- I’m nervous about calling you, I don’t like leaving messages on answer phones. Can I get in touch with you some other way?
- I know I need help, but I’m not sure which is best, counselling or hypnotherapy. What should I do?
That’s fine, many people ask this. All you need to do is book an initial consultation, where we can have an informal chat and then decide together which would be most helpful for you. I would need to know more about you before I can advise further.
- I'm not sure if I need help or not? How can I tell?
That’s a very good question and to a certain extent, only one that you can answer. But to help you, I would suggest you have a think about how much your problems are affecting your everyday life. If you feel that work, relationships etc. are becoming more difficult, or if you feel your anxiety or low mood is getting harder to hide or fight, then it’s possibly time to seek help. Talking through your concerns with a friend or family member may help, but sometimes it isn’t enough. By seeing a professional, you will have time set aside just for you, for as long as you need and you’ll be able to learn tools and coping mechanisms to enable you to cope better.
- Can you help with anything?
Not necessarily. I can work effectively with most issues, but sometimes you may benefit more from someone who is an expert in the particular area you want to address. In this case I can help refer you to the right person. There are also occasions when I may feel you’re best going back to see your GP. I am not medically trained so in some areas of mental health, or if the presenting issue is physical in nature, a visit to your GP (initially at least) may be advised.
- What is counselling?
Counselling is a process where simply by talking, you are helped to understand the causes of your problems, helped to find ways in which you can cope with them effectively and then helped to move on from them. Take a look at the Counselling page on this site for more information.
- What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
This is a question that even professionals cannot agree upon. Generally, it is accepted that there is no difference between counselling and psychotherapy; the two words are really used to describe the same thing. Some argue that counselling deals with resolving current problems in the shorter term, whereas psychotherapy looks into things at a deeper level and for much longer. But in essence the two are interchangeable.
- Which counselling techniques do you use?
I describe myself as an integrative counsellor. This means that I use a wide variety of techniques and methods. Transactional Analysis, Psychodynamic, Person Centred and obviously Hypnotherapy are all examples of some of the methods I can use.
It’s a bit like having a tool kit and it depends on the client as to which tool I feel will help them most. Sometimes I will use a combination. My beliefs are very much based on the psychodynamic approach, whereby I think that our problems may be related to our past experiences.
- What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a process whereby the use of relaxation and narrow focus enables some problems to be dealt with more quickly and effectively. It isn't always suitable for everyone and every problem though. For more information, go to the page on this site about Hypnotherapy.
- Can I be forced to do something I don’t want to when I’m in hypnosis?
Absolutely not. People are always surprised that despite being (usually) beautifully relaxed in hypnosis, how incredibly alert and aware they are at the same time. Anything suggested to you, by anyone, that goes against your moral code, is instantly rejected. This isn't entertainment or TV!
- How many sessions will I need?
This is a question that can only be answered when I have more information about you after our initial consultation. However, as a guide, Hypnotherapy can take anywhere between 4 – 8 sessions. Counselling is usually a longer process, requiring somewhere around 12 - 16 sessions. In each case it may be less or more. The decision to stop, or book more sessions is always a mutual one to be agreed upon together.
- How long do sessions last?
All sessions last one hour. However, if a little longer is necessary on a particular day, I will always make time for you at no extra cost.
- Can I get counselling or hypnotherapy over the phone, or online?
Yes, I do offer telephone counselling, but not by email or Skype. Hypnotherapy is offered only in person.
- Will everything I tell you be confidential?
Absolutely. There are only some very specific situations in which confidentiality can be breached. This is all explained to you before you proceed and is also written into our contract so you can be perfectly clear.
- What do the letters after your name stand for?
Good question! You may notice that many counsellors have a whole raft of letters after their names. These will signify the qualifications of the counsellor in the first instance, then the membership body to which they belong.
Therefore the letters after my name mean this: Dip Hyp (Diploma in Hypnotherapy), Adv. Dip. Hyp (Advanced Diploma in Hypnotherapy), Dip CP (Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy). FHS means I am a Fellow of the National Hypnotherapy Society and MNCS(Acc) means I am an Accredited Member of the National Counselling Society.
- Are you insured?
Yes. I have Professional Civil Liability Insurance and have evidence of this.
- Are you CRB checked?
Yes, I hold an Enhanced CRB Certificate (now known as DBS)
- Are counsellors and hypnotherapists regulated in the UK?
No they are not. Regulation has been looked into by Governments in the past, but self-regulation (i.e. the industry regulating itself) remains.
More recently, the Government introduced the Accredited Register scheme, meaning that the standards of governing bodies (such as the NCS and HS) are assessed by the PSA (Professional Standards Authority). As such, I cannot claim to be government approved, but the standards of the bodies I belong to, are. For more details visit my page on Accreditations.
- My problem is really embarrassing. I worry you'll think bad of me.
Please be assured that I am completely non-judgemental; to be so would be neither helpful nor relevant. I have worked in this field for 14 years and in that time have seen all manner of people and problems. I see every problem brought to me as normal, even though it may not seem so to you. Because I understand that each problem has been caused by something, an experience for example; it’s never irrational, or stupid. Your concerns, whatever they are, are always valid.
- It’s a friend or family member I’m worried about. What can I do to help them?
It can be difficult when you see someone you care about struggling. You may want to help but worry that you may do the wrong thing or seem to be interfering. The best thing you can do, is to just let them know you are there for them. This may be through explicitly saying so, or you can just be a quiet support for them in the background; just staying in touch, checking how they are. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns to them; even if they deny there is a problem, or take your concern the wrong way, at least they know you care.
On the other hand, you may have given them the opportunity they’ve been waiting for to open up and talk about how they feel. You could find some resources to help them (helplines etc.) or simply help them arrange an appointment to see a counsellor or their GP. Do get in touch if you need some guidance.
- I’m really nervous about coming to see you, is that normal?
That’s perfectly understandable and normal. Just think what it is you are about to do!
In the first instance you have come to a point in your life where you are aware that things are too overwhelming for you to cope with alone; that in itself can be tough to face. Then the thought of opening up, talking about it to someone you don’t know and all the trust that involves can be bewildering. But that you’re considering it, that you will go ahead with it, is the first step to understanding just how brave and courageous you really are and the first step to recovering.
I do everything I can to make those first few meetings as easy as possible for you; I am only too aware of how you may be feeling; I've been sat where you are too. It is a fact that the ‘relationship’ between the client and therapist, over and above all else, is what will play the most important part in helping you move on, so I will do everything in my power to make you feel as comfortable and understood as I can.
Perhaps by going to the "Testimonials" page on my website, you can see how others have coped and what their views about getting help was really like.