What’s the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

Although counselling and psychotherapy are terms that are often used interchangeably, both involve providing support and assistance to people who may be experiencing personal problems or issues.  Counselling usually deals with immediate issues, in the present or which may have arisen recently.  Psychotherapy usually deals with more long-term presenting problems and issues that may be embedded in the past.  Examples could be trauma or longstanding or ongoing effects of hurt or mistreatment.  Nevertheless, both involve exploring what’s going on for you in a safe and confidential environment where you do not feel judged.

What is counselling or psychotherapy like?

Counselling or psychotherapy will usually take place weekly with sessions being for duration of 50 minutes.  We can meet for an initial consultation and where together we can collaborate a plan that can best meet your individual needs.  Hopefully you will feel that the counselling or psychotherapy process will provide you with a space where you can be confident to express yourself freely, where you don’t feel judged, where you feel accepted and where we can gradually explore issues or problems that you may need support with.

What can I expect from the first session?

Taking the first step towards counselling or therapy can be formidable and scary.  So hopefully by outlining the steps involved will help ease this unnerving feeling.  Once you book an appointment with me, I will send you an e-mail with confirmation of our agreed date and time and with directions.  The initial session will involve us completing an intake form with information including your contact details and a brief outline of your background.  This form generally takes 20 minutes or so to fill out, after which you will have time to tell me what has brought you into counselling or therapy.  Our first session will also provide an opportunity for me to outline the counselling or therapy process to you, discuss how we will work together, and for you to ask any questions.  We can then decide how often we will meet for sessions and what issues we will work on.

Are the counselling or therapy sessions confidential?

Confidentiality is key to the counselling and therapy relationship – what is said between us, stays between us – whether me meet face-to-face or online.  However the exceptions to this would be if I have concerns that you are harming yourself or others, or if I have a concern about a person under the age of 18 years in terms of neglect or abuse (e.g. physical, sexual or emotional abuse).  In these instances I am both ethically and legally bound to breach such confidentiality.
As I am a member of two accrediting counselling and psychotherapy bodies – IAHIP (Irish Association of Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy) and IACP (Irish Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy) – this means that I have undergone extensive training and that I am qualified to work to recognised standards of professional competence.  It also means that in my practice with clients I abide by an ethical framework, that I attend regular supervision with an accredited clinical supervisor, that I continually update my skills and knowledge through regular continuous professional development and that I am insured to work with you.  However most importantly, my genuine commitment to my client work is the prevailing stance to my practice.

Can you fix me?

Unfortunately, no! Some problems cannot be solved. However hopefully throughout the counselling or therapy process you may gradually learn to relate to presenting problems or troublesome situations differently, so that they may feel less daunting or where you can learn to relate to them in another way.  Together we can work at enabling you to find effective solutions to your problems or helping you to explore different options.  I believe that you, as an individual, have the answers to your questions, even if you may not be able to currently see that.  Collaboratively we can explore what resources you have within you.

How long would I need counselling or psychotherapy for?

This varies for person to person and individual needs.  It may be as little as six sessions or it may span across several months or perhaps even longer.  However you as the client are very much at the centre of any decision in relation to this.  And we can regularly check in with each other to see if your needs are being met.

What If I need to cancel a session?

Life happens!  From time to time it is understandable that appointments need to be cancelled.  I would request that 48 hours’ notice be provided for any cancellation.  I can try to reschedule where possible.  However if you are unable to cancel with less than the required notice, a cancellation payment for the missed session is payable.

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