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Frequently Asked Questions


Still have questions? Feel free to get in touch and I will do my best to help

1 / What is the difference between a psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and a counsellor?

You may be wondering what the difference is between professional titles such as Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist or Counsellor. It can get pretty confusing and overwhelming! This is a summary from my personal and professional experience only, to help you decide what may be best for you. It should not be treated as my providing formal professional advice. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has specialised in treating mental health problems. They typically give people a diagnosis and prescribe medication. A Psychologist is a mental health professional who specialises in the study of behaviour, emotions and mental processes across the lifespan. They have been rigorously trained to use various evidence-based and scientific methods and theories to assess, formulate and treat psychological disorders, as well as promote healthy coping to improve overall mental health. Psychologists cannot formally diagnose people like a medical doctor can, but they can perform certain assessments and offer their clinical opinion if someone might meet criteria for a medical diagnosis. Psychologists can only prescribe medication if they have completed accredited training. You can read more about this here: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/medicines-guidance/non-medical-prescribing/ There are various types of psychologists, each specialising in a specific area of practice. Common types include Clinical, Counselling, Forensic, Organisational or Sports. Some psychologists may work in academia (universities) or in other research settings. In the UK, psychologists who advertise themselves with any 'protected' title such as Clinical, Counselling or Forensic must, by law, be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Do be aware that a Chartered Psychologist is NOT the same as a Registered Psychologist. You can read more about registered psychologists here: https://www.hcpc-uk.org/news-and-events/blog/2023/understanding-the-regulation-of-psychologists/ In Australia, any person using the title 'psychologist' must be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia. It is an offence for a person to advertise themselves as a psychologist if they are not registered. Psychotherapists and counsellors are mental health practitioners who have completed a different training pathway to psychologists. They specialise in talking therapy to help people deal with stressful situations in their lives and relationships. Psychotherapists have been specifically trained in psychodynamic or psychoanalytical theories and methods. These theories and frameworks help clients understand and address their issues through the lens of early attachments and less conscious internal processes, and how these may be affecting their presentation, including in the relationship with the therapist. Some psychologists and psychiatrists are dually trained and registered as psychotherapists. Professionals who advertise themselves as counsellors and psychotherapists are not bound by law like psychologists to be registered with a regulatory body. However it is becoming increasingly common (and recommended) for people such as prospective employers and clients to seek counsellors or psychotherapists who are registered with bodies such as the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapists (BACP) or the UK Council for Psychotherapy. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care is an overarching body that has independent oversight of 10 professional groups involved in health and social care work. They work to ensure that regulators such as the HCPC, BACP and UKCP are doing their job correctly to protect the public. You can read more about what they do here: https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/what-we-do

2 / What is therapy? How do I choose the right therapist?

Here at MKB Psychology, the terms "therapy" or "psychotherapy" refer to a form of professional help for problems relating to mental health and how it affects, and is affected by, the relationships in our lives. This is sometimes called working "relationally"; interpersonal or relational psychotherapy. Mental health is important at every stage of life and knowing how to take care of our own, alongside our physical health, is key to staying well. Working in a relational way means your therapist (or supervisor or group facilitator) takes into consideration the context that you are in (e.g. your family, workplace) and your past experiences, stories and narratives that have shaped who you are and what has brought you to where you are now. It does not mean dwelling in the past but simply being open to learning what we can from these older "parts" of us, as this might be what is needed to help us move forward. Much of psychotherapy is "talking therapy" where you share with your therapist what is troubling you. You work together with them to understand what may have caused or what is maintaining the problem, how you might wish to resolve it, then you learn new tools and skills to cope differently. Particularly for more complex problems, or where words and talking may not come as easily, therapists may integrate other kinds of models (e.g. body-based or somatic) as these can help a client who might be feeling "stuck" in talking therapy. Many clients may choose to work primarily with a body-based method, or use more visuals, and do very little talking, as this is what works best for them. There are often times where clients will be attending therapy while they are taking prescribed medication such as antidepressants. The British Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists (BACP) states that “counselling and psychotherapy are umbrella terms that cover a range of talking therapies. They are delivered by trained practitioners who work with people over a short or long term to help them bring about effective change and/or enhance their wellbeing". This being said, counsellors tend to work with the ‘here and now’ and tend to be more focused on solutions for you to implement more independently. Counselling tends to be shorter in duration to psychotherapy and is indicated for less severe psychological issues. It is my position that the right therapist for someone, regardless of title, is determined by their experience, expertise and personal attributes that leave you feeling safe and listened to yet confident that they will sufficiently and above all, kindly challenge you so you get the most out of your therapy.

3 / How do I know if therapy (or another service, as applicable) is working? What can I do if things don't feel right for me?

