Highgate Psychotherapy

Frequently asked questions

What happens at the first session?

Firstly, you tell me about why you would like us to meet and what the difficulties are that have made you consider the possibility of therapy or counselling. Mainly I would listen and occasionally ask questions. Then I would tell you about the way I work and the way in which safe boundaries are maintained – the way we both make a commitment to the therapy. This involves confidentiality and complete privacy, a regular meeting time in the same place, an agreed fee, arrangements regarding holiday times.

At the end of this session you can decide whether you would like us to continue meeting.

Will I feel judged?

No. The aim of therapy is to listen and support, to try with you to understand where bad feelings come from. It is not to do with judging or advising. Ideally therapy will help you to feel more accepting of yourself – of how you’ve had to act in the past, sometimes repeating old patterns, why that was and how change can come about now. The therapeutic relationship is different from any other. It allows you really to be listened to, to say what you’ve long hidden away.

Would confidentiality ever be breached?

Virtually never. It would be only if there is a serious risk of suicide or of harm to someone else. In such circumstances, I would inform you and seek your permission to involve your G.P. See UKCP Code of Ethics.

Do you have supervision of your work?

Yes. It is a requirement of the UKCP that all therapists have regular clinical supervision to ensure they are working to the highest possible standards. I have supervision once a fortnight with a senior practitioner. Themes that arise in my clinical work are discussed, but names are never revealed and all identifying features are changed.

What is your model of therapy?

I work psychodynamically. Essentially this is based on three understandings:

  1. The unconscious plays a part in how we feel and behave
  2. The past, especially our family of origin, is ever-present and is relevant now
  3. The psychotherapeutic relationship plays a significant role in how change comes about

At the same time, drawing on my family therapy training, I also aim to understand the wider context in which difficulties may develop.

What else do you do as well as therapy?

I run a writing group, called ‘Weaving Words’, at the University of the 3rd Age. We write and experiment with writing, sometimes drawing on personal experience, other times writing purely imaginatively. It’s fun, maddening, lively!