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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Personal Therapy

Updated: 10 March 2016

“The only person holding you back is you!” – Jack Holt, Stelram Engineering Ltd

DEPRESSED? ~ LOW SELF-ESTEEM? ~ RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS?

Are YOU happy with what You believe about Yourself?

Can Personal Therapy help You to lead a more fulfilling life?

Negative thoughts!!
Do you sometimes find yourself thinking thoughts such as.…

  • I’m not worthy
  • Nobody likes me
  • I can’t do that
  • I’m bad
  • I can’t make it work
  • People find me boring
  • I’m disgusting
  • I’m useless
  • I’m so shy I can’t cope with meeting people
  • I can’t stop myself from doing that…
  • Members of the opposite sex don’t find me attractive

It’s amazing how many sophisticated and intelligent people suffer from such unhealthy, unwholesome and unhelpful thoughts.

These are what in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) we call ‘limiting beliefs’ and in Cognitive Psychology ‘maladaptive schemas’. They lower our self-esteem and reduce our self-efficacy (Albert Bandura’s 1977 term for our belief in our ability to acquire and use learning and resources for our benefit). Limiting beliefs stop us doing what we want to do and having fulfilling lives. They blight our personal relationships and hinder our career development.

Such beliefs usually have deep roots in childhood or traumatic experiences. Such beliefs are acquired or developed to serve what our Unconscious Mind perceives as a useful purpose at that point in time. Even debilitating beliefs – such as “I am unworthy” – will have served an apparently-useful purpose at some point – eg: suppressing self-expression to escape the wrath of a bullying parent.

Deep and powerful limiting beliefs may even hinder the brain’s bio-chemical development of what the Gravesian approach calls vMEMES (neurologically-based coping mechanisms) which enable us to deal with life’s many and varied challenges.

Conversely, our operating vMEMES will influence the way we attribute cause and effect to events and then meta-state (make meaning) about them – and that can produce limiting beliefs, anxiety and even Depression. (See Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression in the Mental Health pages for more about this.)

So all too easily we end up in a vicious (and depressing!) spiral of unhealthy beliefs hindering our ability to cope with life and skewing the way we make sense of things – all of which lead us to formulate even more unhealthy beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.

So it’s a massive relief…
…to know that we don’t always have to be victims of our own limiting beliefs – and we can change!

Firstly, any belief statement can be meta-modelled to test its rationality and to find the values and root beliefs which underpin it. (I once destroyed a sales manager’s belief that he couldn’t speak in public simply by asking him what his evidence was for that belief!)

However, we all know that often deep emotions can’t be swayed by logic and rationale – no matter how seemingly watertight the logic is. Worse still, some limiting beliefs are partly-rooted in our innate temperament. (No wonder so-called ‘conventional counselling’ is often only partially effective!)

Fortunately leading psychotherapists and NLP strategists such as L Michael Hall and Penny Parks are developing new ways of working with the Unconscious Mind. The pioneering work in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) of the likes of Judith Beck and Rob Willson has addressed means of improving the way an individual’s behaviour affects their mental processes and vice-versa. And there is still very much to be said for Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytical approach.

Through working with sub-modalities and implanting new suppositions, using exercises like the Trauma Cure, the Mistaken Belief Visualisation and various Timelining, Reframing and Behavioural activities, it is possible to at worst control, hopefully neutralise and sometimes even delete inappropriate beliefs. These can then be superseded with new positive and enabling beliefs.

While, of course, we can’t alter the inescapable facts of unfortunate and/or traumatic events in our past – what happened happened! – it is possible to change the way we feel about them and the meaning we attribute to them. Research has shown that it’s the way we encode memories – the sights, sounds, sensations (internal and external), etc, at the time of the events – which influence how we feel emotionally towards them. Techniques like sub-modality work can change the way the memory is encoded and, thus, how we feel about it. Equally, while science has yet to find a way of totally altering someone’s natural-born temperament, we now understand, through epigenetics, that our genetic make-up is not a once-and-for-all fix but that genes carry on developing us according to our experiences. Thus, we can teach people how to assume and live out far-more satisfying modes of behaviour and their brain will respond and develop to new, more positive experiences. Of course, not all problems can be fixed and not all damage repaired – and claims by some therapists that any psychological issue can be ‘fixed’ are erroneous. In some cases, it is a case of managing a condition rather than resolving it. But we do know now that the brain is a lot more adaptable and flexible than we once thought.

