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Why are the sessions 90 minutes long? That seems like a lot.
Simply because we end up with more than twice as much useful working time.
The first session will always be scheduled for 90 minutes, although we don’t have to use it all. Subsequent sessions may be shorter depending on your needs.
Typically therapists and coaches work on what is often called the ‘therapeutic hour’ – they work for 50 minutes, then take 10 minutes between clients. At the beginning of your session you will take around 10 minutes to connect with the practitioner and get your mind into the room. This also has to happen on the longer sessions, but with a 90-minute session this leaves us more time to get the work done. Additionally in the traditional therapeutic ‘hour’ of 50 minutes, five minutes or so at the end of your time will be dealing with the next appointment and payments. I deal with these issues with you after the working time is up, so we can maximise our productive time together.
How many sessions am I likely to need with you?
Obviously I don’t know your circumstances right now, so it’s hard to say. What I do know is that I work with the latest approaches to helping people change, which have been shown to be faster, easier and more permanent. I’m confident that you will need far fewer sessions with me than with some of the more traditional approaches.
Before I start working with a new client I’ve already spent significant time on the telephone or Skype putting together a plan of what they will need to get to where they want to go. Some of these plans have multiple elements and clearly this will take time.
We will work together one session at a time. That is, I’m not asking you to make any long-term commitment, so I have to deliver for you at each and every session. At the end of each session you can decide whether to come back or not, as your circumstances allow. As a very rough guide, for most clients it would be reasonable to expect to come and see me between 5 and 10 times. Clearly more complex situations or more entrenched problems may take a different number of sessions. I support some of my clients in numerous areas of their life, which can include helping them to run and develop their businesses. In such cases we come to an individual longer-term relationship; however this would only occur when it’s absolutely clear that I could be the right person to offer this level of support.
Do I need to book multiple sessions with you?
No, we will nearly always just book the next session unless your circumstances mean that you need to book a few sessions in advance, but that’s completely up to you.
How often should I come to see you?
Once again this is going to be determined by your needs. It is relatively rare for somebody to see me weekly, although this may occur if somebody needs to make rapid changes within the first few sessions.
At the end of each of your sessions we will discuss how long to leave it until we meet again. Keep in mind that the objective is to take whatever goes on in the space between us back into the rest of your life. So you will need time and opportunities to explore the changes you have made. Additionally, sometimes you might need to develop some new mental skill; this will also take time and practice. So ultimately the frequency of sessions is going to be determined by your needs, your expectations and your resources. After a few sessions several of my clients tend to come monthly as this gives enough opportunity to explore what has changed and what is better, and importantly to find those exceptions where a plan hasn’t worked as expected.
What should I bring with me to the sessions?
It’s always good to bring whatever diary system you use, whether that’s paper-based or electronic. I don’t give handouts for many of the activities clients take away with them, largely because each activity will have been customised for their own specific circumstances. You’re probably going to want to make your own notes anyway. We cover so much material with so many ideas that are specific to each person that they want to write it down. So I suggest you bring some form of notebook. The nice thing with a bound book is that you can keep all the notes in one place, but you know your capacities and best habits around note-taking.
Can we do our sessions over the phone or Skype?
Yes. It is quite a common way I work with people. Some people prefer to have the initial sessions face to face, but after that it is certainly very easy to work remotely, saving you travelling time. I have plenty of clients overseas, where working remotely is the only practical option.
What if when I start working with you I find it’s not right for me?
In 25 years of practice this has only happened a couple of times.
This is partly why I now have a detailed conversation with a new potential client beforehand to reduce the risk. Not only do you need to think that I’m the right person for you; based on my experience I have to make sure that I think I’m the right person to help you.
Having said that, if we start working together and it becomes apparent that for whatever reason I’m not the right person for you at this time then firstly we don’t book any further sessions, and secondly you don’t pay me. If this situation should arise I’d really appreciate talking with you to find out the reason(s), which will help me and also potential future clients.