What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

There is no, commonly agreed, differential between the two.  Psychotherapy and counselling are both talking therapies, the terms often used interchangeably.

I argue the difference is in the length and depth of the work.  In psychotherapy, clients and therapists generally work together over a long period, addressing relational patterns, chronic issues, and recurring feelings. The process can be challenging and involves an exploration of the past and its impact on the present.

Counselling may be for a specific issue such as a bereavement or significant life event, and the work may be shorter and more focused.

With both counselling and psychotherapy the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and safe.

What are talking therapies?

Talking therapies involve talking about and through the problems and challenges of life.  The common misunderstanding is client presents a narrative of the issue, the therapist listens and provides an insight and then all is well.  The other misconception is I have a ‘box of tricks’ and, once I hear the client’s description of their challenge, will be able to select the right ‘trick’ for them to use.  Again, all will then be well.

In many therapeutic sessions there is a lot of talk but in some there may be none – it depends on the client’s needs at that moment in the process.  The real value of the therapy lies in the relationship between client and therapist and the potential it offers for uncovering old relational patterns and developing a new way of being.  My energies are focused on really coming to know and understand my clients and then offering the relationship they need.  In return, I ask my clients to be as open and honest as possible.

How do I know if I need psychotherapy / counselling?

There are many circumstances in which an individual may benefit from therapy.  If, for example, you feel unsettled, sad or anxious, have difficulty establishing the relationships you desire or have experienced a significant and disturbing or upsetting life event, you may find therapy helpful.

What should I expect?

Therapy is an individual process, so the experience is different for everyone.  You may want to tell me your story or wait for my questions.  You may have a particular issue at the front of your mind or have no idea where to begin.  There may be silences or every moment filled with conversation, and everything in between.

Is there a minimum commitment?

I ask all clients to commit to six sessions.  If there is a specific issue to address, this may be enough.

Longer term therapy is needed for deeper issues, but the process can be difficult.  This minimum commitment will allow us to begin the process and identify and work with any initial resistance you may experience.

There is no fixed term for therapy and, working together, we will agree when the time is right for you to finish.

If you make a unilateral decision to end therapy, I ask that you attend a further three sessions so we can bring our relationship to a positive conclusion.

What happens if I feel it’s not for me?

Tell me.  There are many reasons you may feel this.  It might be this is not the right moment for you to engage in therapy or I might not be the right therapist for you.  Feeling it’s not for you may also be a way to avoid the challenging issues you have come to therapy to address.  Through discussion we can explore your reasons.

My aim is to support you as you settle on the right way forward.

How many sessions will I need?

This depends on the issues you need to address and the challenges you face in doing so. My aim is that we will agree together the number of sessions that suits you.

How often will the sessions be?

Generally, sessions are weekly, at the same time and on the same day each week. This provides us with the consistency and safety we need to work on the challenges and issues you have come to therapy to address.

After discussion and depending on your needs, we may chose to change this frequency.

How long is a session?

Each session is 50 minutes.

How much notice do I have to give if I cancel a session?

I require 48 hours’ notice of a cancellation.  I will charge for sessions cancelled at shorter notice.

How will I know I am ready to finish therapy?

It is unlikely there will be one moment at which you will know.  It  is possible, but it is more likely you will have a growing realisation you have benefited as much as possible at this time from working in a therapeutic relationship with me.  We will work together to recognise when the time is right.

What if I don’t want or can’t come one week?

If you can’t attend, simply let me know at least 48 hours in advance.

What is the assessment process?

The assessment is a 30 minute session, the purpose of which is to explore whether or not we feel we can work together.  I will ask about your present issues and key relationships and you may ask whatever you wish about the process and my way of working.

If you feel I am not the right therapist for you, just let me know.  It’s the relationship that counts so it’s important you feel we can form an alliance.

Is it confidential?

Everything said in our sessions is confidential, with two provisos:

  • As a responsible practitioner I regularly attend clinical supervision during which I may discuss my clients and their processes.  Anonymity, however, is preserved.  Identifying details are not shared.
  • I may have to break confidentiality if there is a risk you may harm yourself or others.

Are you a member of a professional body?

Yes.  I am registered member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).

Do you have a DBS certificate?


Do you have insurance?

Yes.  I have specialist professional insurance, an indicator of good practice and a requirement of my membership of the UKCP.