Frequently asked questions
If you’re thinking about starting therapy, it’s likely you will have lots of questions. Below is a list of frequently asked questions that you might find helpful. You can also visit our therapist directory and view the individual profile pages of any one of our therapists for further information.
Counselling and psychotherapy are similar, but not the same. Counselling is usually short-term and can help you learn to identify and work through difficult situations or issues in your life using your existing skills. Psychotherapy seeks to identify and resolve more deeply rooted problems that may have started in childhood and continue to affect you as an adult.
You may feel that now is the time for a change, or a change of circumstances or traumatic event might have pushed you into realising you have to change. Perhaps you’ve been encouraged to seek counselling by a family member, friend or colleague? Feeling like your current way of dealing with things is no longer working is often a prompt for people to come into therapy. For you to change, the timing has to be right. You have to become ready, and much of therapy can be about preparing you for this.
If you are in crisis, you feel you urgently need support and you can’t wait for your first therapy session, there are helplines you can call such as the Samaritans who run a 24 hour freephone service. See our list of national and local support organisations for further information.
Cognitive behavioural therapy – or CBT – is a talking therapy that deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past. CBT can help you identify specific issues causing you difficulty and find practical coping mechanisms that you can continue to use after you’ve finished therapy. Sessions are usually weekly or fortnightly, and typically you will need between five-20 sessions to see an improvement in the way you feel. CBT is commonly used to treat anxiety, OCD and depression but it can be useful to people affected by other mental health problems. CBT is only one of many therapeutic approaches, and we recommend you speak to your therapist about what might be suited to your needs.
There are many therapy approaches, but don’t worry if you aren’t sure which type is best for you. Many of the therapists at City Road Therapy are ‘integrative’ therapists, meaning they won’t approach your problems from one fixed theoretical perspective; rather, they will use (integrate) different, appropriate therapies for each individual. You can discuss and explore the various therapeutic approaches with your therapist during your sessions together.
It might feel difficult to know how to choose a therapist, but research shows you are more likely to benefit from therapy if you have a good relationship with your therapist. Therefore it is important you choose a therapist who you feel comfortable with, and who you feel you can trust. We recommend you phone several therapists to get a feel for who might be suitable for you before booking a session. You can also visit our therapist directory and view the individual profile pages of any one of our therapists for further information.
All our therapists offer private therapy sessions, so you don’t need to see your GP for a referral unless you wish to use private healthcare insurance to cover the cost. You can ask your therapist if they accept clients who wish to use private healthcare insurance.
A typical therapy session will last 50 minutes, although this will vary depending on the therapist and type of therapy approach you choose. Sometimes sessions for couples or families might take longer. Depending on what issues you’re working on your therapist might suggest you think about having sessions more than once a week.
Your first meeting with your therapist will be a little different to subsequent sessions. It’s an opportunity for you to get to know each other. Your therapist will ask you what brought you to therapy, how you are feeling now, and discuss any problems or patterns from your past so they can help you work through them.
Your therapist will describe how they may work with you, and the first meeting is a good time to ask any questions or raise any concerns you have about therapy, and how it works. You might have been having issues for a long time, but it is important to understand that therapy is not a quick fix. Your therapist will offer you a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to help you identify and understand your thoughts and feelings, and over time empower you to make changes to improve your mental health and quality of life.
On average, a therapy session will cost about £50-65, although some therapists offer low-cost counselling or concessions, and information on rates is included on individual therapist profiles in our therapist directory.
That will depend on the issues you wish to explore during therapy, which therapy approach you choose, and how you can work with your therapist. You can discuss this with your therapist, who will usually recommend you initially book five-10 sessions and then review how things are working out before deciding whether to continue. Unlike counselling, psychotherapy sessions tend to be offered on an open-ended basis.
A number of our therapists hold sessions in languages other than English and we include this information on individual therapist profiles in our therapist directory.