Questions about individual & relationship counselling

What is a doctor of psychology?

Terms such as “counsellor”, “therapist”, and “psychotherapist” are not legally protected titles in the UK and anyone can use them. “Counselling Psychologist” (Dr Nikos) and “Clinical Psychologist” are a protected titles, regulated by the Health and Care professions Council. A psychologist is a specialist in mental health and well-being that has trained at the highest level by completing a doctoral degree (it is usually a masters for psychotherapists and a diploma/certificate/bachelors for counsellors). It takes a minimum of 6-8 years to qualify as a Counselling Psychologist. You can check my registration details here.

Psychologists (clinical & counselling mainly) have broad NHS experience which teaches them to help some of the most distressed and troubled people amongst us. They study the “science” of how the mind develops and how things can go wrong and train in the “art” of helping people overcome mental health difficulties an achieve well-being.  

Who comes to therapy?

People come to therapy because they are unhappy with some aspect of their life and their attempts to resolve problems so far have not been successful. Wealth, status, fame, nothing inoculates against emotional suffering as I have learned from my extremely diverse client base.

Does therapy work?

There is extensive research evidence about the effectiveness of therapy for a wide variety of difficulties, but time is usually needed for deep and long lasting change.

What happens during the initial consultation?

This is an opportunity to discuss what you need help with. I know that meeting for the first time can be anxiety provoking and I am experienced with helping people manage these feelings. A consultation may result in a recommendation for therapy, a further meeting to gain more clarity on the situation, or a referral to another professional.  

Can I use my insurance policy?

Yes, I am registered with BUPA, Aviva, Cigna, and WPA. You will need to have a meeting with a GP or psychiatrist who can approve your request for therapy before accessing my service if you are insured by BUPA. If in doubt do not hesitate to call me on 07805945233.

What if I come to see you and I don't think your services are appropriate for me?

My priority is what is in your best interests. I will assist you in finding a therapist/service provider that can meet your needs.

I am not really sure if I should be looking couple or individual therapy

We can usually speak briefly on the phone before arranging a consultation. You can also attend an initial consultation on your own and we can then consider inviting other members of the family. We will think about this together.

What happens if we agree to work together?

We discuss your goals for therapy and how we will approach these. We set a time and day each week which is reserved for your use.

Do I need to come every week?

I understand that people have multiple commitments in their lives. I want to make every possible effort to accommodate these. However, I am also aware that for therapy to be effective this frequency is necessary. Coming less frequently does not provide the momentum necessary, slows down progress, and extends the time that you need to attend.

How long will it take?

One of the advantages of accessing private therapy is that duration is based solely on your needs and not dictated by external factors such as organisational restrictions. The aim of therapy is to transfer knowledge and skills and eventually to make the therapist redundant. In order to achieve this, time needs to be invested in order to secure long lasting change. 

Isn't therapy expensive?

Therapy is very cost-effective. In my experience people can spend significant amounts of money on holidays, clothes, gadgets, and other things that only give short-term relief. Therapy is an investment. It is, in a sense, an educational activity that confers emotional skills that can last a lifetime. People also find that when they gain more clarity about their situations they tend to make better financial decisions that can offset the initial cost of therapy. 

Are sessions confidential?

Most definitely. The only instances where I would extend the limits of confidentiality is if I became seriously concerned about harm coming to you or others around you, if you were involved in serious crime, or if your records were requested by a court. In these cases I would endeavour to first talk with you. I also receive regular supervision to ensure a high standard of professional practice and clients are presented anonymously. Supervisors are also bound by codes of confidentiality and ethical practice of their professional organisations.

I fully comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.

What is there is a serious emergency between sessions?

I will always plan with you what to do to keep yourself safe and can refer you to psychiatry colleagues for additional support during your therapy. As I do not operate a crisis service, and cannot guarantee my availability outside your session times, if you are in need of urgent support you can visit your GP, local accident and emergency department, or telephone the Samaritans (08457909090).

What if something bothers me during therapy?

It is not uncommon for people to sometimes struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings in therapy and this is usually a good sign that important work is taking place. I encourage you to give me regular feedback about anything that concerns you. If at any point you wish to raise a complaint you can do so through the Health and Care Professions Council.