Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from therapy?
Anxiety and depression are naturally occurring emotions that we all feel at different intensities at different periods throughout our life. CBT does not aim to cure or remove anxiety or depression. It is aimed at helping you manage these emotions to a point at which you can start to enjoy your life again.
CBT will help the client suffering from panic attacks on public transport get back on the bus; the client with agoraphobia to walk to the shops; the client with depression to gain hope and begin participating in the ’outside’ world again or the client with health anxiety to enjoy a life unburdened by the constant need for reassurance from doctors and the internet.
What will be expected of me?
Therapy is a collaborative process where the client and I work together as a team to explore the problem in hand. Strategies are discussed and practised in session ahead of asking the client to ‘give these a go’ outside therapy.
Think of it like visiting a physiotherapist…… there is only so much that can be achieved in session. The real benefits come from using those exercises you have learned to affect positive change in life outside the consulting room. There is no success or failure element to this work. Whatever happens can be learned from.
I might ask you invite a relative, partner or carer to attend a session to allow them to help understand your issues and explain how they can best support you. This is particularly the case with younger clients where it is usually appropriate for parents or other family members to attend a part or all of each session.
How many sessions will I need?
This very much depends on the presenting problem and the history of that problem. CBT is what is called a ‘time-limited’ therapy. Unlike counselling or psychotherapy, it should provide benefits in weeks or certainly months, rather than years.
A client needing help with a specific phobia may only require four sessions whereas a client looking for relief from chronic depression dating back many years may require upwards of 20 sessions. This timeframe is discussed with the client early on in therapy.
Clients are not committed to attending a specific number of sessions and are free to end therapy at any time. However prior to this, I try to ensure clients leave with what I call a Keep Well Plan which consolidates those strategies learned, which have delivered real benefit.
How will I know if therapy has benefited me?
This is an interesting question. It is not always easy to stand back at the end of therapy and reflect on everything you have achieved. However, we do want the benefits of your therapy to be measurable and for you to recognise for yourself the positive results. With this in mind, we adopt two strategies.
The first is to ensure therapy is driven by a specific goal the client wants to achieve, for example: “To learn coping strategies that will help me manage future stressful life events.”
An excellent goal, but a difficult one to measure. At the outset of therapy, the client will be helped to make this goal more specific and measurable. What would this goal mean for you? How would you know that you have achieved this goal? Having explored the responses to these and other questions, we are able to draw up a more specific goal, for example: “To attend my daughter’s wedding in March without getting upset at others beforehand and feeling stressed and irritable on the day.”
The second approach to measuring the success of therapy is to use recognised assessments and questionnaires which measure the client’s anxiety, depression and other mood states at the outset, during and at the end of therapy.
Do I need to be referred by my GP?
No, you can contact me directly for a chat or to arrange an appointment.