Are you thinking about starting therapy?
Why do people have therapy? There can be many reasons. Perhaps there are painful feelings inside that just won't shift. Perhaps something's happened, recently or maybe even years ago, and they sense that at some level it's eating into them, destroying their chance of happiness. Some might be feeling depressed and drained, anxious, lost or directionless in life and can't quite get to the bottom of why. Others feel that they likely know the reason, but just knowing the cause doesn't seem to the ease the sadness or make the distress easier to bear. It might be about relationships, illness, isolation, grief or any number of things. And maybe it's difficult to find someone to share it all with?
Whatever's going on, you deserve to be able to make sense of it and to find your way through. Therapy gives you a quiet space to share what's troubling you and someone alongside to really listen. Someone with whom you can talk it over honestly, who can work with you to help you move forward and feel better.
My name is Jo Shaw. I'm here to help.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm a trained psychotherapist working in London (London Bridge) and Tunbridge Wells in Kent. I offer face-to-face sessions at a comfortable and private location close to public transport in both. I'm also available for online sessions, using Zoom, for people anywhere in the UK.
Scroll down for further information, what to expect, what I charge and more. You'll find a contact form at the bottom of the page.
What to expect
If you're thinking of starting therapy, here are some pointers about how the process starts with me...
The first step is to make contact. Email me at email@example.com (or there's a contact form below if you prefer). I'll come back to you and the first step is to set up a time for a preliminary chat to talk over what's going on for you.
That chat (I prefer Zoom, but telephone is ok too) tends to last about 20 minutes. It's free. You can tell me a little of what prompted you to get in touch and I'll share a bit more about how I work, where, when, my availability etc. Plus of course, you can ask any questions.
If we decide to go ahead, then I offer sessions of 50 minutes duration, usually once a week. Depending on availability and where you are based, these can be face-to-face in a private, comfortable consulting room either near London Bridge or close to Tunbridge Wells train station, or we can work online, using Zoom.
In person sessions are £75 in London and £70 in Tunbridge Wells. Online sessions are £65. I do try and offer some concessionary rates for those who are financially struggling - please ask if it feels relevant to you.
Sessions are very informal. You'll find me approachable and I don't judge - my job is to create a space for you to be able to bring whatever's on your mind, somewhere comfortable where you can feel heard.
A lot of therapy is about feelings. Recognising them, understanding them, sometimes even actually feeling them. We often carry a lot of pain around inside, maybe pushing it away because it's too difficult to deal with, or too complicated, or sometimes because we don't feel we deserve to feel better. It can all feel confusing and distressing.
Whatever you want to talk about, there's no right or wrong to any of it - it's just about what's happening for you.
What will I do? Well, a lot of the time I'll spend listening carefully. I'll let you tell it as it needs to be told, even if some of the thoughts or feelings don't make seem to you to make sense. From there it's a case of working together on what you need to be able to move out of your distress, because along with feelings, I believe that therapy is also about finding answers and solutions that make sense to you. At the heart of my philosophy is a belief in the value of what's true and authentic within us all and in the power of getting in touch with that as a way to living the lives we want and need to live.
I'm a integrative therapist. I have trained in a range of ways of working, seeing problems and issues in many different ways. As we work together, I may offer new ideas about how to see the issues - ways that can help you go forward. We might talk over how you can make changes in your life. I'll do that gently and keep in mind what feels right for you. And I'll check in with you about how we are doing regularly.
Choosing a therapist
I'm delighted that you are here looking at my site. But if you are in the early stages of your search, do look at others too to get a feel for different styles and areas of expertise. It's important to look for one with professional qualifications and who is a member of a recognised professional body like the BACP, UKCP, BPS or NCPS.
There are many different approaches to therapy out there*. There's some evidence that some types of therapy can work better for certain types of challenge, but research has consistently shown that the best predictor of success is whether you 'click' with your therapist - the quality of the relationship you have with each other - almost irrespective of their approach. It might take a little while to know for sure how this is going to go, but from the start, use your instincts. If you have an initial call with one, do you sense that they're going to get you and what's going on for you? How did the call feel for you?
My qualifications? I have a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling and am in my final year of an MA programme. Prior to this I undertook a Foundation Certificate in Psychotherapy and Counselling. I am in my early sixties, having retrained after raising a family and a long career in marketing, where I was very involved in mentoring and training.
Before my MA, I worked with suicidal and depressed people and also in advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. I am a member of the BACP and the UKCP.
What issues do you work with?
I have worked with a wide range of issues from feeling suicidal, to depression and anxiety, to the pain caused by abuse and trauma, plus questions of sexual or gender identity, relationship issues, loss, shame, loneliness and much more. The process we go through will be very much tailored to you and your story, your needs and your goals in therapy.
What's the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
You may see these terms used interchangeably. The truth is there's often not much difference. Both counsellors and therapists often use many of the same approaches and work with similar issues.
Some have suggested that a counsellor may be more likely to focus on short term problems faced by their clients, whilst therapists are better equipped to help with deeper and longer term feelings or questions. Of course, short term problems can force long term feelings into the mind again, whilst longer term issues can also produce day-to-day distress, so there's often overlap.
How long does a course of therapy last?
That very much depends. It's really down to you. Some people come for a few sessions and then feel that they have what they need. Others spend longer - weeks or months in therapy - because it just takes that long to get to the bottom of things fully and to start to feel ok. If you work with me, we'll talk about that at the start and check in as we go.
Is it always on the same day and time?
If possible, yes. We'll fix a time and a day that's yours and I'll block that out for you. Getting into a regular rhythm like this can be really beneficial.
Which is preferable - online or face-to-face therapy?
The most important factor is what's realistically going to work for you. There's often something powerful and personal about sitting with someone in a room, and it can offer a neutral environment - somewhere out of the day-to-day that feels peaceful and calming. For some, finding somewhere quiet to speak freely on a Zoom call from home might also be hard.
On the other hand, practical reasons (like distance, availability, or mobility issues) might make face-to-face sessions more difficult for some. Or they might just feel more comfortable talking from a familiar, private space at home.
Either can work and I have plenty of experience of both.
Do you work with children and young people?
I work with people over 18.
What's the cancellation policy?
If you cancel later than 24 hours before our session, the session fee will be payable.
firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below
If you are really struggling right now, here are some other sources of help:
Call: 116 123 / Email: email@example.com
The Campaign Against Living Miserably
Call: 0800 58 58 58 / Webchat: www.thecalmzone.net/get-support
Text: SHOUT to 85258
Papyrus (for anyone under 35 thinking of suicide)
Call: 0800 068 4141 / Text: 07860039967 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Call: 0800 0119 100 / Webchat: switchboard.lgbt /