Why seek therapy?

Everyone struggles at some point in their lives. Research shows that at any one time 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem over the course of a year[i]. Mental Health difficulties are more common than most people realise, but you don’t have to suffer from a serious mental health difficulty to benefit from professional support.

Everyone, at some point in life, may have difficulties in their relationships; may struggle to lead their lives according to their values and goals or may get stuck in unhelpful or unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Systemic family therapy can also help these individuals, couples and families to reflect on their patterns of behaviour and relationships; to improve communication; to realign themselves with their goals and values in life; and to develop strategies and coping skills to help move their lives in the direction that is most meaningful to them.

To find out more about systemic family therapy and how Teresa might be able to help you please refer to the About Family Therapy and About Teresa Sections.


[i] Health and Social Care Information Centre website. Last visited 30th November 2015. http://www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/psychiatricmorbidity07


What should I be aware of when looking for a therapist?

There are a broad range of theoretical approaches, therapy modalities and therapeutic trainings in the mental health field. It is important to ensure that professionals have the appropriate training, experience and registration to match your needs. You can ask the therapist for evidence of their qualifications and/or check their registration on the professional association website with which they are registered.

It might be helpful to have a conversation with the professional to find out more about their ways of working and to see if it will be a good fit for you.

To find out more about systemic family therapy and about Teresa please refer to the About Family Therapy and About Teresa Sections.


What can family therapy help with?

Systemic family therapy can help with a number of presenting difficulties from serious mental health problems (e.g. depression or eating disorders) to issues such as marital difficulties, bereavement, family conflicts or unhealthy patterns of behaviour.

For more information please visit the Therapy Section which is under Services Offered and the Research and Evidence-Practice Section which is under About Family Therapy.


What is the Competency Benchmark for Systemic and Family Psychotherapists?

The National Occupational Standards for Psychological Therapies (NOS) describes what is expected of someone working in their occupation. The minimum competencies of a Systemic and Family Psychotherapist are summarised as following[ii]:


  • "To undertake an assessment for Family and Systemic Psychotherapy as a therapeutic activity. This requires taking sensitive account of the client’s needs as information is gathered enabling the client’s wider perspective.
  • To promote constructive patterns in relationships within and across systems. Through the promotion of open communication and the engagement of relevant people in the therapeutic alliance clients are assisted to focus on their actions, resources and the impact on their own lives and the wider system.
  • To be able to use the resources of a team in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy. This requires collaboratively reflecting the team’s contributions and adjusting the direction of the therapeutic work.
  • To be able to explain the rationale for systemic approaches explaining to the individual, the family and the significant system how one change in the system leads to another.
  • To be able to intervene in patterns within and across systems.
  • To be able to explore differences across and within cultures in family and systemic therapy. The therapist will recognise when extra consultation is required to support client well-being and that it involves respectfully challenging beliefs, behaviours and practice within the logic of the cultural system.
  • To promote change through tasks between Family and Systemic Psychotherapy sessions. This will include developing effective tasks, eliciting feedback helpful to the clients and adjusting the pace and direction of therapy in response to the tasks.
  • To be able to develop a formulation in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy, which includes themselves and, the professional systems of which they are member. This involves sharing multiple narratives, contexts and perspectives with the family recognising that it evolves during the progress of therapy.
  • Being able to work across different languages in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy. Interpreters have an important role in the system and the therapist demonstrates to the client their desire to achieve a shared conceptual agreement.
  • To be able to monitor and review progress in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy. This requires that the therapist and client together highlight progress or when direction may need to change. The therapist works self and relational reflexively.
  • To be able to engage significant members of the client’s system.
  • To be able to promote the engagement of children and adolescent in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy.
  • To be able to manage the ending of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy."


[ii] The Blue Book. Training Standards and Course Accreditation (2015) 4th edition, AFT


How can I access the profession’s Code of Ethics and Practice?

The Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice in the UK has three relevant documents related to the profession’s Code of Ethics and Practice. They are:

     1. Code of Ethics and Practice

     2. Code of Ethics and Practice: information for clients

     3. Code of Ethics and Practice for Supervisors


Can I come to family therapy on my own?

Yes. Systemic family therapists can see individuals as well as couples and families.

