If you are a first time client it is worth spending a little time to become familiar with my approach to working with clients.
The first contact and the initial consultation.
The first step for a potential client who wants to explore working with me is to call or email me.
At a mutually agreeable time we arrange an initial online consultation. This conversation is a chance for us to discuss what is troubling you and what you want to achieve by working with me.
This kind of therapy is a collaboration between therapist and client, it helps to find out if we could work well together.
These first impressions are part of establishing trust and creating a good working relationship.
In this conversation I would get an impression of what you were like and you would get an impression of me.
Even though therapy hasn’t started this conversation can be helpful. Having the chance to explain what is going on can helpful as you get a chance to put things in order in your own mind.
The necessary paperwork
I know this looks like a lot of paperwork, but it’s not quite as bad as it looks.
All these documents need to be completed and/or agreed before we can proceed.
The Confidential Client Questionnaire - Finding out more about you and your situation
The confidential client questionnaire includes your contact details, living circumstances, any medical conditions, any medication you are taking, a brief history of the problem and what you would hope to achieve by working with me.
Having this information in advance of our first session gives me a chance to prepare for that session. It also saves time because you don’t need to spend precious time in the session filling it in.
Clients often find that writing things down helps them gain extra clarity.
The Therapy Agreement - Agreeing how we will work together
The therapy information and agreement includes a information about the nuts and bolts of the therapy process, my professional obligations and my personal commitment to you. It also includes an agreement that represents our contract for working together.
Confidentiality is very important to the therapy process. The confidential client questionnaire describes my legal obligations to you and your rights, about any information you give me during the course of therapy. I explain what personal information I keep, how I keep it safe and your rights with respect to that information.
The first session
This is the first time we meet. In this session we have a chance to meet and we can discuss your needs in more depth.
I can get a better understanding of your situation and concerns.
We can explore what is important to you, what you want to change and how you want to change it. In this kind of work we acknowledge where you are now and we start to explore where you want to get to.
Finding out the direction you want to travel in is a crucial part of this kind of therapy. It gives you a chance to envisage a different future and lets us know how we will know we are making progress.
This therapy is based on what is important to you, as the client you choose your outcomes.
We also see if we can develop a good working relationship. This session is a chance for you to take me (as your therapist) for a â€˜test drive' and for me to get to know you. In this hour we can get a good idea of whether we will be able to work together in the sessions ahead.
It’s important for therapy to work that we can work well together.
If we think we are well matched there is a breathing space of a few days for you to decide whether to book further sessions.
If we find that I am not the right therapist for you (whatever the reason) I may be able help you find someone who might be better suited to you and your needs.
The breathing space
After the first session there is a breathing space.
This is a few days for you to think about whether I, and what I am offering, is right for you. You don’t need to make a quick decision in the session.
With some space you will be better able to decide if therapy with me is the right thing for you and whether to proceed.
If you are the kind of person who can’t say no it stops you from getting stuck with something that isn’t right for you, but you can’t refuse in person.
It’s important to me that the decision is yours and is a free choice.
If you decide to continue working with me we can arrange our next session to start making the changes you want.
The therapy sessions
In each of the following sessions we use your most important outcomes to guide our work.
In each session we use gentle and safe techniques to explore and heal the causes of your difficulties. I usually teach my clients simple techniques they can use to ease their distress between sessions. They can use these techniques to speed the therapy process and to help them for the rest of their lives.
At the end of each session I often give clients tasks to do between sessions. These tasks are to strengthen the changes they’ve made and to practice new ways of being in the world.
At the beginning of the next session we review the progress you are making and decide what to do next. What is important to you may change as we make progress and we can adjust our course as we go along.
If there is still work to do at the sixth session, we review our progress and plan our next steps.
You decide when you have made enough changes for you and when to end or pause the therapy.
The follow up
A month after our last session I will get in touch with you by email to find out how you are progressing.
We can review the changes that you have made. We can also refine the strategies and tactics you learned in the sessions to get as much from them as possible.
A quick summary of working with me
In summary if you work with me you will receive.
- A step by step process to find out if we would be a good therapeutic team. The better we can work together the more likely you are to reach your goals.
- All my attention, skill and expertise to tailor your therapy to be the best it can be for you.
- An understanding of the problem and more clarity about what you want.
- Safe and powerful therapy to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
- Simple self help techniques that can speed therapy and help you in every day life.