The Cost of Therapy

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With the rise in cost of living, therapy may seem like a luxury that you can’t afford. For many, it just isn’t possible to find that extra bit of money, and thankfully the NHS is now offering a range of therapies and workshops through their Talkworks scheme.

However, sometimes it isn’t offered fast enough, or the type of therapy offered isn’t the right sort, or it just doesn’t fit in with your schedule or what you need. It is then that I really urge people to explore counselling through a private practise.

People often think that for therapy to be effective you have to commit to years of it. This has been far from my experience.

I’ve seen clients come in and after as little as 3 sessions, leave feeling lighter, stronger and more in control. After 6 sessions I’ve seen people radically change how they feel about themselves and their lives. They have taken steps to improve their relationships and broken patterns they’ve been stuck in for years. Sometimes people stay longer and are happy to make that investment – to explore their stories, process their histories, and often challenge long held beliefs and change their lives – but they are in the minority. Most people come in with a problem, want it fixed and we do that as fast as we can. It’s not navel gazing. It’s finding a solution.

People wonder whether they can afford therapy, but sometimes it is a case of can they afford not to? What price your life? Your relationships? On ending suffering and feeling better? How much would you give to understand yourself more, communicate better, believe in yourself and feel free to achieve your goals? I know for many that it really is, just out of their reach, but for those who can, I can only say “you’re worth it.” If you can commit to just a few sessions, I doubt you’ll regret it.


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For so many of us life is a continual balancing act. Between work, family, friends and other commitments, life can end up being a continual whirl of getting to the next place, onto the next job, finishing the next day.

I often ask my clients ‘what do you do for self-care?’ – and get greeted with a quizzical look wondering what the earth I am talking about. We then sometimes get on to – occasional day trips to a spa, golf breaks, manicures – but it’s amazing how low down the priority list ‘self-care’ is for many. It is often seen as indulgent, selfish – only to be attended to when the rest of the to-do list is done.

I am reminded of the importance of self-care now every time I travel by airplane. During the safety talk at the beginning, the airhost will always say ‘remember to apply your own oxygen mask before attending to others’. It is easy for us to forget that if we aren’t looking after ourselves, we can’t look after others, or function in the world in our optimum way. And this, is self care.

So what does self-care mean? Yes, it does mean the occasional trip to the spa if that’s what you like, or a golf break, or a manicure, but it’s also taking 5 minutes to yourself when you need it. It’s saying no to the next invitation which when offered, feels like another obligation on an already hectic schedule. It means saying to the kids that they can watch an extra 30 minutes of TV so you can read your book. Or maybe the house doesn’t need hoovering, again, today. Self-care is saying no to perfection – and yes to ‘good enough’. It means setting boundaries so you’re not constantly at the beck and call of others. It means prioritising you – your wellbeing, your health, your interests, your time, your energy, YOU.

You’ll be amazed at how different you feel – and that difference will resound out to all around you.

Why talk to a counsellor?

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When people are struggling in life, they can find it difficult to know who to turn to. People often feel it should be their friends, or family, that support them. But friends and family can’t always provide you with the support you need.

Sometimes people worry that their friends and family have their own problems, and they don’t want to burden or worry them. There is also the fear they can’t trust their impartiality, or confidentiality. Or sometimes they are part of the problem, and talking to them about it just seems too difficult. So rather than taking this risk, it often feels easiest to bottle it up, say nothing and try to keep on smiling.

The problem with this is that the problems often don’t go away. They simmer away, or disappear for a while and then come rearing up again. This is when counselling can help.

People can be put off by the thought of counselling. Why should telling a stranger help them deal with their problems? What happens in a counselling room? Is it just two people, with one doing most of the talking, and the other nodding their head and doing a lot of Mming? Well, sometimes. But there’s more to it than that.

Therapists bring a whole range of training and experience into the room with them. They can often introduce clients to tools and ideas which they have learnt along the way. But most counsellors will agree that nothing is more important than providing safe space for people to bring their stories; to give them a safe space to unpack all that they have hidden away, and come to terms with what has happened, who they are, and who they would like to be.

There are three things counsellors can bring into the counselling room to create that safe space; honesty, empathy and respect for their client.

Why are these so important?

Well, what’s the point in telling someone your story if you can’t believe their responses?

Why tell of your hurt, anger, sadness, or joy … if the the person listening doesn’t understand?

And who is going to tell their story, if they think that they are going to be judged them, shamed or thought badly of at the end?

It sounds so simple, but in everyday life, these qualities are very rare. So if you need to tell your story or work through some problems. If you need to be heard, understood, responded to honestly but with respect and admiration, then a counsellor might be a good person to talk to.