information for clients
Thank you for your interest in Discovery Counselling.
Therapy is an opportunity to work on things in your life, and to find more satisfying and rewarding ways of living. Research shows that therapy can be very helpful for many people, and that most clients leave counselling or psychotherapy feeling much better than when they started. However, research also shows that the more clients know about therapy before they start, and the more they put into it, the more they are likely to get out of it. For this reason, we have provided an information sheet to tell you about the therapy we offer, and how you can make it as helpful as possible for you.
A therapy ‘menu’
At Discovery Counselling, there are many different ways in which we can help you. We like to think of ourselves as providing you with a therapy ‘menu’, so that you can decide, with our support, what you would most like to work on. Some of the issues that clients often choose to focus on are:
talking through an issue in order to make sense of what has happened, and to put things in perspective;
making sense of a specific problematic event that sticks in your mind;
problem-solving, planning and decision-making;
negotiating a life transition or developmental crisis;
dealing with difficult feelings and emotions;
finding, analysing and acting on information;
undoing self-criticism and enhancing self-care;
dealing with difficult or painful relationships.
Often, clients find it most helpful to work on these issues on a step-by-step basis. One of the ways that therapy may help is that your therapist can work with you to disentangle the various strands of the problem, and help you to decide what needs to be dealt with first.
A flexible, personalised approach to helping you
The therapy that we offer is based on the belief that people who come for therapy are experts on their own lives (even if they don’t feel they are), who have lots of potentially good ideas about how to deal with their problems. One of the main roles of a therapist, as we see it, is to help the person to make best use of their experience and understanding.
This means that our approach to therapy (we call it a ‘pluralistic approach’) is to try to be as flexible as possible in responding to your needs. What we find (this is backed up by research) is that different people are helped in different ways. For instance, what some people find most helpful in their therapy is to express their feelings – sadness, anger, fearfulness. Other people find it more helpful to take a rational approach to their problems, and use the therapy to ‘think things through’. People can shift, over the course of therapy, from finding one kind of activity helpful, to then preferring to work in a different way with their therapist.
We also try to be as flexible as possible around the practical arrangements for therapy. Most people attend for a one-hour session at the same time each week. For other people, this kind of arrangement may not fit with their lifestyle or their emotional needs. Please feel free to discuss with your therapist if you want to meet more often or less often, or for longer or shorter sessions. There may be constraints on what the therapist can offer, in terms of their schedule and the availability of therapy rooms, but they will do their best to accommodate your needs.
Flexibility can also involve the choice of therapist. Some people may only feel comfortable talking to a man, or a woman, or someone from the same ethnic group etc. If you start with one therapist, and then start to feel – for whatever reason – that this is not the right person for you, then it is fine to mention this to your therapist. They will then do their best to find you another therapist who would be better for you.
Flexibility also applies to the number of therapy sessions that you receive. Some people come for one or two sessions, and find that this is enough to put them ‘on the right track’. Other people attend therapy for many months. What is important is to do what is best for you personally. One of the options is what we call intermittent therapy – if you have some sessions and then want to stop, you can always come back at any time in the future, and pick up where you left off.
Adapted from Cooper, M and McLeod, J (2011). Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherpy. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.