How do I know if you’re the right counsellor for me?
There are both practical and emotional reasons that could affect whether you feel I am the right counsellor for you. For example, practical reasons might be the theoretical approach I use and whether our availability matches, whilst emotional reasons might be based on things such as me reminding you of someone, my age and gender or just that initial hunch.
When we speak and/or meet, you will hopefully get a sense of whether you think I am someone you would like to see for counselling. Counselling is a two-way process and it is important that both of us feel we can work together and do effective work. I am open to any questions and for people to express any views they may hold. It is important to get the right counsellor for you and no counsellor is right for absolutely everyone. I will not be upset if you do not feel I am the right person for you and I encourage you to share this with me if you feel this way. It can be very useful material for us to explore and work with and where appropriate I can signpost you elsewhere.
Counselling is about finding someone with whom you can work with at ‘relational depth’. It is about finding someone you can trust or learn to trust, someone you feel can hear and hold what you bring to your counselling sessions and someone you can build a good relationship with. This allows change to occur within the therapy room that can then lead to changes to occur outside of it. I encourage anyone coming to therapy to find this person, whoever that may be.
How do I know if I would benefit from therapy?
If you are reading this then something has brought you here. I personally think counselling can be a great thing for anyone and isn’t, and shouldn’t, be seen as something for those who are ‘ill’ or ‘not functioning in some way’. Whether you’re in a lot of distress or something just doesn’t feel right, counselling can help.
This said, there are of course things that help counselling be of greater benefit. Choosing a counsellor you feel able to open up to, that you trust, feel heard by and who doesn’t make you feel judged will help counselling sessions be of benefit.
Being ‘ready’ for counselling is also key. If you don’t feel ready to do the work this can be a barrier and slow the process down. It’s hardly surprising in this fast-paced modern world that many of us aren’t used to going into depth about what we think and feel and why. Counselling can provide some much-needed respite from this hectic world and some well-deserved ‘me time.’
Call today on 07538 103 416 to talk things through or to book a session.
What types of therapy are there?
The BACP website gives a useful A to Z of the different types of therapy that exist. This can provide you with insight into the different theories and the many and varying ways in which counsellors work. Some theoretical models may ‘speak’ to you more and it can be a useful way to identify what type of counselling you feel is most suitable for your needs or you most relate to.
People come to therapy for a variety of reasons. There is no right or wrong reason and everyone is different. If you are worried about whether your reason(s) are okay I suggest you talk to the counsellor/counsellors you are considering seeing. We all have different specialisms, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Any trained counsellor will be able to answer any questions you have and tell you if they have any limitations in what they can offer.
Some examples of things people bring to counselling either as an issue in and of themselves or things that trigger other issues, are listed below:
Big life changes
What will my first counselling session be like?
There is no right or wrong first counselling session. Some people come to therapy unsure about whether counselling is right for them. If they are sure, they may not be certain what type of counselling would be best for them or they may have lots of questions before they start. Others just want to ‘begin’ their therapy. Neither is wrong and the theoretical model I predominantly subscribe to, works on the basis that the client knows best. As such, I will follow your lead so that your needs are met.
You may have been to see a counsellor before or it may be a completely new process for you. Either way, you’ll come with any variety of preconceptions, desired outcomes, questions and so on. The important thing in a first session is for us to meet each other to see if we would like to continue working together and for us both to understand what will be useful and helpful to you going forwards. This is done through a process that in the counselling world is termed ‘contracting’. See FAQ ‘What is contracting’ below.
When you first make contact with me I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have and/or to talk through any worries/anxiety you may have about coming to therapy.
What is contracting?
Contracting is essentially an agreement between us of how we will work together. Contracting takes place in the first session (and may include any decisions arising from conversations we’ve had before we meet) and includes things such as how often we will meet, how long we will meet for, how much will be charged, how long we will work together, whether this is a set number of sessions or an open ended agreement, and so on. This list is not exhaustive, and a contract can include one thing with one client and not with another. If there’s anything you want to include then please feel free to bring this up when we speak/meet.
Our working contract can also be reviewed at any point if one or both of us feels the need to revisit it. For example, we might have agreed to meet for a set number of sessions and you then decide you want to change this number or if we contracted at the beginning to work in an open ended way then you may wish to review this when you feel ready to end.
