Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between counselling & psychotherapy?
There is a lot of debate about this very question. Some people think that there is no difference between the two and that psychotherapy is just an old fashioned term. Others (including myself) believe that counselling is often more short-term work focusing on issues caused by unexpected external events in which clients need a safe space to process what has happened. Psychotherapy is often much longer-term (12 months +) work on more deep-seated ways of being which have been and continue to be causing the client distress.
What kind of issues can counselling / psychotherapy help with?
Generalised anxiety, social anxiety, relationship issues, depression, family issues, panic attacks, feeling sad, affairs and betrayals, separation and divorce, phobias, bipolar, bullying, postnatal depression, addiction (alcohol, food, drugs etc.), abuse (sexual, emotional, physical) personality disorders, bereavement, low self-esteem/ low confidence, child related issues, anger management, stress, work stress and other issues.
How will I know if counselling / psychotherapy will help me?
Often counselling is the most effective when the client is able to risk being honest about how they are feeling, and to do this, the client needs to be working with a therapist in which they can connect with and can trust. If the client has anxiety about what the therapist may think or is afraid of the therapist, then the work won’t be very effective. Also, sometimes it’s not the right time for the client to open up about themselves because there is a lot going on in their lives which they are trying to cope with. That’s understandable, and I am always happy to wait until the client feels ready.
I'm in crisis right now and need help what can I do?
Sane - a mental health charity has listed a number of helplines and contacts who may be able to give you immediate assistance until you can you organise some longer term support. Visit Sane (www.sane.org.uk) for information on who can help you.
I’ve been told that I need CBT - can you help with that?
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is typically offered by GPs on the NHS because it is a manualised cost-effective treatment which can be delivered in a short time frame and is recommended by NICE guidelines for depression and anxiety. I don’t offer CBT as it isn’t compatible with my professional practice, and given that I work holistically; cognitive and behavioural aspects are present in sessions anyway. CBT can be useful in helping clients access support, and I have worked with many clients who have worked with me to build on that.
What should I be looking for in a therapist / counsellor?
The most important part of any therapy is the relationship between the client and the therapist / counsellor. Therefore you need to feel like you can connect with, and be able to build a trusting relationship with your therapist. If you can; talk to potential therapists / counsellors on the phone, or meet them for an informal assessment to help you make your decision. Trust your instinct as every person is very different and not all therapists suit all clients.
In addition to this, it’s important that you work with a therapist / counsellor who is sufficiently qualified, has rounded experience and has done in-depth personal development on themselves. I personally wouldn’t work with a therapist who hasn’t been a client themselves – so please do ask them.
I’ve never had counselling / psychotherapy before – what can I expect?
Usually in the first session there is opportunity for you to ask me questions about how I work, and I will also ask questions to find out about you and the support you would need from me. I encourage clients to only share what they feel comfortable sharing in this first session; there is no pressure to share anything that you’re not ready to say.
We may also go through the counselling contract in this session which gives you clear information about what counselling involves so that you can make informed consent. Details include: an overview of what information I can keep confidential, details of when we will meet, the cost, my cancellation policy and my professional membership details.
Can I contact you directly?
Yes you can! I accept referrals a number of different ways. Client’s can self-refer by contacting me directly from the details on this website, or from websites such as the Counselling Directory. In addition, I accept referrals from Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), Counselling organisations (e.g. MindTalk Market Harborough & Counselling Works Milton Keynes), and from other therapists.
Where can I check your qualifications?
You can click on the following links to find details of my membership to the following professional organisations:
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)
- Voluntary Register (Certificate number 192064) – Click the BACP Register
- Therapist Directory Market Harborough – Click BACP - Market Harborough
- Therapist Directory Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes – Click BACP - Milton Keynes
UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- Accredited Register for Psychotherapists – Click the UKCP Register
In addition, you can find me listed on the following counselling directories which also require proof of qualification / registration before listing is permitted.
- Counselling Directory – Click the Counselling Directory
- RSCPP Milton Keynes (currently not taking referrals through this directory) – Click RSCPP - Milton Keynes
- RSCPP Market Harborough (currently not taking referrals through this directory) Click RSCPP - Market Harborough
- The Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN) – Click the BAATN
Do you offer couples counselling / relationship counselling?
Sorry, I currently only work with individuals.
What are your fees?
My fees are £50 for a 50 minute therapy session for self-funded referrals payable by cash or debit/credit card.
I charge £25 for a 50 minute mutual assessment session in which we both get to meet each other first. This fee is payable in advance of the session via a debit or credit card.
If you are referred via an Insurance Company, an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or through your workplace my fees are £60 per session due to their referral fees, extra reporting requirements and/or extremely long payment terms (e.g. 90 days for some insurers!). If you pay me directly and then claim from an insurer, I would class that as a self-funded referral.
Will my private health/medical insurance cover sessions with you?
I'm recognised with Allianz, Aviva Health, AXA PPP Healthcare, Cigna, Healix Health Services, Standard Life, Vitality Health (including PruHealth) & WPA. Please check your policy to see if it includes mental health cover. If you're not sure, please don't hesitate to contact me as I can check on your behalf as well as clarifying the maximum number of sessions you are entitled to.
What is your cancellation policy?
I require that clients give me 48 hours notice before cancelling no matter the reason or emergency. This gives me both a chance to get to a computer to cancel room bookings should I be in client sessions, and also gives me the option of offering up the space to other clients.
Do you know of any Psychotherapists / Counsellors in other locations?
- Neil Maxwell Psychotherapist / Counsellor:
Counselling in Stamford / Peterborough www.neilmaxwell.co.uk