Trauma-focused psychotherapy in Somerset

Frequently asked questions


What does treatment involve?

CBT involves working with your therapist to develop ways to understand and manage unhelpful beliefs and behaviours. You will explore your thoughts and behaviour in detail and learn to be more in charge of these.

From an early stage, your CBT therapist will assign you tasks to perform between sessions. These tasks are an important part of the treatment. For most clients, improvements happen between therapy sessions.

Your CBT therapist usually spends some time with you understanding past events that might have contributed to your present condition, but this is not the main focus of the work. The main focus is to allow you to have a normal life and be in charge of your own future.

How long does treatment take?

Your CBT therapist usually uses the first one or two sessions to assess your condition/presenting problem, and to formulate a treatment plan. The treatment plan will include an estimate of the number of treatment sessions required. Between four and ten treatment sessions is typical. This assessment is different from any assessment that another therapist might have made in the past, so it is always needed.

When you are having CBT treatment, you usually have regular weekly sessions with your therapist, however, clients are invited to determine how frequent or infrequent they would like to attend. A session typically lasts for 60 minutes.

The treatment plan will include an estimate of the number of treatment sessions required. Between four and ten treatment sessions is typical.

Some clients improve unexpectedly quickly, and need fewer sessions than was estimated. Some patients improve more slowly than expected, and might be offered additional sessions.

After your treatment is complete, you might be offered some follow-up sessions at longer intervals, perhaps a few months, to ensure that the improvement has been sustained.

So CBT treatment usually takes at least several months, but it is rare for it to last more than a year. The benefits of CBT can be ongoing, however, because during your treatment you will acquire tools and skills that you can use throughout the rest of your life hopefully without requiring a therapist's input.

Appointments explained

Clients are asked to arrive in good time for their session and your therapist requires a minimum of 48 hours notice of a cancellation. Failure to do so may require you to pay in full for the session. 

Payment can be made to the therapist in cash or by cheque at the beginning of each session or, alternatively, by bank transfer on an agreement.

CBT with other treatments

Your CBT therapist can work effectively in partnership with your GP, and with other doctors and professionals.

If you are receiving another “talking therapy”, like counselling or another form of psychotherapy, then it is unusual to receive CBT at the same time. This is because these therapies involve you in a similar way, so they might be less effective if you have them together.

If you are receiving some other form of treatment, such as prescription drugs, then you may be able to benefit from CBT at the same time. Your CBT therapist and your doctor usually work together. For example, as CBT starts to take effect, your doctor might gradually decrease the dose of drugs that you receive. You should not stop taking any drugs you have been prescribed just because you plan to have CBT.

If you are not having any other treatment, then in some circumstances your CBT therapist might recommend that you involve your GP. For example, a short-term course of prescription drugs might help you to benefit more from CBT

What to expect from your CBT therapist

Good CBT treatment starts with a strong feeling of alliance between you and your therapist. From there you move on to understand your thought processes. Then you apply this understanding to real life behaviours and situations. 

When therapy ends, you are able to use the things you have learned independently in your daily life. You should be able to identify all these stages in your therapy, even if they are a bit mixed up. CBT is not a rigid process. It does not fit exactly the same pattern for every client.

Does CBT work?

Like any therapy, CBT can have very different results for different clients. If your therapist’s assessment is that you would benefit from CBT treatment, then you can expect positive benefits if you participate in your treatment plan.

Many clients find that CBT enables them to overcome their condition and have a normal life, even when other kinds of therapy have not helped them as much in the past.

In general, medical professionals feel that CBT is effective. For that reason, the Department of Health recommends CBT treatment for several of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders.


Clinical Hypnotherapy

Some of the MYTHS often represented in the media and stage hypnosis shows include;

Hypnosis is Sleep! 

If hypnosis was used to induce sleep then no changes could be made as quite frankly, the client would probably be off snoring away for the rest of the session far away from the task in hand! During a treatment session, your brain needs to be highly alert so that they you follow the psychotherapist’s voice throughout. 

The ‘trance’ state is quite simply a state of mental and physical relaxation and you can terminate a session at any point; it is in fact the pleasantness of this state that means most clients can’t be bothered to!

Only you can change your perceptions, beliefs and ultimately, your behaviour. Hypnotherapy does involve the therapist making positive suggestions whilst the client is in trance. However, these suggestions are entirely your own and unique to you. 

