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Frequently Asked Questions - Family Wellness Practice
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Frequently Asked Questions

Answered for your Convenience

Q: What is the difference between a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a psychotherapist?

A psychiatrist is a medically-qualified practitioner who will have spent 5-6 years training as a doctor. He or she will then have worked as a doctor in general medicine and surgery for at least a year. He or she will then have had at least 6 years of further training in helping people with psychological problems.

All psychiatrists are able to:

  • Assess a person’s state of mind
  • Diagnose a mental illness
  • Use a range of psychological treatments
  • Use a range of medications
  • Help a person recover

Psychologists have a degree in psychology. Chartered Clinical Psychologists have undertaken a long training following their psychology degree. They are primarily concerned with the study of how people think, act, react and interact. Psychologists offer talking therapies such as CBT, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy. For further information about psychology, visit the British Psychological Society website.

A psychotherapist may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional that has had further specialist training in psychotherapy. As well as listening and discussing important issues with you, the psychotherapist can suggest strategies for resolving problems and, if necessary, help you to change your attitudes and behaviour.

Q: How do I know if I need counselling / psychotherapy?

You may wish to embark on a series of counselling sessions for a number of reasons: to gain clarity on an issue, change old patterns, untangle complex personal issues or for self-development. You may seek counselling as a result of a crisis, or you may be encouraged to seek counselling by family members, friends or colleagues. Feel free to call us to discuss your thoughts further. Your practitioner will provide a safe environment in which to explore your issues and work towards your goals.

Q: What issues can our service help with?

Clients present with wide-ranging problems including:

  • Adults:
    • Anxiety (panic attacks, agoraphobia, generalised anxiety problems, social anxiety, claustrophobia),
    • stress in the work place, work-life imbalances, relationship issues (break-up, divorce, affairs, loneliness, life adjustments, marital problems, arguments, jealousy, wedding & premarital issues),
    • Sexual problems (impotence, internet/pornography/sex addiction, loss of desire), infertility, trauma (including post-traumatic stress disorder from accidents, rape and other attacks/incidents),
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating problems (including bulimia, binge-eating, negative body image),
    • depression (including suicidal thoughts, low mood, social withdrawal),
    • Thoughts of harm from others or towards other people
    • phobias & fears, addiction, low-self-esteem & confidence, addiction & substance misuse, abuse (including verbal and sexual abuse), and bereavement/grief/loss.
  • Children – Can present with similar issues as adults such as:
    • low mood/anxiety/obsessional ideas.
    • Phobias and fears
    • Anger, behavioural problems at home or school
    • Social and communication problems
    • Sleep/eating difficulty
    • Physical health problems such as stomach ache, headache etc

Q: I would like to gain more information as I am unsure who to book in with, is this possible?

Yes, we can offer you a free telephone consultation.To book a general consultation please phone or send an email request online. If you prefer a specific counselling or psychotherapy approach (cognitive behavioural therapy – CBT/Systemic therapy), we will match you up with a suitable practitioner. In the event that the assessment therapist feels you would benefit from a different counselling or psychiatry input, they will normally recommend another specialist for you to consider. If you would like to make a self-referral or refer a family member or friend to a practitioner, we can also arrange for this assessment to take place as long as consent has been given.

Q: How long should I expect to have to continue counselling?

The number of counselling sessions depends on you as an individual and your unique presenting issues. A first consultation will enable you to see if counselling is indicated. Usually you will start with six sessions and review after that. One ‘session’ equates to 50 minutes. Cognitive behavioural therapy is designed to be short term and lasts 6-20 sessions. Systemic family therapy tends to begin with 12-15 sessions over the course of several months. Psychiatric assessment is 1 session lasting 1-2 hours with follow up appointments if required.

Q: Will my counselling sessions be confidential?

Counselling sessions are confidential with the exception that if you pose a danger to yourself or others, then the relevant parties will be notified.

Q: Can a counsellor prescribe medication if I need it?

Our counsellors are not eligible to prescribe medication. We have an onsite private consultant psychiatrist who can assess you for a prescription, and this can complement your therapy work. Please note that the fee for psychiatry is higher than for counselling.

Q: Can I speak to a counsellor before my appointment?

The first consultation will give you the chance to bring in any questions, to find out more about how you will work together and to discover if you connect. The practitioners do not make themselves available prior to your appointment. If you wish to find out about the practitioner’s background, please read their profiles on the website – ‘Our Practitioner’s.’

Q: Will my practitioner be available for me in a crisis?

Our practitioners will be available to you at your scheduled appointment time. They are not able to provide an emergency service to you, and you will need to seek other resources for help during a crisis. In such cases, you should contact your GP and if necessary attend your local A+E department.

Q: Why do I need to attend weekly sessions?

Regularity is important for productive therapeutic work. The standard format of weekly sessions helps you make gradual and steady progress. In some cases, a therapist will agree to two or more sessions per week, if you both deem it beneficial.

Q: Why do I have to pay for missed/cancelled therapy sessions?

If you proceed with therapy sessions after the first consultation, the therapist will reserve the same time slot (of 50 minutes) for you each week. Any missed sessions or cancellations without 48 hours notice will be charged at the full fee. This is so that they can set aside the same time for you each week. The cancellation policy applies to holidays, work commitments, illness and other emergencies. Each therapist has a particular set of terms and conditions (including cancellation policy) which will be shared with you prior to your first appointment.

Q: How can I pay for a therapy session?

The therapist will take payment in full at the start of each session by cash or cheque. The Family Wellness Practice can also take payment on the practitioner’s behalf at the start of each session. Payment can also be made online using our website. You will be invoiced for any missed or cancelled sessions. Invoices must be paid upon receipt. Unpaid bills may be passed on to a debt collection agency.

Q: Do you offer medico-Legal Report writing?

We do offer a medico legal report writing. For a quote, please send across all the details needed for the report?

Q: Do you offer concessions, discounts or low-cost therapy?

Yes. We have advanced trainee therapists available that are supervised by senior practitioners. Our trainees offer a lower rate than senior practitoners. Please call us for more information.

Q: Is my practitioner qualified?

Practitioners at the Family wellness practice are accredited by professional organisations which include:

  • BACP – British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • BABCP – British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
  • BPS – British Psychological Society
  • UKCP – United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy
  • UKRC – United Kingdom Register of Counsellors
  • HCPC – Health and Care Professionals Council


  • GMC – General Medical Council
  • RCPsych – Royal College of Psychiatrists

Q: What if I have a complaint about my practitoner?

Complaints should be raised with the practitioner directly. If you are still not satisfied that your complaint has been addressed, and then you should take this up with the practitioner’s accredited body. Each practitioner will have professional indemnity insurance as well as a certificate to practice. If you have a query about the room or administrative service, then you can raise this with the practice manager who will try to address your concerns.

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020 8531 7842

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