Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How do I know if I need therapy?

People often seek therapy because they feel unhappy within themselves, and/or struggle with specific areas of their lives, such as family, relationships, work etc. You may wish to consider therapy if stress, or other difficult emotions or worries, get in the way of you achieving your goals, affect your relationships, and your overall happiness. Therapy can also help you understand your difficulties, and complex personal issues, and support you to change unhelpful habits and patterns.

What issues can therapy help with?

Therapy can help you with a broad range of difficulties, such as low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, phobias, mood difficulties, trauma, difficulties in relationships, and loss, amongst other things. You and your therapist will have a chance to talk about your difficulties at the initial consultations, and agree on a focus for therapy, that is likely to be most helpful to you.

How can I book an initial consultation?

You can either email one of us directly (See ‘About Us’), or send an email to info@balancedminds.com with your query and your reasons for seeking therapy (i.e. what you would like therapy to help you with, and what you are hoping to change). We will endeavour to respond to your query as soon as possible, and offer an initial assessment appointment or brief telephone consultation, as appropriate.

What should I ask when I contact a therapist for the first time?

In your initial sessions, you may want to ask about the logistics of therapy, such as time, place, cost, session frequency and duration, and the therapist’s policy regarding cancellations and holidays. You can also ask about the therapist’s professional qualifications, experience, and approach, or any specific questions with regards to your difficulties and the type of help you would like. This can give you an idea of what is involved in therapy and help you decide if this is a person you feel you can work with.

What happens during and between therapy sessions?

Psychological therapy is talking treatment. We strive to provide a safe therapeutic space in which to explore your struggles, and work towards facing and overcoming your difficulties, and help you to develop and flourish as an individual. During the initial sessions (known as ‘assessment’) you and your therapist will be working together to explore and develop a shared understanding of your difficulties and what you would like to be different. This will help you decide on where to focus the work in a way that is helpful. At the end of assessment we will aim to share our recommendations on treatment options, and if we believe that psychological therapy would not be helpful, we will advise you on alternatives, where possible. If, after initial assessment, you decide to embark on therapy, you will be working with your therapist towards your agreed therapy goals – this will involve thinking and talking about daily events, your thoughts, feelings, memories, aspirations, regrets etc., and engaging in various exercises and practices to designed to help you with your difficulties. To support you with your difficulties and help you develop, your therapist may often ask you to experiment with new strategies, or practise the skills that you are learning in therapy outside session times.

How often will I have to attend therapy?

Regularity and consistency in attending sessions is important to help you make progress with your difficulties. We typically offer weekly sessions, and sometimes fortnightly. You will have a chance to discuss and agree the frequency of your sessions with your therapist at initial consultation.

What happens if I need to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel or rearrange an appointment, please let your therapist know as soon as possible. We operate a 48-hour cancellation policy, and will not charge you if you cancel in advance of this time. If you cancel with less than 48-hour notice, or do not attend your scheduled appointment, you will be charged at full fee.

We aim to be flexible and, where possible, we will try to rearrange your appointment. Our intention is to help you maximise your time in therapy. If we feel that your pattern of attendance is compromising this, we will discuss with you in order to understand what is getting the way, and consider how we can support you engage in a way that is helpful.

How long will I need therapy for?

The length of therapy will depend on the nature of your difficulties, what you are prepared to commit to (in terms of time, finances, and emotional availability), and how well you respond to therapy. Initial consultation will enable you and your therapist to see if therapy would be helpful to you. We work in short-term (up to 24 sessions), long-term (over 24 sessions) and open-ended contracts. We will come to an agreement regarding the duration of our work with you at the early stages of therapy, and will be reviewing our progress at an ongoing basis.

Will my sessions be confidential?

Yes, what you discuss with your therapist will be confidential. The only time confidentiality will be breached is if you disclose any information that makes your therapist concerned that you, another adult or a child, is at serious risk. Whenever possible, we will aim to share our concerns with you before notifying relevant parties (e.g. your GP).

Will my therapist be available during crisis?

Your therapist will be available to you during your scheduled appointment times. Whilst he/she may be contactable at other agreed times, he/she will be unable to provide an emergency service to you. If you need urgent help out of therapy times, you will need to contact your GP, crisis help lines (such as NHS Direct on 111, or The Samaritans on 08457909090), or emergency services, such as 999.

Can my therapist prescribe medication if I need it?

Our therapists are not qualified to prescribe medication. However, if you need medication, your therapist will advise you on how to access this.

What if I am unhappy with my therapist, or have a complaint?

Our aim is to ensure the provision of a high quality psychological service in accordance with ethical and professional guidelines. If you have any concerns about the service we provide, we would like to hear about them, so please speak to us, or email info@balancedminds.com. We will endeavour to address your concerns in the best possible way we can. If you are still dissatisfied that your concerns have not been addressed, you may wish to take this up with our professional bodies (see personal profiles).

I have tried therapy before and it didn’t work. Why should I try again?

It is not uncommon for people to try a few courses of therapy until they find a type of therapy that is helpful, and a therapist who they can trust and feel comfortable with. Finding the ‘right’ approach can be hard and it is ok to ‘sample’ different therapies until you find the most suitable and helpful one for you. We would like to talk with you about your previous experience of therapy and what you would like to be different this time, such that this experience is more helpful for you. If you, or we, feel that we cannot help you with your difficulties, we will aim to advise you on alternative options for help, where possible.