The kind of psychotherapy and counselling I offer is commonly called relational integrative psychotherapy. So what is that you might ask?
I’d define relational integrative psychotherapy as a framework, rather than a method or an approach.
It acknowledges each persons’ individuality and experience.
It’s relational – so it’s about staying with and being present to whatever emerges in our sessions.
And it’s collaborative and non-judgemental.
As a one-to-one experience, relational integrative psychotherapy offers a safe and effective way to explore the many emotional, practical and psychological issues that play a part in your life. It helps you:
- Understand more deeply what causes anxiety and unhappiness.
- Recognise and deal with ‘old narratives’ that hold you back.
- Facilitate change.
If the aim of psychotherapy is to help people live lead fuller, more satisfying lives, being heard, accepted and feeling emotionally held are core to the psychotherapy experience.
There are many reasons why people decide to do psychotherapy and with this in mind, I’m interested in how you understand the issues that have brought you here – and then – within the professional boundary of our weekly sessions, we’ll begin to explore how you’ve dealt with these issues up until now – what works for you – and what you find challenging.
Through this process you’ll begin to develop new perspectives whilst developing greater self-knowledge, self-care, self-reflection and self-compassion.
During our time together, I may draw on different psychotherapeutic modalities, somatic understanding, current neuroscientific research and critiques and techniques such as problem-solving, non-state hypnotherapy and ‘mindfulness’.
I’m also committed to changing the perception of psychotherapy and counselling and I believe that it’s everyday, essential, wellness maintenance.
Here are a few common questions people ask as they embark of counselling:
Is it Confidential?
As a member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), I abide by their Code of Ethics.
I respect, protect and preserve the confidentiality of all my clients.
It’s important to understand that there are legal and ethical limits of that confidentiality and that there are circumstances under which I might need to disclose confidential information to a third party. We will always discuss this.
I may need to break confidentiality due to a request by a court of law, a child protection agency or due to the terrorism act.
When information you give me is of such gravity that confidentiality cannot be maintained. For example, where there is a possibility of harm to yourself or others or in cases of crime.
If a referring agency require a report. However, we would devise this together.
My practice is supervised. I will therefore share some of the content of our sessions with my clinical supervisor though your full name and personal details will not be shared. I will also keep notes of all my work and may write reports. Any digital recordings – which we would agree on in advance – are password protected and encrypted. All my records are kept securely locked away at my place of work in accordance with the Data Protection Act (2018). You have the right to inspect your records should you so wish, and this request will be fulfilled during a therapy session.
Counselling or Psychotherapy?
There’s not much in it though perhaps it would be fair to say that psychotherapy goes deeper into underlying issues and for this reason is often longer term or open-ended. Psychotherapists do an initial 4-year training which includes a psychiatric placement and are usually accredited by the UKCP – this is my background. Counsellors do a 3-year training and are usually BACP accredited. It’s important to have knowledge of your therapist’s background, qualifications and ethical framework (their membership of an association).
How do we maintain boundaries?
Psychotherapy and/or counselling are only formally described, when you and the therapist work together on an agreed basis. For this reason, we will draw up a contract, which will include, a focus on the work, the responsibilities of both sides and any terms and conditions.
With so many different types of therapy, how do I choose between them?
Research shows that the ‘therapeutic relationship’ is key to the effectiveness of of therapy/counselling. The type of therapy is rather less important. In addition, most therapists now work across a range of methods, approaches and ways of being.
How long will therapy last for?
Some people decide to do a few sessions, whereas others find it useful to do a longer period of time. It may be that if you’ve done counselling before, or if you are familiar with the therapeutic process, you may now feel that open-ended work is something you want to explore further. It’s an individual decision. What I would suggest is that we use the first 1-2 sessions as an assessment. This will give us the opportunity to see how we might work together. We may then decide to contract a time frame. You may stop whenever you want to, and we’ll keep this under review. I would class anything over a couple of years as longer, open-ended work.
Is it all about the past and my childhood?
Relational integrative psychotherapy doesn’t make ‘classical Freudian interpretations’ of childhood – in fact very few psychotherapists work like that these days – rather I’m more interested in what’s happening in the ‘here and now’, how old narratives are re-enacted in current relationships and situations, as well as contextual experiences.
Will therapy fix me?
Many people embarking on therapeutic counselling ask if it will ‘fix’ them.
It’s a good question. After all, the anticipation of change is at the heart of psychotherapy. In the therapeutic relationship, that anticipation presents as Hope and expectancy – an optimism that something good and positive will develop to bring about constructive change.
But of course there is no ‘magic wand’.
As the writer and psychotherapist Thomas Moore explains:
‘The trouble with some of our modern therapies and psychologies is that they aim at goals that are known – fantasies or normality or unquestioned values … but there are times when we may need to be weak and powerless, vulnerable and open to experience … in relation to the symptom itself, observance means first of all listening and looking carefully at what is being revealed in the suffering. An intent to heal can get in the way of seeing. By doing less, more is accomplished.’
How does therapy end?
Usually by agreement between us. Endings can trigger all sorts of thoughts and feelings and it’s important to acknowledge and explore that as part of our time together.