Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Pharos Counselling Help Center. For your convenience, I have put together a list of some common questions and answers.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
My session fee is $100. Payment of fees is expected at the end of the session. Payment can be either by internet banking or cash.
HOW DO I MAKE A BOOKING?
To make a booking you can contact me by phone or text me on 028 414 7935 and I will call you back when I am free. Alternatively, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW MANY SESSIONS WILL I NEED TO ATTEND?
The number of sessions will depend on what you want to get out of counselling. Everyone is different and some clients will achieve what the seek from counselling in as little as a few sessions some longer. You are in control of this.
HOW LONG AND HOW OFTEN ARE SESSIONS?
Sessions run for 50 minutes. Sessions are typically held weekly or fortnightly.
If you wish to cancel or change you’re booking, please do so at least 24 hours prior to your session. Later changes or cancellations will incur a 50 % session fee. Exceptions may be made (e.g. in the case of accident or illness) but are at the discretion of the counsellor. Missed appointments or frequently cancelled appointments will be charged a full session fee. For funded clients late changes or failure to turn up will be counted as one of your allocated sessions. The policy is important because, if a client cancels with less than a 24-hour notice, I lose an entire hour from my schedule. With 24 hours’ notice, it gives me enough time to try to fill that hour or cancel the room if necessary. If you need to cancel or change your appointment please text me on 028 414 7935.
As a provisional member of the NZ Association of Counsellors (NZAC) I adhere to the code of ethics and standards of practice. Please see attached link https://www.nzac.org.nz/assets/Ethics/NZAC-Code-of-Ethics-2002-Revised-2020.pdf
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY
Counselling is confidential and I understand its particular importance living in a rural area. Ethically, there are only three situations when I may break confidentiality. The first two are when your safety or someone else safety is seriously at risk. If this was the case, it would be fully discussed with you first. The third is I am subpoenaed by a court to release information. Additionally as part of a counsellor’s registration and ongoing training I am required to attend professional supervision. During supervision the content of counselling sessions may be discussed, but this is done without revealing your identity.
WILL COUNSELLING HELP?
Counselling has many benefits. One is it enables you to explore issues that are causing you difficulty in an environment where you can talk openly and freely without judgement or advice giving. This is not often possible when talking to family or friends who are emotionally involved. Counselling enables you to clarify your goals and develop new skills, insights and strategies to address your difficulties. Counselling can be helpful to make sense of what you are experiencing as well understanding yourself more. Counselling can help you feel less alone. As we are all unique, it is not possible to guarantee these benefits, particularly so as the success of the counselling relies a lot on the relationship between you and the counsellor and effort on your part.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT - MY FIRST COUNSELLING SESSION
It is understandable and completely normal to be feel some ambivalence, apprehension or even anxiety about your first session. I trust the outline below will help you in this process.
I will not pressure you to discuss or disclose things you don’t wish to discuss or disclose. Counselling is not an interrogation process. I am also here to help you, not to judge you. Nobody is perfect; we all have our issues and things to work on including myself. In fact, as part of my training I received my own counselling. I will also not force you to make changes. I may point out behaviours that I feel may not be helping you, but I know people only change when they are ready and when they want to change.
In respect to process counselling does not come in one format, particularly as counselling sessions are tailored to the person and no two people are the same. Having said this, the first session with any counsellor typically follows a process starting with an informal chat to develop rapport and to get to know each other. This is followed by a discussion around counselling practicalities such as explaining the extent of confidentiality, fees and session times. The session then moves into the problem exploration stage where the counsellor invites the client to tell their story (the reason for coming). Here the Counsellor will actively listen as well as ask curious, respectful questions to gain an understanding of your concerns and where you want to be (your goals or best hopes). This discussion forms the basis of the relationship and process going forward.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A COUNSELLOR?
First and foremost my role as a counsellor is to listen to you with full acceptance and empathy, helping you to explore, understand and deal with feelings and difficulties affecting your life. My role is to create an environment where you can talk openly and freely without judgement and the offering of advice. This is rarely possible with family or friends who are likely to be emotionally involved. Lastly, my role as a counsellor (and that of any counsellor/therapist) is not to 'fix' you or give you the answers, but to empower you to find your own answers and to act upon them accordingly.
WHAT IS THE PERSON CENTRED APPROACH?
