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What to expect when starting therapy (FAQs)

What happens in the first therapy session? Do I need to prepare?

The first one or two therapy sessions are what we call an assessment – this is really an introduction

to the process, where you and your therapist are starting to build a therapeutic relationship. Your

therapist will ask questions to understand the issues you want to address in therapy and how these

things are affecting your life day to day as well as any important background. You do not need to

prepare anything specific, but it can be helpful if you have a think about your goals for therapy and

how you’d like things to different. It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan – you will work together with

your therapist, exploring what’s important to you and where you would hope to end up. From this,

you can agree on a tailored treatment plan with your therapist that will help you to overcome the

challenges you are facing.

How long will therapy last?

Sessions are usually 60 minutes and take place either weekly or fortnightly. It is good for sessions to

be regular at the start while you are learning new ideas and putting things into practice, which helps

to build momentum. The number of sessions will vary based on a number of factors, like what your

goals are, how long standing the problem might be and how many issues you might be dealing with.

Also, how much time you have to put the ideas into practice in between appointments. The more

you put in, the quicker you will see progress. A typical range of sessions might be somewhere

between 8 – 16 sessions. However, it can be less or more depending on people’s needs and we

recommend that therapy continues until you feel confident in being able to maintain changes

independently after the sessions end and so, therefore, are less likely to relapse. Longer term

therapy may be required for more complex or longstanding difficulties, such as childhood trauma.

There is no set number of sessions, and you and your therapist can collaboratively review and

evaluate your needs and goals as you work through therapy together towards an agreed end point.

What happens at the end of therapy?

The progress made during therapy can be reviewed by you and your therapist at an agreed point,

giving you a chance to reflect on your goals and how things have changed since the start of therapy.

It is a collaborative decision of when and how to end therapy, taking into consideration all factors.

The aim is to ensure you feel comfortable and confident both upon ending therapy and in the long-


Will the therapy be online or in person?

How you have your therapy is completely down to preference and availability. At our practice, we

have professional, calm and welcoming therapy spaces designed with your comfort in mind.

However, we work flexibly and can offer online appointments where needed, for example, if you are

a student living between two locations or you just find online appointments more convenient with

your schedule. As we have a couple of additional therapists who only work online, sometimes we

can offer online sessions sooner than face to face sessions, but please let us know your preference

so we can match you with the right person that can best meet your needs.

Why should I pay for private therapy?

Lots of people struggle with things from time to time and benefit from someone on the outside to

discuss these things with. At Surrey Therapy Practice, we have a range of experienced psychologists, CBT therapists and counsellors who offer high quality therapy services. Often you will wait much less time compared to NHS waiting lists if you are able to fund sessions privately. We are also able to

provide more choice and match what is on offer to your individual needs, for example, choosing

your therapist, the type of therapy you receive, your appointment time and the number of sessions

you need. This is different to NHS services which can often be constrained by other factors.

What is the best approach for me/my child?

The best approach for you depends on what you want, need, and feel most comfortable with. It is

best to explore the different types of therapy that are available and choose one that you feel is best

suited to you. At Surrey Therapy Practice, we offer a range of different types of therapy, including

CBT, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Counselling, EMDR and Systemic therapy. Please see here for

more information about the types of therapy available. If you wish to speak to one of the practice directors about the therapy available and what’s right for you, please email


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