Seeing a psychologist may be a new decision for you, or something you have been considering for a while. In either instance, it is understandable that you may have a number of thoughts and feelings about making your first appointment, We have provided some information here that we hope will help you feel more informed about the process, however if you have any questions you are welcome to contact us and speak to us personally.
What happens during the first session?
During the first couple of sessions your psychologist will take a thorough history. This is to help us gain a clearer picture of the issues affecting you, and how we may be able to assist. It also gives you a chance to see whether you feel comfortable with the psychologist, which is very important when embarking on a therapeutic journey, before proceeding with further treatment.
How does counselling and psychotherapy work?
Psychological therapy provides a confidential environment for you to explore what is worrying you. Through discussion and exploration of your particular concerns, the therapeutic process is designed to empower and support you to arrive at your own decisions and solutions.
Our overall aim is to assist you in gaining a deeper understanding and awareness of the issues affecting you. This may include looking more closely at particular aspects of your past, key relationships or significant life events. We are interested in the underlying causes of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours. When we have a clearer understanding of what is going on, this can provide clarity and relief, as well as enabling you to make more informed choices and implement positive changes.
Therapy is not about providing advice, although at times it may be appropriate to explore and discuss options. Generally it is a collaborative process in which you will be actively involved.
How long does a session last?
Each session lasts between 50-55 minutes. We make every effort to ensure that sessions start and finish on time.
How many sessions will I need?
This is a difficult question to answer, as everyone is different and some problems can take longer to work through than others. Some people find relief after only a few sessions whereas others may require treatment for an extended period. After an initial two to three sessions we can provide you with an indication of the expected duration of treatment. At this point you may decide to enter into a therapeutic contract for a period of time, or continue on an open-ended basis until you feel you have reached your desired goals and outcomes.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Often these terms are used interchangeably as there are many similarities between the two. The main point of distinction is the duration and depth of treatment. Counselling tends to be short to medium-term, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and is likely to be quite focused on specific issues. Psychotherapy generally involves more in-depth and longer-term treatment, usually lasting a few years, either on a weekly or twice-weekly basis. Longer-term work is also likely to look more closely at how your early experiences currently impact your relationships (with yourself and others) and emotional well being.