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Asking for help is an important start to the therapeutic process – all it takes is a free 15 minute conversation.

When you think about booking your first therapy appointment, you are likely to ask yourself some common questions. Some of these might be; 

  • How do I know if this problem can be helped by therapy?
  • How am I supposed to act / behave in therapy – what is expected of me?
  • What are Mark’s credentials
  • Is online or in-person therapy best for me?
  • Should I book couples therapy or individual psychotherapy?

While reading can be useful, you have specific questions about your personal circumstances that need my attention – which is where a free 15 minute conversation comes in. 

What happens during your free 15 min. conversation?

This conversation is an opportunity for you to explore the following:

  • Why you are considering therapy
  • How you’d like to work (i.e. online or in-person and how often)
  • What you’d like to achieve

The conversation will happen via phone and I will ask you open questions about your circumstances, goals and challenges. You will also have the opportunity to ask me questions too. You might want to know more about my background, approach, preferred way of working, and also what is expected of you as a client. 

There is no right or wrong way to use this time

 Ultimately, the goal should be a sense of clarity on whether or not therapy with me will be the right path for you. To get the most out of the conversation, please ensure that you are in a quiet and confidential environment. If you are accessing a conversation as a couple, please ensure both parties are present for the call. 

After this no-obligation conversation, you’ll be able to decide on a direction forwards, having been given all the information. 

Why is such a conversation important?

A 15 minute conversation allows us to begin our therapeutic relationship. Like with any relationship, there has to be a period of getting to know each other which is what this conversation is for. The advantages of doing this are:

  • By the time our first session commences, you’ll already have an early sense of who I am. I will have a beginning of an understanding of why you are accessing therapy
  • It equips me with the knowledge about what kind of therapy you might benefit from, so that I can prepare and plan for our sessions
  • You will feel more comfortable when therapy begins because you’ll know what is expected from you, and what to expect from me / therapy
  • You’ll have a better understanding of terms like ‘therapy subscription’ and ‘24 hour access’ in the therapeutic context
  • You’ll have received clear details about time limits, confidentiality, the ‘online environment’ (if applicable) and payment options including special offers, which frees us up to talk about what really matters during our sessions
  • You’ll gain clarity on what kind of commitment you want to make
Online Sessions Psychotherapy

How to prepare for an online session

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders found that online therapy is, “effective, acceptable and practical health care.” This case is best made when both the therapist and client are well-prepared for the session. 

In recent years, with the rise of more advanced communication tech, and certainly with the influence of the global pandemic, online therapy has become entirely mainstream. Still, you might ask yourself – does it work? The answer is – yes, providing we are well prepared in advance. 

This might surprise you, but much of the time online therapy is the preferred way that therapists and clients work together. I personally have observed the way online therapy has evolved over the years and have seen it support many positive therapy outcomes. 

In my experience, the sessions give the best results when proper preparation has been made in advance.  This article will help you prepare for a session with me. 

How to prepare for an online session

The most basic tools you need for a successful online therapy session are:

  • A stable internet connection
  • A room with enough light that we can properly see each other. Make sure that most of the light is in front of you, and not behind, so I don’t wind up seeing your silhouette. 
  • A device with a webcam and microphone (i.e. a laptop, tablet or smartphone – if you do not have this, we can discuss telephone therapy or an in-person alternative)

With the basics mastered, it might be helpful to prepare the smaller details to keep the session running smoothly and without interruptions. Here are some ideas:

  • I recommend you choose a private, quiet space away from other people. I believe that for therapy to be effective, it helps to feel comfortable talking about personal and confidential matters. Therefore, I recommend you pick a spot that allows for this to happen. 
  • If you have a pet, please make sure they are being taken care of by someone else. The same can be said for any other noise-distraction you anticipate may interrupt a session. 
  • So that we don’t delay the start of the session, please be sure all of your equipment is working beforehand.
  • Please minimise technological interruptions. For example, if you receive notifications to your device, please try to silence them so that they do not pop up on the screen mid-session. 
  • If you are using your phone rather than a laptop or tablet, I recommend you put it into a mode whereby you won’t receive any calls. 
  • I believe that for online therapy to be effective you should try to present yourself as you would at an in-person session. This means being dressed and ready. 
  • If you’d find it helpful, have a notepad and pen with you. You may benefit from taking notes during the session. Or you may wish to make notes before and after we have spoken. Please feel free to send me these notes if you wish to share them – especially if you have signed up to a subscription for therapy which includes 24/7 access to therapy including messaging and file sharing. 
  • If you want, have tissues to hand and a glass of water.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair where you can see and hear without straining your muscles or eyesight. Let’s both get comfortable so that we can talk openly.
  • Place your device at eye height, so we both have the impression that we’re looking directly at each other. 
  • Also, prop up your device on a stand, tripod or with some books. Hand holding a device whilst having therapy is not recommended. 

