Frequently Asked Questions
What is psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental health issues and emotional difficulties. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), psychotherapy can be defined as a “collaborative treatment … between an individual and a psychologist” where the psychologist uses “scientifically validated procedures to help people develop healthier, more effective habits”. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and can increase well-being and healing. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy aims to get to the root of our issues as opposed to just dealing with the symptoms we are currently facing, so that we can stop repeating unhealthy patterns. The goal of my therapy, along with working through current struggles, is to empower clients to heal from past wounds, grow into the person they would like to become, and thrive in their lives and relationships. We may not be able to change the past but we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges in your life today.
I’ve never talked to anyone. I’m used to handling things on my own. Aren’t people who go to therapy weak?
Not at all. When we have difficulty with any other aspect of our life, we have no problem reaching out for help. We talk to a doctor, pharmacist, dietician, osteopath, personal trainer… the list goes on. Our mental health is the foundation of our wellbeing in all areas. The mind is complex and everybody’s issues are unique to their own life experience. Psychotherapy helps us understand what our personal story is and how it impacts on our coping mechanisms. In a society that tells us we need to “have it all” while appearing to “have it all together”, asking for help can be difficult. I urge my clients to view therapy as a healthy way to invest in themselves and their relationships, just as one might invest into a savings account or third level education to be better equipped for the future. Therapy is no different. It is a choice to make a proactive change in order to better yourself, your life and your relationships. Therapy is an investment in yourself that allows you to heal from past wounds, grow into the person you aspire to be and thrive in your life and relationships
What’s the difference between talking to you or my best friend or family?
While our friends can be a great sounding board sometimes or a good shoulder to cry on, it is very difficult to advise our friends without bringing our own perspectives of the situation to the conversation. Whether it is our friend’s prior knowledge of who we are talking about, or their views on us, or their own “horse in the race”, it is almost impossible to be truly objective, even if at an unconscious level. However, psychotherapists are not just there to counsel you from an objective standpoint. They are trained to adhere to a strict code of ethics that allows for a safe, non-judgemental and confidential space in which a multitude of psychological techniques are utilised to help to understand not just the conscious, but the unconscious. With education in neuroscience, behavioural and social psychology, and decades of therapeutic discoveries, a psychotherapist can help you approach your situation in a new way– teach you new skills, gain different perspectives, listen to you without judgment or expectations, and help you listen to yourself. Furthermore, therapy is completely confidential. You won’t have to worry about others “knowing my business.” Lastly, if your situation provokes a great deal of negative emotion, if you’ve been confiding in a friend or family member, there is the risk that once you are feeling better you could start avoiding that person so you aren’t reminded of this difficult time in your life. Alternatively, they may become someone who you overly rely on, thus changing the relationship.
Why shouldn’t I just take medication?
Medication alone cannot solve all issues. What medication does is treat the symptoms. Our work together is designed to explore the root of the issue, dig deep into your behaviour and emotions in order to teach strategies that can help you accomplish your personal and/or relational goals.
Medication can be effective and is sometimes needed in conjunction with therapy. The science is in that while medication alone can work, and therapy alone can work, the most effective treatment for anxiety and depression is a combination of the two. This does not mean that everybody needs both, but is indicative of the important role each have to play in mental wellbeing.
How does it work? What do I have to do in sessions?
Arrive. Talk. And if you have nothing to say, I will guide you. It is your time each week to focus on your needs and your personal growth. It is a voyage inwards to gain a better understanding of yourself, allowing to live a healthier life.
The first session, and sometimes the second session as well, will be spent exploring what brings you into therapy, who you are as a person, and how your therapist can best support you as you begin your healing process. It is most often recommended that clients have one 50 minute session per week. Your session time will start on the hour and last until ten minutes before the next hour. Often, you might come prepared with something you would like to explore or process during your session time. This could be an experience that has stirred up emotion for you over the past week, a memory that has been heavy on your mind, or an ongoing struggle you would like to explore. Other times it is hard to know what you want to talk about during your therapy session, and your therapist can help guide you if you get stuck or have difficulty getting started. Often, through individual therapy, clients are able to gain a greater understanding and awareness of themselves, their experiences, and how those experiences have impacted them. Clients are able to grieve and process where necessary, learn new skills for managing a range of challenging situations and circumstances, experience emotional release, access existing and new resources for coping, and create the impetus to begin acting and interacting in a new way with themselves and with others.
