Therapy is an active and collaborative process, inviting you to be the observer of your own life, and take part in what needs changing. Treatment begins with a psychological assessment, understanding the problem/s in relation to recent events and historical factors. This includes an understanding of culture, gender, spiritual, and sexual orientation issues, and may include formal tools and clinical observation. The information gathered in the assessment enables us to create a psychological formulation which is an individualised blueprint of your emotional difficulties. It is this, along with the relevant evidence base, which enables what type of psychological approach and specific interventions are appropriate to help you.
Although both professionals aim to lessen mental distress, their approach is different. Psychiatrists foremost have a medical training and typically rely on medication in treatment. Clinical Psychologists use their knowledge of psychological theory to help people feel better.
Once you have initiated contact with us, I will arrange a brief telephone consultation (free of charge) to talk about the issues which have brought you to treatment. In the unlikely event you would not benefit from psychological therapy, I will explain the reasons why and suggest alternatives.
All sessions will be conducted in the strictest confidence and this confidence will be maintained, and applied to any and all records, except in the following instances –
1) Where the client gives consent for information to be shared with other agencies or health professionals involved in their care.
2) Where the therapist is compelled by a court of law.
3) Where the situation is such that the therapist considers the client a potential risk to themselves or others.
I would only break confidentiality after careful consideration and after discussing this with you wherever possible. Some private healthcare insurance companies expect written progress reports to authorise treatment. Your referrer will usually request your written permission for information to be disclosed. I will discuss the content of any reports with you beforehand.
Online working can be very convenient if you are unable to get to the consulting room, for example because you are unable to travel, have a physical disability or young children. It is not appropriate for treating all psychological problems or for all types of therapy. It is recommended that (where possible) you attend the first appointment in person to establish the appropriateness of continuing online.
I use a secure end-to-end encrypted platform called ‘Zoom’ because it meets a very high standard of confidentiality and data security. You can find out more about this by reading zoom’s security guide here https://zoom.us/docs/doc/Zoom-Security-White-Paper.pdf. As with any online video conferencing software I cannot guarantee 100% confidentiality due to threats such as online ‘spying’ although I am proactive in continuously updating security features as recommended. .
Zoom works on your desktop/laptop through your browser (so you don’t need to download anything) . It can also work on your phone or tablet however you will need to download the free app from your app store.
Please contact me and we can discuss the best way forward for you.
We know that meeting for the first time can be anxiety provoking and we are experienced with helping people manage these feelings. During an assessment session we seek to understand your current difficulties and your hopes for therapy. It is also an opportunity for you to see if you feel comfortable. At the end of your first session, the psychologist will make recommendations and a treatment plan. On rare occasions we may feel we cannot offer you the service you need. if this is the case we will explain why and advise you on alternatives.
Please note that attending an initial assessment does not commit you to ongoing therapy sessions.
There is extensive research evidence about the effectiveness of therapy for a wide variety of difficulties. We deliver evidence based psychological treatments and consider the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines when making recommendations for the approach we will use and the possible length of treatment.
What happens if we agree to work together?
Following assessment, if we decide to work together we will begin by discussing your goals for therapy. We will establish a treatment plan (based on your goals, preliminary formulation and evidence base). we will then book in a set number of sessions.
Therapy is most effective when sessions take place weekly (at least initially), and ideally we will agree a regular time and day each week for appointments. As we move towards an ending it can be helpful if sessions are spread further apart. We understand there will be times when regular sessions are not possible and we will do our best to work flexibly to meet your needs.