I am a cognitive therapist with a private practice in Highgate, North London. Here are some answers to the most common questions my clients ask me – if you need any more information or would like to arrange a session call me on 07766 704210, email email@example.com or use the Contact form.
What happens in a session?
The first session is a one-hour assessment, which helps me understand what your problem is and how I can help. It also helps clarify what you want from our work together. We can then focus on the issue that feels most pressing for you right now (becoming less anxious, for example, or tackling low mood).
In each subsequent session, which also lasts for 60 minutes, we will continue working on this issue. It's often helpful to focus on a particular moment when you felt stressed, say, or anxious, and look at everything you experienced in that moment. What were you thinking and feeling? What was happening in your body? What actions did you take? We can then explore which of these were unhelpful, and how to replace them with more helpful thoughts and behaviour in the future.
I will then give you homework to do every day before we next meet. If you're stressed, this might be breathing exercises or ways of being more assertive with your boss, say, or a difficult colleague. Or if you are suffering from low mood, it might be trying some small, manageable ways of becoming more active throughout the week, or solving one of the problems you face. What makes cognitive therapy so effective is that you will learn exactly what you need to do to make significant changes – and I will support and encourage you to stick to your plan.
Which problems can I help with?
People seek therapy for many different reasons, but most people I see are suffering from stress-related illness, depression or anxiety, because these are by far the most common psychological difficulties we all face. As a cognitive therapist, I can also help with problems including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), substance misuse and addiction, health anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia, anger management, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), relationship difficulties and eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa. If you are suffering from any of these problems, cognitive therapy will be most helpful. But if you're feeling very upset about a recent loss or painful event in your life, you may need some counselling first. This is a more gentle process, which will help you regain your strength until you are ready for the more dynamic approach of cognitive therapy – in which we will use techniques to understand and modify the negative thoughts, beliefs and unhelpful behaviours that are making you unhappy.
I'm also a certified cognitive-behavioural coach and offer a highly effective style of coaching, which is based on CBT and approved by the British Psychological Society. I am a member of the Association for Coaching, the main professional body for all forms of coaching in the UK.
How long will it take?
That depends on the issue you're working on and a range of other factors. Some people find a short-term approach is enough, which typically takes 6 to 12 sessions. Other people – especially those working on deeper issues – require a more long-term approach, which can be anything up to a year or more. I am happy to work both short and longer-term, depending on your particular situation and the issues you want to tackle.
How much does it cost?
I charge £80 per hour. Payment for both the assessment session and ongoing sessions should be made at the end of each hour, by cash or cheque.
Is it confidential?
Yes, everything we discuss will remain completely confidential. I am an associate member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and abide by their Ethical Framework, which includes a commitment to confidentiality.