Recognizing that many psychotherapy clients have experienced deeply confusing or frankly abusive relationships, Whitehead advises the therapist: "The client needs to be immersed in a healthier system. This means maintaining good boundaries yourself. It also means encouraging the client to associate with other healthy people..."

a framework for sessions

I believe that it is important to have some structure and regularity to sessions in order to build up the rapport and maintain momentum in the work we do together. For this reason, once we have had our initial meeting if you decide to continue, it is best to arrange a short initial series of meetings ideally on the same day and at the same time.

First sessions for individuals are normally 50 minutes, for couples and families an hour or an hour and a half. Subsequent sessions for couples and families are usually one hour. Please arrive in good time for your session.

If you are unable to attend a session please give me at least 24 hours notice. If possible I will re-schedule the session for a time convenient for both of us. If not, the fee for the missed session is payable in full.

During the session I will usually make some brief notes - what you tell me and also my own thoughts and reflections. This will be helpful when I try to "bring things together" later in the session. These and any other notes or records are held securely and you may request a copy of information about you at anytime. If you wish for a more formal report for your own use or for another purpose we would need to discuss this.

At the conclusion of the session I may suggest some thinking and/or behavioural tasks for you to attempt before the next session. Such tasks are designed to address the issues you are facing, and create a starting point for our next meeting. If I have information, or reading that I believe might be useful to you, I will provide this or tell you how to obtain it.

privacy & confidentiality

The buildings I use house different kinds of enterprises, so your visit could be for any kind of business purpose. Access is via a buzzer system.

Confidentiality and other "ground rules"will be briefly explained at the outset. It might be particularly important where a whole family is attending, or where parties are seen separately, to establish what can and cannot be shared, and for family members to establish what they think is "insiders only" information and what can be shared, and under what circumstances.

From my professional standpoint I regard confidentiality as a crucial requirement, limited only by overriding concerns about safety, in order to prevent harm and comply with the law. Discussing cases with a professional supervisor is a requirement of my practice and will be done with care and respect; there is rarely a need to use a client surname for example.

There may be particular situations, for example people who know they will be required to give evidence as a victim in a criminal trial ("vulnerable or intimidated adult witnesses") where serious thoughtwillhave to be given to the impact of therapy on subsequent evidence and its perceived credibility. Where therapy proceedsin suchcircumstances the Police and Crown Prosecution Service "must be made aware that therapy is proposed, is being undertaken, or has been undertaken."


You are, of course, entitled to expect respectful and appropriately professional behaviour at all times. It is not unusual for people to feel nervous or apprehensive especially when attending for the first time, and it is my task to create a sense of security in which the work of sharing can progess.

There may be special situations where an individual, for cultural or personal reasons, might only feel able to attend with a friend, chaperone, or professional. I am happy to fit in with this, although we would naturally have to discuss issues of trust and confidentiality in repect of the accompanying person.

It may be helpful at times to see children and adolescents individually, or as a sibling group, either during the time allocated for the family meeting, or separately. For mutual safety I will always make an audio or video record of sessions with minors. Such records will be erased, and no copies kept, at the end of the work.