Frequently asked questions


Below you will find the answers to a lot of questions you may have about therapy and the services I provide. However, if you can't find the answer you are looking for please feel free to contact me and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Is therapy just for people with mental health problems?


Absolutely not. We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. Sadly, there is still much stigma associated with mental health problems, and as a result many people feel reluctant to talk about their mental wellbeing. Whilst psychological therapy is most commonly associated with overcoming mental health problems, it is also about personal growth, developing a greater understanding of ourselves, our relationships and our lives. Therapy is about developing your resilience to the stresses of life, learning new skills and strategies and how to utilise your personal strengths in order to get the most out of life and improve your psychological wellbeing.


Sometimes we encounter difficulties that feel too overwhelming, we may feel unable to talk about it with our loved ones, or perhaps despite their best efforts the ones closest to us are unable to provde us with the type of support we need. For others, they may not have anyone in their life at that time who can listen or help. Sometimes things just feel too personal or too deep-rooted, we're not even sure how to put it into words. Other people may feel too dependant on others and want to feel more confident in dealing with things on their own. If any of this sounds familiar, then it may be worth trying a psychological therapy that is tailored to your needs.


That is not to say that everyone needs therapy, but we could all benefit from a space to think, learn, talk and feel listened to and understood. 

Which type of therapy is best for me?


You can find out more about the different therapeutic approaches I draw upon by clicking here.  This may help you get an idea of which approach best suits your needs or the approach you most like the sound of. As part of the assessment session I will make a recommendation about the type of approach that may best fit with your individual needs. Once we have agreed identified your personal goals, this will help us decide together which type of therapy may be most effective and meaningful to you. Additionally, we will regularly review your progress and your feedback about our sessions will be invaluable in helping to determine whether the approach is a good fit for you. 

Will therapy work for me? Will it help me?


This is a very important question as therapy involves a significant investment from you. Firstly, there's your time and money - precious commodities that few of us can afford to waste. Secondly, it also involves an investment in terms of your willingness to talk about your thoughts, feelings, experiences, needs, wishes, hopes and fears. In order to do this, it involves investing in me as your therapist. It's useful to remember that trust is a process, something that is earned over time, and therefore I do not expect people to instantly feel able to talk freely about their internal world or their personal experiences. We'll work at a pace that feels ok for you.


It can be useful to think of psychological therapy as a form of training - a programme of mental training to help you feel more resilient, more informed and better equipped to manage all that life brings you. Like any other form of training, the more you put into therapy, the more you get out. Therefore, motivation and openness are really important for therapy - being motivated to regularly attend your appointments, being open to new ways of thinking and learning new skills. Therapy is at its most effective when people want things to change and feel motivated to give therapy a go.


In terms of the evidence base, decades of research has shown that psychological therapies are effective for a significant proportion of people. Consequently, psychological therapy is recommended by NICE for a broad range of mental health difficulties. 

Sessions: how long, how many and how often?


An initial assessment appointment is essential in order for us to discuss your difficulties or the area you'd like to develop, and then to begin constructing your psychological formulation and agree on how best to proceed. An assessment appointment usually lasts 90-120 minutes, which can be split over two appointments if preferred. 


Therapy sessions last one hour and can be weekly or fortnightly. In terms of how many sessions, this varies very much from person to person, and depends upon the type of issues you'd like to explore, the severity of your problems, your personal therapy goal/s, the therapeutic approach we agree on, how ready and motivated you feel for therapy and your own personal circumstances. Some people may feel they have achieved their therapy goals after around 8-10 sessions, whilst other people may benefit from longer term therapy of 20 or more sessions. Your progess will be monitored and reviewed regularly and you will not be encouraged to continue with therapy for any longer than would be beneficial to you. 


In some circumstances, people may feel they have gained the insight they wanted to achieve or the strategies they feel they need after just a few sessions. You have the right to end your therapy whenever you want. I am also able to offer review sessions to people who have completed therapy with me and would like a 'top-up' session or a space to review and reflect upon their progress. 


Will everything we discuss remain confidential?


As a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist I am bound by a professional Code of Ethics that means everything we discuss will be kept completely confidential unless you give your consent for me to share certain information with particular individuals (e.g. with your GP). You can choose to withdraw this consent at any time. As set out in the BPS Code of Ethics and Conduct there are rare circumstances which permit me to break this confidentiality agreement, for example in instances where I feel you are significant risk of harming yourself or other people. Whenever possible, I would let you know if I felt I had a duty to share certain information about you.

What happens if I change my mind?


I want your therapy sessions to be useful and meaningful, which is why I recommend we use session-by-session measures to monitor your progress. However, for a variety of reasons people sometimes decide that they no longer want to continue with therapy. I would encourage you to share any concerns or issues you have about your therapy with me to see if we are able to resolve the matter. However, you are under no obligation to continue with therapy and can choose to terminate your sessions at any time, without giving a reason. Please note that if you choose to cancel a pre-arranged session, this will usually incur a late cancellation fee. 

Where are you based?


The Abergavenny Natural Therapy Centre in Abergavenny. Further details can be found here. 


Alternatively, I can provide online therapy via Skype.

When are you available?


Currently I provide therapy sessions and telephone consultations on Fridays between 8am and 5pm. I check my emails daily so please feel free to contact me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. You can leave me a message through the Contact page or you can email me. Alternatively, you can send me a text message or leave me a voicemail on 07899 233558.


I may be able to offer appointments at alternative times in the future, you can subscribe for updates at the bottom of the page. 


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BABCP Accredited

Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

CBT Supervisor

Copyright © 2016 Chris James. All rights reserved.

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