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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Your Questions Answered

 

Below, you'll find answers to some of the more common questions I've received. Read on to learn more about my services and what I've done to help my clients pursue their goals. If you feel like you didn't find the answer you were looking for, feel free to contact me for more information. I'm always happy to hear from people who are interested in counselling.

Anti-discriminatory practice
I am committed to providing an anti-discriminatory service. I strive to ensure that this practice is present in all our
work together.

Initial session

The first session will cover an initial assessment, where we will explore your expectations and needs and discuss any questions you may have about the way I work with clients. This is an opportunity for us to see how we will work together and if I am the right therapist for you. After this, we can commit to a further 8 sessions, or longer open-ended work if appropriate. 

Session Times and Frequency

We will meet on Zoom once weekly at an agreed-upon time and day for a 50-minute session. I will send you the Zoom link to the email provided at least 10 minutes before the session is due to start. If you don't connect within the first five minutes, I will follow up with a second email to check that the link has been received. If, at any point, there is an issue with the internet connection, the session will continue by phone. 

I recommend an initial minimum of eight sessions to allow our work to evolve. After that, it is easier for you to make an informed decision about whether or not you wish to continue your counselling. If you continue beyond the first eight sessions, the period over which we work becomes open-ended until we end by agreement.

 

The agreed time slot for your session will always be available to you for the duration of the contract unless circumstances outside my control or yours make it necessary for us to review it.

If you are late for a session and I am still waiting to hear from you, I will be there for you for the duration of the session. I will only work up to the end of the agreed session, which will end on time.

Please inform me as soon as possible if you will be late or unable to attend a session. 

Please ensure that you are in a quiet place without any distractions so that our sessions can proceed in a safe, secure and confidential environment.

 

If I notice that you are in a social place, such as a street, shop, etc., I may stop the session and remind you that it is confidential. Charges will still apply.

Fees

We will agree on a weekly fee at the start of our contract. This will be subject to periodic review.

I will give at least one month's notice of any increase.

Fees must be transferred to my account via PayPal or BACS 48 hours (two working days) before the start of each session. Failure to pay the costs on time will result in the session being cancelled. 

Cancellation Policy

I operate a 48-hour (working days) cancellation policy and will not charge you if you cancel two working days or more before your appointment. You will be charged the full fee if you cancel with less than 48 hours notice or do not attend your scheduled appointment.

 

I am flexible, and we will try to rearrange your appointment. My intention is to help you maximise your time in therapy. If your attendance pattern compromises this, we will try to understand what is getting in the way and consider how you can be supported helpfully.

Contact outside of sessions.

My telephone number and email address are for cancellations or alterations. I will not engage in telephone or email counselling.

 

My telephone number is not continually staffed; messages will only be picked up irregularly throughout the working days. My working days are Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. I will only respond to messages during these days.

I will reply to all messages as soon as possible. However, should you experience an emergency, please contact the emergency services or, if you feel suicidal, ring the Samaritans on 116 123. 

I do not initiate or accept social networking friend requests from clients, as this can compromise the confidentiality and therapeutic nature of the counselling relationship. Please be aware of the privacy settings on your social network platforms.

We shall only meet or have contact within the Counselling sessions. I will not make it known that I know or recognise you should we meet in a public space.

Our Counselling relationship will remain strictly professional. The boundaries of our engagement will be clearly and thoroughly discussed during our initial meeting and will be respected equally by you (the client) and me (the counsellor).

Will I be available in case of crisis?

I will be available during your scheduled appointment times. I cannot provide an emergency service. If you need urgent help, you will need to contact your GP, crisis helplines (such as NHS Direct on 111 or the Samaritans on 116 123), or Emergency Services on 999.

Break from therapy

Counselling can sometimes be very demanding, frustrating and emotional – just plain difficult – and you may feel reluctant to attend. This can be part of the therapeutic process. I would ask you to make a firm commitment to attend regularly and keep absences to a minimum, especially when this feels difficult for you.

However, that is fine if you want to take a break from therapy. You can discuss the possibility of restarting sessions at a later date. However, I cannot hold your slot open for your return as this might need to be offered to someone waiting for therapy. If and when you return, your name will be added to the waiting list, and you will be informed when there is another slot available

 

 

Will my sessions be confidential?

The content of our sessions is confidential to you (the client) and me (the counsellor). Please ensure that you are in a quiet place without any distractions so that our sessions can proceed in a safe, secure, and confidential environment. If I notice that you are in a social place, e.g., a street, a shop, etc., I may stop the session and remind you that sessions are confidential. Charges will still apply. 

