What is Counselling & Psychotherapy?
Counselling provides a safe space to help you understand, accept and overcome emotional difficulties, some of which may be long-standing.
Psychotherapy can provide help with a range of problems, from anxiety and low self-esteem to addiction and family or relationship problems. Anyone who is struggling, or perhaps feeling overwhelmed by their problems, can benefit from psychotherapy.
I am an ‘Integrative’ psychotherapist. This means that I use different approaches to help my clients based on their circumstances. All sessions are completely confidential.
I offer sessions face to face, by video or telephone.
My name is Stuart Toghill. I am an Integrative Psychotherapist – which means that I use a variety of therapeutic approaches which I have found to be much more effective with my clients.
I also volunteer for the Bereavement Counselling Service in Plymouth which is a very worthy charity helping people with complicated grief.
I offer a private counselling and psychotherapy service for clients in the Plymouth and South Devon areas; I also provide counselling by secure video and phone.
I have a BA(hon) degree in Counselling & Psychotherapy awarded by the University of Worcester.
Please get in touch to see how I can help you – in confidence and without obligation. I’m there to help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Deciding to see a Counsellor is a very positive move. Now you have made that decision, you will probably find yourself asking lots of questions. Don’t worry! I have provided the answers to as many questions as I can, coming from real people who also had the same initial concerns. If you have a question that is not listed, please get in touch using the Contact Form so that I can reassure you.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) therapy is aimed specifically at helping you to manage and eliminate some of the difficult symptoms that are being caused by the current situation. Coronavirus therapy can be delivered via video or telephone and can cover a range of issues from emotional and psychological difficulties through to relationship and parenting problems.
What is Coronavirus Counselling?
There are some specific psychological, emotional and relational problems that have developed since the Coronavirus outbreak.
Working with the issues resulting from the pandemic and its impact on you can help to reduce symptoms and provide a support structure that can make life feel far more bearable.
What are typical psychological and emotional reactions to pandemics and quarantine situations?
You may be struggling with some of the following:
• Loss – loss of normal life; loss of contact with friends/family, loss of job or income
• Financial difficulties
• Relationship difficulties
• Fear of the unknown and the future
• Existential fear – the pandemic is making us think about death
• OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Anger issues
It is important to bear in mind that all of the above reactions are normal and counselling and psychotherapy can be enormously helpful in managing difficult emotions and psychological difficulties. Online counselling can help make sense of how you are reacting by looking what is causing the emotions listed above.
How can Counselling or Psychotherapy help me?
Counselling and psychotherapy can help in dealing with, managing and working through a wide range of difficult emotional and psychological symptoms:
• Helping you to manage difficult thoughts
• Teaching you to better regulate feelings, so that you do not feel overwhelmed
• Providing you with a support in dealing with isolation and quarantine
• Working with you to manage relationship stress with family members
• Providing you and your partner with couple counselling where you are both feeling stressed
• Working with you to implement parenting strategies with children who are unable to go to school or leave home
• Helping you in managing and in treating anxiety and depression
• Helping you to work through loss, including bereavement
• Calming and reduce the intensity of intrusive thoughts and OCD symptoms
• Providing you with an ongoing supportive relationship in which you can work through all your thoughts and feelings in a relational context.
How can I access therapy when I cannot leave my home?
We do not need to meet in person. Therapy can be delivered online or via telephone, so I am able to offer online therapy whereby you can be seen in the comfort and safety of your own home.
We are all in this together!
Usually the therapist does not share exactly the same issues being discussed by the client, but tries to imagine the clients circumstances and what they may be feeling in order to help.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus and the ongoing government response, the existential reality is that we are all in the same situation and are all having to manage difficult feelings, massive changes to our lives, but without knowing when it will all end and we will get back to normal – if indeed we ever will.
The key to coping with the psychological and emotional impact of this situation is in being able to hold onto a thinking mind and in learning to regulate emotions, both of which are cornerstones of good therapy. Counselling will help you do just that while also looking at your surrounding issues, worries and fears.
Whilst I may not be able to do anything about the virus itself, I can help you to find your way through the situation we are all facing.
If you are interested, please get in touch.
Please observe the government guidelines if you can, stay safe and remain positive: things will get better in time.
Video counselling is great because you can have a session at a time and location to suit you. This is especially useful during the current situation around Covid 19.
Is it secure?
Yes. I use Zoom for video calls which is secure. I never record my screen or audio. I can guarantee the same level of privacy at my location as we would have during a face-to-face session – we cannot be overheard or interrupted.
How does it work?
I will send you an Online Counselling Agreement by email. Once you have returned it, I will invite you to a Zoom session by email or text, when it is convenient for both of us. You click on the link, and (if necessary) download a free app. We then connect. It really is very simple. You can use the camera on your phone/tablet, or webcam on your computer if you have one. As long as you have a reasonable internet connection (wifi or 4g) all will be well. We will run through the contract at the start of the session, and then begin: it is just like a normal session.
I suggest you find a quiet space where you feel safe and secure. Make yourself comfortable and position the camera so that I can see your face. You will be able to see me throughout.
What if we get cut off?
Very occasionally there may be an interruption in the internet connection. If this happens we will try to reconnect. If this proves difficult, I will call you to try to reconnect, or we will finish the session on the phone.