As well as the list above, you might benefit from emotional and mental preparation ahead of our session. While there is no obligation to do these, it will certainly help you to get more out of online therapy with me. 

    • Use the free 15 minute conversation to clarify any questions you might have about online therapy or how we work together.
    • Consider (if possible) blocking out a small window of time before and after the session. This will help you to be mentally ready for the session to begin, and help you to reflect on the session when it is over. It is often the case that these reflective moments can enhance the therapy experience and improve our therapeutic relationship. 
    • It can help to remind yourself that online therapy is very similar to in-person therapy. Prepare to treat it as if we are in the same room together. If there is anything about the online therapy that worries or concerns you, tell me! I am available to help facilitate the best possible online therapy experience.

What is individual psychotherapy?

Knowing what individual psychotherapy is, and how it works, can help you decide if it’s the right path for you. 

If you have never had therapy before, the prospect can feel daunting. I have often heard from clients that the initial dialing of my number was the hardest part, the realising that “I need help”. This is especially true, if you’re not sure what to expect.

Many people believe that therapy is only helpful “after” the crisis, instead of “before.” 

If you are thinking about therapy but aren’t sure what it is, or how it works, here are some answers to your questions. 

What is individual psychotherapy?

Individual psychotherapy is the one-on-one work we do together.

Dozens of therapy styles exist within psychotherapy, all with their unique advantages. I draw from multiple disciplines and psychological models that I feel will be best suited to our session. Ours is a unique relationship; it is strictly confidential and focused on helping you meet your goals. You are very much centrestage as I keep my personal experiences out of the room, allowing you to fully explore your needs. 

Sessions usually happen on a regular one-to-one basis, and there is no limit to how many you should have. I would, however, suggest a minimum of 6. 

Individual psychotherapy can be used to help with a range of problems such as:

  • Anxiety and stress
  • Depression / low mood
  • Major life changes such as divorce or relocation
  • Issues with sex and sexuality
  • Career struggles
  • Trauma / PTSD
  • Addictions, such as gambling, substances or sex
  • Difficulty with friendships, family or other relationships
  • And much more…

Individual psychotherapy provides a safe space for you to explore your presenting issue and get to its root cause, allowing for healing and the formation of a positive pathway forward. 

Click here to see what my previous clients have said about individual psychotherapy.

The Client / Therapist Relationship

Quite often people ask;

“Why should I speak to a therapist when my friends are such good listeners?”

This is a good question.

Your friends have a bias. Consciously or not, they want to please you, to make you feel better in that moment, and usually will agree with the things you say. Friends might give you advice or (quite unintentionally) impose judgements. Therefore, you can find yourself navigating in waters contaminated by your friends’ good intentions.  

The therapeutic relationship is beneficial in an unbiased way.

As a fully trained and qualified psychotherapist, I have learned to listen and respond in a way that is therapeutically beneficial. I use a set of skills and techniques to help you to find your own path, free from the judgement or interference of others. I do not advise or tell you what to do, but trust that you yourself can come to your own conclusions in your own time, with my support. 

Furthermore, I take into account what’s happening in the room between us – which is referred to as transference and countertransference. This enables us to keep good boundaries within our relationship and work together in a healthy, meaningful way. 

Lastly, therapists are required to uphold the strictest confidentiality at all times. You are encouraged to speak freely without fear of judgement, which makes the client/therapist relationship particularly intimate. 

My confidentiality policy is quite simple; I only speak about your therapeutic journey and the conversations therein to you personally. If you are in couples therapy the same applies. However there are some Danish legal considerations if you are planning to harm yourself or others, or if I become aware of neglect or abuse that a minor may be subject to.