Irene MacDonald MSc
BACP Accred Counsellor and Psychotherapist

FAQ #01


When are your appointments?
Generally I work from Tuesday mornings through to Friday afternoon ; morning appointments are from 9.30am to 11.45am, and evening appointments are from 5.45pm to 9.15pm. I have a confidential answering machine for voicemails.

How does therapy work?
Our brains continually generate thoughts, thousands and thousands a day. Most of these are repetitive, familiar and habitual, and just go round and round in our heads without changing very much. However, as soon as we allow some new information in, it changes what we know and gives us other options. Therapy works by sharing your inner experiences with a professional person - this will help you understand yourself better, and allow you to see things from another point of view, and possibly start changing how you do things. It can also help your brain to use more stable and efficient pathways. However, talking therapy has its limitations, and for real deep change in the brain (and in your life) I would recommend you consider the newer biological therapies like Brainspotting.

Will I become too upset looking at difficult events?
Therapy does not proceed to more difficult areas until you are well enough resourced to do this as it would be counter productive. I can help you develop resources for every day living and for dealing with difficult material in therapy.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
The main differences between the two are about depth, duration and frequency. If you want just a little bit of help and someone to understand, then 6-12 sessions of therapy may be a point of starting your journey. If you want to heal at depth, particularly from early wounding, then the process needs to be held in a more secure way over a longer period of time; often people have some experiences of counselling before they are ready for psychotherapy.

Do you tell my GP that I am attending?
Your attendance at therapy is your own decision and everything around therapy is confidential. No-one else knows that you are coming other than you chose to tell them. That need not stop us working cooperatively with your GP.

Do we have complete confidentiality then?
Other than you are a danger to yourself or other people, or there are child protection issues, your confidentiality is complete. I do receive professional supervision of my work, but you are not identified in this.

Do you offer any online therapy?
I am able to offer Facetime or Skype contact to existing clients should they be unable to attend an appointment (due to holidays, bad weather etc.)

I see you say "with provisos" when you mention addictions; what do you mean?
When people are in the throes of addiction, there are stages through which they have to go to get well enough to engage in therapy; therapy is the final stage of recovery as you deal with the underlying problems. It depends what stage you are at whether I am able to help you, how stable your life is now, and what other strands of support may be necessary. During addiction (sugar, alcohol, gambling) the brain isn't able to focus on growth, change, until it is free of the addictive sustance.

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