Therapy FAQs

Basic questions

Where are you based?

My therapy room is in London E15, close to Stratford Station and bus routes. I also work via Skype with people in the UK or British people living abroad.

How much does it cost?

Each session is £60 for 50 minutes.

Do you offer concessions?

No.

When are sessions available?

I schedule sessions within my core clinic hours, which are Tuesday and Thursday, 8am-6pm.

How can we start working together?

Contact me and we can arrange an initial meeting to talk about what you’re looking for, what I can offer, and make a plan about how or if we’re going to work together.

How long will I have to wait until I can see you?

There is often a waiting period between contacting me and having an initial meeting. This is because I work alone and mostly in a time-unlimited way with clients. I understand that waiting can be stressful and if you are in crisis I can refer you to services. Because client work takes its own time I can’t say how long the wait will be, though I am exploring some data and will share this information when I have it. I am committed to making the wait as fair and smooth as possible. If you are thinking of contacting me about therapy, my advice is to act now and not to put it off.

How often do we meet?

Once a week.

How long do we see each other for?

I work in an open-ended way. This means that you come and see me for a period of time and we end when you’re ready. That period of time can be weeks, months, or longer, it really depends on what you’re bringing to work on.

I’m also happy to work in more time-limited ways. This is for people who have very clearly-defined things that they want to address.

We can decide the best approach for you when we first meet.

Skype

Do you work via Skype?

Yes. If you are thinking of having therapy but can’t get to my therapy room in East London, or for any other reason, we can arrange sessions via Skype.

Is the Skype therapy service available to anyone, anywhere?

I can only offer sessions to people in the UK, or British citizens living abroad. This is because different places have different rules about who can practice as a therapist. People living beyond the reaches of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), my professional organisation, or the British legal system may not be protected if something goes awry.

How secure is Skype?

I’ve chosen Skype because most people I’ve talked to seem familiar with it. It is as secure as any online video application, but it is not encrypted and you may want to read the Microsoft Privacy Statement in order to understand the limits of confidentiality offered in using this service.

Can I switch from face-to-face to Skype or vice versa?

We would need to talk it through but it is possible.

Other questions

Can I bring someone with me?

Individual therapy is usually undertaken alone.

Can I see you monthly, fortnightly or on an ad hoc basis instead of weekly?

No.

Can I see you more than once a week?

No.

Can we be friends on Facebook whilst we are working together?

No. I won’t respond to friend requests, chats, Tweets, blog comments or other potential online interactions with you. If we already have contact via social networking sites, I will unfriend you.

Can you recommend another therapist?

No, I cannot refer you to specific therapists. The therapeutic relationship is very subjective, only you can decide who you’d like to work with.

Do you have a parking space or a place where I can leave my bike securely?

Yes, and you can use it if you let me know in advance. Same goes for bicycles.

 

Do you work in languages aside from English?

No, though it may be possible to work with an interpreter.

Do you work with couples, including two or more people in poly set-ups, and groups?

No. I work with individuals only.

Have you ever had therapy?

Yes.

How accessible is your therapy room?

There are three deep steps into the building, two medium steps within neither of which have a handrail. There are two raised door thresholds.

There is a standard toilet.

Chairs are soft and extra-wide with armrests.

Large print is available on request.

Parking is available.

My therapy room is smoke and pet-free though I cannot guarantee perfume-free.

If you have access requirements, please get in touch and we can work something out.

How confidential is the service?

I take your privacy very seriously and I don’t share information about you other than in supervision, where I talk about clinical issues. There are some legal limits to the confidentiality but we will talk about this in the initial session and you can decide for yourself how you want to proceed. I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and abide by their data protection policy. I take a number of measures to keep all client information secure.

How long have you been practicing?

I started formal learning about therapy in the early 1990s and did a few years of co-counselling around that time too. I did my main training 2006-2008. I set up my own practice in 2013.

I’m worried that if I come to therapy I’ll be sad, upset or embarrassed

You might cry if things are sad, you might cry a lot if things are really sad, you might feel really upset when you’re thinking about difficult things. I am here to support you in dealing with this stuff and we can go at a gentle pace.

