How often are the sessions?
My clients have a regular appointment schedule where they come at the same time every week or every fortnight. Towards the end of the therapeutic process clients may come less regularly depending on their needs. For therapy to be effective and long lasting regular sessions help to fast track and consolidate the changes you will experience as an individual or a couple. As you will have your own appointment time set aside for you it reduces the need to reschedule where cancellation fees will apply. Counselling requires a commitment in terms of time and regularity so you can receive maximum benefit from the experience
How long are the counselling sessions?
The sessions are 1 hour in length. The first session is usually a little longer although there is no extra charge for the longer time. A slightly longer time is needed in the first session as a thorough assessment of your situation is necessary so I am in a position to help you in the best possible way. I will ask you about what understanding you have of the problems in the relationship and the impact it is having on your daily life. You will receive feedback at the end of the first session regarding the nature of the problems you are experiencing with some suggestions as to how to move forward. You will have an opportunity to ask questions and express what you hope to gain from the counselling experience.
How many sessions will we/I need?
I work with couples for between 8-20 sessions with the average amount of sessions being anywhere from 3-10, although some clients have found between 4-5 sessions to be sufficient. It all depends upon your personal needs, the longevity of the relationship, the severity of the problems and the degree of commitment of the clients. You should start to experience changes in your relationship from around session 2/3 although further exploration is usually needed to ensure those changes are long lasting.
With individuals the therapy can be anywhere from 4-5 sessions to years depending upon the needs of the individual. At regular intervals you will be asked for your reflections and experience of the counselling to ensure you are gaining the best possible support and outcomes for yourself and your relationship. I try to give clients an approximation of how many sessions they may need in the early stages of the work.
What happens if I need to cancel a session?
I have regular appointment times with my clients to avoid the need for cancellations to occur. If less than 24 hours notice is given then 50% of the full fee will be charged. I do not accept SMS or email cancellations; you will need to phone me on 0449 561 254 and leave a voice mail message if I am in session and cannot come to the phone.
How long will I need to wait for an appointment?
I will do my best to accommodate you as soon as possible although usually there is a wait of up to a week. My evening appointments are very popular and often booked up a long time in advance.
When do I pay?
Payment is by cash at the end of the first session and then by cash or electronic bank transfer 24 hrs before the next session commences.
Can you save our relationship?
Only you and your partner can do this but I can give you the tools, support and expertise to ensure you can use your strengths and explore the blocks to achieving happiness with your partner or in yourself. You have already shown great courage and commitment to start the counselling process. Couple counselling can help couples and individuals re-discover or create a loving, supportive and healthy relationship. Often working with an objective practitioner can allow partners to see themselves and their behaviour in a new light. Breaking out of destructive patterns of conflict or silence is not impossible with the right type of guidance and support. If, as a part of the counselling process, you find the relationship is not meeting your needs then I can help to sensitively guide the process of separation.
What about if my partner won't come with me?
Couple counselling can be effective with just one of the partners present as it is a good opportunity to spend time reflecting on the patterns and behaviours you have experienced in the relationship. Focusing on you as an individual and your place and role in the relationship is a safe and productive means of working particularly if you are worried about expressing your concerns in front of your partner. When you start to experience changes in your behaviour and actions this can often have a positive effect on your partner and they may start to change too. Some clients have initially come to me as individuals and then after a few sessions their partner shows interest and wants to come along as well.
What about Confidentiality?
The sessions are private and confidential and any personal details or notes taken will be stored under lock and key using a split system where your details cannot be matched to the session notes. It is normal for counsellors to take notes after a session to ensure progress and continuity in your treatment. However it is important for all counsellors to receive supervision from another trained practitioner to ensure they are serving your needs. Details regarding your therapy may be discussed with a supervisor during your therapy but your anonymity will always be preserved. I ask all my clients if I may tape the majority of the sessions; I listen to parts of the tape at home and then delete the session. It helps me to help you so I don't have to take notes in the session and I can listen to the session again to help facilitate your ongoing progress.
How will I choose the type of therapy I need?
I use an approach called Emotion Focused Therapy for my Relationship Counselling with couples and individuals. This is a short term 8-20 sessions approach that provides sustained and long lasting relationship change for couples and individuals wanting to break free of destructive patterns of conflict and loss of intimacy. I also work with individuals helping them to cope with anxiety, grief or depression alongside exploring family of origin issues.