Counselling and Psychotherapy

Thankfully, the barriers that kept people from seeking help in psychotherapy or counselling have all but disappeared. The now undeniable benefits of professional help with our problems and our lives are being experienced by individuals, who would not have gone near a therapist a decade ago.

How do Counselling and Psychotherapy Work?

They can work in different ways. For example:

In all psychotherapeutic activity, the therapist brings to the relationship the deep human understanding of the particular individual or couple developed as a result of Professional Training (both theoretical and practical); the Insight that comes from having been able to help many persons in distress; and his own life experience as distilled by his own therapy and professional supervision.

The therapist expresses this deep understanding, so that the person(s) feels understood and not alone. The therapy room is the very opposite of the circumstances of fear and aloneness in which the emotional trauma was experienced.

In this respectful and safe process of Understanding and Expression, the therapist brings into awareness the feelings and thoughts that give rise to outlooks and ways of responding to events in our lives.

By learning to be less afraid of their own feelings, the individual becomes more independent (or more maturely dependent) and naturally develops a wholesome and mature self-confidence. This leads to forming better relationships, increased effectiveness at home and at work and living life in a more fulfilling way.

As is now generally accepted, the origins of our present problems can lie in the different stages of our development as individuals - from our earliest years to our more recent past. Looking back, we may vaguely sense that we have made the same mistakes repeatedly in our lives - at home, at work, in our relationships, in our families. Even in the intimacy of our own lives, our sense of identity, our sense of self, our sense of self-worth, can all seem weak, fragile or ill-defined.

And yet, just like when were little, we feel isolated and alone with our problems, afraid of seeking help of reaching out, but living with the fear that on our own we may be overwhelmed by our secret anxieties, or that we will be criticised or lose the love of significant people in our lives, if we open our hearts to them.

back to top

Frequently-Asked Questions

- How does Counselling Differ from Psychotherapy?

- Who is Psychotherapy and Counselling For?

- What Happens at the First Session?

- How Long does Therapy Last?

- What Happens After the Assessment Period?

- Won't I Feel Pain or Embarrassment?

- Are My Secrets Safe?

- How Do I Know When It is Over?

- What Can I Expect as Results?

How does Counselling Differ from Psychotherapy?

Counselling is more solution-based for specific issues or events and, therefore, more suited to crisis management rather than long-term behavioural patterns. It works to relieve immediate distress. Counselling is more supportive in nature and remains closer to the surface of the client's issues.

Counselling is usually short-term for fixed-periods while Psychotherapy requires more in-depth reflection.

Sometimes people find that after dealing with a crisis in counselling, they like to continue on to psychotherapy to understand their inner world and motivations more clearly.

back to top

Who is Psychotherapy and Counselling For?

People who seek therapy come from all walks of life - from the professions but also from the shop floor, and from a variety of educational backgrounds. They include doctors, business people, car mechanics, teachers, housewives, psychiatrists. Young and old, men and women, couples and individuals, whose lives are blighted by emotional pain, deep dissatisfaction or confusion nowadays seek relief, remedy and more productive and fulfilling lives in psychotherapy, or containment and guidance in the shorter process of counselling and crisis management.

Except among adolescents, it is difficult to find any trace of the social stigma that used to condemn troubled persons, especially men, to suffer in isolation. They knew something was wrong with their lives, but were not always able to explain their feelings of inadequacy, depression, fear, obsession, dependency, loss of control, inability to trust and love maturely, or even violence against the self or others.

The decision to see a therapist or a counsellor can be triggered as often by a single event or life-crisis, as by our gradual awareness of unexplained, unwanted patterns of behaviour in our lives, which have kept us from fulfilment and satisfaction, and not infrequently led to our own destructiveness in the lives of others - not infrequently in those we love or want to be able to love - or more often than not, in our recurrent imprisonment in painful relationships we seem powerless to transform or leave behind.

back to top

What Happens at the First Session?

