Answers for Clients

This page is for anyone looking to have counselling or psychotherapy with Cecilia Covella.

This page covers both the FAQ about my practice and answers to some ‘unspoken questions’ that have come up with clients in the past. Even if you’ve had therapy before, I suggest you scroll through to see what the different sections are – you might find a question you didn’t know you had!

I am always looking to expand this page. If you can think of any other questions I haven’t answered yet, I would be very grateful if you let me know.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost?

Psychotherapy sessions generally last 50 minutes and the cost is on a sliding scale depending on your financial situation and what you can afford. Payment arrangements are based on a trust system – I will never ask you to prove how much you can afford to pay. The rate will mainly be based on your earnings, but I’m aware that other elements like childcare or lack of job security will also affect what will be accessible to you, so please let me know if you need a price that is different from what the guide below says you should be paying.

You can have a look at the table below for a guide to my prices.

Annual incomeOnline sessionIn-person session
£25,000 or below£30£40
£35,000 or below£40£50
£45,000 or below £50£60
Above £45,000£60£70

I am also registered with WPA health insurance and charge £50 for online sessions and £60 for in-person through them.

I offer a few hours per week of at-cost sessions, which are £10 per hour to cover the room. Currently these are fully booked.

If there comes a time when you are not able to pay the agreed amount, please do let me know and we will explore options together.

Do you offer longer or shorter sessions?

Yes.

There can be lots of reasons to have a longer session, so I’m happy to explore whether this is the right option for you. Some people need more time to get into a ‘therapy head-space’ or go through information.

There are also plenty of reasons to have a shorter session. A person might not have the time to do an hour a week, or might find it overwhelming to spend so much time talking, especially at first.

If I get the impression that either of these options might be helpful for you, I will bring it up with you, but there is no obligation because you know best what you need.

How long can we work for?

There is no limit to how many sessions we can have, and no minimum number of sessions. When the time comes that you feel our work together isn’t necessary or helpful anymore, we can work towards an ending or explore reducing the session frequency.

Many therapy services offer ‘time-limited’ therapy, in which there are a set number of sessions, usually between 6 and 20. This can also be helpful, because a time limit can help someone stay more focused, and because it can feel more comfortable to know exactly how long the work will go for. If you would like to set a time limit, this is also an option.

What is your cancellation policy?

I believe that feeling forced to come to therapy because you have to pay to cancel is not productive. I am privileged to have the ability to offer you flexibility around this.

As a standard, I only charge for room rental if you cancel. This means that if you give me enough notice to cancel the room you won’t have to pay anything. If you cancel your session with less than 48 hours’ notice, though, I will ask you to pay for the lost room booking, which is usually £10.

I work this way out of respect for your time, and I ask that you respect my time in return. If you regularly cancel sessions on short notice, I may ask you to pay for cancellations or to book your sessions one at a time.

What if I’m late?

The time you have booked in with me is yours, so you will get at least full use of that time. This means that, no matter how late you are, we will use the time we have left.

If we both have time to stay later, I will offer you the full session even if you are late. I can’t always guarantee this will be an option, though, as I might have another appointment after yours.

What if we don’t work well together?

I want to hear if anything isn’t working well between us, and I hope we can talk about it and resolve it together. If not, I can help you explore what worked and didn’t work, so that you can go into your next psychotherapy relationship with a clearer idea of what you’re looking for. I can also signpost you to a colleague or different counselling and psychotherapy directories.

Is this allowed?

Therapy is a weird thing! You sit in a room with a stranger and talk about yourself. On top of that, the stranger in front of you is a trained professional who you are paying, but also a human being who is (hopefully) feeling things with you. You’re expected to open up about the most complicated things in your life while also navigating this strange relationship.

In my years practicing therapy, I’ve found that there are certain things people feel unsure or worried about doing. The idea of disrespecting a therapist or saying something that I will judge can be really scary. That’s why I’ve put together the section below.

Can I swear?

Absolutely!

Because of the professional setting of therapy, I find that a lot of my clients tend to change their way of speaking in sessions or apologise if they swear.

I think it’s important that you be able to express yourself without holding back, and this includes swearing. I have no personal issue with swearing, and I don’t find it offensive or disrespectful. 

Can I talk about my spiritual or religious beliefs?

I have been lucky and honoured to work with people with different beliefs, and unfortunately many of them have felt worried about my judgements or even apologised for bringing religion into the room. This is completely understandable given the way people might react in the outside world, but it’s not something you should be worrying about in therapy. I want to understand your world as well as I can, and that includes your relationship with God, religion, or magic.

If you want to include your beliefs within our work, I would be very happy to talk through how we might do that.

Can I talk about sexual topics?

