We’re nearly halfway through the year, and it’s time for some self-care.
The hustle and bustle of the first half of the year has passed, the new tax year has begun and we’re all able to take our time and look after our own mental wellbeing, which is where this month’s Client of the Month comes in.
Liz Jefferies provides psychotherapy and counselling as part of her own business, Therapy with Liz. We chatted to Liz to learn more about what she does and the power of therapy.
Tell us a bit about Therapy with Liz.
Therapy with Liz is a private psychotherapy and counselling service (sometimes called independent practice) which provides a range of different kinds of help to individuals and couples. The kind of help varies. It may focus on resolving diagnosed health conditions, such as anxiety or depression or it may focus on working through difficulties in life, such as abuse, bereavement or relationship problems.
A third kind of help is in addressing existential issues such as recurring themes or patterns in life, or just a sense that life is not quite right. In this case, insight and self-understanding tend to be more central.
Whatever the nature of the work Therapy with Liz offers a variety of approaches depending on the needs of the client. Broadly these can be described as counselling or psychotherapy. Counselling tends to be short-term and focus on specific problems in life (say at work, in relationships) and may deal with obstacles to goals and ambitions or specific behaviours.
Psychotherapy, on the other hand, tends to last longer, involve deeper exploration of ways of being, tends to include a focus on early life experience and include a perception of therapy as a transformative or transitional experience.
In essence, Therapy with Liz offers a range of kinds of psychological help and therapeutic approaches to work with clients as they work through their unique difficulties, always with the goal of increasing a sense of wellbeing.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in psychotherapy?
There were a range of reasons – three specific ones really. Firstly, I had an extended period of ill health and could no longer do the kind of work I was previously doing. I needed something that could be worked around my health problems. Psychotherapy enabled me to do that.
Secondly, I had been in long-term psychotherapy myself and had experienced first-hand what a transformative experience psychotherapy can be. I wanted to offer what I had experienced to others.
Thirdly, having seen the destructive power of mental illness in members of my own family, and that medication did not provide all of the answers, I wanted to be part of the alternative solution which sees talking therapies as a way to relieve psychological distress.
What’s the difference between online services and face-to-face services?
There are two very obvious differences. In face-to-face services, you do sit and talk in a room with your therapist, whereas with online therapy there is a choice of chat-based services (like messenger apps) or video services. In chat-based services, you do not see your therapist and of course in video ones you do. Whether online or face-to-face the duration and cost are similar so there is no difference there.
Some factors which make a difference to clients are that online therapy can be more convenient to fit into your life, and there can be a sense of more flexibility and increased freedom from restrictions. Other differences are in terms of geography – you and your therapist don’t have to be close to each other, you are not limited to therapists who live close to you and can choose a particular therapist you like, or an approach that you like.
Face-to-face therapy, on the other hand, tends to offer a greater potential for the kinds of transformations that longer-term psychotherapy can provide because of the relational interactions that tend to be a feature of face-to-face contact.
Additionally, there are differences in that generally online therapy tends to be shorter and to be focused on working through a specific problem. Online therapy can be used as a stepping stone to face-to-face therapy, to test the waters so to speak, if a client is feeling uncertain.
In many ways though, online and face-to-face therapy offer a different variety of the same thing – to work through psychological concerns and to create insight and meanings for personal circumstances. A greater sense of well-being can be achieved either with online therapy or face-to-face psychotherapy. It is a matter of personal preference and what works best for personal circumstances.
What advice would you offer to someone considering psychotherapy services?
Research and choose the approach that you think will work for you. For example, do you want to change behaviours or do you want self-understanding? Some approaches can work with both of these and some can’t.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is great for making changes to behaviour. Relational psychotherapy would not focus on behaviour change. It’s important to think about what you want to achieve and choose an approach that fits with that.
It is also important to choose the right therapist for you. Personality styles come into this and just a general sense of feeling you are a good fit. You may need to have an initial session with more than one therapist before you find the right one for you.
Psychotherapy and counselling is a commitment. If you decide to begin you need to create a space for it in your life and attend regularly. For it to be effective and help you to work through your difficulties, you need to attend probably weekly or fortnightly. This is the recommendation of most therapists. If you do that it really can be a life-changing experience.
Why did you choose The Accountancy Partnership?
I liked the online nature of the service. The website was easy to navigate and I felt that the service would easily fit into my life and provide me with the accountancy support that I needed. It was easy to sign up and to be allocated an accountant and I felt reassured that help was available if and when needed. It felt a bit like online therapy in that respect really!
Would you recommend The Accountancy Partnership?
I would! I have been a client for three years now and while I have had a change of accountant during that time I have felt supported in the development of my business.