Our therapists – who you are seeing

UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) exists to promote and maintain the profession of psychotherapy and the highest standards in the practice of psychotherapy. UKCP has the greatest majority of the reputable psychotherapy organisations in the United Kingdom as its members. The majority of our therapists belong to the Psychodynamic section of UKCP but may be Members of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), British Psychological Society (BPS) and other organisations. Our therapists adhere to the Codes of Ethics and Practice of their own organisation, which are consistent with those of UKCP, BACP or BPS.

Counselling & Psychotherapy Assessment

The Koan Practice is a London group practice with over 10 senior members: counsellors, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts & counselling psychologists, with some 10 junior therapists who also have clinical psychotherapy & counselling placements with us.
Only senior psychotherapists take first meetings (psychotherapy & counselling assessments). So, you are only meeting with veteran & fully qualified therapists.

The counsellor or psychotherapist with whom you are having that assessment, might not be the therapist that you carry on seeing. Psychotherapy assessment is about the therapist understanding in quite some detail about what is bringing you along. The counsellor then discusses the various treatment model options (CBT, Group or Couples Counselling, Individual Counselling, Individual Psychotherapy, short or longer term work), and constructs with you how that can be put together with us here.

Usually with us the therapist that you meet with will be the therapist that you agree to carry on meeting with unless you applied for our reduced cost therapy scheme. But the psychotherapist can and should refer you on to another practitioner in the group should that therapist not have that right skill-set, or should the psychotherapist feel that a therapy is better undertaken by a different member of the group practice. This is the advantage of arranging a consultation with a professional group practice that covers the field of therapy.

Psychotherapy & Counselling: The Initial Consultation

The initial consultation (an assessment for psychotherapy or counselling) is an opportunity to discuss with the therapist whether a psychotherapeutic intervention (a psychotherapy treatment or series of counselling meetings) might be appropriate for your difficulty, and to agree with the therapist about the arrangements for further counselling meetings here. The Initial Consultation takes about 50 minutes.

Before going to meet your counsellor or psychotherapist

Arrive prepared for your first psychotherapy session. Spend time thinking about your situation and expectations.

  • Think about things when seeing a new counsellor or psychotherapist.
  • Though not a necessity, your therapist should help you explore the questions.
  • Think about the problem you are addressing in the therapy in detail. How does this affect you?
  • Are there things a therapist might do that would prevent you from working constructively with that counsellor?
  • What qualities would you like to see in your therapist? Are there qualities that would help you during counselling?
  • Are there any unacceptable forms of psychotherapy treatment? If yes, what are they? Are there any treatment forms (orientations) you strongly believe in?
  • Do you have any special concerns when looking for a counsellor?
  • Have you had any previous bad experiences from mental health professionals? Understanding this, the counsellor will be able to grasp more clearly what works for you.
  • Have you had any good experiences with therapists? If yes, what are they? How have they affected you? Again, this will help the assessing counsellor understand what treatment to propose.
  • Have specific questions before meeting your new counsellor or psychotherapist. Taking counselling for the first time can be a difficult experience and most people find it helpful to have questions ready for the therapist.

Counselling & Psychotherapy first meetings – what to ask

Remember, with counselling in the London private sector, you hire your therapist! You can fire your therapist if you feel you cannot work with this therapist for any reason.

  • What are his or her professional credentials? Where did they undertake their counselling, psychotherapy or psychoanalytic training? Where has the therapist worked before? What are they doing in the psychotherapy or counselling field now?
  • Does this therapist have any experience working with people with your specific issues?
  • What treatment methods does this person use (counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are broad umbrella terms, and are a useful first take. Then each of the three has different ‘orientations’ which allow a more precise understanding of the counselling or psychotherapy proposed, and the aims and direction of the psychotherapy or counselling work. Take a little time to Google the terms.?
  • How do you arrange payment with this counsellor? Each therapist has different arrangements
  • What are that counsellor’s terms for meetings that are cancelled, missed or for short breaks & holidays? These are also published – see the list of counsellors and psychotherapists.
  • When and how often do you meet for counselling or psychotherapy sessions?
  • In case of emergencies, how can you reach your therapist?
  • If you are seeking help for anything controversial within psychotherapy, such as DID, False Memories, ADHD, or other counselling issues of controversy, ask your prospective counsellor where they stand on those issues. See the footnote below.
  • Any other questions you feel would be important to ask your counsellor or psychotherapist to help you feel comfortable seeing him or her.

Counselling & Psychotherapy – points to ponder for yourself after the first meeting.

  • Is this a therapist you can come to trust given the time and opportunity?
  • Can you talk freely in the session?
  • Did you feel this person genuinely cares about you?

Remember, therapy is about working through your difficulties, and it is important you feel comfortable with the therapist.

Hope that this is helpful.  Yoko Kirkpatrick – Practice Manager