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Frequently Asked Questions

 

I don’t really know how counselling works, what can I expect?

It can be really daunting seeing a therapist for the first time, and I am often asked this question. In your first session, we’ll do an ‘assessment’. This sounds very formal! In reality it’s a chance for me to take some details from you, ask what it is you’re expecting from me and what you’re coming to counselling for, and to see whether we’re a good match. I work in a person centred way, which means that the sessions are yours to use how you need. I will ask questions and try to really understand what it is that you’re going through from your point of view. My aim is to get to know you and in the process, help you to know yourself more fully. In this way we can work towards making changes that help you to live in a more authentic way, honouring your true self.

Sometimes, particularly when working with trauma and anxiety, we may work with feelings and sensations in the body to help you understand why you’re feeling as you do. This might involve doing some exercises like body scans or mapping out what happens when you’re triggered so that we can change those responses. I’ll always explain why I’m asking you to do any exercises and you don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. At every part of our work together our relationship is key and so my work is to help you feel safe to be able to explore what’s happening for you. You can read more about somatic therapy here Somatic Therapy

From me, you can expect warmth, empathy and kindness. I will sometimes challenge you and sometimes we will find the humour in things. Counselling isn’t all about boxes of tissues, it can also be about rediscovering joy.

Will you tell anyone what I say?

The short answer is no. Our work together is completely confidential.

There are always some exceptions to this though. If I think that you are a risk to yourself or someone else as a result of our work, I might seek support from outside agencies such as your GP or mental health services. If this is necessary I will always try to discuss this with you first and we’ll agree on how to move forward together. There are also some legal obligations. I have to report to the police if you tell me you’re involved in drug or people trafficking, money laundering, terrorism or some driving offences.

I also meet with a supervisor each month to discuss my caseload. I will not share any identifiable details of you with them and I have a confidentiality agreement with them also.

How long is a session and how often do I need to come?

Sessions are 50 minutes long for individuals and 60 minutes for most couples or multi-partnered people, and most clients come either weekly or fortnightly. I generally give you the same time and day each week. The best work is done when we have consistency, but I do understand that life and sometimes finances can be a barrier and I try to work around your needs as much as possible. If you’re unable to commit to regular sessions right now, it may not be the right time and there may be other services better suited to your needs, for example, Northamptonshire Mind run regular groups and Crisis Café’s for more ad hoc support.

How many sessions will I need?

Well… this is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ questions. It is completely individual and based on your own circumstances. For some people 6-8 sessions is enough, for others, they may need longer term support going into months or even years. Some people come for a number of sessions, take a break to process, then come back some time later to work on the next part.

Will I have homework?

Homework is not generally part of the work I do with individuals. However, it is important to recognise that there are 168 hours in a week and you’ll only be with me for 50 minutes of those. Most of the work happens outside of our sessions and so works best when there’s a commitment from you to really think about and work towards the changes you’d like to see. There will be times that I might ask you to think on something that’s come up in session, or I may make suggestions if I think they might be relevant or effective for you. Our work together is all about fostering your own sense of autonomy, so I’ll never make you do anything!

In Intimate Partner Therapy we work in a more solution focussed way, so there may be exercises for you to complete either together or separately in between sessions. Completion of the exercises is not mandatory, and I will always endeavour to find work that suits all partners to get the best outcomes. However, I do require that there is commitment to collaboration and a willingness to try new things in order to make sure we are all working towards shared goals in the work we do together.

Do you work with children?

I don't currently work with children or young people under the age of 18. I really believe that this is a special skill that requires additional training and experience to do effectively. There are therapists with this expertise to be found at www.counselling-directory.org.uk

How much does it cost?

Sessions for individuals are priced at £50 per 50 minutes, including the assessment. For couples and multi-partnered people we have 60 minute sessions at £65. All of the details on how to pay and cancellation policies are included in your contract should you decide to work with me.

I also offer a limited number of discounted spaces for student counsellors – it is still fresh in my mind how overwhelming the training can be! Please contact me for details on availability.

Do you offer a free first session?

Our first full session will be the assessment session and this is charged at my normal session rate. However, if you prefer, I do offer a free introductory call of around 15-20 minutes to answer any questions and see if I am the right person to help. If you would like to book this in please head to my contact page and get in touch!

What are your qualifications?

I hold a Foundation Degree in Counselling through the Open University. Part of this was done through Northamptonshire Centre for Counselling Studies and was completed with CPCAB Level 4 in Therapeutic Studies with Tresham Institute. I am always updating my skills and knowledge with CPD courses. Here are some that I've completed recently:-

Carolyn Spring - Working With Shame - April 2020

Counselling Tutor - Certificate in Online and Telephone Counselling - December 2020

Carolyn Spring - Trauma and the Body - Dissociation and Somatisation - June 2021

Pesi - Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Body Oriented Therapy Techniques for Trauma and Attachment - June 2021

Carolyn Spring - Dealing with Distress - Working with Suicide and Self-Harm - September 2021

Centre of Excellence - Inner Child Healing diploma - May 2022

PESI - Clinical Applications of Polyvagal Theory in Trauma Treatment - August 2022

Institute of Embodied Psychotherapy - Foundations of Working with the Body in Psychotherapy - January 2023

Institute of Embodied Psychotherapy - Healing Trauma and the Animal Body - April 2023

Contemporary Institute of Clinical Sexology -  Certificate in Intimate Partner Therapy - February 2024

If you have any questions not included on this list, please do get in touch!

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