A safe place to talk and think
Psychotherapy, or counselling, offers a confidential, regular and supportive time and place to talk about your difficulties, concerns or questions.
It allows you to examine your experiences, develop your understanding of yourself, and consider your choices. It is somewhere for you to do your own thinking aloud, with the support of a professional alongside you.
Psychotherapy and counselling may not be helpful for everyone or for every problem. It isn’t really a place to get advice, or tips, or quick answers, and it can take some time to work through very unclear, difficult or long-standing issues.
I’ve written a short article about some online resources to help you learn more about therapy and counselling, and how to find a psychotherapist or counsellor. Some of these are also listed below.
What do people talk about?
People come to talk to me for a wide variety of reasons. These are often problems they wish to understand or overcome, which might include:
- relationship difficulties
- sadness, depression, emptiness, low self-esteem
- anxiety, stress, panic, fear
- goals, choices or questions in life
- obsessive or addictive behaviour
- issues with eating, weight or body image
- family issues
- identity, meaning and purpose
- anger, guilt, shame, mood swings
- bereavement or other loss
- self understanding
- shyness, lack of confidence, low self-worth
- death and dying; ageing; midlife issues
- sexuality, sexual activity, gender identity
- career and work-related issues
- studying and academic stresses
- self-harm or suicidal thoughts
The topic(s) are your choice, and you don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to. Whatever you do talk about, I will try to help you reflect on it and further develop your own understanding of it.
How long does it take?
There is no simple answer. It depends on how you choose to use counselling and psychotherapy, and what you feel is helpful. We can talk about that in the first session if you wish.
Regular weekly sessions are generally helpful to allow you to build a trusting relationship with a psychotherapist/counsellor and build up some momentum. And it can take time to explore significant issues or questions in any depth. Some people feel they only need a handful of sessions to address an immediate worry or specific situation, while others want to address long-standing issues or learn more about themselves in a way that may take months or even years.
It’s a bit like physical fitness or sport – you may want to see a trainer to address something quite specific briefly, or you may enjoy developing and maintaining your fitness and skills over a longer period. It’s really up to you and how you want to use the therapy.
Other information resources on psychotherapy and counselling
If you want to know more about counselling and psychotherapy, or how to choose a psychotherapist or counsellor, below are a few links to authoritative information and advice from two of the main professional associations for counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK:
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)