Frequently Asked Questions
How would we make a start if I want to go ahead with a series of sessions?
The first step would be to arrange an initial appointment. Usually these would last for an hour and the aim would be to get a good understanding of what you would like help with and come up with an initial plan as to what we will focus on. Sometimes it will be possible to identify some fairly clear goals arising from problem areas in this first meeting. In other cases, goals may need some further exploration over more sessions. Obviously it is important that you feel comfortable with me as a therapist, and so there would be no automatic obligation for you take things any further at this stage if you did not want to.
What can I expect from a CBT session?
Typically CBT sessions are fairly structured: I will usually make a plan of what we are going to cover and we go through any events of the week as well as how your mood has changed. There may be strategies that you have tried out at home that we will review. Finally we can think together about what you might do at home over the coming week.
What would be expected of me as a CBT client?
As you can see from above, there is an emphasis in CBT on you trying out and practicing key strategies in between sessions. Research has shown that those who put more effort into this aspect of therapy gain more from the experience. Often a key strategy is to keep a record of thoughts, emotions and behaviours in the form of a diary. You may prefer to keep a notebook for this, or on your phone or on an app.
What can I expect my therapist to do in CBT?
It should feel in CBT as if we are working together on your problems to overcome them. Often the role of a therapist is to ask questions that promote understanding or help you gain insight into certain issues and this may feel different to conversations you may have with friends or acquaintances
How many sessions would I need?
This varies enormously from person to person. My preference is to work in blocks of six sessions and then review our progress. For mild difficulties 4-6 sessions may be enough. Most clients will need from 6 to 12 sessions if difficulties are long standing or fairly severe. In general terms, CBT is a short term therapy lasting for 20 sessions as a maximum.
Would my information remain confidential?
I take client confidentiality very seriously and so you can rest assured that your personal information is treated with great care. I keep my records electronically in a secure password protected format. It can sometimes be beneficial for a therapist to speak to a third party on your behalf but you would have to give your permission for this to take place. There may be circumstances where I need to share information with others-for example if I felt you were in danger of hurting yourself or others or may be about to commit a serious crime (this is a very rare occurrence,) but even then I would seek to gain your permission to do this if at all possible.
How much do you charge and how are payments made?
My charges are £80 per 50 minute session. Assessment or initial appointments are charged at the same rate. In some circumstances (such as an exposure session or working on a traumatic memory) it may be necessary to schedule a longer session of an hour and a half or two hours but this is an exception and would simply be to allow anxiety levels to fall to normal levels over the course of the session. In this event fees would be either for one and a half hours or two hours time. Payment is usually by cash or cheque at the end of each session, or I can invoice for BACS or online payment after each appointment.
What do I do if I have to cancel a session?
You can ring on the number listed here or email me from the website. I have reserved the time for you if we book an appointment, and so if you have to cancel would appreciate that you do so with plenty of notice.
Cancellations received by giving between 24 and 48 hours notice will incur a charge of 50% of the usual session fee. Cancellations received by giving less than 24 hours notice will incur a charge for the full session. Please note that insurance companies do not usually cover the cost of cancellations.