Alex Churchley Cook PGDip MBACP Psychotherapy & Mindfulness in Surrey

Psychotherapy. Psychodynamic

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?

It is a talking therapy whereby, largely through the relationship between the client and the therapist, a client increases his or her awareness of their self and why they feel or act a certain way. Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to help people to understand and then begin to change complex, deep and often unconscious, emotional and relational problems, which can lead to reduced symptoms and alleviated distress. The relationship with the therapist is an important element in this therapy, as is the confidential and private setting, both of which help to facilitate a process of revealing unconscious patterns of the client's inner world, which sometimes become reflected in the patient's relationship with the therapist. Through this process patterns can become acknowledged and, in becoming conscious of them, the capacity to understand and change them may be developed. Whether it is addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, a loss of meaning or any number or combination of issues, psychodynamic psychotherapy can help to provide support, real insight and, with that, real change.

What happens during the first session?

The first session in an assessment that usually lasts between 60 and 75 minutes. During your first session, you will have time to be able to tell me as much as you feel you can manage. I might ask a few questions to help to clarify and understand. If towards the end of the session you feel that you could work once weekly with me and I feel that I'm a suitable therapist for you, then we'll agree a time, place and the fee for each weekly session and set a start date to begin.

How long will therapy last?

This will depend on what we agree upon during the first session. In short-term psychodynamic therapy (usually 16 weeks) an end date is agreed upon and then worked towards from the outset so whilst we work on what we've both agreed to be the main issue, we always stay aware of and prepare for the close of the treatment.

In long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy, it is beneficial not to set an end date at the outset. Whilst this might seem too vague, there are some areas of our lives that are so deep-rooted and often unconscious at the time of starting therapy, that we simply can't set a finite number of hours.

How long is each session?

Apart from special circumstances and assessment, a psychotherapy session will always last exactly 50 minutes.

How often will we meet?

Under most circumstances we will meet once weekly at the exact same time each week. There may be exceptions to this when we might meet twice weekly or perhaps fortnightly but we would discuss that at length within our sessions.

How much is a session?

I run a sliding scale that depends on the therapy we agree upon and on your financial circumstances. I have provision for a few reduced fee sessions for exceptional circumstances. Fee's are payable even if the client is absent, as once started, the hour we decide to meet each week is yours and yours only. The exception to this is if I book or take a break at any time.

What if I find it difficult to get to you

I offer psychotherapy via Skype or Facetime although where possible I would always encourage face to face sessions. If you are away on business for a prolonged period or perhaps too unwell to attend then we can work via Skype or Facetime, or even via a phone call if none of these are available.

What if I have a complaint?

I fully adhere to the thorough ethical guidelines of my professional governing body the BACP. Their guidelines can be found here. If there is any issue with the therapy, I would always strongly advise that you speak to me so that we can try to resolve it between us. However if you need to have further advice then you can contact the BACP.

If you have any more questions about the method/theory that I use or about any other matters then please don't hesitate to call me on 07767 352221 or email from this website. I look forward to hearing from you.

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