Will what we discuss be kept confidential?
Yes. What you say in your counselling sessions stays between you and me. The only exceptions are if I believe you are at risk to yourself or to someone else, then I may have to break confidentiality.
Additionally, it is a condition of working ethically that I undertake supervision to ensure I am working effectively, ethically and safely. However, whilst I may discuss the material you bring, I do not share your name or details that make you identifiable to my supervisor.
I am a registered member of the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). As a BACP member I have a contractual obligation to work in accordance with the current Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. A link to these is below:
I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office in accordance with current data protection legislation.
Do you write notes?
‘Keeping accurate and appropriate records’ is a requirement of the BACP. This of course is open to interpretation, but ‘appropriate’ can be explained in line with data protection legislation as being essential and not excessive. I keep factual notes on the content of our sessions. This is to aid us to identify themes, revisit things and as a memory aid. I only keep information that is essential to our work. I do not write notes during our sessions. They are written afterwards.
Can I see the notes you write about me?
Yes. data protection legislation gives people the right to access information held on them by making a subject access request. I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and comply with the legislation regarding data management and data security.
How often will we meet for a counselling session?
Counselling that is weekly, in my experience, is more effective. It stops therapy turning into a ‘catch up’ which, of course, is not in fact therapy or useful. A weekly commitment allows for us to get into a deeper and more beneficial process.
A common structure is a 50-minute session, once a week. However, if you would rather have a longer session or meet more than once a week this may be suitable too depending upon your needs. There is no right and wrong as such: it is about finding the best structure for you based on your needs.
How long do counselling sessions last?
There is no rule about how long sessions can or should be. A common structure for therapy is weekly for 50 minutes with 10 minutes at the end for the counsellor to make notes after you have left.
Due to my working from a predominantly person-centred theoretical perspective, it is my belief that the structure of counselling should suit you. For some clients, 50 minutes once a week will work. For others, it may be a 3-hour session every week or two weeks, for example. As such, it can be useful for you to think about what feels right for you before seeking therapy so that you can find the right structure for you. It is also possible to meet more than once per week.
What is important is to have continuity and so big gaps between sessions are not desirable if you are to get the most out of your counselling sessions.
It can be useful to think about how many sessions you want or whether you would like to have an open ended arrangement so we can agree this in the first session if we decide to work together going forwards.
How many counselling sessions will I have?
The short answer is as many as you like. There is no ‘right’ amount. Everyone is unique and so everyone’s journey through the counselling process is unique. I’ve seen clients for short periods (6 to 8 weeks) and others for over a year. Factors affecting the number of sessions you wish to have can be the level of distress you are experiencing, how easily you are able to open up and your reason(s) for coming in the first place.
I work in a much more emergent style and from a predominantly psychodynamic (and person centred) perspective and so the work I tend to do is long term work.
How will I know when to stop having counselling?
This is up to you. For some people therapy becomes a way of life and something that continues to be useful for them. For others, they come with a goal/goals in mind and once they’ve achieved what they wanted to they are ready to end the process of counselling. You are in the driving seat and we will remain in dialogue about what you want from your therapy and about how many sessions you would like as we work together.
Often there is a natural sense that the work, at least for the time being, is done. As a therapist I will reflect if I am sensing this and likewise, I encourage clients to do the same.
About My Therapist
What experience do you have?
I am a registered counsellor with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy which means at the time of registration, I had completed the minimum of 150 client hours. I have since applied for accreditation and so have completed 500+ hours.
I began my life as a counsellor at Cruse Bereavement Care where I completed additional bereavement-specific training. Following this I worked at the Intercom Trust where I provided therapy to those from the LGBT community.
I now work as a counsellor in private practice and with the NHS within the Depression and Anxiety Service providing talking therapy to those for whom Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is deemed not to be the most suitable theoretical model.
Prior to and during my training to be a counsellor I worked for Rethink Mental Illness for many years. I worked with those with a specified mental health diagnosis/diagnoses and/or symptoms such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia, post- traumatic stress disorder, addictions, drug induced psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, bulimia, multiple personality disorder, suicidal ideation and self-harm.
I then spent a year working with the Homeless Outreach Team during which I built upon the experience I had already gained from working within the mental health sector and increased my knowledge and training surrounding working with addiction and mental health diagnoses. A majority of the work I did during my year here was in relation to trauma.
