LPN in The Sunday Times – 09/01/11

It’s not possible to view this article online unless you are a subscriber, so I’ve transcribed it below.  Julia Bueno, a co-founder of LPN, is quoted throughout.  It appeared at the end of a longer article about a book about therapy by Guardian journalist Emma Forrest, ‘Your Voice in My Head’, to be published January 17th by Bloomsbury.

‘Professional Help’ by Francesca Hornak, page 31 Style section of The Sunday Times – 09/01/11

You’ve done the hard part – acknowledging you’re unhappy, deciding to seek therapy – but what next?  Who to see, how often, and for how long?  Without a recommendation, picking a therapist from the thousands online feels like a game of pin the tail on the donkey.

Julia Bueno and Jane Edwards founded the London Psychotherapy Network (londonpsychotherapynetwork.com) to help Londoners in this situation.  “We wanted to cut through the jargon and point people in the right direction,” Bueno says.  “There’s still a lot of confusion surrounding psychotherapy.  Because it has roots in Freud, there’s a misconception that it’s ‘doctor and patient’, but therapy today is a collaborative effort.”

Start by checking therapists registered with a professional body, ideally the British Association for counselling and Psychotherapy (bacp.co.uk) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (psychotherapy.org.uk).  This will guarantee they are properly qualified and abide by a code of ethics.  “The industry is unregulated, so anyone can set themselves up as a counsellor,” Bueno says.

Next, book an initial consultation.  Listen to your gut feeling, and be clear about your “presenting issues” (the problems you think you need help with).  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Find out if the therapist has experience in your concerns and get testimonials.  Be clear on technicalities such as fees and cancellation policy.  “If you leave feeling, ‘Hmm, not sure I felt comfortable there,’ listen to that instinct and try someone else,” Bueno says.  “It’s time –consuming and expensive, but you’ll be bringing intimate problems here, and therapy works best when you’re relaxed.”

Don’t get bogged down in self-diagnosis and the “right” therapeutic approach for you.  In Bueno’s words : “Therapy is a joint endeavour to help you gain more clarity and understanding of how you exist in your world.  This insight is what can make change possible.”