Who is psychological therapy helpful for?
If you are concerned about whether or not you are ready for psychological therapy it may be helpful for you to think about the following questions:
Are you open to the idea that talking therapy may be helpful for your problems? Are you motivated to make some changes? Can you identify some things you would like to change? Will you be able to talk about difficulties and feelings? Will you be able to be part of a collaborative therapeutic relationship and work together? Will you be able to take an active part in therapy? Do you think it is the right time for you to have therapy? Are you ready? If your feelings got worse, do you have support from others in your life to help you through this? Do you have any non-harmful strategies for coping with difficult feelings and do these strategies work (if not- are you willing to learn some, with support)? The Supporting Safe Therapy website can help you consider whether you need a therapist, what to look for in a therapist and what therapy should be like.
You can call or email me for a free brief consultation if you need to discuss whether psychological therapy is right for you.
What happens at an initial appointment?
It is important to have an initial assessment so we can understand your difficulties and what you want to achieve and make informed decisions about the best way forward for you. This will involve talking about your personal history, current difficulties and how these developed, what you think needs to change, things you have already tried and how that went. It may also be helpful for us to complete some questionnaires or psychological measures. Sometimes it can be helpful to have a longer meeting for an initial assessment and you will be given a choice of whether you wish to do this. We will consider what treatment options might be most appropriate for you and if I am able to offer this. Sometimes there may be a need for further assessment sessions to complete this process properly. There is no obligation to have the suggested treatment with me or continue the sessions. Clients can withdraw from assessment or treatment at any time. In some cases, you may be referred by a health professional for a specific type of assessment to understand your difficulties and treatment options, in which case there would be a written report of the findings and recommendations (where you agree to this).
How many sessions will I need?
At the outset of treatment it may be difficult to know exactly how many therapy sessions will be needed. This will vary depending on the kinds of difficulties you are having, the degree of distress they cause you, how long these have troubled you and how you feel about the treatment. Treatment length can range from having a few consultations, attending 5-10 sessions, having up to 20 sessions or in some cases, clients may prefer a more flexible or open-ended approach. The treatment plan will give an estimate of treatment length, based on our initial assessment and guided by clinical experience and the evidence base for psychological therapies with different types of difficulties. We will review your progress on a regular basis. The therapist will only recommend further sessions if these are likely to be of benefit to you and you are under no obligation to continue sessions.
What will sessions be like?
Therapy is a collaborative process. You can let the therapist know what you find helpful or unhelpful and share your own ideas on what will aid progress. Therapy is not necessarily a ‘quick fix’ and it can take time and work to see changes. Although many people can experience therapy as supportive and helpful, some people feel worse before they start to feel better and some people do not benefit from psychological therapies. The therapist cannot guarantee that sessions will result in improvement, but will do their best to provide effective treatment and help you achieve your goals. Throughout your therapy we will monitor its effectiveness and review your progress. Your honest feedback is very important because there is evidence that tailoring treatment to what feels right for you will give you the best outcome in the least time. I will encourage you to be honest and open within sessions but it is important that you only share as much information and go into as much depth as you are comfortable with, to help you continue to have a sense of control within the therapeutic process. It is helpful to find some time for yourself after the sessions to think about what happened in the session, how it went and if there is anything you did not understand or want to talk more about. You can make a note of these things and make me aware of them in the following session. The therapist may also propose tasks for you to complete in between the sessions, this might include for example reading and completing handouts, implementing strategies we have discussed, finding out more information about a key topic, practicing an important skill, or making some changes in your routine or life and recording how this goes. The website http://www.supportingsafetherapy.org/ can help people to understand what to expect from therapy and what to do if they have queries or concerns about therapy.
What will this cost?