Therapy begins with a period of assessment. You will be asked more questions than is usual during on-going therapy. These questions will include information such as name, address, relationship status, family structure, the reasons for seeking therapy and expectations of the process. This period lasts from 1 to 6 sessions.

The assessment process gives the client an opportunity to discover if they feel they can work with the therapist and decide whether the recommendations are agreeable to them. It also provides the therapist with enough preliminary information to ascertain whether their skills are best suited for what the client presents. If the therapist feels another form of therapy or treatment is more suitable, that will be discussed with the client.

The assessment period may feel a little like a mutual interview.

back to top

How Long does Therapy Last?

Each session lasts one hour. Sessions are undertaken between 1 and 3 times a week at regular times. It is not possible to predict how many sessions it will take for the individual to achieve their goals. The therapist is trained to recognise when these goals are nearing completion and will work specifically towards healthy closure of therapy.

back to top

What Happens After the Assessment Period?

The session time is open for the client to talk about what is on their mind or what they would like to discuss. This may be events in their life, memories, insights, worries, fears or even what they are experiencing in the here and now of the session.

The therapist might ask questions to facilitate deeper understanding or may provide their impressions and interpretations.

This will help to form a professional and therapeutic relationship. It is within this alliance that much of the work is achieved. Unlike other relationships, the therapist remains in a non-defensive, neutral and non-critical stance. The therapist works to meet the client at the level they want to be met.

Through the development of trust within the therapeutic alliance, it becomes possible for the client to better understand the impact their words and actions might have. It is surprising how often people do not realise how different what they mean and how it comes across can be. This provides a chance to try things in a new way that fosters a more positive and fulfilling relationship with others.

back to top

Won't I Feel Pain or Embarrassment?

Sometimes, yes, people do. By being able to stay with and share the difficult feelings, the individual becomes stronger and better able to deal with life's events. When difficult feelings are ignored or denied, they slip into the unseen background and can covertly affect decisions and responses. Acknowledging all feelings, even the painful, shameful and awkward ones allows for a fresher, more clear-sighted and more directly appropriate response to the here and now.

By learning to be less afraid of their own feelings, the individual becomes more independent and naturally develops a wholesome and mature self-confidence.

back to top

Are My Secrets Safe?

An ethical psychotherapist is bound by Client Confidentiality. This means that a client's information cannot be shared with a third party, except for very specific circumstances. These exceptions include legal obligations or potential danger to self or others. In these circumstances, the therapist will endeavour to discuss this with the client as clearly and constructively as possible.

The therapist may also discuss a client's details with a Supervisor. This would be conducted in a way for the sole purpose of the client's therapeutic benefit and any information that may specifically identify the client is withheld. Supervision is a recommended practice for therapists.

back to top

How Do I Know When It is Over?

A time will come when the client no longer feels the need to come for therapy. They feel they have achieved what they set out to and are experiencing life in a more satisfying way. It is at this point that the therapy changes in focus to the handling of closure. This is a time to gain insight into the impact of separation, loss, transition and change.

In a small number of cases, a client may develop an unhealthy dependence upon the therapy or the therapist. Therapists are trained to recognise this and will work through this with the client.

back to top

What Can I Expect as Results?

In my work as a counsellor and a psychotherapist over the last twenty years, this point of self-awareness – the decision to seek help beyond friends and family – has in retrospect assumed great importance in my clients’ lives thereafter – almost always for the better; never for the worse. It has marked a turning point.

back to top

T: 020 8390 6680    

7 Viceroy Court    
Claremont Road    
Surbiton, Kingston    
Surrey KT6 4RQ   


Therapeutic Stance:
  • Integrative
  • Humanistic
  • Psychodynamic
  • Reichian/Lowenian Body Analysis
  • Object Relational, with particular emphasis on:
    • Guntrip
    • Kohut
    • Kernberg
Convenient for:
  • Surbiton
  • Kingston
  • New Malden
  • Richmond
  • Petersham
  • Esher
  • East and West Molesey
  • Thames Ditton
  • Claygate
  • Hampton
  • Twickenham
  • Chessington
  • Tolworth