A full assessment, carried out before treatment begins, is vital for the therapist to understand exactly what you are looking to achieve, be it weight loss, tackling anxiety, or overcoming avoidance due to a specific phobia. Behavioural change can only take place if you are willing to alter your thoughts about the problem. 

The unhelpful and self-defeating thoughts maintaining the problem need to be overridden by more effective and productive thoughts. Coming to therapy, you are seeking change and therefore already have your positive thoughts about what this will mean for you. The hypnotherapist will repeat these positive affirmations to you whilst in trance to embed them firmly in your subconscious, making it almost impossible for the unhelpful thoughts to undermine your progress.  

It is a scientific fact that our subconscious brain will not accept suggestions made to us in trance, if they go against our individual principles and values. Any such suggestions would most likely lead you to leaving trance and no doubt losing faith in your hypnotherapist.

The hypnotherapist has the power to change my thoughts!

There are many misconceptions surrounding the practice and techniques used in clinical hypnotherapy. Understandably, clients need to be fully informed of what to expect during and after hypnosis so as to make an informed decision before committing to therapy. 

I can’t be hypnotised!

Nearly everyone can be hypnotised, largely because clients looking to make changes are motivated to enter trance and have clear goals in sight. This is essential, as in order to make these positive changes there must be motivation and an open-mindedness towards this therapeutic approach. If someone is motivated to stop smoking but purely because their partner is asking them to do so, it may be more challenging for the therapist to help. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Hypnotherapy is a form of magic!

Hypnotherapy has been discounted by many as a stage show of sorts largely because of the media’s insistence on glamourising the practice and leading us to believe that we all have the capacity to run around like ‘headless chickens’ if the order is given! In fact, hypnotherapists have been practicing long before the dawn of television and work in an entirely different fashion. What is shown on screen is in part a magic trick; stage hypnotists carefully select audience members who are already motivated to step up on the stage and are happy and willing to behave in any manner of ways. For the large part, most of us are motivated to do exactly the opposite and are therefore discounted at shows as willing participants. Again, individuals will not under any circumstances follow suggestions that go against their personal boundaries and values.



How many sessions are recommended to be beneficial? 

Typically EMDR is delivered weekly for a total of 6 to 12 sessions. The type of problem, life circumstances, and the history of previous trauma will determine how many treatment sessions your psychotherapist might suggest are necessary. EMDR treatment should reach a natural conclusion when negative emotions, unhelpful beliefs and distressing physiological arousal once associated with an historic event/s, have diminished significantly.,

Is EMDR a form of hypnosis?

No. During EMDR treatment the client is fully awake and alert. EMDR will not be as effective in cases where there is not a strong therapeutic alliance between the therapist and client. Memories cannot be accessed without the clients' consent and free will.

Is EMDR recognised by the NHS?

The NHS recommends the following psychological therapies for individuals suffering from post traumatic stress disorder: 

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Trauma-focused CBT 


Where can I learn more about EMDR and what treatment involves?

Click here to visit The EMDR Institute's website for more information about this particular therapy.



Can I have one-to-one sessions?

Yes. 60 minute face-to-face mindfulness sessions are available. For more information, please contact your psychotherapist Vicki. The first appointment involves an assessment of your particular needs and goals. Home practice is advised between sessions for advancement of skills learnt.

How many sessions will be useful for me?

This is entirely up to the individual. Typically, following an assessment, clients benefit from between 3 and 8 sessions.

Is Mindfulness a form of meditation?

To live mindfully essentially means to cultivate a natural state of 'being', much as young children and animals do naturally, without the background chatter that can develop in our minds over time. One way to develop, or rekindle this skill is to learn to purposefully direct our attention; this might involve observing our thoughts in any given moment, our environment or our physical state. Sitting quietly can aid this form of concentrated attention however, the goal is to be able to access this state without the aid of a guided meditation during quiet and busy times of our daily life.

Is Mindfulness a form of hypnosis?

Both Mindfulness and Hypnosis involve a focusing of the mind's attention. Hypnosis aids the client to use imaginative resources for positive change whereas Mindfulness cultivates awareness of things just as they are, without judgement, in the here and now. There is no goal in mindful practice other than to learn to accept as best we can what is occuring in the given moment.

Are there group Mindfulness sessions available?

At present Vicki is not running any community courses in Somerset.  All future courses in Wincanton and the surrounding area will be advertised on this site.