How do I know this is for me?

Are you feeling overwhelmed or unhappy about more than one of these areas in your life? Home, work/school, socially, within your family, your relationship. Are you experiencing difficulties with your mood, and behaviour which is impacting on these areas and vice versa? This is not uncommon because life can be highly stressful, and sometimes it helps to talk to someone who is not personally involved.

Sometimes it is an accumulation of stressors that lead people to consider our services, and sometimes it is one significant event or experience. Having somewhere to process what is happening for you may provide you with the support you need to help you manage under these circumstances.

You won’t know for sure if our services are for you, and making contact to find out may be daunting but please feel free to seek answers out from this website, and contact us by email or give us a call with no obligation.

How much does it cost?

Initial consultation is up to 90 minutes and costs £140.

Further costs will depend on the length and frequency of sessions, and the number of clinicians involved in the intervention. Individual therapy will generally be £100 per hour but we operate a sliding scale policy which can be discussed on an individual basis.

What do you mean by evidence base?

There is evidence to support the effectiveness of these approaches based on research that meets particular methodological criteria, in accordance with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

How long and frequent are the sessions?

Most individual appointments will be 50 minutes long, and will be weekly to bi-weekly.

Family and couple sessions will be at least 75 minutes, but frequency will range according to need from fortnightly to 6 weekly.

How many sessions will I need?

It is hard to predict as the number of sessions people have varies widely. This is influenced by type of difficulties, level of motivation, relationship with therapist, and other life circumstances which may arise during the course of therapy.

After initial appointment we will feedback our thoughts about the approach that we think may work for you with an agreement about the approximate number of sessions and a review date to reflect on progress. Nonetheless you are free to discontinue therapy at any time.

What if I change my mind?

We understand that people may change their mind about therapy, or circumstances may change. We would encourage anyone to discuss this with the therapist they have been seeing rather than just not turning up for an appointment. Therapy is not often a pleasurable process and it may put you in touch with difficult feelings and experiences, this can mean things temporarily feel worse before getting better.

We would encourage you to continue therapy even when it feels difficult, and share this with your therapist rather than terminating at this time. However, you are entitled to end therapy when you wish.

Can I change therapist?

We are a relatively small service and may not have enough options to meet specific therapist requests. If you have started therapy with one of our therapists and want to change we would want you to discuss this with your therapist or contact us to discuss this further.

What if I need to cancel an appointment?

Please give plenty of notice for cancellations, if you cancel less than 72 hours in advance we will still need to charge you for this appointment. Where requested we will attempt to offer you an alternative time or day that week but this may not always be possible.

What about arriving late?

We understand that sometimes circumstances may cause lateness, nonetheless, we are not in the position to make up for this. If you arrive late we will still finish at the time we were originally due to end.

What is CBT?

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

See Psychodynamic Psychotherapy under types of therapy

What is Systemic Psychotherapy?

See Systemic Psychotherapy under types of therapy

What is EMDR?

See Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing under types of therapy

What is NET?

See Narrative Exposure Therapy under types of therapy

Can you prescribe medication?

We do not prescribe medication, although there may be some circumstances where it is appropriate to be using medication prescribed by your Doctor or Psychiatrist alongside some of the talking approaches we offer. They will be responsible for reviewing your medication but for the purposes of joint working, with your permission, may request information from us to help inform their reviews.

Can you diagnose?

We do not provide formal diagnosis, we would be interested in working with the causes and management of your presenting difficulties/concerns with or without a diagnosis. However, based on our experiences we may identify that a number of symptoms are indicative of a diagnosis and advise you to have this assessed formally.

Would seeing you go on my medical records?

We will not have access to your medical records, the notes we keep on you are for L.I.F.T Therapeutic Services use in working with you. It is up to you to decide whether to alert others that you are using our services.

If you see us for initial consultation but choose not to take up a service with us we will ethically destroy the notes containing personal information you shared with us during your initial appointment.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

Information shared during sessions will be private, any notes will be anonymised, and securely stored in line with the Data Protection Act. This information can be accessed by L.I.F.T clinicians only, as an aide memoire for subsequent appointments with you.

