What exactly is Solution-Focused Therapy?
Solution-Focused Therapy is different to what most people expect from therapy in several ways. First of all, it does NOT look back at what happened in your past to identify the root cause of your current issues. Instead, it focuses on helping you find the best way forward and on creating a better future for yourself.
Second of all, it combines neuroscientific insights into how our brains work with mind management tools that will help you manage your anxiety & stress for the rest of your life. This way, Solution-Focused Therapy creates lasting change within weeks – another big difference to other therapies.
Most importantly, Solution-Focused Therapy is exactly that: It focuses on solutions rather than your problems. Find out more on the Association for Solution-Focused Therapy’s website.
How do you direct people towards the solution? Isn’t that just telling them what to do?
Everyone’s solution to their own problem is different. I ensure that I listen impartially and I don’t offer any opinions. Solution-focused work allows your mind to have the space to come up with your own answers, as and when you are ready. I call them ‘lightbulb’ moments and they are very rewarding for me to see happen in my clients. This can happen during sessions or, more often, in between sessions so that you have created the changes you need yourself.
Do you have any personal experience with mental health issues?
In the past, I have had severe anxiety and it can still pop up now and again. The difference now is that I know how to manage it and it rarely causes me any problems. I have also had many stresses in life, like bereavement, family issues, career and exam stresses. I see this as part of life and not something that can be avoided.
I have also had many people close to me suffer from depression and anger management issues. I have seen friends and family experience severe trauma and symptoms of PTSD. I strongly believe that human beings are resilient and have the capacity to engage with life to get through this. My inspiration comes from seeing people who have faced many challenges in life and yet still know how to ‘keep going.’
I share my experiences with clients so that they don’t feel alone. I’m not a ‘stony-faced’ therapist. I like to ensure you feel you can trust me and that our sessions are engaging and enjoyable.
Do you see couples or groups?
The short answer is no. I like to work 1-to-1 so I can create a bespoke programme for you. So, when I do see couples, they have separate sessions with me and I follow strict confidentiality rules.
However, I do offer talks and presentations to organisations to open up the discussion around mental health.
How do you ensure you are the best therapist you can be personally and professionally?
I constantly look to improve the way I work and appreciate any feedback, whether positive or negative. To ensure that I offer the best service I can I am always looking to improve myself. I do a lot of self-development and have a vibrant network of support.
As part of my registration with my governing bodies, I have to achieve a minimum standard of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) every year and follow a strict code of conduct. I have a clinical supervisor and peer group that support me and we even have reciprocal sessions with each other so we know what it’s like to be on the ‘receiving end’.
My 1-to-1 Sessions for Individuals
Find out more about my 10-week programme and how it helps you manage your anxiety & stress.
Is there anyone you wouldn’t see? Do you have any ‘red flags?’
Yes and no. There are a few conditions for which Solution-Focused Therapy is NOT suitable. These are psychosis, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia and other severe psychiatric issues.
Apart from that, my only stipulation is that you’re happy to put in the work and commit to the programme. Over the years, I have worked with people from all backgrounds and beliefs, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
For example, due to my Indian origins, I often see people of colour who find it more comfortable to talk about issues such as race and cultural upbringing with me.
Where are the appointments held? Do you work face-to-face?
I’m working with people and businesses from all over Scotland and the UK, so my sessions are being held online using video communication like Skype or Zoom. As long as you have good internet access and are able to create a quiet private space for an hour then we will work well together. All video connections are protected and encrypted to ensure privacy and confidentiality.
If you would like to see a solution-focused therapist face-to-face, I can locate one in your area for you or you can look at the AfSFH directory.
What do you look for in our initial call?
I will ask you some questions about your issues and the goals you would like to achieve. What I’m doing is assessing if solution-focused work would be good for you. I’m looking to ascertain if you have an attitude of moving forward rather than going over problems. I also like to see if we’ll be a good fit in other ways; that you’re committed to the process and not looking for a quick-fix solution. If you understand that it will be a collaboration between us and that you will need to be proactive in your own recovery.
The call also gives you an opportunity to ask me questions. I really like to ensure that you feel confident in me and my processes and that trust is really what makes any therapy successful.
I do not ask you to make a decision during that phone call. I will ask you to mull it over for a few days and get back to me if you would like to go ahead with Solution-Focused Therapy with me.
If for any reason, I believe we would not work well together I will refer you to a colleague who I may feel would be better for you. My ultimate aim is to get you the help you need, whether that’s via me or another professional that I know.
What is the Breakthrough Session?
The Breakthrough Session is the first session of my programme and normally takes 60 – 75 minutes. You will learn the science behind how your brain works and how it creates the negative thought patterns you may be currently experiencing. This provides the foundation for the continued mind management techniques that you will learn throughout your programme. We will finish with a full relaxation session, an introduction to hypnotherapy so that you leave feeling motivated and calm and you will receive a recording of this to use at home.
Read more about the breakthrough session on my blog.
What happens after the Breakthrough Session?
In the appointments that follow the Breakthrough Session, I will guide the conversation in a positive and solution-focused way, discussing small steps towards your preferred future (find out more here). I love getting to know people and so always look forward to finding out what makes you feel happy and motivated. I will teach you what is going on in your mind and what the latest neuroscience research is coming up with. Don’t worry about brain strain – I make it easy to understand. This gives you skills for life, to understand what is going on in your own mind so that if ever you sense your old symptoms again, you will be able to recognise what is going on and manage your feelings and emotions accordingly.