I’m worried that you won’t be able to handle what I need to talk about

I will do my very best to listen to you and to understand you. I can handle a lot of things. If you feel that I can’t handle it, we can discuss that. If I feel that I can’t handle it, I will discuss it with you and we can work it out together.

I’m worried you’ll get me committed if I come and talk to you

I have no powers to get anyone sectioned. My work is completely independent of the police or any other authority. If I think you are a danger to yourself or others I will talk it through with you.

I’m worried you’ll judge me if I come and talk to you

My work is to listen, to understand, to support and care for you. This is how I have been trained. My approach is based on accepting people as they are and building a working relationship based on trust. You don’t have to say anything you don’t want to.

Is it ok if I see other therapists?

Respect for client autonomy is part of the professional ethical framework I observe, so what you do is up to you. But it would be good to talk about it in session.

Isn’t counselling/psychotherapy unregulated in the UK? How do I know you are any good?

Although counselling and psychotherapy are currently unregulated in the UK, there is a voluntary register, administered by the BACP, which is one of a handful of regulatory professional bodies in the UK. You have to be able to demonstrate certain competencies to get on the register. I am on the register and I am also a Member of the BACP and am bound to its Ethical Framework. In addition, I undertake regular supervision to ensure that my work is competent and ethical.

What are your qualifications?

These are my most relevant qualifications:

Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2006-2008, University of East London)

This involved over 400 hours of classroom contact and clinical practise, and 100 hours of work as a volunteer counsellor. I worked at an award-winning community practice for LGBT people in East London. In addition, I undertook Continuing Professional Development classes.

Postgraduate Certificate in Peace and Reconciliation Skills (2009, Coventry University)

This involved learning strategies for identifying, mapping and de-escalating conflicts at cultural and interpersonal levels.

Doctor of Philosophy (2008-2012, University of Limerick)

This took the form of a research project and 100,000 word thesis. Its grounding in sociology enabled me to think about how human activity is located in broader social trends. In terms of counselling and psychotherapy, this is useful in thinking about how people’s behaviour and beliefs are affected by the social contexts in which they live.

I have several years of co-counselling experience and I continue to undertake training and professional development activities.

What do I do if I am not happy with your service?

If you can, you should raise it with me first and we can try and sort out the problem together. If this is not possible you can contact the BACP Professional Conduct department and they can launch an investigation on your behalf.

What do your clients say about you?

I ask for feedback during sessions to make sure that I am working effectively, but this is not for public consumption.

Clients may not want to tell the world that they have been doing therapy, and there are ethical reasons not to solicit testimonials from people you are currently working with, so it is quite difficult for people to say publicly what it is like working with me. However, sometimes people are generous and offer comments that they are comfortable with being made public after we have finished being therapist and client. Here are two such examples:

“I saw Charlotte for a dozen or so sessions and it was a great short term revisiting of needed therapy. She listened and reflected back helpfully. Charlotte was able to help me think through a lot of intense changes that have happened in a short period of time.”

“I saw Charlotte weekly over several months during a time when I felt frequently overwhelmed by events both in my daily life and in my past. I found her to be a therapist I could wholly respect and trust, who gave me the space and guidance to work through complex feelings and get to a point of greater self awareness and acceptance. As a therapist I found her warm, sensitive and acutely perceptive – enabling a safe, non-judgemental and healing environment I haven’t found elsewhere.”

What happens if I miss a session?

At the first session we will make a plan for what to do if you miss a session, or are likely to be away.

What if I don’t like it or I don’t think it’s working?

We can talk it through in person and make a plan together.

What if I know someone you know?

The only person I talk to about the work we do together is my supervisor and I check with them to make sure they do not know any of my clients personally or professionally.

What if I know you in real life?

It is not ethical for us to work together if we know each other. However, it is possible that we might have come across each other. If this is the case, get in touch and we can decide what to do.

What if I see you in real life?

I don’t socialise with clients. We can make a plan together at the beginning of therapy to work out what we will do if we bump into each other at the same event.

What is your stance on sex work?

I understand that sex workers are poorly served by mental health services. I have no exiting or rescue agenda and I support sex worker empowerment. I work with what clients bring, which may or may not relate to work, and am also mindful of the particular pressures that sex workers might face.

What kind of people do you work with?

I welcome people from every kind of background, aged 18 and over.

