How long is a CBT appointment?

All sessions are 50 minutes unless otherwise specified.  It's what Freud would have wanted.

How many sessions of CBT will I need?

My aim is to help you get to a point where you feel confident to continue making changes on your own. Some people see huge improvements in 6-8 sessions, particularly when there is a single focus for therapy, like improving sleep, overcoming phobias or panic attacks, or tackling procrastination. 

My specialty area is treatment for longer term or more complex issues, which is harder to predict in advance. I would usually recommend we review your progress after 6 sessions, and only continue if you are finding it helpful. Most people feel ready to finish after 12-20 sessions. CBT is pretty awesome, but it's not magic. It takes time. It takes work.

What happens at the first appointment?

Your first appointment is an opportunity to:

  • discuss your difficulties and goals
  • work out together whether CBT is likely to be able to help 
  • see whether you feel comfortable with me as your therapist
  • discuss whether now is a good time for the emotional, financial and time investment of CBT

How often do I need to come to CBT?

CBT works best if you attend appointments weekly.  Of course this is not always practical for everyone, and we can discuss this at your first appointment.  Life is much easier for me if you are able to stick to the same time every week, but it's not all about me.  If that doesn't work for you, give me a call and we'll discuss some options.

What will I need to do between CBT sessions?

CBT is like learning a new language - attending appointments is a starting off point and you will build on this if you put things into practice in between sessions. It's also important to me that the hard work you put in during sessions actually leads to changes in your life. At each session we will design a challenge for you to work on during the week. 

If the circumstances in your life make it difficult to try things out in the "real world", then we might talk about whether this is the best time for you to be investing in therapy. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do, but I'm also not going to keep taking your money if it's not leading something being different in your life. 

What are some examples of CBT homework?

The options for "homework" are as varied as the people who come for CBT. It's a creative process: we will work together to come up with the best techniques to make the most of what we are working on in the sessions. This might include observations, like monitoring your mood, watching how other people react in situations, or paying attention to your physical symptoms.

I'm a scientist at heart, and I will help you design experiments to test out new ways of doing things. It might go against your instincts, but by putting yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable, you can gradually train your body to cope with what it takes to achieve your long-term goals.  

I sometimes do my own CBT homework to help me better understand and appreciate what it is I am asking you to do.

How do I quit CBT?

You are perfectly entitled to change your mind at any time about attending therapy.  Please let me know if you decide that you do not want to come back for any further sessions.  If you do not want to give an explanation, I will not push to hear one.  If you want to tell me why, you can do so in a session, over the phone or by email.  You do not need to protect my feelings - if you want me to know why you are stopping, please tell me. 

Misunderstandings are very common in therapy.  If something is bothering you about the sessions, you can bring it up at any point during one of your appointments, or afterwards on the phone or by email.  Conflicts between you and your therapist can be a very helpful part of your treatment, and can often be resolved together.  

Will you see me for problems other than anxiety, self-esteem and sleep?

My specialty areas are anxiety, OCD, and self-esteem - this is what I have focused on for several years.  As a Clinical Psychologist, I have training in and experience with a wide range of problems, but many of these are not issues I work with on a day-to-day basis.  Of course anxiety, OCD and low self-esteem can go alongside numerous other problems, and we need to take that into account when planning your treatment together.  Sometimes this means expanding the treatment to help support you with other difficulties, and sometimes it means modifying the therapy to account for how other problems impact your life and your recovery.  

If anxiety, OCD or self-esteem is the primary problem that you are wanting to change, then we can work together to adapt the sessions to allow for a range of problems, including chronic pain, eating disorders, manic episodes, chronic fatigue and ME.  If anxiety, OCD or self-esteem are not your main focus for treatment, then you definitely won't be getting the best of me, and I would advise you to search for a different therapist who specialises in the problems you would most like to work on.  The BABCP's Find a Therapist website can help you to track down the best person for the job.

Is CBT available on the NHS?

Yes. If you would prefer treatment under the NHS, I recommend that you speak to your GP about what the options are in your area. Some NHS primary care psychology services also accept self-referral - try contacting your local IAPT service. The availability of CBT varies in different locations.

Are you registered with BUPA?

No, I am not registered with BUPA. Depending on your policy, BUPA may fund only a limited number of sessions with a clinical psychologist. BUPA recognised therapists should be able to see you very quickly and they have all passed a strict set of criteria in terms of their qualifications, experience and availability.  

If you are with BUPA and you expect to need only a few sessions, then this is certainly a good option for you. BUPA psychologists are required to explain any additional costs that will not be covered by your insurance. 

If you think you may need longer term support for your difficulties, you may find that your insurance cover becomes less of a factor in your decision about the best therapist for you.

Do you do home visits?

Yes, I can do home visits for psychology appointments in exceptional circumstances. This may include people whose anxiety is preventing them from leaving the house, in which case our goal would be to work up to taking the sessions out of the home. My consulting rooms are upstairs, so please do contact me to discuss a possible home visit if you have mobility issues. You may have other reasons for requiring a home visit - please phone me to discuss your options.  Please note, there are additional costs for a CBT home visit. 

Do you provide therapy or supervision for students and trainees?

I am an experienced supervisor of low and high intensity CBT therapists and trainee clinical psychologists. I focus on self-practice and self-reflection in my supervision sessions, encouraging you to apply CBT techniques to yourself in your work and on a personal level. I can also offer CBT at a reduced rate if you are a psychology student or CBT trainee wanting to experience cognitive behaviour therapy for yourself while you complete your course.

For supervision or therapy whilst studying, the fee is £60 for weekday appointments, and £80 for evenings and weekends. I would be happy to meet up with you in person (at no charge) to talk a bit more about my therapy and supervision style before you decide if you would like to go ahead with these sessions. 

I'm still not sure if CBT is for me. What should I do next?

You wouldn't be the first person to be unsure or nervous about having counselling or CBT.  Yes, it can be hard to open up to a stranger, especially if you tend to keep your emotions private or wouldn't normally ask for help.  Take some time to think about whether you think CBT is right for you, and whether you think I am the right therapist for you.  Check out the rest of my website, but also have a look at what - and who - else is out there.  If you'd like to speak to me before deciding, please call me on 0785 8888 131.  

And once you've decided, remember it's perfectly fine to change your mind.  You don't have to keep coming just because you said you would.

If you're unsure about CBT, I recommend reading more about it to help you make a decision.  I am happy to talk with you about the process in a free phone consultation before you book your first appointment.  To discuss further, please call on 0785 8888 131 or email