What to expect

The process of assessment and therapy

How to make an appointment

To make an enquiry or appointment, please email me hello@harbourpsychology.co.uk or call me on 07828 391923 (leaving a clear message and number). I can respond to emails more quickly than telephone messages so if you want a quicker response, please email first.

I aim get back to you within 24 hours during the week. I typically do not respond to messages at the weekend. Some people like to have a free initial phone consultation for up to 15 minutes, where we can decide whether meeting for an assessment would be a good idea. Some people prefer to book an assessment without the initial call – it’s really up to you.

The assessment process

We will meet together for an initial 60 minute session. Sometimes a 90 minute appointment might seem more appropriate, for example if there is a lot of complexity or more than one person is attending. This is a chance for you to tell me about what brings you to therapy now and also gives you an opportunity to get a sense of whether you feel comfortable talking to me.

During the initial assessment, I will listen to you and ask questions to clarify or explore further. I would hope to cover a range of topics including your strengths, personal history, family history, lifestyle, relationships, and so on – whatever feels relevant.

For parents, I usually suggest we meet together before I meet with your child. This is so you can get a sense of whether you feel comfortable with me talking with your child, and also so that I can take a thorough developmental history and allow you some time to talk freely about your concerns.

I will usually ask you to complete some questionnaires – these are done online, and we can then repeat the same questionnaires at the middle and end of therapy as one way of tracking changes and progress.

There is no pressure to talk about anything you don’t want to. Usually by the end of the initial assessment session we will both have a sense of whether we are a good fit for further work together.

Following assessment, we will have some ideas about what therapy might look like and whether a particular approach might be helpful. If you decide to work with me and I believe my skills are a good fit for you, then we can agree on an initial plan. If therapy with me isn’t suitable for whatever reason, we will discuss this and I will recommend suitable alternatives.

Therapy

Therapy sessions last for one hour, once a week. I usually keep the same appointments at the same time for you each week, as this supports developing a regular pace and rhythm to our work which can feel less achievable with sporadic or less frequent appointments. However, sometimes it can make sense for appointments to be less frequent, for example, as therapy is coming to an end, or during follow up. We can discuss what would work best for you.

When working with adolescents, often parents or carers will join some sessions, or part of some sessions, or occasionally I work only with parents or carers which can be helpful if children or young people are not yet willing to engage in therapy.

I draw on a range of therapeutic approaches, including CAT, CBT, ACT, DBT and EMDR. Please see the Therapies offered page for more information on these approaches. Because of the different approaches I am trained to use, no two therapies ever look the same. However, I tend to work in a time-limited way, and so I usually make a suggestion during the assessment phase for how many sessions I think may be needed and we will work together with this limit in mind, but always with the opportunity to review and change our plans depending on your needs.

We will review progress together at every session. If at any point the therapy does not seem to be helping, then we will discuss this together to understand what might be happening, and think about the best way forward. I always aim to work collaboratively and at a pace that suits you.

Ensuring that the therapy follows a clear path through beginning, middle and end phases and knowing where we are in that process can bring a sense of containment to the therapy journey. The beginning phase is about creating a shared understanding of you: how your past has shaped you, the challenges life presents to you now, and your future hopes. This is a natural continuation of the assessment session. The middle phase is where we focus not only on change and new learning, but also continuing to deepen your understanding and self-awareness. Many of us have experienced difficult or traumatic separations and endings in life, and so ensuring we have the opportunity to consciously explore and experience ending our time together can be very helpful. Doing all of this in the context of a supportive therapeutic relationship means that we can explore, notice and observe together, and in doing so, consider and experiment with new ways of managing difficult and challenging experiences.

Often people find that spending some time between sessions reflecting, practising a skill or other activity we have learnt or discussed together, can enrich the whole experience for you and support the changes and insights you make to take hold.

Confidentiality

I treat all information confidentially. Any written notes I make are minimal, and stored digitally on a secure web based programme called WriteUpp. I will not share any of your details with anyone, unless:

  1. I am concerned that you or someone else is at risk of harm. In such cases I am legally obliged to share this information with relevant agencies. Although I do not need your consent to do this, I will aim to share my reasoning if appropriate.
  2. I attend regular supervision with a Clinical Psychologist, in which I need to share the minimum of information about the people I am working with. My supervisor will also treat this information confidentially.

I am registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office for the purposes of storing sensitive information.

Location

I am currently offering a limited number of face to face appointments from my office at 41 Church Road, Ashley Cross, Poole, BH14 0NN, google map link here.

It is less than a 5 minute walk from Parksone Railway Station (London/Weymouth mainline) and on the More Bus M1 and Yellow Bus 1, Ashley Cross stop.

There is free parking on site and around local residential roads (please check signs on roads for time limits).

Online Therapy

I will continue to offer online therapy via Zoom, or an alternative secure platform if you prefer. Many people prefer this way of working, as it reduces travel time and costs. However, for some it can feel new and many people feel unsure about working together online. If this is the case for you, I would recommend trying at two or three sessions before you make a decision, as most people find they get used to it quickly.

Fees and payment

Please contact me for further information about fees.

I accept payment by cash, debit or credit card, BACS or cheque. For further details please see the Terms & Conditions document, which I will email or send you prior to our first meeting.

I am occasionally able to offer a reduced fee for people on very low incomes / benefits, please contact me for availability. You will need to provide proof of your income.

Contact me to discuss any questions or to find out more.