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 you can call me on 07766 704210, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Contact form.
What happens in a session?
The first session, which is an assessment, lasts for an hour. This 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 an hour, 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 phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), mood swings and bipolar disorder, 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.
Do I work with young people?
Yes, I work with adults, adolescents and older teenagers. CBT is very effective at helping young people who are having problems – most commonly depression or anxiety, but also OCD, phobias, school avoidance, low self-esteem, problems with bullying and behavioural difficulties. When working with young people I always include their parents or other key family members, because a team approach is the best way to help them. For example, if a child is feeling anxious about school and so avoiding it, they will need lots of encouragement and support to start attending lessons again, even if it's difficult. Parents and other family members are key to helping young people confront and eventually overcome their fears.
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 between 10 and 20 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?
All sessions, including the assessment, cost £75. Sessions are payable at the end of each hour by cash or cheque only. Please note that cancellations with less than 24 hours' notice are charged at the full fee.
When are sessions available?
You can book a session with me from 10am-7.30pm, Monday to Thursday; and 10am-6pm on Friday.
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.