Some thoughts on starting therapy

I want in this blog, to give some information for clients about to think about when considering choosing a therapist, based on my experience of doing assessments.


  1. Cost

In relation to choosing a therapist, a question to consider is how much money do I have or want to spend. When I ask this question clients will often reply that they want the best therapist for the most reasonable amount of money, and that it may depend on how often or for how long they will be coming.

Firstly the answer to how often, from my point of view and one that is shared by Brighton Therapy centre is that therapy needs to be at least weekly and that twice weekly can sometimes be very useful. One of the key features of effective therapy is the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between client and therapist which feels safe enough to explore areas of distress and challenge. This is hard to do if you see each other for less than 50 minutes a week.



At Brighton therapy centre, 3 price ranges are offered, beginning with a student counsellor, then a graduate, then with a therapist who is accredited and registered. All our practitioners undergo a rigorous application process in order to be accepted as a practitioner to work at Brighton Therapy Centre. They are also all LBGT friendly.



A student is someone who is still in training. Now as a client you may have various reservations about a student, such as how competent or experienced they are. However it is worth noting a few things. Firstly most accredited counselling and psychotherapy courses, will look for certain qualities in applicants, such as ability to empathise, previous life and work experience and will require applicants to of already completed at least a level one introductory course as well as be in therapy themselves. Students will be receiving a high ratio of clinical supervision as well as academic supervision. Many students won’t start clinical work until at least their second semester of post graduate level study. Seeing a student may allow a client to have the benefits of a much longer term therapeutic relationship than they might otherwise, due to the lower cost. In the office at Brighton Therapy centre there is plaque, which says; “What people need is a good listening to”, students are often able to do this very well.



A graduate is a therapist who has completed their training and is working towards accreditation, they may have membership of a professional body but not yet be accredited by that body. They will have completed their training attended a variety of taught modules and completed written essays and case studies and passed these. They will also of undertaken 100 hours of supervised client hours and be working towards the 450 hours of closely supervised practice that is required for accreditation. They offer a good balance of experience and value for money.


Fully Qualified (Accredited /Registered)

An accredited therapist is one who has done all of the above and undertaken 450 hours of supervised practice and been accredited by one of the industry’s professional organisation, such as the BACP, UKCP, BPS and continue to be supervised and to develop professionally through workshops and courses.


Length of therapy.

How long, is much more difficult to answer, but several things are worth considering, such as, do I want to address one particular issue, am I going through a difficult circumstance that I want support with whilst it is going on, or do I want to address patterns that have been repeating in my life for some time.


A relatively short term piece of work, say 3- 6 months, can enable the different stages to be focused on, the forming of a working relationship, the focusing on a specific issue and the experience of a planned ending.


Longer term work can have benefits beyond relief of distressing symptoms.

For instance working at a deeper level so that repeating patterns are effectively addressed. The space to reflect with an empathic and insightful other about life’s ongoing challenges. The establishment of a long-term relationship where the patterns of relating that only surface in the challenges of a long-term relationship can be thought about and analysed, creating more freedom and choice around those. Deeper levels of distress or trauma may need longer to establish the trust to engage with them and longer to process them. Of course like any other long term relationship, commitment and hard work are involved. Difficulties that arise in longer term work often reflect difficulties in other areas of life and therapy offers a unique opportunity to work these difficulties through.




This is an interesting one as sometimes it can be most useful to work with the opposite Gender to which you might feel most comfortable with, as long as this uncomfortableness can be usefully explored by you and the therapist. Obviously a balance needs to be struck between feeling safe enough and challenged enough and as always in therapy what’s important is that these areas can be talked about and explored.


Paul Salvage

Psychotherapist & BTC Practitioner.

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