Read our posts about counselling

Therapy and Cultural Difference

Therapy and Cultural Difference

London is a very multi-cultural place and so cultural identity is an important consideration when choosing a therapist. But what is culture? Some people think that cultural difference is about coming from a faraway country or belonging to an ethnic minority group. In reality, culture is so ubiquitous that even therapy has its own culture; in fact one that, for many people new to it, is shocking to start with. For example, sitting in a room with a stranger, sometimes in silence, sometimes talking about some very difficult feelings, is an alien culture for somebody who...
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What's in a name?

What's in a name?

Having waited nearly an hour for a client who didn’t show up for his weekly psychotherapy appointment with me, I contacted the main office of the charity where I work to see if he’d left a message. Indeed, he had contacted the service but couldn’t remember my name so the message didn’t get to me.  After recovering from the mild humiliation with my colleagues, I began to wonder what was really going on. Did my client think so little of me that I was just another in a long line of people to speak to, or was something else afoot? I have never texted or emailed my...
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How Much Should I Pay for Therapy?

How Much Should I Pay for Therapy?

Whenever a friend consults me about starting therapy the second question after “How do I find a good therapist?” is usually “How much should I pay?”. It is a fair question. None of us like to feel we are being taken for a ride, but there is also the concern that lower fees may mean the therapist has less experience or is, simply, less good. It is not necessarily the case. Quite often the most experienced, most highly trained therapists charge the most reasonable fees. This could well be because they are psychoanalysts who traditionally charged a relatively affordable rate...
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What Therapy Did For Me

What Therapy Did For Me

I have the dubious distinction of having made my therapist cry - when I said goodbye recently, after four and a half years of therapy, I gave him a small artwork I’d made which featured the words ‘you helped me change my life’.  He was moved; it was gratifying to see him cry, since I’d struggled not to throughout our entire relationship. But I was truly grateful for his care, his insights, humour and professionalism. We’d had quite a few laughs together, along with the agony, sadness and confusion. What I have now accepted is that there are times in your life when you...
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Broken Heart: How To Cope With Bereavement

Broken Heart: How To Cope With Bereavement

We all know that loss is an inevitable consequence of making an attachment. No one gets out of here alive, as it were. Yet the severing of this attachment is literally heart breaking. A recent study by St Georges, University of London found that a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke is highest in the month after bereavement and this declines slowly over the following year. This is because grief can lead to a range of adverse physiological responses, such as changes in blood clotting, blood pressure, stress hormone levels and heart rate control – all of which are...
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Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Guardian journalist Zoe Williams has known integrative psychotherapist Julia Bueno since they were teenagers. But they have never before spoken about Julia’s profession - how it works, why she does it, and whether Zoe is sceptical about the whole process. Welldoing put them together for a truth-telling session. ZOE: My prejudice about therapy is that it's every day, it really gets into your life, it goes on for eight years, the therapist doesn't say very much and you talk yourself into an answer . JULIA: Therapy isn't like that. You are thinking about 'old...
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Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Is Coaching Simply Therapy-Lite?

Coaching, counselling, and psychotherapy arguably exist on a continuum;  Julia Bueno has given a good explanation of the differences in her article Who does what? Talking therapies explained on this site.  Compared to the more emotional focus of psychotherapy and counselling, coaching is typically addressed at specific issues in a person’s life which may be perceived as dilemmas, conflicts, or simply “being stuck”.  These issues very often appear at first sight to be mostly practical in nature, but a little investigation frequently reveals deeper truths.  It would certainly...
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Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Self-soothing: Coping with Stress

Sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the most effective. Connecting to our senses promotes wellbeing and relaxation through our sight, sound, smell, and touch. Learning how to manage the everyday and extraordinary stresses of life is a vital skill – one that everyone can develop simply and easily with minimal expense. While there is little that can be done to take away the risk factor, stress - including traumatic events - is increasingly part of everyone’s experiences. While you may not be able to avoid it, you can do something to mitigate the risks and reduce...
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Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Coping with Painful Anniversaries

Anniversaries are generally considered to be celebrations, marking events, people, places and times that we have loved and enjoyed. They bring us into contact with memories we wish to retain and relive such as birthdays, graduations and weddings to name but a few. Anniversaries have a place the world over, in culture, religion, history and society. But what happens when anniversaries become difficult? In my work as a psychotherapist I have come to believe that the reason some anniversaries are difficult is two-fold. Firstly these anniversaries act as a type of...
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