Lesley Murray Counselling and Psychotherapy in Blackheath Standard

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is therapy for?

Anybody can go to see a therapist if they feel it would be be useful for them. Typically people initially tend to consider therapy when they are facing problems or difficulties in their lives. However, therapy is not just for those who are struggling or faced with life challenges, or for those dealing with mental health issues. It can be just as useful and beneficial for people who are interested in self development and want to understand themselves better, or who want to focus on improving their overall sense of wellbeing.

Also more and more people are trying therapy these days. In fact according to a study conducted by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) earlier this year, over half of all people in the UK have either had therapy or know somebody who has, and this number is growing as people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of seeking therapy to help with their problems and issues.

How do I know if my issues are serious enough for me to see a therapist?

A lot of people worry that the issues they are facing are not big enough to warrant seeing a therapist and that there are other people who need therapy far more than them so they don't really deserve it. However, if you are struggling in some way in your life – with relationships, work, life issues and experiences, mental health, your emotions, thoughts, behaviour or difficult memories – the chances are therapy could help.

Also when trying to decide whether therapy is suitable for you – rather than thinking about the size or seriousness of your problems relative to other people's, perhaps it would be more useful to think about the impact your problems are having on you. For instance, are your current issues or problems impacting negatively on your life in some way? Would you like things to be different? If so, therapy could be right for you. And if going to see someone could help you to feel happier, more at ease and more content in your life, isn't it worth giving yourself that opportunity?

How do I work out who is the right therapist for my needs?

This is why I do a low cost assessment session so that we can decide if we can create a collaborative space where we can work for your benefit. When looking for a therapist look for one who you think you can feel safe with, who you think listens and hears you deeply. Therapy can be hard work and difficult at times so it's important you find a relationship that works for you. It helps if you are curious about 'you' and how you came to be the way you are. I may not be the right therapist for you and that is why there is no commitment to further sessions after the assessment session.

How long is a therapy session and how often do I need to go?

Individual therapy sessions last for 60 minutes and couples are for 90 minutes. I run an entirely flexible schedule with sessions from 8am-10pm, 7 days a week. Additionally, if you are in a real state of crisis in your life many therapists will offer more frequent therapy sessions – say twice a week – for a limited period of time to help support you through this.

How do I know that I can trust the therapist with what I tell them?

On the whole, therapy is a very personal and private undertaking. As such, an important part of a therapist's job is to create a sense of trust and confidence in them and in the relationship between you, so that you feel able to share things that feel difficult or perhaps you have never felt able to share with anyone before. All good therapists take this seriously and will not discuss what you have shared with others, unless they are required to do so either ethically or legally. I adhere to a professional code of ethics (the BACP Ethical framework) which includes strict rules about confidentiality. There are only a very few instances where they would be ethically or legally bound to breach confidentiality and most good therapists should explain this to you in the first few sessions or they will have it in their therapy contracts so it is clear.

How long will therapy take?

This is a difficult question to answer as it is dependent on a number of factors including the issues that you are seeking help for, how much time and energy you are able to commit to therapy, what you feel you can afford, and the type of therapy that you choose to try. However typically from the outset the therapist will be able to give you some idea as to whether short or longer term therapy is more suitable in dealing with your issues. If short term, this might be for between 6-12 weeks initially, whereas longer term therapy is more open ended and may take many months or sometimes a year or more. Also, some clients go to therapy for a period of time and then decide to stop for a while and go back at a later stage, either to see that therapist again or somebody else. So there are no clear cut rules about how this works. Instead it is something that is discussed and and agreed on between the client and therapist and it is always possible to review things or change your mind if you decide you no longer want to have therapy, or your circumstances make it difficult for you to keep coming.

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