Counsellors, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts often refer to the frame in therapy and any training worth its salt will drum into the budding therapist the importance of ‘the clinical frame’.
The clinical frame, broadly, refers to the environment and relationship that enables a client to feel safe and open up to their therapist. It is therefore an essential aspect of any talking therapy.
The counsellor, psychotherapist or psychoanalyst is responsible for creating and holding the frame with clients and this applies as much to the physical environment in which the therapy takes place, as it does to the disposition and character of the clinician themselves.
Sam Jahara and myself, like many therapists in Brighton and Hove, rented therapy rooms by the hour for many years and from a range of institutions. One of the most frustrating aspects of room rental was how often the frame would become disturbed or disrupted by circumstances beyond our control. For example, at times clinicians using rooms would have a lax attitude to timekeeping, meaning they left the room late and we would then be pushed for time to get our session started; rooms were often left untidy; other clinicians would hold loud conversations in public areas; rooms could at times be double booked. The list goes on.
All of this made creating and holding the frame difficult and contributed to our stress levels meaning we could not be as present for our clients as we felt we should be. This led us to eventually deciding to find our own clinical space – Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy – so we could take direct responsibility for creating the sort of environment conducive to good therapeutic work. It is a space we enjoy sharing with like minded therapists.
We offer quiet, clean and well-appointed clinical rooms, suitable for a wide range of clinical work;
Our rooms are located on the top floor of a beautiful period building in central Hove, meaning that footfall is minimal and noise well contained;
Hourly room rental (50 minutes) starts from as little as £7 per hour;
Sam and I both run our private practices from the premises, meaning we are able to directly contribute to creating the sort of environment and atmosphere conducive to boundaried therapy;
We offer a kitchen for the exclusive use of clinicians, with plenty of water jugs for use with clients;
We like to personally get to know clinician’s renting from us and with time, we offer the opportunity to become an Associate of our practice, leading to cross-referrals and the opportunity to actively contribute your opinion to what would help improve the practice;
And, from 6 March 2015, we are pleased to announce that we are now offering WiFi to all our practitioners free of charge.
If you would like further information, please visit our Therapy Room Rental Page, drop us an email or call us on 01273 921355.
Image credit: Heather Hook
B Stuart says
I’ve arrived at this page about the role of the therapy room via an online course on Self Harm and Suicide Prevention.
As a carer of a loved one I have witnessed many different types of mental health methods and organisations.
I just wanted to say your approach is refreshing to read – we’ve been party to overbooked rooms etc. mentioned above, especially in the NHS system.
In preparation to reduce and anxiety and feel somewhat in control we would arrive early. While waiting we would hear staff discussing confidential topics as they walked through the lobby and hallways. The clinicians were often running late, leaving us sat waiting longer, with anxiety and feelings of neglect and abandonment creeping in, but the room issues played a key factor in the lateness. When they arrived they would often have to ask the receptionist which room they were in, and usually actually have us follow them around peering through door windows looking for an empty room. This is frustrating for the patient, and frankly embarrassing for the staff.
Once we found a room, often a cramped space with barely room for 2 people and a desk, they would have to organise their notes, often asking about the patient while doing so, not always able to actively listen at the same time.
What should have been hour long sessions were quite often little more than 30 minutes, mostly spent recapping what had been said before.
I understand the pressure on institutions such as NHS mental health and charities especially, as well as private practices, with (thankfully) more people coming forward to discuss their mental health, but small things like having the same room, being prepared, being calm and collected in yourself to fully focus on the patient, can all have such a massive positive impact on the patient and even speed up their recovery.
Safe to say we have stepped away from the NHS mental health system, hopefully our spot can free up time and attention for someone else who will have a better experience – I do know some who have, and I must stress that this particular branch has since been changed drastically, new buildings have been built in a town close by specifically for that unit, and I can only hope they have taken on board issues like these.
It is extremely uplifting to see practitioners out there making the effort to put their patients first. Thank you!
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy says
Thanks very much for taking the time to read our post and comment.
I am sorry to read or
Your experience, however, not surprised.
The practice and physical premises represent the mind of the clinician. Thus, a chaotic and unboundaried space is reflective of exactly that in the clinician.
The NHS from a mental health perspective is inefficient and underfunded. Worse still institutionally there is a profound lack of understanding into what good mental health support comprises. This did not used to be the case but the days of open ended psychotherapy on the NHS are long gone.
Even in private practice many clinicians fail to create a consistent environment for their clients or patients. This means not only that the room remains largely unchanged but also that sessions start and finish on time without interruption. Anything less can make the experience feel unsafe.
John Gill says
It has just dawned on me, with years of contact with mental health services that it may be through no coincidence that alot of the buildings I have had meetings and assessments in are usually repurposed houses , with a certain feel to them. I always assumed it was just lack of budget, planning and space. But come to think of it, the times I had the most success in my health, were in deed in these more private, cosy and warmer feeling rooms.
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy says
Thanks for taking the time to comment. Where therapy takes place is hugely important and the optimal space is a consulting room that is neither a ‘medical’ space nor someone’s front room that doubles as a living room and therapy room. The space should feel comfortable, but be neutral enough for the client/patient to allow their fantasy to project onto it whatever they need to.
Caroline Axon says
I too landed here via an online course on Self Harm and Suicide Prevention.
This is all so true. Having had experience of both NHS and private counselling environments whilst supporting a family member, I can affirm that the difference was staggering. The NHS setting was stark and bland with hard and tatty looking furniture and bare walls- to be honest it looked more like a police interrogation room and I actually felt sorry for the guy that had been assigned our case, who eventually left his job because he felt he wasn’t able to provide the level of support that these young people so badly needed. In contrast, the private counsellor we saw offered a beautifully furnished and calm room (in her home), with plants, pictures and nicely arranged furniture. Makes such a difference in encouraging people to feel at ease and comfortable enough to share their very personal thoughts and experiences.
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy says
Thank you for taking the time to read our post and for commenting. Then provision of mental health on the NHS is in dire straits – that counts for the quality of psychological intervention as well as the premises. The space (room, building) is vitally important to the process of counselling and psychotherapy. Sessions should be held in an environment that remains consistent week on week, is quiet, is welcoming and is private. I am glad you found this through a private counsellor.