CBT Northern Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions about starting CBT Therapy

Here, you can find out whether CBT therapy and counselling (face-to-face or online) may be for you, the average duration of therapy, confidentiality issues, technical requirements to start therapy, how to make an appointment, how effective CBT therapy is compared with other counselling treatments, etc.

If your questions are not answered here please contact us for additional information. Please click on each question to access the answer.

What is Counselling and what's the difference with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Counselling provides a forum where individuals or couples come together with a Counsellor to seek solutions to a specific problem, to learn new coping skills, to become better organised, to seek an answer about a life dilemma, to function more maturely or to clarify what is ailing them.

While CBT is sometimes considered a counselling approach, it goes beyond as CBT can effectively treat a wider range of disorders which may be severe in nature and that would not normally respond to counselling such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

CBT is the therapy of choice as it has a large body of evidence-based interventions which have been scientifically proven by more than 500 Randomised Control Trials. To know what CBT involves please click on this link.

What does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy involve?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an active type of psychotherapy, whereby a client and practitioner talk, act and work together to achieve agreed upon therapeutic goals. Clients can expect to work actively within each session, as well as receiving guided assignments to be completed between sessions.

These between-session assignments, home tasks or homework are always personalised depending on client's therapeutic needs. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy highlights the fact that it is our beliefs, interpretations, and perceptions of life events that determine our feelings, moods and ultimately, our actions. Therefore, a universal goal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is to help people identify, understand, and modify their maladaptive or unhealthy beliefs and their self-defeating behaviours in order to function more effectively and happily. Read more about this therapeutic approach by clicking here.

How do approaches in therapy vary?

Different therapists work from differing theoretical approaches. The three main approaches are psychodynamic, person-centred and Cognitive Behavioural. Many address, on some level, how childhood learning about emotions, power and intimacy influence current functioning. Some focus more on solving problems here and now, some focus more on behaviours; some focus more on thinking and some focus more on emotions. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy examines these three components: emotions, behaviours and thinking patterns and the interaction witheach other related to current problems you may be experiencing. Anapsys Counselling Services offers these three CBT approaches, although there are more than 20 types of CBT therapies: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Beck's model), Rational Emotive Behavioural therapy (Ellis' model), and Metacognitive therapy (Wells' model).

We choose the best therapy for each client depending on their needs. However, rest assured that any therapeutic intervention applied will always be evidenced-based, and this means that its efficacy has been scientifically proven.

All CBT treatments, when applied by an experienced and well qualified CBT therapist, have a good chance of improving people's difficulties and helping them achieve specific changes or goals. Our CBT interventions are firmly based on scientific research. They are effective, often in a brief period of time and usually focus on current situations rather than past ones.

CBT, in whatever modality, REBT, CT or Metacognitive therapy, is used to help people change self-defeating or unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviours to more adaptive ones. Some of the issues where Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatments have been successful include helping someone to feel less depressed or anxious, to worry less, to cope better with obsessions, to be more assertive and confident and to recover from a relationship break-up.

How do I get started?

You can contact us to make an enquiry or book an appointment by completing the form you will find here but you can also phone directly on +442890586361. Bear in mind that we based in the UK. Therefore, if you live in a different time zone or we are not available, you may have to leave a message on our answering machine. We usually return calls on the same day.

If you wish to start therapy online, you will also be required to complete a short test, which will help us to decide whether online CBT therapy is appropriate for you. If you were a suitable client, you just have to contact us to schedule an appointment. An appointment will be made as soon as possible, normally within the same week.

Appointments can be scheduled with John from 11.30 a.m until 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday and Friday, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m (UK time). Availability with Sylvia Buet has to be checked first.

If you wish to be treated particularly by Sylvia please contact her by email or phone. Our first appointment would be spent discussing your present situation and any concerns you have about therapy (assessment session). We have an offer where the first session ONLINE consists of 80 minutes (the first 30 minutes are free and the remaining 50 minutes of the initial assessment session are payable at the normal rate depending on the therapist). This offer does not apply to clients starting therapy face-to-face.

How long can I expect to be in therapy?

The length of treatment is dependent on the severity of the problem and how much you comply with the homework. It is likely to entail 12-18 sessions. A chronic or long-term condition may require more time. After an initial consultation and assessment of your presenting problem, your psychotherapist will be able to estimate how many sessions you may require.

What happens in a CBT therapy session (face-to-face or online)?

