What should you expect to happen in the first session?
The first session is something between a getting-to-know each other and an initial assessment. This is the time to talk about what brings you to therapy, what you feel you need and what you hope to achieve. During this first meeting we will agree on the basis of our future work together, meaning the frequency of the sessions, the fee and an estimate of the duration of therapy. I will be asking questions to make sure that I understand you completely and to ensure that my therapeutic approach could work for you. If I deem it necessary, I will give you a reference for further psychiatric evaluation or psychometric assessment. In this case I will explain the rationale and work you through the process and what to expect.
What is good to know about the sessions in general?
In my practice, individual sessions last 50 min and couples therapy sessions last 80 min. The fee is agreed upon during the first session. The practice is private, which means that public sector insurance cannot be used to cover for the cost of sessions. In case of private health insurance, please keep in mind that you need to have first clarified with your agent the specific benefits that can apply, and inform me as well. Taking into consideration the needs of undergraduate students who self-fund their sessions and those of people in financial difficulties, some low cost slots for sessions (usually in the morning or in the early afternoon) are offered. In case of late arrival in the session, the time is not compensated since it would affect the following appointments of the day. Cancellation and no-show policy applies. If a client misses or cancels an appointment in less than 24 hours from the time of the session, full compensation of the agreed upon fee is expected. Exceptions are made for emergencies (e.g. personal health issues) Adults looking to book a session can contact me, in person, through e-mail or phone. Due to confidentiality issues, sessions cannot be booked for relatives or friends. The same applies for teenagers, but in this case a guardian needs to be present for the first session. And in case of a divorce, when parental responsibility is shared, written and signed permission from both legal guardians, is mandatory.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
Counselling and psychotherapy are overlapping professions. Practitioners of both are mental health professionals and their area of expertise is the mind and the way it affects behaviors, emotions and general well-being. Counselling is mostly short-term and deals with a specific, current issue. It is more problem-solving oriented and the counselor can offer suggestions and guidance, through a structured process. In Greece practitioners of counselling may come from a variety of backgrounds and can possibly have relevant qualifications, but no particular professional limitations apply. Psychotherapy is medium to longer-term and focuses on the person as a whole. It involves posing questions and exploring the long-standing attitudes, behaviours, thoughts and feelings that have significantly impacted on an individual’s quality of life, relationships and/or work. During psychotherapy we also focus on building the necessary skill-set that can be used for ongoing self-reflection and healing, for long after we have concluded the sessions. To become a licensed psychotherapist in Greece, it is necessary to have completed a postgraduate psychotherapeutic training program with a minimum duration of 4 years.
What about confidentiality?
Confidentiality applies to all information exchanged during a session, my notes regarding my patients and the mere fact that somebody is a client of the practice. This may be breached in extreme and rare circumstances when failure to do so 'may expose the client or others to risk of death or serious harm'. This applies to cases of: disclosure or evidence of physical, sexual or serious emotional abuse or neglect; threat of suicide expressed under severe emotional stress; evidence of serious and untreated mental illness; disclosure or evidence of serious self-harm (including drug or alcohol misuse that may be life-threatening).
How accessible is the practice?
Unfortunately at the moment the practice is not disability-friendly. The office is located on the 3rd floor of the building and there is an elevator. To reach it, you will have to climb up a few steps in the entrance of the building and the elevator itself is quite small. Furthermore inside the office, space is not amble and there is no equipment available for persons with mobility limitations.