Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Clinical psychologists are healthcare professionals who specialise in helping people cope with and overcome mental health problems or physical health problems that may have a psychological impact on a person. Many work within the NHS but some also work within the charitable sector (for example Maggie’s cancer centres) or in private practice. They are trained to use their knowledge of behaviour, emotions, thinking and human relationships to assist people to understand how their problems have come about (this is sometimes called “formulation”). The psychologist would typically then work with the person using evidence based approaches to help them make the changes needed for greater wellbeing, quality of life and improved relationships, depending on what the person is seeking from therapy.
All clinical psychologists have to study for an honours degree in psychology before going on to complete another three years of in-depth, specialist clinical psychology training leading to a professional doctorate. They are typically trained to a high level in a number of different evidence based psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy. Their training and experience often equips them to work with a wide range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and panic, childhood and adult trauma, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders and (within the NHS) the psychological treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They are also often trained to work with psychological aspects of physical health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, asthma and adjustment to cancer diagnosis.
How do I know whether or not I will benefit from therapy?
At first, neither of us will know exactly the outcome of our work together, although I will be listening attentively to what you want from attending therapy. My own experience backed up with extensive therapeutic outcome research over the past 40 years shows that if we form a good working relationship, and you engage fully with the process, then you're likely to benefit from therapy. Some of the benefits may include greater self-awareness, self-acceptance and an increased ability to be open and intimate with other people, thus enhancing the quality of your relationships. Often people also find that they are better able to tolerate distressing feelings and more able to choose how to respond consciously to unexpected difficult situations rather than react in unhelpful habitual ways. Some people experience a renewed sense of aliveness and connection that allows them to make life choices based clearly on their own values and sense of who they are rather than on the perceived expectations of others or societal pressures.
Will therapy be overwhelming if I have deeply painful life experiences in my past?
It may be that as you begin to feel safer and have a sense of trust in our therapeutic relationship, issues that have been suppressed might surface. However, I would never push you to speak about any experience you didn’t either feel ready to speak about, or didn’t want to speak about. Should powerful and potentially overwhelming feelings surface, I would be working with you to help process them safely. It is possible with support and understanding to navigate through these experiences, process them gradually and find a way to heal in your own unique, personal way.
How long does therapy take?
This varies depending on the complexity of the problems that we are addressing in therapy. As part of my way of working, I would normally review on a regular basis how we are progressing in therapy and we may discuss an endpoint as part of that regular review process. Sometimes, it is helpful to extend the gap between sessions towards the end of therapy to allow you to get used to no longer having regular therapy sessions and see how this feels. I offer both short term (6-14 sessions), medium term (15 - 40) and longer term therapy (often over 1 year). This is something we can discuss when you attend for the first 2 or 3 sessions.
Where can I be seen for therapy?
I practice at the following location in Edinburgh:
The Salisbury Centre, 2 Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, EH16 5AB (click here for directions)
Appointments are generally during the working day, but I also have a limited number of Saturday morning appointments available. Please contact me if you want to discuss availability of appointments.
How much does it cost?
If you are self-funding, I am charging £70 per session. As part of the co-operative, I also offer a number of low-fee based places for therapy (approximately 25% of my caseload). The social enterprise model allows income from full paid sessions to subsidise therapy for low-fee based clients who might otherwise be unable to afford it. All clients recieve the same quality of service.
If you wish to attend through insurance based funding, I am a registered provider with AXA-PPP and BUPA. Income from insurance based clients also contributes to the above social enterprise in terms of making low-fee therapy possible for people on lower incomes or who are not currently in work.
What about privacy and confidentiality?