Seeing the benefits of therapy takes time and work outside of sessions. Similar to joining a gym or changing your diet, the best results come with consistent engagement and accepting support from people around you to keep going even when it feels hard. And it will feel hard from time to time! Finding therapy, or supervision or any therapeutic experience hard is not the same as finding it unsafe or ineffective. If you are having such concerns, I am willing to listen and be open to discussing the best way forward for you. This applies to any professional you might be dealing with. It is common to experience "disagreement" moments (sometimes called ruptures) in therapy or any kind of therapeutic/learning space, and if managed effectively, can be wonderful opportunities for learning and growth - including for the therapist/supervisor/facilitator. If you are still not sure whether your sessions are meeting your needs and speaking to me has not helped as you hoped it would, feel free to speak to someone you trust to get a different perspective. You are not obliged to remain in a professional relationship that is not working for you.

4 / I believe I need to work on things but I'm worried about "falling apart". How can I be sure that things won't go wrong?

This is a very valid concern for many people who have busy lives with a lot of responsibility, who may not want others knowing they are seeking help, those who are new to therapy or unfortunately, have had negative experiences of therapy in the past. Like in any relationship, it is important to share all that you can as early as possible, ideally as much as possible in the first appointment, so that I can make the best recommendations to meet your needs. This being said, I understand that for many, it takes time to open up. Based on the information you share, it is my duty and responsibility to give you a complete a picture as possible about the pros and cons of a particular therapeutic pathway. This means you can take the time you need to make an informed decision about how you wish to proceed. With regards to trauma-focused therapy specifically, I adhere to the most up to date evidence base for the treatment of psychological trauma (which is a broader term than Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD). You can read more here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng116 If in doubt, do ask. There is probably no question I haven't been asked before.

5 / Why don't you offer online therapy as standard?

I offer in-person therapy primarily as I believe this delivers the greatest benefit for the kinds of issues my clients present with. Over time I have also learned that I work best when I see people face to face versus online. This being said, do not hesitate to ask if online therapy can be offered if you would like to work together. I am always happy to discuss. Alternatively, there are many quality therapists available who routinely offer online therapy and I am happy to recommend colleagues accordingly. Please note that I offer consultancy and supervision services online if required.

6 / Where do you work from? Is there disability access?

As of 1 February 2024, I will see clients at Park Place Practice in Leeds city centre. Their address is 17 Park Place, Leeds, LS1 2SJ. Please be aware that there are stairs at this location and there is no disability access. They are less than 10 minutes walk from Leeds train station and a number of buses stop nearby. If you are driving, the closest car park is Q-Park Wellington Street, about 5 minutes walk away. The next closest is Q-Park Albion Street, about 7 minutes walk away. There is also paid on-street parking around Park Square, or along Park Place, Queen Street and St Paul's Street. However do check the parking signs for any time and/or return restrictions. For in-person consultancy and training services, I can travel to your location at an additional cost.

7 / How much do sessions cost? How can I pay? What if I'm having trouble paying?

You can find information about my fees on the homepage under the Fees tab. Costs for the service you are seeking are discussed during the initial consultation and your first appointment should you decide to arrange one. Clients will be provided with a Consent Form to review, ask any questions about, and sign before attending their first appointment. Please be aware that your first appointment is not confirmed until your signed and dated Consent Form and full payment is received. You can pay electronically by BACS transfer (preferred) or Square, or in cash. For existing clients, full payment is required in advance of, or by the day of your appointment. You will be issued with an electronic receipt regardless of how you pay. If you are having trouble paying for your service, please let me know as soon as you can and I will do my best to help you find a solution. So that clients are not at risk of becoming financially distressed, I cannot offer further services until all outstanding fees are paid in full.

8 / How do I book a session? Why would I book a 75 minute session instead of a 50 minute one? (UPDATED 29 Feb 2024)

How to book: I recommend all prospective clients book a free consultation first to see if I will be the right fit for you. You can email or phone me, or you can now book initial consultations or first appointments online. Existing clients will have the ability to self-book electronically if they wish to, or confirm further appointments when we meet for your sessions. Longer sessions: Except for skills classes or a client's preference for a longer first appointment for example, the majority of sessions are 50 minutes in duration. I offer a 75-minute option for clients who feel they need a bit more time to "warm up" at the start and/or "wind down" at the end. Longer sessions can be helpful for clients engaging in trauma-focused therapy. Clients might find they do not need longer sessions after the earlier stages of therapy. In other examples, due to time or cost factors, clients can only attend every two (or more) weeks and find a longer session more beneficial in these circumstances. Some clients may have to travel a distance to attend their sessions, or have a skills class and an individual session to attend on the same day. Therefore it is more convenient for them to book in a longer session.

9 / Do you accept insurance clients? (UPDATED 29 Feb 2024)

I accept insurance clients via PLE Health. Their web address is: https://plehealth.com/ You are welcome to contact me or PLE Health direct.

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