Just as you would do attending cognitive behavioural therapy face-to-face, when you begin Cognitive Behavioural Therapy online, an intake evaluation will be conducted and this may require one or two sessions. This assessment will help your therapist understand the problems which may need to be addressed.

Assessment tools (e.g tests or questionnaires) and homework tasks will have to be completed. If you are receiving online therapy, these home tasks are normally completed with a word processor and emailed back to your psychotherapist for revision the following week. Based on a deeper understanding of the nature and degree of the problem, the counselling and CBT therapy sessions will review the problems and issues that may be troublesome for you. Specifically, we will want to learn about the thoughts and assumptions you may have, which maladaptive behaviours you engage in and the impact that those dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaviours have on your current emotional state. Unlike other forms of therapy, which are unstructured, in CBT you and your psychotherapist will set an agenda and goals for each session.

How do I know if I need therapy?

Cognitive Behavioural therapy may be appropriate if you are feeling anxious, depressed, or unfulfilled in any sense and nothing seems to help.You may have tried to cope with your problems on your own, but without success.

Counselling and CBT therapy (face-to-face or online) can help you develop the necessary coping skills and can provide you with a set of new strategies you can apply to make your problem manageable.If you can afford it, good competent professional help is worthwhile. When problems or feelings interfere with life, career or relationships, it is advisable to seek help in the form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy delivered by qualified and highly experienced CBT psychotherapists.

What would my commitment be?

CBT Therapy is a major commitment, in terms of both time and money. The sessions last for 50 minutes once a week, although some clients prefer more than one session a week and sometimes, one session every two weeks.

You are also expected to do some tasks or between sessions activities that serve as practice using the new skills and abilities outside of the therapeutic setting. You and your counsellor will agree upon these tasks to achieve the goal of transferring what you have gained during the sessions to where the problem occurs. Research demonstrates that clients who carry out homework assignments get better faster and stay better longer. Your self-help homework might include keeping track of your moods, thoughts and behaviours, scheduling activities, challenging your negative thoughts, changing the way you communicate with others or whatever is deemed necessary for your specific problem.

What if I need medication?

If you are on medication, you may wish to continue to have the dosage monitored by your physician. If you would like to be referred to a psychiatrist for medication, we will be happy to do so.

Do you provide therapy for children?

Unfortunately, Anapsys Counselling Services does not offer therapy to children or adolescents. All our clients must be over the age of 18.

Is therapy confidential?

All personal information is treated in the strictest confidence and remains confidential to the psychotherapist. This is crucial for you to feel able to trust the service, knowing that it is safe to talk openly about what is happening.

This strict confidentiality rule would only be broken, in most cases with the client's consent, should exceptional circumstances arise which give the therapist good grounds for believing that serious harm may be caused to the client or to others or when the client confesses to have committed a crime punishable by law. This policy is in accordance with the code of ethics of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies.

How is the personal information I provide protected?

Any information held by your therapist is protected by the Data Protection Act, and any documents or information you provide us will be kept in a locked filing cabinet.Your name will never appear in any papers assigned to your case. Anapsys Counselling Services attempts to make both face-to-face and online therapy as secure as possible. For example, we use VSee videoconferencing software or sending emails through a secure server. However, Anapsys accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to your computer system, software or data occurring in connection with your own use of insecure email to communicate with us. When you make an appointment with us, you are already accepting our terms and conditions.

How long are the sessions?

Each session will last 50 minutes. However, the first consultation in the modality ONLINE consists of 80 minutes (the first 30 minutes are free but the remaining 50 minutes of the initial assessment session are payable at the normal rate depending on the therapist).

How effective will the therapy be?

CBT is very effective for a large number of disorders. The evidence we have about the effectiveness of CBT online therapy via videoconferencing is believed to be just the same as face-to-face sessions. However, this link will give you much more information about research studies using internet-based therapy.

Do you offer marriage or couples counselling?

No, we are sorry we do not offer couples counselling. However, we do work with clients having relationship problems due to individual problems impacting negatively on the other partner.

Individual therapy is normally effective when there are dilemmas about either staying or leaving a relationship, trying to let go or move on after a relationship break-up, not having enough confidence to meet or develop relationships with the opposite sex e.g. due to assertiveness problems or deficient dating skills, loneliness, difficulty in maintaining and developing intimate relationships e.g. problems tolerating a partner's flaws, infatuation, fear of commitment, jealousy problems, guilt and anger problems (abortion, affairs, bad temper), gay issues, communication difficulties leading to arguments and conflicts, intimacy or sexual problems, loss of interest in the partner, family problems and disagreements or thoughts of divorce. These issues can be resolved successfully individually. If we consider that you need to go for couples therapy, we will recommend so.

