About my practice
If you are new to therapy or would like information about how I practice, please read on. Every therapist works in their own way and no two sessions are the same. Part of whether you feel you can work with a therapist includes whether you can work in the way they work, though your instincts in this case may not always be serving you correctly, see my blog post choosing a psychotherapist if you would like a helpful guide to this decision process. For the detail of a typical contract with a client, please see The Therapeutic Contract. If you are interested in information about psychotherapy practice in general, you may find this information helpful.
Once we have made contact, arranged our first session and are sitting in front of each other (either in person or online), I I start the session with an explanation of the contract, to discuss any concerns the client may have and to ensure we are both working with the same boundaries in mind. I then ask my client how they would like to use the session, whether they have any questions or comments, or if they would like to get straight into what is bringing them to therapy.
Sometimes clients have enough to say that the whole session is filled up, sometimes they do not, both are completely fine and neither is a problem. If it seems like we are hitting on a particularly emotional or difficult topic towards the end of the session, I may bring this to my client's attention and suggest we continue discussing in a future session. I think it is important to not leave my clients in a highly emotional state when the session ends (though this may occur naturally as part of the therapeutic process) and so aim to check in with my clients to ensure they are feeling able to look after themselves. This is far from foolproof, however, and topics discussed may leave the client feeling in an emotionally vulnerable state.
For this reason I always recommend my clients take some time after sessions to process the content of sessions. Sometimes this processing can take the entirety of the time between sessions and the full "weight" of what was being discussed in session may not become apparent until a few days after the session ended, another reason why having sessions more than once a week can be beneficial. This, again, is a normal aspect of this work. The aim of psychotherapy is to explore the difficult feelings and events in the client's life to help the client to find some resolution with those events. The events, feelings or difficulties in our life that most hold us back are typically ones we have spent a long time trying to ignore or run away from, thereby leading to problems later in life. Exploring those difficulties will invariably be emotionally challenging for this reason. I say this not to put the reader off, but to prepare them for this possibility and to suggest that this is one reason why therapy can take place over a number of months and years. I often tell clients that therapy can take a while because it takes time to unpack the life they have built up over their years alive.
Once sessions are ongoing, the content is entirely up to my client and I allow the client space at the beginning of sessions to decide what we will speak about. If they are unsure of what to speak about I typically ask them what is on their mind, which is typically a good place to start. In almost all situations this takes us somewhere for the client to speak about something that is important to them.
I also strongly believe that difference is a fundamental part of humanity; no two people are the same and this is especially true when those two people are from different cultural, ethnic, sexual and political (etc.) backgrounds. No two people have had the same life experiences and there are clear differences between two people of the same ethnicity who live in the same part of the world, let alone between two people of different ethnic and sexual backgrounds. I treat each client as an individual with their own story with the aim of helping them to make sense of their own life. Psychotherapy is a process of learning, not just for the client but for the therapist, too.
I see clients at The Practice Rooms Southville on 226 North St, Bristol BS3 1JD. Online and telephone sessions are also available.