Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a selection of Frequently Asked Questions about psychotherapy and my practice.

How long does psychotherapy take?

 

This depends, of course, on what the problem is that is bringing someone to therapy. If it is a very focused problem someone may only need a few sessions to work on it. If the problem is deeper and real emotional change is necessary this can take longer. See my comments about psychotherapy.

Can I end therapy at any time?

 

Yes, there is no fixed ‘contract’ or time specified. However, I do ask for four weeks notice in order to allow time to think through and prepare for the ending.

Is psychotherapy suitable for everyone?

 

No. It is suitable for many people but it is not possible to give a complete list of who may or may not be suitable here. However, someone with, for example, a fear of spiders who wants to work solely and specifically on that would do best to see a psychologist for behavioural therapy. These issues can be discussed at the first appointment or, if there is a very specific difficulty, by telephone beforehand.

Do you charge for the first appointment?

 

Yes, I do not see the first session as some kind of loss leader – ‘buy one get one free’. The first appointment represents an in-depth assessment. Occasionally people have only needed to come for the initial consultation – laying things out and putting them in some order was all they needed. For more details on the first appointment see the what happens in psychotherapy? page.

How much does a session cost?

 

My current charge is £65 per session. I do try to offer a lower fee in cases of hardship, or for those who come more frequently. I do review my fees from time to time.

Why is it so expensive?

 

This is skilled work and the fee reflects the level of training, expertise and experience. It is, perhaps, surprising that some people will entrust this most valuable, sensitive and important of things - their very self – to the person who charges least. You will find people who charge less than me. You will also find many others, including some counsellors, who charge more – see the next question.

Why does it cost so little?

 

There are certainly many people who charge more - £70 to £85 is often a more standard fee, in London frequently a lot more, £90 plus. My aim is to try to make analysis and psychotherapy affordable to as many people as possible. The fee is therefore something of a compromise along these lines.

Is it an effective form of treatment?

 

Yes, it is widely practised in the NHS (although increasingly less due to cost cutting) and many other settings. Studies have shown that it is effective in alleviating or resolving a wide range of psychological difficulties. Click this link (external link) to pages on the BPC website or this article on the effectiveness of psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Scientific American (external link), also see the next Question below.

Isn't CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) quicker and more effective?

 

CBT can be helpful in ‘getting people going again’, but it has its limitations and frequently it doesn’t deal with the underlying difficulties. Studies have shown that people who have worked with a psychotherapist will frequently go on improving (external link) following the end of the therapy. This is almost certainly because they have developed and learnt to use their own insight and analytic capacities. Those who have had CBT do not show the same kind of continuing improvement following the end of therapy. In essence they are quite different processes, with psychotherapy developing insight, self-knowledge and appreciation of oneself in a different, fuller, deeper way, rather than the more ‘ego level’ of CBT.