I also welcome people who might need or want a therapist who won’t make a ridiculous fuss about their particular situation. This includes but is not limited to academics, activists, anarchists, artists, bisexual people, carers, club kids, disabled people, DIY-ers, feminists, gay people, geeks, goths, hackers, lesbians, migrants, people in poly relationships (or who are thinking about it), people who do BDSM, people affected by HIV/AIDS, neurodivergent people, older people, poets, punks, psychiatric survivors, queer people, sex workers, single parentsm trans, non binary and genderqueer and gender-variant people, drag queens, working class people, writers, anybody Othered for whatever reason, and so on…

I actively oppose oppression and discrimination against people because of their background and identity including age, beliefs, citizenship status, class, disabilities, ethnicity, gender, HIV status, nationality, occupation, sexuality, size, race, or because they have been in contact with mental health services. I undertake regular continuing professional development to build on my anti-oppressive practice.

What sort of issues do you work with?

I work with all kinds of issues, everyone is different.

I also have experience of working with these common issues that people often bring to counselling/psychotherapy: abuse, anger, anxiety, bereavement, body-related issues, break-ups, bullying, confusion, depression, dealing with stigma, oppression and discrimination, fear, feelings of being different or of struggling, free-floating sadness, coping with friends and family, feeling unfulfilled, feeling stuck, general emotional pain, getting older, hopelessness, housing, identity issues, illness, isolation, loneliness, loss, love, low self-esteem, money stuff, obsessions, problems concerning eating, relationships, self-harm, sexuality, stress, suicidal feelings, transitions, trauma, getting triggered, unresolved problems, wanting to find some meaning in life, work… and many more things.

Perhaps you only know that you feel awful or confused. My job is to help you identify what’s going on and work towards change.

If I feel that I do not have the competence to work with a particular issue, I will say so and do my best to refer you to someone who can.

What’s the difference between counselling and psychotherapy? How come you do both?

I think they are basically the same thing though others argue that they have different historical and philosophical roots and training.

What’s the difference between psychologist, psychiatrist and what you do?

Psychology is a big field and different kinds of people can be called psychologists. My own counselling and psychotherapy training took place within psychology departments in educational institutions, for instance, but I don’t know if I think of myself as a psychologist.

Psychologists involved with talking therapies and psychiatrists tend to come from a medicalised background and are concerned with diagnosing and evaluating mental health, and treating it. Psychiatrists and some psychologists’ titles are protected in the UK by the Health Professions Council, and are more likely to be able to prescribe medication and treatment.

Some psychotherapists and counsellors may also have backgrounds in psychology and psychiatry, but generally we come from different traditions, and these are not necessarily medical. As a therapist I don’t diagnose people or have the authority to prescribe treatment or drugs, neither would I want to. I prefer to work with the whole person within their social contexts in ways that are meaningful to them, rather than an illness or diagnosis. At the moment ‘Psychotherapist’ and ‘Counsellor’ are not protected professional titles in the UK, though this may change.

What’s your approach, and what does that mean?

I am an integrative practitioner. This means that I use evidence-based therapeutic interventions from various modalities. I work to a model developed by Gerard Egan in his book The Skilled Helper, which is concerned with identifying issues and developing productive ways of managing them. My approach is humanistic/non-medicalised, concerned with social contexts, and client-centred. Theoretical frameworks that inform my work include intersectional feminism, queer, punk, the Social Model of disability, peace and reconciliation, Health At Every Size and non-oppressive practice. I’m sympathetic to mindfulness, and some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy strategies, but I think that listening, reflecting and gentle questioning is generally the way to go.

Why do you do this work?

I’m interested in helping people in a constructive and ethical way. I also find the challenges of doing this work very rewarding, I like getting to know people in the therapy room, and the conversations we have there. I like working for myself. I think of therapy as part of a bigger project of social change that brings people happiness and fulfilment in life.

Will you talk about me in public or use our sessions as source material?

Absolutely not. The work I do elsewhere is separate to the work we do together.

Will I have to lie on a couch, listen to whale songs, do weird things in a sandbox, excruciating role-playing exercises, primal screaming or anything else that I will find really embarrassing?

No, but you can if you want to.

Got a question that isn’t here? Ask me!