Therapy - What to expect?
What does therapy involve?
You are in charge of what you discuss in therapy. You do not have to discuss anything you do not want to. Research shows that a good relationship with your therapist is an important predictor of improvement. We will try to help you to feel comfortable with your therapist so that you can be open and honest without being feeling judged which can help create a safe trusting environment where positive change can take place.
Assessment will usually be completed in one session but sometimes can take up to two sessions. In the assessment phase we discuss; what your difficulties are, when they started, some general background information including a history of the problem, what if any treatment you have tried in the past, what your aims are and some brief information about what is going on in your life at the moment. You may also be asked to complete some psychological questionnaires. This helps us to decide whether psychological therapy is likely to be appropriate for you and what we can offer you. Some types of complex psychological difficulties are best treated by a number of health professionals working together and depending on what is required we may not be able to offer this at PTS.
The first stage in treatment with a Clinical Psychologist is formulation. A formulation is underpinned by psychological theories such as attachment theory, learning theory, behavioural theory, cognitive theory, social psychology theories and so on. This provides a working understanding of why your difficulties have developed, what triggers them off and what keeps them going. People often find this phase very helpful as it gives meaning and understanding to difficulties which may seem to come from nowhere or reduces self-blame. Formulation is very important as it helps us to understand which types of therapy may be most beneficial and which problems to work on first.
Decisions about which therapies will be offered are also informed by professional best practice guidelines such as those made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and The Psychological Therapies 'Matrix'. This ensures that you receive those therapies for which there is the best scientific evidence of effectiveness.
Formulation and treatment is always completed collaboratively, with client and psychologist working together. This is because therapy is not something a psychologist ‘does to’ a client, we are not mind readers and in order for improvement to be made, clients will be asked to complete assignments and practice skills out with sessions. This means that the benefits gained and new skills learnt can continue to be effective after treatment has ended.