If you think deep-rooted beliefs can’t be changed…well, consider how strongly young children believe in Santa Claus. Yet very few still believe by the time they are teenagers. First we teach them to believe. Then we teach them not to believe. How many people make fundamental life-changing decisions – buying a house together, having a baby – because they’re in love and that love will last ‘forever’. 10 years later a good 40% of people no longer love that person but have moved on to somebody else. So beliefs can and do change…and sometimes they need a little help to change.

Of course, changing beliefs is not always easy. Remember how many children protest and cry when they are first told Santa is just a story?!?

People freed from debilitating limiting beliefs often experience quite remarkable and very rapid personal development. Quite often this improves areas of their lives they didn’t think were affected by what they thought was the problem!

As NLP co-developer Richard Bandler once said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!”

What does treatment involve?
My Personal Therapy techniques – which draw primarily on NLP but also sometimes use elements of CBT and the Psychoanalytical approach, based on the complementary psychological maps of the Gravesian approach, Dimensions of Temperament and Neurological Levels – usually provide highly effective results. Occasionally people have found their issue can be dealt with in a single one-hour session.

However, the more complex the problems the more likely multiple sessions will be required. The majority of clients require 2-3 sessions over 1-2 months. Occasionally treatment may require more sessions. It is unusual for treatment programmes to require more than 6 sessions. Treatment sessions usually take place in the dedicated office/treatment room in my house and normally last one hour. Though I prefer to work from home (for easy access to my resources), I will travel short(ish) distances to clients – though I charge extra to cover my time and travel costs*.

The first 30 minutes or so of your initial consultation will be a free diagnostic, without obligation to proceed. You will be encouraged to ask me questions about my approach to counselling/therapy so that you are as confident as you can be that mine is the right approach for you. From the diagnostic, I will advise what I believe the problem(s) to be, what treatment is appropriate and an estimate of how many sessions I believe will be necessary. Sessions are normally charged at £36 (£30+ VAT@20%) per hour.

In the unlikely event that I can’t help you or you choose not to proceed, there will be no charge. Where appropriate, I may recommend you to seek help from practitioners with different approaches and/or competencies to mine.

It is difficult to be prescriptive about how a Personal Therapy works as it is about YOU – and YOU are totally unique. It is a conversation that should be an enriching, if sometimes challenging, experience for you.

The essential idea is to explore your issue(s) – what’s bothering you – and the effect it is having on you and perhaps others. I will use sociopsychological theory to help you understand yourself  (and others) and hopefully arrive at solutions to your issue(s). I may conduct certain therapy excises with your permission and co-operation,. At the very least we should be able to find ways for you to manage your issue(s) if they are not clearly resolvable.

I may well give you follow-up work to do for yourself. In the case of work in between multiple sessions, it is important that you carry out the task(s) given and provide me with feedback as to your experience.

Some clients will benefit from post-treatment support. As an option, I offer upto 5 hours per month support by telephone or Skype and email for a flat fee of £60 (£50+ VAT @20%). If the client still feels support is necessary after 6 months, I will suggest another appointment to re-examine the issues.

From the Case Studies section of the Services menu you can access several examples of Personal Therapy work. They have been carried out either as part of a management development coaching programme or as private consultations. The names of the participants have been changed to protect confidentiality and certain potential ‘giveaway’ peripheral information has been altered also. The backgrounds of the participants and the effects of the therapies are related as the clients described them to me. The analytical tools I used and the therapeutic techniques described are exactly as I used them.

Expectations/Terms of Business
For the therapeutic process to be successful, the client needs to engage wholeheartedly with it. Although it can be difficult, please try to be honest and explicit when describing your issue(s). It is also important that you are open about any previous psychological ‘episodes’ and/or psychiatric diagnoses and about any psychoactive medication you have been prescribed.