For more information please refer to the What is Family Therapy? and Therapy Sections.


Which therapeutic approaches does Teresa use?

As Teresa has qualifications in systemic family therapy, clinical psychology and creative arts therapies, she is able to work creatively and flexibly to meet the needs of those with whom she works.

Teresa draws largely from systemic and social constructionists approaches including Narrative Practice and Coordinated Management of Meaning, which is a communication theory. Other theoretical concepts taken into practice are drawn from the Milan Associates approach and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Teresa might also integrate concepts and strategies from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT); Motivational Interviewing; Attachment-Narrative approaches; Mindfulness-based techniques and creative techniques. 


What does a session look like?

Sessions can vary considerably according to the needs and preferences of the person in consultation. There is a great deal of talking, with an emphasis on questions that help to explore and reflect on the issues of concern as well as the persons’ values and goals in life.  It also incorporates consideration of the person’s resources to help identify ways forward.

Some sessions might include practical, visual and/or creative activities, such as diagrams of patterns of relationships, family genograms (family tree), timelines, connections between feelings-thoughts-actions-body sensations, role-plays, storytelling and others means of expression.


How often are the sessions and how many sessions are necessary?

It is difficult to know in advance how many sessions are necessary to help you with your difficulties. However, we can discuss if therapy will be open-ended or whether we would work towards a fixed number of sessions.

Session frequency usually ranges from weekly to monthly meetings. Sometimes they can be further apart, occurring every 6-weeks or even longer. The gaps between meetings will depend on the needs and progress of the therapeutic process. This will be discussed and negotiated with each person or family and reviewed on a regular basis.

For more information please refer to the Therapy Section which comes under Services Offered.


From which locations does Teresa practice?

Teresa works in North London (Hampstead/Golders Green), Central London (Euston) and Welwyn Garden City (Hertfordshire).


How much does it cost?

Teresa works within a sliding scale. Fees depend on the duration, frequency, time and location of sessions.


  • Individual sessions (55 min)

       £100 (North London & Welwyn Garden City)

       £120 (Central London and Saturdays in North London & Welwyn Garden City)


  • Couple and family sessions (55 min)

       £120 (North London & Welwyn Garden City)

       £150 (Central London and Saturdays in North London & Welwyn Garden City)


  • Couple and family sessions (90 min)

       £180 (North London & Welwyn Garden City)

       £200 (Central London and Saturdays in North London & Welwyn Garden City)


  • Liaison with other professionals, reports and email exchanges - £80 per hour


  • Skype sessions (60 min) - TBC


Payment can be made in cash or by cheque at the end of each session. Skype sessions require bank transfer prior to session.


What happens if I need to cancel my session?

The cancellation policy depends on the location of the arranged session. 


  • North London

      cancellations made less than 2 days before the session: £20

      cancellations made less than 24hrs before the session: 100% of the cost. 


  • Central London/Euston location

      cancellations made less than 6 days before the session: £20

      cancellations made less than 24hrs before the session: 100% of the cost. 


  • Welwyn Garden City

 cancellations made less than 24hrs before the session: 100% of the cost. 


  • Skype sessions

      cancellations made less than 24hrs before the session: 50% of the cost.


What about privacy and confidentiality?

All details discussed in sessions are private and confidential. If the work involves a combination of individual and family sessions, it will be discussed and agreed with those involved what will be / will not be shared with others.

It is necessary to ensure everyone’s safety. As such, where there are concerns of risk to the person in therapy or others, it might be necessary to discuss the concerns with others e.g. family members or your GP. Confidentiality and the above described procedures regarding risk are part of the code of professional ethics as highlighted in AFT guidelines.


What to do in a crisis?

If you or someone you know is:

  • Feeling suicidal
  • Has an injury due to self-harming
  • Has become very ill, incapable or violent due to alcohol or drug use
  • Is in a violent situation
  • Aware of children at risk of abuse, neglect or violence

**********   Call the emergency services on 999    ****************

If the risks are not immediate, like some of the examples above, but are part of the person’s presenting difficulties, they might be better dealt with in services specialised for each condition. For a list of services specialised in a number of mental health and social care issues please refer to the Services and resources for mental health and social care issues Section which in under the Resources and links.


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