I have regular clinical supervision with a qualified professional, where I discuss my work in confidence. This is standard practice and helps me to work with you as well as I can.

As part of my practice, I may use case material to illustrate and inform my writings in journals, supervision, and ongoing studies. I may also record sessions. When any material is used, details will be changed to protect the client's identity. The client can choose not to be recorded or to stop the recording at any time.

It may be necessary to break confidentiality on rare occasions, but only if I or my supervisor believe you are in danger of seriously harming yourself or someone else.

In the case of a disclosure concerning acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act, confidentiality will be broken, and such disclosures will be passed onto the relevant authority without delay. I am liable to civil or court procedure if this information is not disclosed.

Any necessary change to our confidentiality agreement will be made with your prior consultation. This is in line with the BACP Code of Ethics.

I may make brief notes after each session. These will be kept in accordance with the BACP Ethical Framework and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018 and are purely to help me in my work with you. They are disclosed to no one other than, and only if necessary, my clinical supervisor. These notes are securely stored, and you cannot be identified from them. These data will be retained for seven years. 

 

 

I have tried therapy before, and it did not work. Shall I try it again?

It is not uncommon for people to try a few courses of therapy until they find a helpful type and a therapist they can trust and feel comfortable with. Finding the 'right' approach can be challenging, and it is okay to 'sample' different therapies until you find the most suitable and helpful one for you.

I would like to talk with you about your previous experience of therapy and what you would like to change this time to make the experience more helpful for you. If neither you nor I can help you with your difficulties, I will aim to advise you on alternative options for help.

 

Commitment to clients

Clients must be able to participate freely as they work with practitioners of the counselling professions towards their desired goals. This requires clients to trust their practitioner with their well-being and sensitive personal information. Therefore, as members or registrants of BACP, we consider being trustworthy a serious ethical commitment.

 

Holidays and Cancellations

I will give you as much notice as possible of any intended breaks. Please also provide as much notice as possible of any planned breaks. If the holidays extend for more than four weeks, I cannot guarantee keeping your allocated slot on your return.

If I am unable to attend, you will not have to pay for the scheduled session.

 

When you start counselling, a regular weekly commitment is established between you (the client) and me (the counsellor). This means I cannot be available to anyone else if you miss a session without notice. In those circumstances, I require you to pay the fee for your session. There are no exceptions to this. I ask you to give two working days' notice of non-attendance. In those circumstances, there will be no charge for the missed session.

Law Jurisdiction. 

The contract is subject to Scottish Law with the Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Courts of the United Kingdom.

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© Georgia O'Keeffe

WHAT IS EXISTENTIAL COUNSELLING? 

This approach focuses on the whole person, exploring current issues and helping individuals to find meaning and purpose in life.

I offer a safe, compassionate, and supportive environment for individuals ,and couples,  to explore their inner world and gain insight into their personal journey. I take a holistic approach to counselling, helping individuals to make meaningful changes in their lives.

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© Georgia O'Keeffe

WHAT IS COMPASSIONATE FOCUS THERAPY (CFT)? 

I offer  Compassionate Focus Therapy (CFT) as taught by Professor Paul Gilbert. CFT is a unique approach van help you to develop our capacity for self-compassion and to embrace our emotions in a more mindful way. It is based on the belief that we all have a fundamental need to feel connected, to be seen and accepted as we are, and to be part of something larger than ourselves.

Through its combination of therapy and mindfulness, CFT helps us to become more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and to develop our capacity to be kind and gentle towards ourselves. This approach helps us to look at our challenges in a more compassionate and realistic way.

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© Georgia O'Keefe

WHAT IS PHYLOSOPHICAL COUNSELLING? 

A philosophical practitioner helps clients to clarify, articulate, explore and comprehend philosophical aspects of their belief systems or world views.Clients may consult philosophical practitioners for help in exploring philosophical problems related to such matters as mid-life crises, career changes, stress, emotions, assertiveness, physical illness, death and dying, ageing, meaning of life, and morality. On the other side philosophical practitioners also initiate projects in common life worlds with various goals that are related to essential problems of life, such as sustainable energy, direct democracy, etc.

Activities common to philosophical practice include:

  1. the examination of clients' arguments and justifications

  2. the clarification, analysis, and definition of important terms and concepts

  3. the exposure and examination of underlying assumptions and logical implications

  4. the exposure of conflicts and inconsistencies

  5. the exploration of traditional philosophical theories and their significance for client issues

  6. the initiation of projects for common goods

  7. all other related activities that have historically been identified as philosophical.

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