Commonly asked questions

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We have compiled a list of commonly asked questions (and their answers!) so that you can be well-equipped before you begin your counselling journey with us. If there is anything else you would like to know please get in touch and we will be only too happy to assist.

  • How do I know if I need counselling / psychotherapy?

    Counselling sessions can help you to gain clarity on an issue, change old patterns, untangle complex personal issues, or embark on a journey of self-development. You may seek counselling as a result of a crisis, or you may be encouraged to seek counselling by family members, friends or colleagues.

  • What happens in a counselling session?

    There is no typical counselling session. Your counsellor will be highly trained in listening and reflecting, and provides a safe environment in which to explore your issues. With most types of therapy you are free to discuss what you wish, from everyday events, dilemmas, feelings, and thoughts, to regrets, aspirations, memories and dreams.

    Other, shorter-term forms of therapy like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be more structured and provide practical exercises to help you understand your thoughts and actions.

  • What issues can counselling help with?

    Clients come to us with wide-ranging problems, including:

    • anxiety (generalised anxiety problems, panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety, claustrophobia)
    • workplace issues (stress, work-life imbalances)
    • relationship issues (breakups, divorce, affairs, choosing inappropriate partners, loneliness, life adjustments, marital problems, arguments, jealousy, wedding and premarital issues)
    • depression (including suicidal thoughts, low mood, social withdrawal)
    • low self-esteem and lack of confidence
    • sexual problems (impotence, internet/pornography/sex addiction, loss of desire, infertility)
    • trauma (including post-traumatic stress disorder from accidents, rape and other attacks/incidents)
    • obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • eating problems (including bulimia, binge eating, negative body image)
    • phobias and fears
    • addiction and substance misuse
    • abuse (including physical, verbal, and sexual abuse)
    • bereavement/grief/loss.
  • What kinds of people seek counselling?

    There is no barrier to whom counselling can assist. We welcome you, regardless of your culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or employment group. Counselling is also not just for adult individuals, but is beneficial for couples, families, teenagers and children.

  • How do I start with a counsellor / psychotherapist?

    To book a general consultation you can use our online form, email us, or phone us.

    If you prefer a specific counselling or psychotherapy approach, we will match you up with a suitable psychotherapist or counsellor. In the event that your assessment therapist feels you would benefit from a different counselling or psychotherapy approach, they will normally recommend another specialist for you to consider.

  • How do I know which counselling approach is most suited to me?

    There are many kinds of established therapeutic approaches nowadays, including humanistic counselling (also called ‘person-centred’), psychodynamic psychotherapy, existential therapy, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). You can read more about each type under ‘Services’.

    Don’t worry if you are simply not sure what particular approach would be suited to you. Your first appointment will be an assessment where you can discuss your issues and the different types of therapy that might help. Many of the therapists are also what is known as ‘integrative’, meaning they are trained in several types of therapy they can blend to best match your issues.

  • How do I know which therapist is best for me?

    You can learn about each therapist and their approach by reading the individual profiles under ‘Therapists’. You can also talk to our admin team who can provide you with further guidance.

    For your therapy to be effective, it’s important you work with a counsellor or psychotherapist you feel you can eventually trust. At your first meeting both you and the therapist will have an opportunity to honestly decide if you will benefit from working together. And if after several sessions you simply don’t feel the therapist is a good match, we are one of the only UK companies to offer you a free consulation with another therapist of your choice.

  • What if I want to try more than one kind of therapy?

    Many therapists nowadays are what is known as ‘integrative’, meaning they are trained in and combine a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches to best help their clients. If this is of interest, look at individual profiles under ‘Therapists’ to find one that offers the several types of therapy you are interested in, or call us and we can advise you further.

  • How long should I expect to have to continue counselling?

    The length of your treatment will very much depend on your unique circumstances and needs, with six sessions often recommended and a review after that.

    It also depends on the type of therapy you choose to try. Cognitive behavioural therapy is designed to be short-term and lasts six to 20 sessions. Psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, and existential therapies tend to be longer term, and many last for many months or even years.

    Keep in mind that once you start sessions, new issues and angles can arise you were not aware existed that you then want to explore. It is of course possible to also see improvement faster than you expected.

  • Will my counselling sessions be confidential?

    Yes, counselling sessions are confidential. The exception would be if you were to pose a danger to yourself or others, in which case the relevant parties would be notified.

  • What happens if I don't think the therapist is a good match for me?

    If you do not feel the therapist is a good match, we offer you a free consultation with one other therapist of your choice.

  • I only want one session, will the therapist be able to help?

    Generally your first session will be used as an assessment and consultation, rather than for treatment. This allows you to identify your issues as you see them, and for your therapist to start to gain an idea of what your needs are. So unfortunately, having just one session is unlikely to have any lasting benefit for you.

  • Why do I need to attend weekly sessions?

    The standard format of weekly sessions helps you make gradual and steady progress that means you see real results. In some cases, a therapist will agree to two or more sessions per week, if you both deem it beneficial and they have the availability.

  • Can I have more than one session a week?

    Yes. If you require more than one session a week, therapists may be able to accommodate this, with a review as things start to improve for you.

    Sometimes, however, the therapist you are working with will not have any other availability, so will not be able to offer multiple weekly sessions.

  • Can I speak to a counsellor before my appointment?

    Therapists are in sessions with clients during the day and simply can’t make time to talk to every potential client. Your consultation appointment is the time to ask any questions you might have, find out about how your therapist will work with you, and discover if you feel a connection.

    Remember that while the majority of consultations proceed to a full course of treatment, you are under no obligation to continue.

  • Does my GP need to refer me for an appointment?

    No. You are free to refer yourself to Simply Counselling.