A psychologist is a professional highly trained in addressing psychological and mental health difficulties.
They can help you to understand the psychological processes which are at the root of your problems and those which maintain them. They will also help you to identify personal strategies to help you change, rather than simply listening to you or applying a standard technique.
A psychologist’s fees may be more expensive than other types of therapists, but this reflects their high level of training (a doctorate takes 3 to 4 years of intense university studying and practice at postgraduate level) and the time they will invest before and after each session to develop a meaningful and accurate psychological perspective of yourself and your difficulties.
‘Counselling Psychologist’ is a professional title protected by law. It can only be used by those who:
§ Have achieved the highest degree of academic training in psychology (an approved doctoral training or equivalent)
§ Have demonstrated they meet specific professional and personal standards
§ And are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the organisation regulating the health, psychological and social work professions.
Counselling Psychology is a profession rooted in Humanistic philosophy. This means that whatever the psychological difficulty you seek my help for, as a Counselling Psychologist I will:
§ Consider you as an individual, before any single characteristic, such as a psychiatric diagnosis you may have received or the problem you consult me about. I help a person, and don’t simply treat a problem.
§ Aim to understand your personal, familial and social context and relationships, rather than seeing all problems as your problems.
§ Helping you change and grow, focusing on healthy functioning and positive development rather than only treating your symptoms.
Research suggests that a good relationship between therapist and client based on mutual trust and positive regard is fundamental to positive change in a psychotherapeutic context. My personal philosophy is that a meaningful relationship is not only essential to psychological care but it is also what I value most in my job. My personal approach places the personal relationship at the centre of my practice. This is why I chose to call it Personal Psychology.
Psychological care, counselling and therapy are a collaborative process. It requires your investment and a strong commitment. I cannot ‘do psychology to you’ in the way that surgery would be performed on you.
This means that for this process to work, you will need to be ready to share your personal thoughts, feelings and some of your past with your therapist, to explore your difficulties in depth, and to change. This process also requires you to feel comfortable with your therapist and to trust them. That is why it is important to chose who you work with carefully.
This depends on what psychological difficulty you want to address, its severity and also your capacity to change. Often, in services pressured for resources, money or time, only a few sessions are offered, and only symptoms would be addressed; for example changing what someone does when they feel anxious, rather than addressing the cause of their stress or anxiety. This approach often leaves the root of the problem intact, and often the problem eventually comes back. Addressing psychological difficulty in depth takes time and commitment, but it also produces lasting change. It is not uncommon for short-term therapy to last more than 10 sessions, spread over a period of a few months. My approach is strongly focused on therapeutic goals that we would agree on at the start of our work, based on what you want to achieve and what can realistically be expected. We will review together at very regular intervals if these goals are still relevant to you and what progress we are making towards reaching them.