We are legally obliged to share any information with relevant services that warrants concerns about the safety of yourself or others. As much as possible we will let you know in advance if the information you have shared warrants this response.

In rare circumstances we may be ordered by the courts to supply a report or our notes on you. Under circumstances where this is compulsory (not just a request) we will have to oblige.

If you have alerted other services about our involvement and want us to share information with these services you will need to give us permission to do so in writing. Similarly if we feel it may be helpful to gather information from other services you have been involved with we would need your permission in written format.

Will I get direct advice from you?

We are unlikely to make decisions for you, in some circumstances we may share factual knowledge or legal information. However, from a therapeutic perspective we are aware that uncertainty is anxiety provoking and there is often a desire for easy concrete answers, and for others to take responsibility when faced with painful and distressing decisions. Often these easy answers do not exist by the time you have come to see us, and it is less helpful for you to try and use us in this way.

However, we can facilitate you in problem solving by exploring your options, sharing what we notice about your approach to the situation, or what we know broadly about people facing these kinds of situations.

Would seeing you mean I am ‘Mad’?

No and this is not how we view mental health. Most people would not hesitate to go to a doctor if they thought they had a broken leg, yet often when they know they are not functioning well emotionally they continue as though they are in good health until they simply cannot continue.

Often others may not notice because, unlike a broken leg, poor emotional wellbeing does not force you to limp around and scream out in pain. People tend to be harsher on themselves (and sometimes each other) when it comes to emotional needs. They consider it a sign of weakness to voice struggles, feel a need to always show strength, and may tell themselves to "snap out of it" until they actually snap.

Our view is that all human beings have mental health which is on a spectrum, at times when you are stressed you are having mental health difficulties. It is when you experience distress which is severe and enduring and impacting significantly and adversely on several important areas of your daily functioning that we may suggest intervention. However, we would not recommend people wait until it gets this bad before seeking some kind of support.

If you are reading this and considering an individual service from us you are not mad but a person who has recognised they are in difficulties at the moment, who is considering professional support to address this, In our professional opinion this is a rational, positive and sane response.

What is a Clinical Psychologist?

All UK practicing Clinical Psychologists have a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (or a statement of equivalence if they qualified abroad). A Clinical Psychologist is trained to assess and treat individuals and groups across the life span with a range of health, learning, developmental, and relational difficulties that impact on psychological well-being.

They can conduct and make use of research on mental health, service delivery, and treatment evaluation, and are expected to deliver treatment according to the evidence base. Clinical Psychologists are trained in several psychological treatment models (e.g. Systemic, CBT, Psychodynamic), they are trained to use these models to frame their understanding of the client’s difficulties (formulation), and to choose appropriate treatment.

They can also be involved in the design and adaption of therapies to help specific mental health problems.

Is seeing you the same as seeing a counsellor?

We are all interested in helping people who are experiencing distress, and we offer talking therapies as a means to do this. Counsellors have counselling qualifications, and there are many different modalities of counselling, some of which may overlap with the models used by a Clinical Psychologist or Family Therapist (e.g. CBT, Psychodynamic, Family Therapy).

If you are considering a Counsellor they can let you know which modalities they are trained in, and it is important to ensure they are registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Broadly speaking "Counsellors are trained to help people cope better with their life and any issues they have, whilst a Clinical psychologists specialise in assessing and treating mental health conditions using evidence-based psychological therapies"(NHS Chioces) and a Systemic Psychotherapist specilises in working with relational group and team dynamics within/between families and organisations.

What is a Systemic Psychotherapist?

Systemic practitioners try to take into account and address all problems in context, which includes relationships, time, events, places and the wider system that shape people’s actions and thinking within the person’s life. The therapy space creates an environment in which problematic behaviours can be explored and challenged.

Systemic therapists use a range of techniques and questions that encourage clients to explore issues in order to move toward necessary change. The therapist will take an appreciative perspective of even the smallest change that has been achieved with the view that the client builds on change through encouragement and recognition. This therapeutic process is offered in a relational frame, whether family members/others are present or not.

Can I choose the gender of my therapist?

We are a relatively small service but would do our best to match your request with the therapists we have available.