I am an experienced, fully qualified psychotherapist, based in east Oxford. The majority of my work is usually face-to-face but I also offer telephone appointments for people who have difficulty attending in person, and I have been working mostly by telephone during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have 13 years’ experience as a psychotherapist, working in the charity, university, and private sectors. There are three questions which I have found are important to many people when they are looking for a new therapist or counsellor. I hope you will find it useful to read about where I stand on these questions:
1. How can psychotherapy help me?
You may be thinking about seeing a therapist as a way of dealing with a specific problem or situation in your life, or you may have a more general feeling that 'something is wrong', without necessarily being able to describe exactly what the problem is. Psychotherapy can be helpful in either of these situations.
I am an integrative psychotherapist, which means that I am trained in more than one form of psychotherapy, and actively use a blend of different therapies in my work. Integrative psychotherapists are interested in uncovering, and working with, the common forces of change across different forms of psychotherapy and counselling. For example, there is considerable research which suggests that the individual relationship between therapist and client is more important to the success of the therapy than the particular 'brand' of therapy being practised.
From an integrative perspective, some of the ways in which psychotherapy can help people are:
- To gain a clearer and more subtle understanding of your own internal world.
- To become more skilful at getting your needs met within relationships, while also taking account of the needs of others.
- To take a more compassionate and open-minded attitude towards yourself and others.
- To be more emotionally resilient.
- To be more comfortable with change and uncertainty.
- To become more skilful at adapting to change.
- Where necessary, to endure suffering, and creatively transform it.
This is not to say that everyone who has therapy will benefit in all of these ways. Psychotherapy is a very complex process, and each person's experience is unique.
2. What will therapy be like?
Many people are interested to know what will happen in therapy, both at a practical level and also what being in therapy will feel like. If you have never seen a counsellor or therapist before, you may have formed some impressions through books, television programmes, family or friends. If you have had some prior experience of counselling or therapy, you may still be wondering what it would be like for you now, at this point in your life, with a new therapist.
The first session in psychotherapy provides an opportunity to begin to get a sense of what it will be like, and to ask any questions you may have. To some extent, it is impossible to know what will happen in advance. However, I can describe to you some of the main aspects of how I work:
- The therapy I offer involves a 50-minute session at a regular time each week. This would be your time to explore whatever it is which is causing you unhappiness or difficulty.
- My role is, first of all, to understand you from your own perspective, to hear what you are thinking and feeling. For some people, the experience of being listened to and understood can, in itself, have quite a powerful impact.
- I will also listen out for themes in your experience and life story which you may not be fully aware of yourself. I will try to support you to become more aware of how you perceive and relate to the world around you. For some people, developing insight and self-knowledge is the aspect of therapy that they most value, and it can be helpful in making choices which are more likely to lead to fulfilment in future,
- If you are facing difficult choices or wanting to make changes to your way of life, I will support you in thinking through the consequences of different options, and understanding what you most want and need. I can also work with you on aspects of daily living, such as strategies for managing anger, self-care, self-assertion, and setting boundaries in relationships.
3. How long will it take?
The length of therapy varies hugely between individuals and can be anything from a few sessions to a few months or even years, depending on your needs and the nature of the difficulties you are bringing. Normally I would suggest an initial set of four sessions, with the length of further therapy to be decided between us at the fourth session, once we have had some opportunity to explore the nature of the difficulties you are bringing. Some people are comfortable with a short, focused period of therapy. For others, a longer period of therapy feels more secure and supportive. If you are unsure, this is something we can discuss and work out together.
Training, qualifications & experience
Training and qualifications
I am an experienced, fully qualified psychotherapist and accredited member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
I hold a postgraduate degree (MSc) in Integrative Psychotherapy, which I trained for at the Metanoia Institute in London (www.metanoia.ac.uk). This is a long-term, intensive training, accredited by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and validated by Middlesex University. I am also trained in telephone counselling work.
I have 13 years' experience as a psychotherapist, working across the private sector, charity sector, and university sector. I have also volunteered as a listener in psychiatric settings. I have worked with people from many different walks of life, different social and economic backgrounds, and different age groups.
I have experience of working with a wide range of emotional and psychological issues including relationship problems, depression, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, life transitions (e.g. leaving home, emigrating, becoming a parent, becoming disabled), family breakdown, abuse and neglect in childhood, identity issues and sexuality. In addition, I specialise in the following areas:
Areas of specialism
Academic and Study Related Issues - I have particular experience of working with university students and the problems that are common among students including work blocks, perfectionism, performance anxiety, social anxiety in groups (e.g. seminars), adjustment to the university environment, and work and career choices
Experiences of discrimination and prejudice - especially in relation to disability, sexual orientation, gender, and race/ethnicity.
Telephone Counselling and Psychotherapy - Although the majority of my work is face-to-face, I do also offer a telephone service for those who prefer it. This may suit you if:
- You are short of time - with telephone counselling and psychotherapy, there is no travel time involved in attending sessions, which can make it easier to fit around your other commitments.
- You travel frequently or are planning to move home
- You are disabled, injured or unwell
- You experience emotional or psychological barriers to leaving the house or travelling
- You need to speak about issues which you find very painful, embarrassing, frightening or shameful. For some people, the 'visual privacy' of the telephone helps them to speak more freely.
For details of telephone counselling services, please see my website www.stephriddletherapy.co.uk
Registered / Accredited
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation.
UK Council for Psychotherapy
The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is a leading professional body for the education, training and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.
As part of its commitment to protect the public, it works to improve access to psychotherapy, to support and disseminate research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.
UKCP standards cover the range of different psychotherapies. Registration is obtained by training or accrediting with one of its member organisations, or by holding a European Certificate in Psychotherapy. 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
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Academic and Study Issues
Discrimination and Prejudice
£60.00 per session
My fees are £60 per session, including the first session.
For telephone therapy, you do not pay for the call itself. I will call you at the agreed time on the day of the session.
Payment is made on a session-by-session basis. I will not ask you to financially commit to a particular length of therapy or to pay for a block of sessions in advance.
Booking an Appointment
If you would like to book an appointment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a few sentences telling me about the problem or problems you would like help with. I will usually reply to you within 24 hours. If I am available to work with you, I will usually offer you an appointment within the next 10 days.
During the COVID-19 pandemic I have been working mostly by telephone. When conditions allow, I will be holding in-person sessions at the Oxford Therapy Centre, 1st floor, 142-144 Oxford Road, Oxford OX4 2EA.
Oxford Therapy Centre has undergone a full risk assessment to ensure that its procedures and practices are compliant with Government guidelines in relation to COVID-19.
The Centre is very near to several major bus routes and there is good availability of cycle and car parking. Details of the venue can be found on the Location and Parking page of the Oxford Therapy Centre website: