Your questions answered...
Do I need to see a counsellor?Life may run smoothly and sometimes it may be difficult. When difficulties arise and we
can’t sort them out alone, with family or friends, then counselling may help.
How does counselling help?Counselling offers you a different relationship from any other, one which is designed to help you sort through your problems and, through this relationship, to find solutions for yourself. I won't analyse you, tell you what to do, or make decisions for you. I offer you support whilst we explore solutions that are right for you in your particular situation.
How do I know if counselling will be right for me?I offer a reduced fee initial session for you to meet me and talk about counselling. This is so that you can have a brief experience of how I work and how counselling will be before you make any commitment to the process, to yourself or to me. This will give you an opportunity to decide whether you want to try counselling or not. You can stop the counselling at any time if you decide later that it is not helpful to you.
I can provide skype or email sessions also for those whom distance may be a problem.
How does Email counselling work?Email counselling process involves you type out your problem and concern in an email, and I take the time to read your email before replying with a considered therapeutic response.
Writing down whatever it is that may be clouding your minds can be an extremely effective way of processing negative emotions. Putting pen to paper, or in this case, hand to keyboard - is an ideal way for individuals who do not feel comfortable speaking about their problems to express themselves.
Because emails can be written at any time you are in control and have the freedom to document what is on your mind as it occurs, rather than waiting several days for a face to face counselling session.
Just knowing that there is someone there to receive, acknowledge and respond to your problems without judgement can provide an enormous sense of comfort and support to anyone attempting to overcome a difficult period in their life.
How do I know if you will be the right counsellor for me?During the initial session we will have a chance to meet and you will have a chance to decide whether you want to work with me or not. You will be seen in a safe, comfortable and confidential environment.
Is it a sign of weakness to see a counsellor?Seeing a counsellor is a courageous thing to do, it is not a sign of weakness. I believe that there are situations in life which you may find easier to sort out by talking with a stranger, someone who is trained in ways to help facilitate your discovery of answers to your problems.
Do you think I am crazy or mad?No, I do not think you are crazy or mad if you come to see me or because you have a problem you are unable to sort out on your own. I offer a non-judgemental space for you to talk about things that trouble you.
How can I talk to you, my problem is so awful?I do not judge people by their actions or their circumstances. I support the human-ness in all of us and believe that we are all trying to do the best we can. I know it will take time for you to build up trust in me, and I understand that you may not want to tell me everything that brings you to me until you feel this trust so that I can help you with all your problems.
Is my problem important enough for counselling? Or am I wasting your time?
It is hard to visit a counsellor; I believe that if you find something difficult enough to bring to me then it is important enough to talk about, and not a waste of my time.
Why do I feel nervous?It takes courage for many people to talk about their problems. Sometimes the problems are wrapped up in shame, fear, anger or embarrassment. For some people, just meeting a new person is difficult, and for others doing something new is very daunting. These are some reasons why you might be feeling nervous, and there may be a different reason. I would be happy to talk about this with you during the first session.
My English is not fluent, do you work in any other language?I work in German and Portugues as well as in English. But don't worry you will be surprised how much healing can occure using only little basic words.
What happens in the first session?During the first session, we will discuss the practicalities of our counselling relationship should we decide to embark upon it. We may talk about counselling in general and what it might be able to do for you. You may wish to tell me what has brought you to me, and have a counselling session, or you may prefer to wait until the next meeting before you start to tell me your problems. You may not want to decide straight away whether or not you want to continue with me, and in this case you can always call me later if you want to come back to see me. This first meeting is charged £50 normal session fee, but there is no financial or personal commitment until you are ready to make one with the knowledge you need for this decision. If I become aware that I would not be the best person for you to work with, I would discuss this with you and offer to refer you to someone more suitable for your needs.
Who else will know? Is counselling confidential?Confidentiality is an extremely important part of the counselling arrangement, and I take it very seriously. However, there are a few aspects of confidentiality that I think need to be explained.
Counsellors are required to work with a supervisor to improve their practise (please go to www.bacp.co.uk to learn more about counselling and the ethical framework I work by). When I see my supervisor, it is sometimes necessary to tell her small parts of your story in order to help me work better with you. I do not tell my supervisor any more than I need to and she does not know the identity of any of my clients.
The only time I might break confidentiality with you would be if I thought you were in real danger of causing harm to yourself or to another; I would only do this after discussion with you about your options; I would always prefer for you to seek further help yourself, and would only break confidentiality myself in an extreme case, and again I would discuss this with you and my supervisor, if this were possible. I will discuss all the aspects of confidentiality with you if you like.
How long do I need to see a counsellor and how often?I offer open-ended counselling. I believe that you will know when you want to end your counselling relationship with me and trust you to tell me. Most of my clients see me once a week for one session, we will discuss this in the first session and I can make different arrangements if you would like to do so. Counselling may last only one session, some months or possibly years.
I have trouble in my relationship, can I bring my partner for couple counselling?My work is individual counselling, e.g. I run one-to-one counselling sessions with you to find your way of living that reflect your need and values. If you are looking for couple or family counselling I will be happy to refer you to another counsellor who works in this way.
Exeption: I am aware of the difficulty of finding childcare for a small baby and so you are welcome to bring your baby with you to sessions.
Can I become dependant on counselling?Yes, this can happen. Counselling is the process of helping you to find the best way to live your life, and therefore your dependence on your counsellor is the opposite of what I work for. However I do think there are times when you might become dependant on me to help you to find your way through a difficult situation or time in your life. I am very aware that too much dependence on me would be a mis-use of my position and I would work hard to prevent that situation. If I thought that you were dependant on me I would discuss it with you and also with my supervisor to find ways to reduce your dependency as soon as possible.
How does counselling come to an end?When you are ready to end the counselling relationship I trust you to tell me. It may be that you know your situation is coming to an end and are aware that you will want to stop working with me at that time, or it may be that you have done enough work. We will then decide whether you want to come for one or more sessions to end the relationship, or whether you would prefer to end it immediately. It may be useful to have a review of the sessions for you to go away with a clear insight into what you have achieved.
What is the difference between Counselling and Psychotherapy?Counselling and Psychotherapy are often considered to be interchangeable therapies. The key difference between the two therapeutic treatments lay in the recommended time required to see benefits. Counselling usually refers to a brief treatment that centres around behaviour patterns. Psychotherapy focuses on working with clients for a longer-term and draws from insight into emotional problems and difficulties. A psychotherapist is a trained professional who is able to offer a form of counselling to clients. Someone with the same qualifications however, may decide to be called a counsellor instead. I do not think there is any difference between the ways that we work in the two professions.
I need a referral from my GP?No, although a GP may have suggested that you see a counsellor.
Can I bring my children, partner or a friend?The relationship between us, as client and counsellor, will be unlike any other. It will not be enhanced by the presence of another person, and it may be impossible to create. You may want to have a friend or family member bring you to your sessions and collect you afterwards but I don’t have a waiting room for them to wait in; they are welcome to wait in the car or in one of the many small coffee shops around the corner.
New mums might feel better to bring their baby and I offer sessions while her baby is present. Please ask me about this when you contact me.
How much does counselling cost?My normal fee is £50 for a 50-minute session payable at the end of the session by cash or cheque. It is possible to negotiate a reduced rate if you are a student, and for those on benefits or a low income.
Skype session is £50 for a 50-minute session, payable upfront by cheque.
Email counselling is £35 per session, payable upfront by cheque.
Do you have evening or weekend appointments?I work from Monday to Friday and my last appointment is at 8.00pm.
What happens if I can’t attend an appointment I have booked?
If you are unable to make a session you let me know as soon as you know and we can re-schedule the session. I do not charge for cancelled sessions when you give me a minimum notice of 48 hours, otherwise the full fee applies. If you do not attend a session we have arranged and I do not hear from you I will phone you to find out if you want to make another appointment unless you have asked me not to do so.
Do you have a car park?My street is designated as a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) with parking restriction between 10-11am and 3-4pm. During these times please use the Pay & Display Machine opposite my practice. The London Congestion Charge does not apply.
Are you near to public transport?Yes. My practice is a short walk away form Northfields tube station.
You could also take the E2 bus, just opposite from Ealing Broadway tube station or the E3 from Acton Town tube station. My practice is just off Northfields Avenue, you have to get off at bus stop Hessel Road.
Please visit Transport for London, Heathrow Connect and National Rail and for more information about timetables and routes.