in many ways - primarily as a private space to express personal thoughts and feelings, which often provides relief in itself, but additionally through exploring these at depth to understand yourself better, which can open up possibilities to do things differently.
How do I choose the right counsellor for me?
This can be a big decision, although there's no right or wrong way to choose someone who you feel you could work with to help you with your difficulties. First and foremost though, it's about finding someone that you feel comfortable with to share very personal thoughts and feelings. You may have an instinctual feeling that a particular counsellor could be right for you. You may be looking for someone who is especially supportive, or someone who can challenge you, and it might be helpful to talk to your prospective counsellor about these things to help you find the right person.
There are also some practicalities involved, as you will need to find a counsellor who can work with you at a time, price and location that suits you. You may need to compromise on one or more of these things if you struggle to find someone who completely fits the bill.
What’s the difference between counselling/counsellor and therapy/therapist?
These words are often used interchangeably (as we do on this website) and it can be confusing to know what the difference is. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) states that "counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change or enhance their wellbeing".
How often do I see a counsellor?
At mb therapy, we offer weekly therapy. Occasionally we receive requests from clients who wish to be seen less frequently, but in our view it is difficult to build a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship when meeting on a less frequent basis. Additionally, if either client or counsellor cannot make a session, perhaps due to holiday, the extended time between sessions can become difficult to manage.
I’m not sure if I can afford therapy, what do I do?
We try to offer fees which are as affordable as possible, whilst reflecting the high value of the service we offer. Further information can be found on our prices page. You could also contact your GP to find out what is available through the NHS. Your GP may also have details of low-cost or free counselling services in your local area.