James Cairns Counselling Birmingham, West Midlands

Frequently Asked Questions


Why go to a therapist?

Not all therapy experiences are alike as there a multitude of different schools of therapy each with their own model of a therapeutic approach . This is important because a lot of the success between the therapist and client depends on your expectations and the therapeutic relationship you build with your therapist, and whether those expectations are compatible with what a therapist can and will do within their therapeutic model.

The time when most people tend to go to a therapist is during a crisis such as a sudden bereavement, marital breakdown or escalating drug or alcohol abuse . The reason for going to therapy at this point is to be able to stabilise your life and develop effective coping strategies. Sometimes, this entails only a short visit, in which the therapist uses crisis counselling. Sometimes, however, people go to see therapist's with a crisis and find that there are things that underlie it that you want to uncover or work on. At this point it is no longer intervention, but on the path to psychotherapy.

People may also go a therapist for non-specific problems, such as insomnia, procrastination, generalised anxiety or a feeling of depression which again may be a symptom of a much deeper issue that is buried in the subconscious and having therapy may help to bring these feelings into conscious awareness,


What kind of therapist do I choose?

Sometimes this depends on the reason you want to go to a therapist in the first as many therapists may specialise on a specific area of therapy or may only work with clients of one gender while other times this only amounts to your personal preference.

Basically you need to feel as if you can trust the therapist, and knowing that he or she is appropriately qualified and is compatible with you will help this trust.

The main theoretical schools are Cognitive-behavioral, psycho-analytic, Rogerian, etc. However, often most therapist are eclectic, meaning they use the techniques that work best or are are most appropriate for different disorders or with different types of people. However, I think the trust issue is much more important and can be more readily accessed than their type of therapy.

How do I pay for this therapist?

A therapist can cost from £40 up to £100 and hour depending on the location and qualifications of the therapist so this is a big factor for most people. Therapy doesn't have to be expensive however studies have shown that people do better in therapy when they view it as an investment as you will be a lot less likely to skip a session or avoid real engagement if you have to pay even a little bit.

What do I ask to determine if the therapist is a good match?

The first visit is where you get to assess the therapist and they get to give you an client history. They will differ in what information they need to know from you, but it is important that you have in mind what you want them to tell you.
◾Tell them why you are here…inform them that you are shopping around. This will help them know what they can tell you.
◾Tell them why you want to be in therapy, and then ask them if this fits their training or interests.
◾Ask them what kind of therapy they suggest, how long they would want to do therapy, how much it costs, up front. Compare this with your preferences and needs.
◾If it doesn't fit, tell them what you want and ask them if they would be willing to accommodate. Either way, be prepared to shop around more.
◾Pay close attention to how you feel–it is normal for you to feel a little uncomfortable or nervous. Sharing personal information can be nerve-racking. However, do you feel like you would be unable to trust them? Tell them your feelings and ask them how they would deal with it if they were your therapist.

Should I choose a male or female therapist?

There is no reason not to try a therapist of a different gender, or race or class. It may all come down to trust and the gender with which you would feel most comfortable and trusting .Even if you are uncomfortable with one gender it could turn out that it could be a worthwhile experience as not all people's personalities are typically male or female. There aren't hard and fast rules for this the differences between male and female therapist may occur more from their techniques, or simply because they had different personalities. Having a male therapist can give you evidence that men could be trust-worthy, good listeners, and made you feel validated

However if you are a woman who has been abused by a man, it might be really hard for you to trust a male therapist.

No matter what therapist you get you need to pay close attention to your progress and your comfort level and be prepared to discuss these kind of issues with a prospective or current therapist as it helps to build trust within the therapeutic relationship.


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