What if I have to cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment, you just have to send us an email or give us a ring on +44 (0)2890 58 63 61. Please remember that you need to give us at least 24 hours notice, otherwise the full fee will be charged (£65 for sessions with John, or £80 for sessions with Sylvia). Read our terms and conditions regarding this policy.

How do I change my appointment?

Just email or phone us as soon as possible and we will offer you an alternative appointment. If you can provide us 24 hours notice prior of your scheduled appointment, no fee will be chargeable for the session. Cancelled sessions after this time will be charged at the full rate.

How much do the sessions cost?

Each session of CBT costs £55 for a 50-minute session, if John is your CBT Psychotherapist. Sylvia charges £75. The same fee applies to each session including the initial or assessment consultation.

How do I pay for the sessions?

Sessions can only be paid by cash or cheque if you attend therapy face-to-face. If you receive online counselling, payment will be made by bank transfer (if you are in the UK) and by Paypal, only when you live outside the UK. We do not have the facilities to offer credit or debit card payments.

When do I pay for my sessions?

Payment is required before you commence your session if you receive online therapy (by bank transfer or Paypal). You will pay just right after each session when you attend the consultation face-to-face.

Do I pay as I go?

Yes, you only need to pay for each session that you attend. We do not offer discounts for a set of sessions as other counselling services do because that forces the person to use the paid consultations and we do not want to make anybody feel under pressure.

We believe clients should always have the freedom to cancel if they change their mind at any point of the therapy and never to lose money in theprocess. You may experience a financial loss when you pay in bulk.

Do I need to be computer savvy? (applicable only to those attending online therapy)

You will need to know some basic skills of how to access the Internet, open and read emails, create word documents, download attachments, install programmes and know how to use the webcam as well as using videoconferencing software such as Skype or VSee .

For those who have a poor broadband connection or use a mobile device to attend therapy, we encourage they download for free a different programme called "VSee", which works better than Skype when the Internet connection is not very reliable.

What computer equipment do I need? (applicable only for online sessions)

You will, of course, need a computer, a webcam and an Internet connection. This would need to be reasonably fast and reliable, otherwise the quality of the Skype session may suffer. If you do not know how fast your internet connection is, go to www.speedtest.net

You also can visit www.skype.com to find out what the minimum requirements are in order to run the programme in an effective manner. If you connection is not very good, you are encouraged to download VSee and create a free account before starting therapy online.

Is online therapy suitable for me?

While most people would find online therapy to be a very convenient and easy to use, unfortunately it is not right for everyone. To make sure you are a suitable client for CBT therapy online, complete a 2-minute suitability test, and you will know right away if we are able to help you.

What does it mean that my Psychotherapist is "BABCP accredited"?

In the UK, someone accredited by the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies (BABCP) is someone who has a professional qualification as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist.

Being accredited by the BABCP means that the person has provided a great deal of evidence thr", target="_blough their training and experience to demonstrate a high level of competence using cognitive behavioural methods to the BABCP. All CBT therapists are supervised at least one and a half hours per month.

The process of accreditation is reviewed every 5 years whereby the therapist need to present new evidence that their professional practice is up-to-date. The BABCP also provides Standards of Conduct, Performance, and Ethics to work by and can be viewed in full here.

What if I feel suicidal? (applicable only to online therapy)

We deal with suicidal clients on daily basis in our practice when clients see us face-to-face. However, online therapy has limitations and if that were the case, online CBT therapy is not the best option for you and you should seek a local therapist to attend to your specific needs.

If you have strong feelings of suicide, we would strongly recommend that you contact the Samaritans (24/7) on 08457 90 90 90 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 (free support 24/7) if you live in the UK. For the USA, call 1-8oo-SUICIDE or look in your phone book for a mental health hotline.

Can I have face-to-face therapy with another mental health professional while receiving online CBT?

No. That's not advisable and you should only have one therapist at a time. Before making an appointment with us, we will assume you are not receiving treatment for the issue you need help with any other mental health professional. However, at times, two different therapists may work in conjunction with each other. For example, if we are treating you for post-traumatic stress disorder and the other therapist is treating you for addiction issues resulting from the trauma. In case of doubt please contact us.