What’s my fee for counselling sessions?
For individuals I currently charge £45 per session. Sessions last 60 minutes each although for a first session this may be a little longer. For couples work I charge £80 for 90 minute sessions. I accept payment by cash, cheque, payment card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro) or by company invoice.
So, the first session may take longer than 60 minutes?
Yes, in our first session we meet and begin our relationship. We start to explore what you need from therapy and how we might work together to achieve this. Each of us is able to decide whether we want to work together in this way. If we decide we don’t want to work together I may be able to offer ideas about what would be useful for you on your journey. If we do decide to work together we may need a little time to discuss, for example, which day and time works best for our meetings, fees for therapy, or any other questions you may have at this stage. With this in mind I think it’s best to allow a little extra time. Download a useful BACP leaflet about What to Expect from a first counselling session or see my ‘Blogpost on Our First Meeting’.
What times are sessions available?
I have a spread of days and times to meet most needs. I have slots available on weekday mornings, afternoons and some evenings and also on Saturday morning – please see my home page for my latest availability.
How often do we have appointments?
Having weekly sessions is found to be an effective way forwards which is also easy to plan for.
Our weekly session may act as an anchor-point, a source of insight or relief, a space to reflect or process… However, in reality, much of the client’s work is done ‘in the week’, outside our session, as a natural process of integration which proceeds in its own way. It would be grandiose of a therapist to believe that he or she ‘makes changes’ in those 60 minutes.
Weekly meetings are an effective way to offer momentum to this process of change by maintaining our therapeutic relationship. Meeting more frequently does not necessarily make the process ‘quicker’. But meeting less frequently than weekly may mean a little too much ‘distance’ in our relationship, especially at the beginning.
How long will counselling take?
When we look at counselling services provided by e.g. Employee Assistance Programs or the NHS we often find that 6 to 8 weekly sessions are offered as a minimum. So this is an interesting guideline figure to the minimum number of sessions that are considered therapeutically useful, and I would agree with that.
Where we are dealing with issues that have their roots in early-life (such as addictions or self-harm) a realistic view is that our work may need to last for a good number of months in order to make a lasting change.
Broadly speaking, this longer-term work is usually described as ‘psychotherapy’.
OK, but what actually happens?
One-to-one therapy could be described as two people having a very particular kind of dialogue. The dialogue explores what’s happening for us in our lives, what’s happened in the past or what’s happening right now in the room. We could explore our behaviours and what happens in our bodies, we could explore our thoughts and cognitive life or we could explore our feelings and emotional life. Our conversation is unlike most conversations we have in the world in its depth, in its detail and in its honesty. We may use other processes such as drawing where these are useful for exploration. Throughout, our process is ‘contracted’ i.e. it is agreed between us what we’ll work on and the direction we’ll take.
Do we really need to talk about the past? I’d like to keep the past behind me.
OK, I can hear that talking about the past is difficult for you. Here’s some background information that may put your mind at rest;
Our patterns of relating and behaviour are visible in three areas of our lives;
– In our day-to-day being in the World – e.g. relating at work or with friends.
– In our past, our childhood – how we related with parents or those who cared for us.
– In the therapy room – how we relate during counselling sessions.
The same ways of relating occur in each area – so for many aspects of our work it’s not always necessary to have to look into the past in order to see what’s currently happening for you in the World. Important ways of relating will happen together in the therapy room and I feel that focusing on this ‘relational’ material as it occurs is very valuable.
At the same time, if there are significant hurts from the past such as abuse or neglect it may be that the only way to heal is by exploration of what happened ‘back then’. There may be things you’ve never said before. There may be thoughts you dare not think. There may be memories that need to be kept under lock and key. And these may stand between you and who you truly are. Clients often find that the confidentiality, empathic attunement and non-judgemental safety of therapy invite the old stories to be told. The dread of being overwhelmed can be explored together. And you will know if the time is right. You set the pace.
Richard, what’s your training, experience and background?
I began my counsellor training at York St. John where the emphasis was on Person-Centred Counselling. After this I decided to focus on Transactional Analysis and trained at Leeds Psychotherapy Training Institute then at The Ellesmere Centre in Hull.
I began practising at The Haven Counselling Centre in Hull in 2010. During 2012 I began to practise at The Ellesmere Centre in Hull and at my current practice in York.
I am a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and as such I’m bound by the ethical frameworks of this organisation… Read More about my practice…