How counselling can help:

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I need counselling or psychotherapy?
You may wish to embark on a series of counselling sessions for a number of reasons: to gain clarity on an issue, change old patterns, untangle complex personal issues or for self-development. You may seek counselling as a result of a crisis, or may be encouraged to seek counselling by family members, friends or colleagues.

What happens in a counselling session?
The counselling session is your time to use to discuss the things that are important to you and will vary according to your goals and needs. Your counsellor will offer a safe place to explore your feelings, anxieties and hopes and will work with you to develop your understanding, coping strategies and ways to manage difficult areas of your life.

What kinds of people seek counselling?
Many people can benefit from counselling. Our counsellors work with individuals, couples and families. We work across different cultures, religion, sexuality and disability and are committed to working with difference and diversity. Our consulting rooms are not easily accessed by people using a wheelchair and you should discuss any access requirements by phone before making an appointment.

What say do I have if I choose to take up counselling with Wessex?Counselling/psychotherapy is a two way relationship between you and your counsellor/psychotherapist. Your counsellor/therapist will respect your autonomy at all times and will not in any way seek to unduly influence any decisions that you might be thinking of taking.
As with all counselling/psychotherapy agencies we make clear to you, at the outset, what our understanding of confidentiality means and it's limits under the law.
You are always at liberty to say when you want the counselling to end. However we do hope that you discuss this thoroughly in your counselling sessions before making a final decision.

How long should I expect to have to continue counselling?
The number of counselling sessions depends on you as an individual and your unique presenting issues. A first consultation will enable you to see if counselling is indicated. You can discuss with your counsellor how long you might expect to come in the light of the issues that you need help with.

Will my counselling sessions be confidential?
Counselling sessions are confidential. What you talk about with your counsellor will remain confidential. The only exception to this would be if you pose a serious risk to yourself or others.

What is the relationship with my counsellor?
The counselling relationship is a professional relationship. The counsellor is someone who has had to undergo four years or more of professional training in order to learn the skill of understanding and making sense of some of the complicated roots of life’s difficulties and emotional pain. Recounting difficult experiences is what makes the counselling relationship feel very personal. At times it won’t feel like a professional relationship at all. Your counsellor can feel like your fried, or your mother, or your father, or even like a sister and brother. Some people may experience sexual feelings for their counsellor and at times your counsellor can even feel like your enemy.
Sometimes the feelings can be very intense. All these feelings and thoughts are very important because they are often the very thing that can help you and your counsellor get under the surface of what we show the world and it can change what we think we know about ourselves.
The counsellor is trained to engage with these feelings and thoughts but at times their professionalism can be seen as ‘cold’. However, the professional boundary they keep is of the utmost importance so that they can always listen with care and integrity.

Why do I have to pay for missed/cancelled therapy sessions?
Missed sessions or cancellations are charged for. This is because your regular appointment time is reserved for you and no-one else. Your therapist will give you notice of when they will be away and you are not charged for these times. The cancellation policy applies to your holidays, and any work commitment or illness. Wessex Counselling & Psychotherapy has a counselling contract which will be discussed with you in your first counselling session.

What is the difference between CBT and psychodynamic counselling?
As a psychodynamic therapist, I am sometimes asked “What is the difference between CBT and psychodynamic counselling?” In answering I try to offer a balanced picture. Even though CBT is –at least compared to the psychodynamic approach, - the new kid on the block. It is reported to be able to help some people, sometimes.

So on one side of the scales there is C.B.T which aims to change the way you think and behave. It is highly structured, and may use self-help books or computer programmes. It attempts to identify and solve problems. It asks that you set goals, and is usually available for brief period of weeks or months. It is acknowledged that difficulties may return, and clients are encouraged to practice CBT skills, in case they do. It does not aim to address underlying problems which may go back to childhood experience, and focuses on thought and behaviour rather than feelings.
Psychodynamic Counselling helps you build resources within yourself to cope with difficulties in life, and lets you know that you are unique but not alone. You gradually gain insight-understand yourself- with the help of your counsellor who is trained to pay attention to your inner world –your thoughts, feelings and ways of reacting under stress. Contrary to how it can be portrayed, it is the difficulties which are troubling you now, in the present, which are the focus. The roots of these present difficulties may go back a long way. If you and your counsellor can discover together how patterns of thinking, feeling and acting developed in the first place, there is a chance that instead of continuing to react in the same ways, you have more choice about how you live your life now - and feel better about yourself as a person.
To use a metaphor, you wouldn’t want to build on top of an unstable building would you? Being thought about, occupying space in another’s mind, having your feelings matter to another, becoming able to connect up experiences, rather than block out or run from the past, you can gradually begin to feel safe inside. That’s a good base for building on. The change you will now achieve is lasting because you have not built on top of an unstable building.
These are deeply differing views of what it is to be a person and different approaches to change - worth thinking about if you are considering getting help.