Lesley Murray BA, PgDip,MBACP. Couples/Individual/Supervision
Covid-19. The government have said throughout the pandemic that it is fine to attend mental health appointments. You can choose whether you would prefer to come in person to the practice or whether you would prefer an online video appointment.
I am also qualified in online therapy and use a secure and encrypted video programme that medical professionals use to conduct sessions. This is used by me with clients all over the world.
It is really important at this time that you take steps to look after your mental and physical health.
I offer a low cost assessment session for individuals (not couples), without commitment to further sessions (£20 for assessment hour) as it is so important that you find a therapist you think you can work with. I am unable to offer concessions for students in counselling/psychotherapy training though as with all clients I offer a flexible schedule meaning that you can choose weekly/fortnightly/every three weeks according to schedule and budget.
I am an experienced counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor registered with BACP. I offer both short and long-term therapy in the Greenwich and Blackheath area from my peaceful and discreet therapy room in Blackheath Standard. I view therapy as a collaborative process, in which we work together to enhance your quality of life and explore your issues in a safe and trusting space.
- I offer psychotherapy to individuals and couples - fees are £70 for an individual (1 hour) and £100 for couples (90 minute sessions). This is payable by invoicing in advance of sessions. I offer daytime, evening and weekend appointments.
- I also work as a clinical supervisor and welcome students in training as well as more experienced therapists. My fees are £90 per month for the 90 minute session. You can either visit the practice for the session or I am amenable to Skype and telephone supervision.
- There is free on street parking outside the practice and the area of Blackheath Standard is well serviced by bus routes. The nearest stations are Blackheath and Westcombe Park (both about 20 minutes walk).
- I do not charge for missed sessions even if you can only let me know just before your session time. We can rearrange or I can quickly refund your payment. Transport/work/illness/childcare issues can happen suddenly. Please do not come to the practice with Covid symptoms.
About Couples Therapy
Couples therapy sessions are 90 minutes long. I do this because I think we can accomplish much more in a longer session and it is very important that you both get a chance to express what is going on for you in your relationship. I also expect us to need much fewer sessions and we can meet less frequently according to work schedules.
The idea of counselling is often unnerving to people, and the idea of doing those sessions with another person can be downright terrifying. Nothing is really going to change that potential dread before your first appointment, but knowing what to expect makes it a bit less unnerving.
Couples therapy seems like a pretty simple idea: you sign up for a session when your relationship is in trouble and you need help dealing with it.
Perhaps you and your partner are arguing about the stupidest things and these rows quickly escalate into something nasty.
Or your relationship feels stale, and if the two of you were not so busy leading separate lives you feel you would die of boredom. Sometimes there is a big issue - such as money, sex, infidelity, in-laws or children—about which you cannot get your partner to understand your viewpoint.
The main purpose of couples therapy is to put you and your significant other in a room with a neutral mediator to help you make sense of what's going on. If you're having trouble communicating with each other, then the counsellor is going to help guide you through talking about it.
The main point, as you'd expect, is to get you talking through whatever issues you have, or to simply figure out what those issues are. In the case of couples therapy, it's useful to find a counsellor who will suit both of you.
As you'd probably expect, the first thing I'm likely going to ask you is something along the lines of, "What's going on?" or "Why are you here?" It sounds incredibly simple, but it's worth taking the time with your significant other to prepare to answer the questions. Couples might be unhappy for six years before seeking counselling. At that point, it's pretty tough to narrow down and fix any problems.
You want to prepare yourself to answer a few rudimentary questions during that first session. In fact, the whole process is likely similar to one-on-one therapy, which means the therapist will likely ask about your history and expect both of you to be open and honest.
Depending on the situation, your counsellor might also talk to you both individually for portions of the appointment. Don't expect the first visit to a couples counsellor to produce results. Things might come up you never knew about the other person, or you might let something slip out of your own mouth that you didn't even know you thought. Basically, couples counselling has just as much potential of being positive as it does negative, but that's just part of the process. Talking about your problems with a counsellor might not be easy. Sessions might pass in silence as you and your partner seethe over perceived wrongs—or you might bring your fights with you, perhaps even arguing during sessions. Both are OK. Your therapist can act as mediator or referee and help you cope with the resulting emotions and turmoil.
Be prepared for some awkward conversations, because chances are they'll happen. As time goes on you will probably set goals in therapy while you work out your issues. You will also learn to set boundaries with each other so that your relationship is more purposeful.
What to expect from Individual Therapy
Making the decision to attend counselling is a positive step and can offer support beyond that available from family or friends. It offers an environment in which you can express your feelings and gain deeper insight into your difficulties. Counselling sessions are also confidential, so you can talk about things you might not feel comfortable discussing with anyone else.
The aim is to help you find better ways to understand yourself, or to bring about changes to help you manage the way you think or behave to improve your mental and emotional well-being.
Listening carefully is the largest part of what all counsellors do. They make sure clients have clarified the problem areas in their own terms and help them decide what steps they want to take next. My goal is to always let the work proceed at the client’s pace.
In your first session, I will typically ask questions about you and your life. This information helps me make an initial assessment of your situation. Questions I might ask include:
Why you sought therapy at this time. A particular issue probably led you to seek counselling. I may ask you a series of questions about your life. For example, because family situations play an important role in who you are, I may ask about your family history and your current family situation. Other than knowing the reason you sought therapy, I may ask questions to find out if you’re suffering from other symptoms of your problem. For example, your problem might be causing difficulty at work.
It is completely normal to feel anxious at first, particularly if this is your first experience of therapy. It can take a while to get used to the situation but almost all clients report feeling significantly more at ease as the session goes along. It can be quite a relief to talk about difficult issues with someone who is understanding, who clearly withholds judgment and with whom you do not have an emotional attachment.
It is also quite common to feel tearful and cry much sooner than anticipated. You might feel surprised by the intensity of feelings but it is completely normal especially after having to hold so much, usually for quite some time. The tears might be as much about relief as about expressing sadness.
Training, qualifications & experience
I have been working as a therapist for more than 14 years and have qualifications in counselling, counselling supervision, creative arts therapy, and online counselling. I have previously taught the Introductory course, Certificate and Diploma in Counselling. Prior to retraining, I worked for the Ministry of Defence and the police authority. I have a special interest in counselling individuals who have suffered trauma while working as first responders in the public sector.
My areas of experience include individual and couples counselling, addiction, stress and anxiety, trauma and general counselling.
British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. Therapists registered with the Association fall into a number of different membership categories such as Individual Member, Registered Member MBACP and Registered Member MBACP (Accred), each standing for different levels of training and experience. MBACP (Accred) and MBACP (Snr Accred) members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.
Registered members can be found on the BACP Register, which was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status issued by the Professional Standards Authority. Individual Members will have completed an appropriate counselling and/or psychotherapy course and started to practise, but will not appear on the BACP Register until they've progressed to Registered Member MBACP status.
All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure. Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.
Accredited register membership
Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
This therapist has indicated that they belong to an Accredited Register.
Areas of counselling I deal with
I offer a low cost assessment session for individuals (not couples), without commitment to further sessions (£20 for assessment hour).
Fees are £70 for an individual (1 hour) and £100 for couples (90 minute sessions). This is payable by invoicing by Izettle which accepts all major credit and debit cards.
I offer appointments from 7.30am-10pm and run an entirely flexible schedule. There is more availability at weekends than evenings.
I am not currently offering after school sessions to young people.