There is a fee for each face to face session, which can be self funded, paid for through private health insurance or paid by a third party (independent or private treatment is not funded by the NHS). As fees are worked out on an individual basis - please call or email me to talk about the cost of initial assessment and likely costs of the therapy. Sessions are charged according to the length and type of appointment (e.g. with a choice of brief 30 min sessions, 60 min standard length sessions or 90 min extended sessions; normal working hours or evening sessions 5-8pm) and at my discretion, a couple of daytime appointments every week may be offered at a concessionary rate (e.g for those on a lower income). There is no charge for brief telephone or email contact to find out about or arrange an initial session and no charge for brief email / phone contact between regular sessions where it relates to booking or re-arranging appointments, and brief queries, updates or clarifications. You can withdraw from assessment or treatment at any time and can cancel or change appointments however, I regret that where an appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice the full fee for the session will be charged, irrespective of the reason.
If you are funding your own treatment, fees can be paid by cheque, electronic bank transfer or in cash, prior to or immediately after the session.
If the cost is to be covered by private health insurance please check with your private or company health insurance provider what cover they offer for psychological treatment because each company has its own rules. If you have a co-payment policy or any excess then you will need to cover part of the cost of treatment yourself. The provider may also stipulate the exact number of sessions that you can be offered. You will usually need a letter of referral from your GP if you wish to claim under a private medical insurance policy. Once you have been referred, please then contact your insurer for an Authorisation Number prior to your first appointment. This will be needed in order for me to send an invoice for your treatment to the insurer. However some insurance companies differ and require that you pay for the sessions and then reclaim the cost from them. Please note that any costs for cancelled or missed sessions are very unlikely to be met by insurers and therefore you may be liable to pay the fee yourself for any appointment cancelled with less than 24 hours notice.I am a recogised provider with BUPA, Aviva, AXA-PPP Vitality and WPA health insurance providers. For third party funding (rehabilitation company, insurance company, employer, solicitor, family) - if your fees are to be paid by someone else then I will need written confirmation that they will be responsible for the fees. They will usually then be invoiced directly. If your assessment and treatment is for rehabilitation following personal injury and being arranged via a solicitor or independent agency, then they need to write to formally instruct me to provide treatment.
What happens if I need immediate help?
Unfortunately I am not able to provide any out-of-hours or emergency cover. If you find yourself in an urgent situation, make a judgement about the prudence of waiting for a return call from your therapist verses contacting another service for support. If you find yourself starting to feel hopeless, find that you are taking risks or harming yourself (such as drinking excessively, taking too many prescribed medications, taking illegal substances, cutting yourself, behaving recklessly etc) or start to think about ending your life then please seek help from your GP or specialist practitioner as soon as possible. If it is outside normal working hours and you need urgent medical help and advice and it is not a life threatening situation you can consider dialing 111. If you or someone with you requires immediate medical attention you can attend your local Accident and Emergency department or dial 112 or 999. If you need support, you may also find the Samaritans (116 123, 24hours) or SANELine (0300 304 7000, 6pm-11pm) helpful. If you live in Kent or Medway and find yourself in urgent need of help, the KMPT website 'where do I go in a crisis' page and the KCC website 'get mental health help now' page provide a summary of available free of charge services, who they may be appropriate for and how to get in touch.
When and where can I been seen?
Currently sessions are available on Monday, Wednesday or Friday . Meetings are held at Folkestone Enterprise Centre Basepoint, Shearway Business Park, Shearway Rd, Folkestone, Kent CT19 4RH (9.00-17.30). The centre has parking facilities and on street parking and is accessible for wheelchair users. There is a reception and waiting area available and there are cafe facilities on site. It is close to J13 of the M20 so easy to reach from Folkestone, Hythe, Dover, Deal, Ashford, Canterbury or Thanet by car. If you have particular difficulties traveling, then it may be possible for us to find a regular meeting room nearer to you, for the duration of your treatment. Contact me to discuss the possibilities. In certain circumstances I may be able to work with you in your home or another community setting of your preference. Please contact to discuss such options if this is necessary but note, there may be associated travel costs depending on the distance from my regular clinic site.