The Person-centered approach (also called Client-centred) belongs to the Humanist school of counselling and is based on the work of psychologists Carl Rogers and others. Rogers believed that we all have an inborn actualising tendency that drives us towards the highest potential, and become what Rogers termed a fully functioning person. Rogers identified a number of factors that can affect an individual's ability to self-actualise, one being low self-esteem, others include a lack of self-reliance and a lack of openness to new experiences. Rogers believed that for a person to self-actualise, there needs to be harmony between their real self and their ideal self. The real self being who we actually are and the ideal self who we aspire to be which is influenced by our goals, ambitions and expectations of significant others. In respect to the latter problems can arise when we try to be someone we are not, altering our behaviour to elicit approval from others.
The basic premise behind Person-centered counselling approach is the idea that under growth promoting conditions a client can move forward and resolve their own issues. The important factor here is the quality of the relationship between the client and counsellor not what I the counsellor particularly say or do. In a successful Person-centered session three core conditions will prevail shown by the attitude of the counsellor to the client. The first condition, congruence, means that the counsellor presents as authentic and genuine. They don't for example present a façade of self-importance thinking “I am the expert” or portray professional aloofness. The second condition, unconditional positive regard, means that the counsellor accepts the client unconditionally and without judgement. You, are free to explore all thoughts and feelings, without rejection. The third condition, empathic understanding, means that the counsellor endeavours’ to accurately understand the client’s thoughts, feelings, and meanings from the clients perspective not their own.
Person-centred counselling is non-directive, which means the client does most of the talking and is seen as the best authority on his or her experience. My role as a counsellor is as an empathetic listener and facilitator, there to guide the counselling process and to encourage and support you in your journey of self-discovery. The person centred approach and the core conditions sit at the heart of how most counsellors practice.
WHAT IS THE STRENGTH BASED APPROACH
The strength based approach is a way of viewing clients as resourceful and resilient in the face of difficulty as opposed to focusing on weaknesses, failings and shortcomings. The goal is for the client to recognise that they have the strength and resources (seeing themselves as more the survivor than the victim) to tap into to survive and even thrive in difficult times.
WHAT IS SOLUTIONS-FOCUSED THERAPY
Solutions focused therapy is one of the new wave of brief therapy counselling approaches along with CBT. Solutions focused therapy was developed in the 1980s by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg . Solutions focused therapy is future focused, goal-directed therapy that focuses on solutions, rather than on problems. This is not to say your problem or your past are not important, they are just not explored exhaustively unless you desire this. My role as a solution focused counsellor is to help identify your strengths and tools that you can use to solve your problems and create the future you desire. Looking for exceptions and asking present and future focused questions are the primary techniques of the solution-focused approach.
WHAT IS COGNITIVE BEHAVIOUR THERAPY (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT is one of the most common and most studied forms of counselling approaches, particularly in the treatment of depression and anxiety and situations where client beliefs are limiting their ability to thrive.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is made up of two therapeutic approaches, known as cognitive therapy and behavioural therapy. An early pioneer of cognitive theory, leading into the development of CBT was Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. The basis of CBT is that what people think affects how they feel and how they behave. In fact, each can reinforce each other like a feedback loop. With CBT I work collaboratively with you to help you identify and change unhelpful thinking styles and behaviour. The approach is more directive that other counselling approaches and my role as a counsellor is more one of a teacher or guide. For CBT to be successful it requires your active participation and commitment. This includes a willingness on your part to work on problems outside the counselling session in the form of homework exercises.
WHAT IS BRIEF THERAPY.
Brief therapy is a term for a variety of approaches for short-term solution and goal focused counselling. Cognitive behavioural and solutions focused therapy are examples of commonly used brief therapy approaches. Unlike traditional forms of counselling and psychotherapy brief therapy approaches are time limited and present and future orientated (although the past may be reviewed to put your current difficulties into context). The aim of brief therapy is to develop realistic solutions to your presenting concerns as quickly as possible, rather than keep you in therapy for long periods of time and at some cost.
WHAT IS NARRATIVE THERAPY
Narrative Therapy is a form of talking therapy based on the idea that we all tell stories about our lives and experiences and through the telling of these stories we make meaning out of our lives. Sometimes our experiences are dominated by problem stories, stories of failure, guilt and shame for examples. These stories can have significant negative effects on us. The role of a narrative counsellor is to help the client reduce or eliminate the effect of the problematic story, by externalising the problem (recognising the problem is the problem, not the person) and facilitating the development of an alternative way of understanding ourselves and our experiences.
If you are not happy with the service you have been provided please let me know as soon as possible so we can resolve it. If you feel your complaint has not been adequately dealt with, you can lodge a formal complaint with NZAC. Please see attached link https://www.nzac.org.nz/assets/Uploads/complaints_process_flowchart.pdf