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Frequently asked questions

Does it work?
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy is based on research and techniques that have been tried and tested. People can learn to:
• Overcome life situation difficulties,
• Manage unhelpful behaviours,
• Learn new coping skills,
• Manage unhelpful or extreme thinking,
• Change low mood and anxiety,
• Cope with physical experiences such as pain or tension more successfully.

It is the ‘treatment of choice’ for many of the anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress. It has been shown to be the most useful talking therapy for depression; and most useful psychological approach in helping people to manage chronic pain. It also helps in other life situations, such as relationship difficulties; coming to terms with disabilities or getting back to work.

It is not a guaranteed ‘cure’ for these difficulties, and, as with any talking therapy, it is not possible to be completely certain whether it will work for you without trying the approach. It works best when the client has the opportunity to practice new things in-between sessions.

How many sessions will I need?
Most people benefit from between 10-15 sessions of therapy. If the difficulty is complex, or there are several issues to work through it can take longer. Some people have finished therapy in six sessions. Usually, and estimated number of sessions will be agreed after assessment, with a date for a review to see how things are going.

Is my psychotherapist properly qualified?
Qualifications can be checked through the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC); BABCP and BPsS. For details, see the ‘Links’ page on this website. You will also find Guidelines for Good Practice on the organisations’ own websites.

Are there any side effects?
Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapy does not include any medical treatments, so it does not have side effects in the same way as a tablet might. However, it can be scary to try to face fears and overcome difficulties. This means a temporary increase in anxiety can happen at first. Working with support, this can be managed successfully, and most people find they are able to do so. Sometimes people involve family and friends to support them; some people prefer to just work with the therapist. Making changes can be a challenge, which is why you and your therapist will discuss what making changes might mean before starting a programme of treatment.

It is too pricey for me, what can I do?
There are Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapists who work in the NHS, as well as other private practitioners. You can talk to your GP about a referral to them.
There are also self-help organisations and books; websites etc. which can offer useful advice and support. See the ‘links’ page for some of these.
Some private medical insurers will fund Cognitive-Behavioural Treatments, such as BUPA and PPP. You will need a referral from your hospital specialist. It is a good idea to check in advance with the insurer that they are willing to pay for the therapy.

What if I am not happy with my treatment?
If you have any questions, comments or complaints, please contact Helen Macdonald in the first instance. (see the ‘ contact us’) page. If you are still not satisfied, the next step is to contact the BABCP (see the ‘links’ page). They have a complaints procedure to ensure that any difficulties are resolved.


If you have any further questions, please contact us via email, letter or telephone.