Unless otherwise explicitly agreed and documented in at least email format, payment (including travel costs*, if pertiment) is in full at the end of each session – either in cash or by cheque. You will be provided with a receipted invoice.

Should you need to cancel or reschedule a session, failure to inform me at least 12 hours in advance will render you liable to a cancellation fee of £12 (£10 + VAT@20%). Subject to your mitigating circumstances, I reserve the right to waive the cancellation fee at my discretion and without prejudice to my rights.

*If I travel to your premises in the immediate Shipley/Bradford/east Leeds area, I charge an additional £12 (£10 + VAT@20%) to cover each half hour of travelling time, plus 54p (45p + VAT@20%) per mile there and back for mileage costs. If you wish me to come to your premises beyond this immediate area, please get in touch via the Contact page to discuss this.

Please read the applicable sections of my Terms of Business for full details of my expectations and contractual conditions.

Please note I will not provide Personal Therapy to under-18s without the express permission of a parent or guardian in writing/email. In such cases, it may be appropriate to ask a parent/guardian to accompany the under-18 to treatment sessions.

Online counselling
If you feel you would benefit from counselling and/or therapy but are unable to travel to me in Bradford or you otherwise would prefer the partial anonymity of us not meeting face to face, then you may find online counselling  using Skype helpful.

Skype sessions are charged at £36 per session. As with in-person therapy, payment is due immediately at the end of an online session. This can be via PayPal or by BACS/direct payment.

In the event that we both consider it appropriate to keep the conversation going after time has run out on a session, you will be charged additionally for each complete additional 15 minutes on a pro-rata basis session – ie: £9 (£7.50+VAT@20%) per 15 minutes completed.

It is important that you have my web site up on your computer while we have the conversation as I may direct you to certain pages to illustrate points I am making.

Again, please read the applicable sections of my Terms of Business for full details of my expectations and contractual conditions.

Obviously, online counselling does not have quite the same immediacy of  in-person therapy and Skype is subject to periodic ‘line drops’ and interference on the line. Much can be achieved through conversation and certain exercises can be conducted online. However, I do consider it unethical and potentially dangerous to carry out some of the ‘deep therapy’ work without being in the room with the client. The therapist needs to watch closely – and, in some cases, smell! – the client to monitor the effects of the therapeutic intervention. It may be that the sessions reach the point where, to progress, an in-person consultation is necessary – in which case you will need to come to see me (or I to come to you) or, with the knowledge you’ve gained from the Skype sessions, you need to consult another, more local therapist. Some therapeutic work, beyond basic counselling, is possible via a good Skype connection but expectations need to be realistic…and it can be hard work for both counsellor and client. However, where suitable help is not available in the client’s vicinity, online counselling may be the best route available.

Getting started
Whether interested in Personal Therapy or online counselling, please use the Contact page to make your initial enquiry.  Under normal conditions you will receive a response from me within 12 hours advising whether I believe I can help you and proposing some dates/times for first contact.

Depending on what issues you identify in your enquiry, I may ask you for preliminary written information about yourself, your circumstances and your problems. It is important that your are as honest and as explicit as possible. (I prefer too much rather than too little detail!)  Before agreeing a first contact, I may ask you follow-up questions which may seem highly personal. Again, please help me by being honest and explicit.

If you find yourself experiencing overwhelming thoughts of harming yourself or others, then do not wait for me to contact you – but seek immediate help from your doctor, the Samaritans or the police.

At the beginning of the first in-depth session, I will need to take full contact details, name and contact details of your spouse/partner or other next of kin as appropriate. I will also require the name and contact details of your GP (or equivalent if you are not based in the UK).

Please be assured I will not contact any others without your express permission unless I am convinced you are about to put yourself or others at serious risk.

Why suffer? Get in contact now!
As they say, life is too short to suffer needlessly….

 “Remember: it’s normal to have problems. It’s abnormal to let your problems become pathological.”
Ichak Adizes (1999)