Terms of working .Therapy process.
MA BACP Registered , registration number 201099
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When you begin therapy its helpful to be clear about the expectations and responsibilities of both the client(s) and the therapist. This handout details some of the areas that come up in a therapy relationship and lays down how I like to deal with them. You may have come across some of these issues in another therapy setting, in this case some of the guidelines may differ from your previous agreements with another practitioner.
• We shall agree on the days and times of our meetings, and from then on those days and times will be yours. Regularity and continuity are important in good therapy, as they give a reliable feeling of structure to the whole process. For this reason it is rare to rearrange a session.
• If you should for any reason arrive late, we shall stop at the appointed time in any case. This means that I will always be ready for you at the appointed time.
• If we are doing couples therapy, both partners need to be present for the therapy to proceed. The work is with the couple, rather than one or other partner.
• If you do not come for one of your appointments for any reason, the fee for that session will be due. If you cancel your appointment at least 7 days before it is due, I will not charge for the session. It is sometimes possible to rearrange a session, but only as an exception.We can discuss that and make a bit different arrangement.
• Fees can be paid at each meeting, but some people prefer to pay for a batch of four or five meetings in advance. If you would like a receipt, please ask me for one.
• It is well known in therapy that things can sometimes feel worse before they get better; please remember this, and if you hit a bad patch, don't assume that this means failure. It often means holding on and trusting the process.
• Please feel free at any time to raise questions about any procedure you do not understand or feel unhappy about for any reason. The purpose of our work together is to work for you in a way which genuinely meets your therapeutic needs.
• In these sessions you will be exploring your own experience. I am here to help you to do that, by offering the time and space you need. I can offer certain skills and theory which may enable you to do this better or quicker than you could on your own, but basically it is you doing the work, not me doing it for you. The more you put into your therapy, the more you will get out of it.
• Openness is the most important thing for you to cultivate in these sessions. First of all openness to your own experience, and then openness to expressing that to me. It works best if you aim at total honesty, holding nothing back out of politeness, loyalty, delicacy, decency, rationality, self-justification or a desire to preserve your image. If this is difficult, let it be difficult, and let us explore that too.
• I will make suggestions about things you might do during these sessions. It is, however, your responsibility to accept or reject these suggestions. All the time it is you doing it for your own learning, not to please me.
• It is good to have an explorative and playful attitude to the work we are doing. Play is really a way of trying out things which are quite serious. Often doing something unusual feels artificial at first, but children don't let this stop them from learning, and adults can often learn well this way, too.
• Some people ask whether what we are doing is counselling or psychotherapy. There is a huge overlap between them, and these words have never been truly clarified to everyone's satisfaction. The main thing is that this relationship helps you consider yourself and your concerns, and provides support, ideas, challenges and opportunities to make changes where desired.
• Commitment is necessary if we are really to get anywhere. It is important not to stop if the going gets rough for a while. Therapy is often a long-term job, because what took years and years to build up usually takes some time to change
• We may want to vary the frequency or length of our meetings from time to time, at your suggestion or mine. I usually see individuals for 50 minute sessions every week but it can be done every other week too temporarily or permanently
• Confidentiality is important in therapy. I will not discuss what comes up in your therapy except in a professional way, with my supervisor and professional colleagues in peer supervision. The only circumstances where I would be required to breach confidentiality are if a serious crime has been committed or significant harm to yourself or others has occurred or is likely to occur. In these circumstances I would endeavour to discuss with you the need to break confidentiality before doing so.
• Ending our work together is a decision which is best discussed between the two of us. It is preferable for a decision to end to be arrived at mutually, over time, rather than as a one-sided or impulsive action. If either of us feels that the time has come to close off the therapy, we shall arrange a number of meetings to go into all the issues around ending, and make sure that the decision is a good one.