Brief & Long Term Psychotherapy
If your condition is of recent onset or if you are in a crisis, you will benefit from brief therapy, generally 6-12 weekly sessions.
However if there are life-long issues underlying it you may benefit from continuing on to long term therapy afterwards which will generally mean attending sessions once or twice a week on a regular basis.
Introduction to Personal Psychotherapy
When you are referred for personal psychotherapy you will most likely be distressed. You may feel depressed, anxious or both, with significant shame, guilt and other intense feelings. You may be having relationship difficulties and feel isolated or alone.
We will set up psychotherapy to provide safety and reliability. We want to decrease the intensity of emotions such as distress, anger and guilt & shame. In this way you will be able to examine and discuss difficult situations and lived experiences. Then you will be able to understand and integrate these experiences.
How do we set up personal psychotherapy so it can work?
We have two broad tasks when beginning psychotherapy.
Firstly, we will negotiate a reliable setting and framework for psychotherapy. In this way we will provide a foundation for safety and trust which is often called ‘setting the frame’.
You will be provided with a safe and comfortable environment. You will also be provided with privacy and confidentiality. What I mean by privacy is that you don’t have to talk about issues until you feel safe to do so. These are some of the elements that create a reliable setting.
The framework includes having regular reliable appointments usually on the same day and time every week. In addition there is a fixed duration for each session. I set the duration of sessions in my psychotherapy practice at 50 minutes. I arrange my appointments so that I have time between appointments. We can then easily start and finish appointments on time.
Once we complete the working out period – usually after 6 weekly sessions, we commit to regular psychotherapy sessions. This will usually be weekly or even twice weekly. If possible, as it works well, we will set up appointments for the same day and time every week. This is part of the framework for regularity, reliability and safety.
Secondly, we will establish a therapeutic relationship over time. As you experience being consistently accurately understood and find that misunderstandings can be worked through, you will experience trust. You will find that you can speak freely and question your therapist without fear of judgment or retaliation. A therapeutic relationship is intended to foster an attitude of acceptance, curiosity and the minimisation of guilt & shame. Then you can talk about whatever is on your mind.
The setting and frame of psychotherapy with the therapeutic relationship leads to calming.
We will use these two structures, the psychotherapy frame in concert with the therapeutic relationship to calm down intense emotions. As we become sufficiently calm we are able to be more mindful. In this state of mind we are able to explore and understand difficult thoughts and intense emotions. As we follow this process over time we learn to regulate and balance our thoughts, emotions and behaviour.
What will happen when you come to see me for personal psychotherapy?
I will explain to you how I do psychotherapy and how it works including the setting and framework. We will discuss the importance of privacy, confidentiality and the fee structure.
I will encourage you to talk about whatever is on your mind and whatever concerns you. At the same time I will emphasise your right to privacy so that you can take therapy at a pace that is not too uncomfortable. I want you to experience psychotherapy as safe and reliable. Then you will be able to look forward to it and make use of it.
I will provide psycho-education about the whole range of mental health issues, including the complexities of psychiatric diagnosis, psychotherapy, emotions, interpersonal communication and meditation. We will use different techniques tailored to your needs including different forms of meditation. We may use role-play to better understand what is happening in your relationships.
Dr Robert Dawborn’s qualifications
I have formal qualifications in contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy and systemic family therapy. In addition I have trained in process-oriented psychotherapy and a variety of other approaches to mindfulness. See My Background.