What qualifications and training do you have?
Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling from the Iron Mill College
Psychology and Criminology BSc from the Open University
Law LLB from the Open University
CYQ Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training
CYQ Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing in the Context of Gym
IAO Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Nutrition and Health
Ascentis Level 2 Certificate in Awareness in Bereavement Care: The Foundation Course
NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Equality and Diversity
Freespace Certificate in Care Planning
Freespace Certificate in Solution Focused Therapy
Zebra Collective Certificate in Solution-Focused Communication
The Training Exchange Certificate in Psychologically Informed Responses to People with Personality Disorder Difficulties
ADVA Certificate in Tackling Domestic Violence and Abuse
Are you registered with a professional body?
Yes. I am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Yes. I have Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance from Towergate Insurance.
Who do you work with?
I work with anyone. I have worked with a wide variety of clients who have come to therapy for a wide variety of reasons. I hold a fundamental belief that therapy can be of benefit to everyone and that everyone has the capacity for change and so my door is not closed to anyone, irrespective of their reason(s) for coming.
I’ve worked with clients who have been depressed, anxious or self-harming; who have suicidal thoughts, convicted sex offenders on probation, addicts, kinky clients, those who feel something is missing, people who are being or have been abused in some way, to name but a few.
Research shows over and over again it is about the relationship client and counsellor can build and so this is the most important cornerstone in our work together.
Do you work with couples?
Yes. I have completed an additional Diploma in Couple’s Counselling with Heartwood Counselling in Totnes.
If you are wanting to see me as a couple it may be worth considering booking a longer session.
Do you specialise in working with certain clients?
Whilst my training enables me to work with anyone with any presenting issue(s), I have worked for a majority of my counselling career within the NHS Depression and Anxiety Service. As such, I have a natural lean towards this area of work. However, in my experience clients have come with a variety of triggers ranging from low self-esteem to historic/current abuse that has never been disclosed to work related stress to relationship difficulties to struggles with caring responsibilities that their depression and anxiety are often symptoms of. The diversity between clients has brought an equivalent diversity of experience.
Having worked within mental health services for a majority of my working life, I am also very used to working with those with a formal mental health diagnosis as well as those who have experienced trauma and abuse.
How do you work?
I trained as an integrative counsellor. This means I was trained in numerous theoretical models so that they can be blended in a way to best suit you. This is a useful theoretical model as it allows flexibility in approach so that each client gets an experience that is as unique as each client is.
I work from a theoretical base that is person-centred and psychodynamic in nature but I utilise and integrate skills from other theoretical models or knowledge from psychological theories. For example, I work using elements of transactional analysis and Gestalt therapy and utilise Heron’s interventions and attachment theory.
For those with knowledge of counselling theories this may be sufficient but for more information about how I work and what this all means please feel free to ask.
The ‘Practical Stuff’
How much do counselling sessions cost?
I charge £55 per 50 minute session.
Do you offer any concessionary rates?
I do not currently have any concessionary slots available.
How can I pay for my counselling sessions?
You can pay in cash or by card at the beginning of your session, by credit or debit card, by bank transfer, direct debit, standing order.
Receipts can of course be provided.
What if I need to cancel a counselling session?
I allow for 2 missed sessions per year. This means if you are ill and cancel last minute, or have an emergency, you are not automatically charged for the cancellation. All other sessions, beyond these permitted 2 are charged for. The only exception to this is when I am on annual leave.
If you are going to miss more than 2 sessions, for example, due to a holiday, then Skype or telephone sessions can be offered instead of face-to-face, or an alternative day and time within the same week (Monday-Friday) can be arranged if we have matching availability.
My cancellation policy reflects the fact that therapy is a serious commitment and works more effectively when both counsellor and client are both committed and fully engaged in the process.
When are you available?
My working hours, subject to availability at the time of your request are:
Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Where are you based?
I currently rent a room above Erin Cox Jewellrey. The address is:
Sue Reevy Counselling, 14 Castle Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3PT.
Do you have a waiting room?
There is a chair downstairs as you enter the building where you are welcome to wait before your appointment. I will come down to meet you at your appointment time.
Do counselling sessions have to be face to face?
No they don’t. Counselling sessions can also be done on the telephone, via Skype, by email or web chat.