Individual Psychotherapy (FAQs)
What is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy and counselling are ways of finding out about yourself. How you’ve become and continue to be 'you'. It's a chance to experiment with doing things differently - to think the unthinkable, say the unsayable, in a relatively safe and non-judgemental environment. The aim is always to enhance your awareness of the conscious and unconscious processes that influence the choices you are making all the time. With more clarity about what helps and what limits you, you are more able to effect change if you want to. More able to accept yourself the way you are too. In this way the choice to live in a freer, more creative and authentic way can become a real possibility.
What sort of issues do you work with?
I prefer to think of people as individuals rather than sets of particular difficulties. Having said that I find people come to see me for all sorts of reasons- relationship, family and work problems are common, so are issues around confidence and self-esteem, or dealing with particular emotions like anger or grief. Some people aren’t quite sure what makes them want to come so we can work on identifying this more precisely. Others don’t have a specific problem, they want to work on, what you might call, personal development. Though apparently diverse all these people have one important thing in common - an interest in change.
What sort of relationship problems can you help me with?
Anything that has to do with the dynamics of intimate relationships; how to start them, how to keep them going, how to change them and how to bring them to an end. Typically you'll come when you become aware that something’s changed to make you, and/or your partner, feel unsatisfied. This might be to do with life events around family or career, illness, depression, sexual difficulties, affairs, arguing or simply drifting apart. Often problems with communication lie at the root. People find they’ve stop talking, or perhaps never started! I can help you begin to understand what's happening and work out what you want to do about it.
Do I have to be part of a couple?
You don't have to come with your partner or even be part of a couple. I see many individuals who want to look at the patterns that make it difficult for them to sustain, or even begin, fulfilling relationships.
We talk. I don’t have a set list of questions. I am led by my you, what interests you here and now. So we talk about whatever is concerning you. If you're a couple we might look at the way you are communicating as well as what feels wrong and what you want to do about it. If you're an individuaI it might be about recent difficult events in your life or ongoing feelings of anxiety. I will often comment about what I’m hearing or seeing by asking questions, making observations or suggestions. Sometimes I might suggest we do something different like using art materials, moving around, playing with objects, visualising or making sounds.
How long does this take?
Each session lasts an hour. They are usually weekly and, as far as we can manage, at the same time on the same day each week. How many sessions is a bit of ‘piece of string’ question - anything from a few weeks to a few years and everything in between! Ideally we stop when we both agree you are ready. There isn’t usually a problem about this and often what happens during the ending process can be a particularly valuable part of the work.
Are the sessions confidential?
Yes. I use the UKCP’s guidelines on confidentiality. This means that everything that happens in the sessions is confidential to you and I. There are certain exceptional exceptions to this which I will explain and discuss at our first session
How do I get started?
Contact me and we’ll arrange an initial appointment. This half hour session is not therapy as such but an opportunity for us to meet and find out a little more about each other. I will ask you to outline the sort of issues you might want to bring and you will be able to ask any questions you might have. There is no obligation involved and only a £10 fee.
Steve Lewis - Psychotherapy and Couple Counselling Lancaster