Psychotherapy & Counselling in Bristol

Dr Ben James

Who I Am

I'm a counselling psychologist in private practice in the BS6 area of Bristol. I use psychoanalytic theory and ideas in my clinical work, in supervision and for consulting.

What I Do

Psychotherapy & Counselling

For individuals, 18 years of age or older who want help to think about anything that is concerning them and affecting the quality of their lives.


For individuals and organisations working in the helping professions who want to consider the work they do with their patients or clients.


For organisations and businesses who want help to consider, develop and implement approaches to mental health in their work.


What are psychotherapy & counselling?

Psychotherapy and counselling involve a series of conversations during which you have the opportunity to talk about yourself with a trained professional. You are, for the duration of the meeting, the focal point of your own and the therapist's close attention.

You might seek help when you have a problem in living, experienced as distressing or troublesome feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviour. You're free to share anything in your mind and special attention is paid to the relationship as it develops between you and the therapist.

Psychotherapy and counselling differ in the intensity, duration and depth of the therapeutic relationship. In psychotherapy, meetings occur three or four times a week and the relationship can last several years. The depth of engagement this enables means that significant and lasting change in how you experience yourself and others is possible.

Counselling tends towards once weekly meetings and the relationship may last a year or 18 months. It is usually more focused on a specific, external issue or during a particular time in your life when you seek help to understand your experience.

What issues can they address?

A long list of issues doesn't do justice to this question. The reason becomes clear when the question is re-framed as "what are psychotherapy and counselling for?" Do they exist, like medicine, to diagnose and treat illness? Are they concerned with the whole person, human potential and the search for meaning? Or, do they deal with the challenges we face as we develop and mature through our lives? Each answer says something distinct about power, responsibility, cause, expertise, normality-abnormality, and therefore how issues can be understood and worked with.

Psychotherapy and counselling can work with diagnosable problems such as mood disorders (like depression and bipolar disorder) and anxiety disorders (such as panic, social phobia and OCD). Equally, they can help us discover our own minds and facilitate authentic self-expression. They can enable us to make sense for ourselves of the challenges of life like sustaining close relationships, career and work issues, our relationship to money, food or sex, amongst many other things you may wish to be helped to consider.

If you believe that being helped to think about your problem in living might be an effective way to address it for yourself, then you could benefit from psychotherapy or counselling.

Are they effective?

The simple answer is, "Yes", although many variables affect the outcome of psychotherapy and counselling such as the person seeking help, the therapist, the type of therapy offered (e.g., psychoanalytic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, person-centred therapy), the setting where meetings take place, etc. On average, almost three quarters of people who receive some form of talking therapy are better off than those who don't. Overall, therapy is more effective than no therapy at all. It is at least as effective as medication for psychological problems and the effects last longer than medication once treatment ends.

But the outcome in any specific case cannot be guaranteed. Two internal matters make change difficult. First, we all resist knowing things about ourselves. Second, being helped by another person is not as straightforward as it may appear.

This is why it's in your interest to satisfy yourself that the professional you meet with for psychotherapy or counselling has undergone an extensive training and is experienced.

What are your qualifications and experience?

I'm a chartered psychologist with the British Psychological Society (42869) and regulated by the Health Care and Professions Council (PYL17225) as a practitioner psychologist. My professional journey to where I am now began in 1996. Since then, I've worked in the voluntary sector, university mental health services, in NHS primary and secondary care and, since 2011, in private practice.

How much does it cost?

An initial consultation is £65. If we agree to regular meetings, the fee for those will form part of our discussion. Psychotherapy and counselling stand the best chance of helping you if they can continue for as long as necessary. This calls for balancing the demands of personal development (and the sacrifices which it might require of you) with recognition that treatment is only one thing you spend your money on. Throughout treatment, feelings about the affordability of your therapy will shift around. This may reflect changes in your external circumstances and/or your internal world. All of which can form part of the ongoing conversation.


Phone: 07907 492118

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