We will also include hypnotherapy – a time for you to relax and daydream for a while. I will guide you through some lovely visualisations and relaxation exercises. This is similar to mindful meditation but I want you to let your mind and imagination drift:
- You don’t have to concentrate on every word that I say.
- You will always remain in control and can get up anytime you want.
- You don’t even have to close your eyes if you don’t want to.
- You will leave feeling refreshed and more positive immediately, just like after a good exercise class or massage.
When will I begin to notice a difference?
Many of my clients begin to notice significant changes straightaway. I feel that this is because I explain how the brain works, you can then begin to recognise and understand where your symptoms originate and this gives you a sense of control. Some clients take a little longer and this is only because everyone’s mind is different. All my clients that have completed my programme have met their goals.
What if I feel like I need more sessions?
My 10-week programme includes as many sessions as you need, although it usually averages about one session per week as it’s highly recommended to keep some space between sessions. Also, more sessions don’t mean more or better progress: I have helped people recover from severe anxiety in as little as four sessions while others take a wee bit longer.
Once we complete the 10-week programme there is an option to continue with more sessions if you would like to. In this case, I offer a course of 6 sessions, to be taken at intervals of your choosing (I will discuss this with you) for £545.
I have many returning and loyal clients. However, I aim to help you reach your goals within the 10-week programme. Basically, I want you to go away and live your life because the problem you had isn’t a problem anymore. That is my ultimate goal and I find it immensely rewarding!
What are my payment options?
My 10-week programme is £895 and I ask for payment in full before sessions begin. I send you a secure electronic link via Zettle (PayPal) or you can make a BACS transfer. The reason I do this is actually part of your therapy. Making the financial commitment in this way ensures that you are also committed to the therapy process over time and will complete the programme.
I used to work on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis but it would always dishearten me when people used to give up after only a few sessions. You must remember that years of anxiety, stress or depression cannot be resolved in one or two weeks. A full 10-week programme not only eliminates your symptoms but also sets you up for life.
What happens if I miss an appointment?
Although keeping a good routine of regular sessions (especially in the early stages) is beneficial to the success of Solution-Focused Therapy, I do understand that life happens and you need to cancel sessions. All I ask is for a bit of notice and for you to rebook your sessions as soon as possible.
I actually send all my clients my private calendar link and you can book and rebook your sessions as you wish.
My Stress Bucket Talks for Organisations
Find out more about my talks and how they help open up the conversation about mental health in the workplace.
What is your Signature Talk?
If you have heard people talk about the polar bear and the stress bucket, then chances are my signature talk “How to Empty Your Stress Bucket” is to blame. It’s a great way to open up the conversation around mental health within your organisation or team.
Mental health is a sensitive subject, especially in the workplace. So, I’ve put together a talk that combines science-backed facts with real-life examples that people can relate to. Delivered with sensitivity and a bit of humour, my signature talk is educational, engaging and lighthearted. No presentation slides full of text, pie charts and stats in sight!
The aim of this talk is to create awareness around mental health and to give people the understanding and practical takeaways to manage their wellbeing. It also establishes a shared language that the team can use to talk about their mental health and support each other.
My talk is designed to be educational and I won’t ask anyone to share anything, so there’s no need for audience participation. But I encourage people to make use of the Q&A session after the talk. And more often than not, it’s the beginning of a very engaged, interactive conversation about mental health and what we can all do to keep our stress buckets empty.
In short, my signature talk is designed in a way so that you and your team members can walk away feeling more confident about managing your mental health.
Do you offer your talks in person or virtually?
When it comes to my work with organisations, I offer both in-person and virtual talks via live video (e.g. Microsoft Teams). If you’re planning an away day for your team, my signature talk can provide a welcome break from the office routine. And I’m always happy to mingle a little afterwards to answer any questions one-to-one.
If your team is in different locations or working remotely, I’d be happy to offer my signature talk on live video as well. The presentation is the exact same as in person, with the chat box being a great tool to answer any questions and bring the team together.
In fact, I have delivered my talk virtually in many different countries to date and, on occasion, even in several countries at the same time!
Can you help us with our mental health strategy?
The short answer is no. I am a therapist, not a business advisor and not qualified to create or deliver a mental health strategy. My work with organisations is tailored to start the conversation about mental health, to make it a talking point and give people the knowledge and tools to help themselves and each other.
How can you support us after the talk?
If you have booked my signature talk and are looking for more help, there are two options. First of all, people can always contact me after the session. I have a free private Facebook group they can join and a podcast they can subscribe to.
They can also sign up for my 1-to-1 therapy package, my online course or buy my handbook. There is also the option to get custom packages of any of these for your team – my handbook has been a great hit with quite a few company book clubs.
Second, I can offer a range of bespoke follow-up talks for in-depth coverage of any mental health-related topic. For example, a talk about the solution-focused process, teaching the techniques I use to help people empty their stress buckets. Get in touch to discuss your options.
What if our staff want access to your 1-to-1 sessions, book or online course?
Can you create a bespoke talk for us?
Any specific topic that’s particularly relevant to your team can be easily incorporated in my signature talk. For example, in the past, I have delivered talks with a specific focus on grief or menopause and have discussed the issue of control and challenge stress with teams. Get in touch to find out more.