Many people who work with us have never had therapy before, and have to base their expectations off of films, tv shows or what a friend told them.
So let's talk you through the process and what you can expect.
Firstly, you get in touch with us and we organise an initial consultation. This is a free 15-20 minute consultation on the phone so that we can get a better idea of what you're looking for and then we can see if we are the right service for you. This will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.
Who aren't we the right service for? Well our service is goal-directed and time-limited. So if you are looking for long-term exploratory therapy then we won't be the right fit for you. If you are someone who has clear goals for therapy (or a clear sense of how they want their life to be different) and these are achievable within 16-20 sessions, then we might be the right service for you.
Following this, you'll have a week to think it over and let us know your decision. If you want to speak briefly to a team member to ask them questions and check you feel comfortable with them, then we can also organise this.
If you decide to work with us, then we book in the first session.
So, what happens in the first couple of sessions?
The first one or two sessions are assessment, where we might explore various areas of your life and start to construct a story as to what is going on for you. We want to know the whole you, not just the parts of your life that are tricky, so we also think about what is going well at the moment too. We may also complete questionnaires.
We would also think about what has happened so far, but also what might be maintaining some of your difficulties. For example, some coping strategies (e.g., avoidance) can be helpful to reduce anxiety in the short-term, but in the long-term get in the way of you living the life you want.
As experienced clinicians, we are able to adapt our work to each client and use an integrative approach. This means that no assessment will be identical to another, but it will focus on helping you to feel comfortable, get to know you and begin the process of helping you to understand yourself. Sometimes this means we may use exercises such as drawing a genogram or maybe a timeline of events to further understand you as a person or highlight any patterns.
We would also use these sessions to identify your goals and it is these goals that will guide your future sessions.
We typically work with clients for 12-20 sessions, over the space of 4-6 months, depending on your goals.
These sessions would then be influenced by the clinicians clinical judgement as to what would be most helpful and how we can help you to move closer to your goals. However, we will always check in to see how your week has been, if there is anything you want to prioritise for this week and any reflections you have from the previous week.
We see most clients for weekly sessions. Once you feel you're moving closer to your goals, we will move sessions to fortnightly to give you more space to make the changes you've been working on, and bring back any problems you've encountered.
Once you feel like you're close to your goals, we would spread out the sessions more, perhaps to a monthly check-in. We would re-do the questionnaires we did at the start to monitor changes. And when you're ready, we can discharge you from the service. However, we do have an open-door policy so if in the future you need a top-up session or want to re-start sessions, then we will endeavour to fit you in as quickly as possible.
We appreciate that it can be daunting accessing therapy, and you probably have questions that I haven't been able to answer here. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have.