FAQs On Counselling & Psychotherapy
Does counselling and psychotherapy help?
Yes. Research has shown that psychotherapy as a broad intervention is a successful form of essential and adjunct treatment for low and high intensity psychological conditions. Psychotherapy is also thus very likely to assist with other situations which are milder or non-diagnostic. However, the psychotherapist/counsellor must also know the factors which contribute to successful therapy.
What is the difference between counselling, guidance and psychotherapy?
There are varying definitions of the terms above. They all describe the process of a trained professional supporting a client, usually through a communicative process. Within those terms, you may also find ‘sub-specialities’ of counselling, guidance and psychotherapy.
Our experience has shown that the difference between those terms are largely academic. What matters for us is that clients require help, and counsellors and psychotherapists must be able to find a way to help which is ethical, evidenced and fits for clients.
Our philosophy is to provide treatment that is collaborative, goal-directed and does not do harm. With that in mind, we will be the first to suggest counselling when we assess that it will help, and the first to stop counselling when we find that it is not helping the client.
On this website, we take the liberty to use the terms 'counselling' and 'psychotherapy' interchangeably, although our preference is to use 'counselling' because of its greater inclusiveness. In some parts of the world, counselling services are also referred to as 'guidance counselling'. We have thus opted to use the term 'guidance' to brand our service as a whole.
Do you do diagnostic or psychological testing?
No, we do not. We do collaborative, systemic assessments which are continuous throughout the counselling relationship. The counsellor will conduct interviews and reflect his assessment to you, for you to feedback whether it fits with your experience of your issues. This continues as and when new material surfaces in the counselling relationship. The counsellor may, however, administer evidence-based progress measures to help you track your progress in counselling.
How many sessions will I need to attend and how frequently?
Our treatment philosophy has been influenced by a diverse range of psychotherapy approaches, from humanistic to systemic to cognitive-behavioural. Our stronger influences include the various waves of family therapy and cognitive-behaviour therapy, Single Session Therapy by Moshe Talmon, and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy by the likes of Steven de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg & Bill O’Hanlon.
Significantly, we are informed by Client-Directed Outcome-Informed treatment, by Barry Duncan and Scott Miller, both of whom have devised PCOMS and Feedback Informed Treatment respectively. There are also numerous other influences by psychotherapy theories and master therapists which are too many to mention here.
What the above suggests is that our approach is integrative and tailored to you. Our belief is that your therapy sessions also do not need to be packaged, prolonged or stretched endlessly.
Having said that, treatment length does also depend on the nature of your presenting issues. Generally, therapy may take several sessions as it may involve an extended assessment, monitoring and review process. This is decided collaboratively between yourself and the counsellor.
Therefore, if the counsellor and you conclude that one session is sufficient, you may actually discontinue after just one session. This also means that, if the prognosis for successful outcome is poor after several sessions, the counsellor will advise that the counselling may need to discontinue as the current treatment would unlikely be helpful for you.
Does it mean that my problems cannot be solved?
We firmly believe, based on research that there must be a therapeutic fit between counsellor and client for counselling & psychotherapy to be successful. We will work with you to determine the goals of counselling. At times, the goals of counselling may not be achieved due to various reasons, such as an improperly defined goal, ill-timing or lack of fit between client and counsellor. In such cases, the counsellor will also work with you to explore the options that are available to you.
Is counselling confidential?
During the process of counselling, you may be asked questions that require you to reveal information about your worries and concerns. Such content is limited to only what is necessary and has therapeutic value to you. Our treatment philosophy of maintaining a collaborative relationship means that you can also choose not to share any information that you are uncomfortable with sharing.
Just Guidance is bound by the Personal Data & Protection Act (Guidelines for Social Services). Like any other profession, counsellors and psychotherapists are also bound by professional ethics to maintain your confidentiality. Counselling must be a confidential process in order for it to achieve its therapeutic objectives.
At the same time, counsellors are also bound by professional ethics to protect clients from harm. At the beginning of your counselling journey, you will thus be requested to share the contact information of someone whom you trust, as an 'emergency contact person'.
To this end, when counsellors find that clients or the people around them are in an emergency or in a potentially harmful situation, counsellors may be required to break confidentiality for that piece of information, in order to inform relevant public services and the 'emergency contact person' to keep clients safe. This concept is called the 'limits of confidentiality'.
By engaging in counselling with Just Guidance, you are deemed to have consented to the limits of counselling confidentiality. You will also be informed about this confidentiality agreement at the beginning of your counselling journey, and will be requested to give your consent in writing.