How long will it take?
Everyone’s circumstances are unique to them and the length of time therapy can take to allow you to accomplish your goals depends on your desire for personal development, your commitment, and the factors that are driving you to seek therapy in the first place. My personal recommendation is to commit to a weekly session for at least 6 weeks to begin with. You will know after our first session if we are the right fit.
I want to get the most out of therapy. What can I do to help?
Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. Work you can do outside of our sessions will really help you see your personal growth and development, and I will guide you on what that entails, from reading and podcast recommendations to worksheets. There is no extra charge for this and there is also no pressure to engage in any other activity outside of sessions. Showing up for yourself once a week with me is commendable in itself as a commitment to your wellbeing.
What are sessions with you like?
Your experience in therapy with me will be completely unique, because you are unique. How we connect will be specific to us. You can get a feel from my style from my testimonials page, which I recommend reading with all therapists, but it will be in the first session or two that you will get a real sense of how I work. Overall, my approach is about empowerment, I want my clients to feel supported and motivated to achieve untethered confidence in themselves. This creates a safe environment where trust is built through genuine honesty and authenticity between us. I am an encourager; not one to pass judgment, nor one to please. My passion is my clients: walking alongside of them, encouraging them, and empowering them to make healthy decisions for themselves. You can learn more about me in my About section.
What if I need to cancel?
I understand that things come up, so you can cancel or reschedule your appointment with at least 48 hours’ notice. If it’s less than 48 hours’ notice, I have to charge for the appointment.
How do I know it’s confidential?
Confidentiality is a key component of the therapist/client relationship, allowing you a safe place to work through personal issues. Your right to confidentiality will be carefully maintained and will not be disclosed without your written permission, except in cases of possible harm to yourself or others (especially children or the elderly). I follow the code of conduct of the Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists of Ireland whose ethics maintain complete confidentiality.
What if it doesn’t seem like a good fit?
The relationship that you have with your future therapist is one of the most important aspects of counselling. If you do not feel comfortable and connected to the therapist, then the process does not work. I work to meet you where you are and join you in your journey of life enhancement and healing. You will know by the end of the first session if I’m a good fit for you. I never book in a second session until you have time to sleep on it, and make that decision for yourself. You need to feel confident in the fit, and it is absolute nothing personal if you feel I’m not the therapist for you.
If I want to try a different therapist, how do I find the right one for me?
An experienced therapist will help you to understand yourself better, which will empower you to face your challenges and improve your life. Here are some tips that can help you find a professional counsellor that is right for you:
- Decide what challenges you want to address in therapy
- Ask a trusted friend, family member or medical professional for referrals to providers that they are familiar with and have worked with in the past
- Research any providers that you find online by reviewing their websites
- Conduct a general Internet search using keywords that address your issue along with your location such as: “anxiety depression counsellor Dublin city centre”
- Read the content on their website and determine if it feels like you can relate to their point of view and whether or not you agree with what they present on their website
- Determine if their specialty is in line with your current life challenge
- Contact and verify if:
- They contact you back in a timely manner
- Are they easy to speak to on the phone
- What are their qualifications
- What areas do they specialise in
- How much experience do they have
- Are they accepting new clients
- Will their working hours fit into your schedule keeping in mind commute times and traffic patterns
- Is their practice location convenient to either your home or your office
Only through meeting the therapist can you truly gauge if you are a good match, so, like dating, you may have to go on a few first dates. But if you’re lucky and focused on your requirements you may find the right one first try!
How do I book an appointment with you?
Just email firstname.lastname@example.org