While I don’t have any specific psychosexual training, I am always open to talking about your sexuality and sex life.

Talking about sex, desire, and relationships can be a bit awkward. I’ve found that the words and language involved can be embarrassing to use for a lot of people (though not everyone). If this is the case for you, we can explore what might help you talk about it and what language you are comfortable with.

I have worked with many individuals who have experienced sexual trauma, and am very aware of the different ways in which this can impact someone’s relationship to sex.

I am aware of and open to all relationship types, including kink, polyamory, sex work, and non-sexual partnerships.

Can I talk about crime?

This is a big one! Especially because what is considered a ‘crime’ tends to be based on power structures rather than morality.

Many of the people I have worked with have committed crimes in order to survive, because of their social situation, or because of mental health or addiction issues. Not only do I not judge these actions, I feel they are sometimes an integral part to their stories and experiences, so I want to hear about them.

There are three things that I have to report by law if a client talks about them. These are:
– Under-age FGM, whether it’s being planned or it’s already happened
– A terrorist act, whether it’s being planned or it’s already happened
– Drug trafficking or money laundering, which is not the same as selling drugs or making money through crime

Outside of those three things, I would only consider reporting something if I thought someone would be in serious and avoidable danger otherwise. Whenever possible, I would speak to the client before making a report.

If you are the victim or survivor of a crime, I will not report this without your consent.

Can I ask you about yourself?

Everyone is different – some people like that their therapist is a neutral person just there to focus on them, and other people like knowing a bit more so that they feel more comfortable in the room.

I am hoping to give you a space in which you talk about very vulnerable things, and by the time we’ve worked together a while I might know quite a lot about you. I think it’s only fair to show you the trust that you are showing me. If there’s something you want to know about me, don’t hesitate to ask.

Sometimes, I might want to talk about why you want to know first. This is to help you make sure that you really do want to, and to keep the focus on you, which is my job.

Can I smoke, drink, or take drugs?

Outside of our sessions, it is completely up to you what you do. I will never push you to stop doing something in order to work with me. If you want to reduce your substance use, I will support you with this, but I will never pressure you to.

During a session, you are welcome to smoke cigarettes or vape if the space we are in permits it. Currently, neither of the spaces I use allow for this, though.

If you arrive intoxicated, I am still open to doing the session if that’s what you want to do. I’ve had experience of this going well and not so well, and it will mainly depend on the specific situation.

Through my work with the homeless community, I have experience of working with people who have alcohol or drug dependence issues and who will need to be intoxicated or drinking during a session. If this is something you think you might need, we can discuss how to best make it work.

I have found that being sober for therapy sessions can be a powerful goal for clients who struggle with addiction, but it is not something I will ever impose on you.

Can I scream or shout?

Please do. I am here for any feelings you have and however you want to express them.

If you are angry at me or I’ve done something that hurt you, I want to know, and I understand that it might be difficult to tell me without getting upset. I might set some boundaries if you’re abusive, but I am committed to not using my power in the relationship to shut down your anger. I will never end our work together because of how you expressed your emotions.

If you are angry or hurt by something outside of the room, you don’t ever have to hold back from expressing this, as long as we’re able to stay safe.

What if I can’t stop crying?

When I first tried therapy myself, I did a lot of holding back my hurt from making me cry. A big reason for this was that I was worried about what would happen if I let go and felt it. I thought I might start crying and never stop. I worried that would be a waste of time, or awkward for the therapist, or even worse – go over the hour I had paid for!

Now that I am a therapist myself, I have had lots of people apologise to me when they cry in a session. This is understandable, because it can be really uncomfortable to have someone witness so much hurt and vulnerability. A client might also worry about upsetting me, or feel guilty if I get tearful myself.

To put it as simply as possible – this is what I am here for. The therapy room is a strange place, but the idea is for it so be a space where you can feel whatever you’re feeling, no matter how big or even irrational it is. You don’t need to worry about the impact it will have on me or what I might think about you – it’s my job to manage those things so that you can focus on you.

There are, of course, lots of other reasons why letting yourself feel things might be scary or take a while, and that’s completely normal. There’s no obligation to cry or show feelings in any obvious way at any stage, but I hope that as we spend more time together you will feel better able to if that’s the right thing for you.

Can I talk about bodily functions?

To put it simply, nothing is ‘too much information’ if you want to share it with me.

I mostly work with disabled or chronically ill individuals (though not exclusively), so topics like using the toilet, washing themselves, or having invasive medical procedures come up a lot. If they didn’t speak to me about them, I wouldn’t have the chance to understand their experience.

Talking about these topics is very stigmatised in our society, which can add to the stress or trauma they bring. My aim is to give you at least an hour of time in which they’re treated as the completely understandable and normal things that they are.