Once the session is ended everything is closed down. Nothing is stored on my computer.
Please get in touch to arrange a session. I am happy to test Zoom with you before we have a session, to ensure everything works properly.
Please note: I an unable to provide video counselling to you if you are under 18 years of age. In that case, please contact me so I can help you with alternatives.
Quite simply, no.
I will never judge my clients or anything that they bring to the sessions. This is essential as the client must feel safe in the sessions so that they can discuss anything they need to.
I ask that all mobile devices, including smart watches, are turned off (airplane mode, not vibrate) during the session to avoid distractions.
In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary to keep phones on – waiting for a call from children etc. In this case, please let me know.
A ‘counselling contract’ (or a ‘counselling agreement’) is a mutual agreement between the counsellor and the client in which sets out the way we will work together. All counsellors (should) use a contract with their clients as part of their ethical process.
A counselling contract ensures that the counselling process will be performed in a safe and professional manner and highlights the responsibilities of the counsellor towards the client, as well as the responsibilities of the client towards the counsellor.
I will go through the contract with you at our first session. This is an essential part of the process and no counselling will take place until you have agreed to sign the contract.
I offer an initial interview free of charge. This is an opportunity for us to meet and for you to decide if you want to use my services. The services will be described, the way counselling and psychotherapy are used in my practice, and any questions you have will be answered. This session lasts for 30 minutes; it is very important to understand that this is not a counselling session.
If you decide that you want to start counselling sessions with me – great! We will get our diaries out and book the Assessment meeting.
If you want to think about it, thats fine. You can get back in touch when you are ready to arrange your Assessment meeting.
If you decide that I am not right for you, then that is also fine – at least you took the massive step of trying to find the right Counsellor, and crossed me off your list. You could also try the counselling_directory.org to look at other counsellor’s credentials.
Note: if, during the assessment you decide you want to begin counselling with me immediately, then as long as you have agreed to the counselling contract we can begin and the session will become chargeable, either individually or as part of a bulk session plan.
I offer a private counselling and psychotherapy service, not an emergency service.
Should you feel you cannot cope and are considering harming yourself or somebody else, you should contact the Samaritans on:
116 123 (from any phone, at any time)
or visit: www.samaritans.org
Under these circumstances please DO NOT leave me a message, either phone or email, or use the contact form on this site, as I may not get these until the next working day.
If you are struggling, you should also consider seeing your GP (tell them it is urgent).
Like everyone else, Counsellors need to take breaks from work. This means that there will be times during the year when I will not be available, or contactable. Generally, I take eight weeks holiday per year. I do not work over the Christmas holiday, from Christmas Eve to the first working day of the new year.
Our sessions will be carefully planned to minimise disruption.
I offer a ‘bulk session’ discount if you decide to purchase 6 sessions in advance. Please contact me for details.
I sometimes offer discounts to counselling students (proof required); please ask.
I do not offer other discounts or concessions.
This is a very difficult question to answer. Everyone is different. I do not place a limit on counselling sessions (unlike some other agencies). I believe that the counselling process needs to take as long as it takes, and this depends on what the client brings.
That said, there will come a point when it becomes obvious that we should end our sessions; this may be your decision or mine, but usually we will reach a mutual agreement. We will discuss endings well in advance of your final session, so this will never come as a surprise.
It is very important for you to know that you are always in control – you can stop whenever you like; I am also ethically bound to bring our sessions to an end when it becomes clear that there is no more therapeutic benefit being achieved.
Of course, you can take a break from sessions if you feel this would help, and come back in the future. Your records will be securely stored in the meantime.
I hold an Honours degree in Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy, awarded by the University of Worcester.
I have comprehensive Professional Indemnity Insurance provided by an industry leading company.
Sometimes we may ‘bump into’ each other outside of the Counselling room. Your confidentiality is very important, so unless you acknowledge me first I will not acknowledge you. This will avoid us both having to make any explanations to family/friends we may be with at the time.
I offer a private counselling service for which there is always a charge. I do not offer free sessions or low-cost counselling.
We will agree payment terms at our initial meeting, as part of our contract.
The agreed payment needs to be made at the end of each session. The preferred method is by debit or credit card using a card reader. I also accept cash.
I offer a 6 session bulk discount which is paid for in advance. Please ask for details.
Session rates will be reviewed annually.
Cancellation: Important, please read:
If you need to cancel or postpone a session, I require a minimum notice of 24 hours please. Failure to do so will result in full payment for the session being due. Missed sessions without the minimum notice period will also count as a normal session within the bulk discount scheme.
Regrettably, any non-payment of outstanding fees will result in court action.
To maintain best practice, all counsellors should receive regular supervision (talking with another professional about our practice). This is a vital part of counselling and helps to maintain the the high standard our clients expect, and to keep counsellors safe.
During my supervision sessions I may discuss my case load, but I will never reveal any information that might identify my clients in any way, thus preserving confidentiality.
Supervision is a means of ensuring ‘quality control’, for learning and development, and to ensure we work ethically and within our levels of competence.
My counselling sessions last for 1 hour in total. This will be explained during your initial session.
It is really important that you arrive on time. Your session will begin at the agreed time even if you are late. I will always try to finish the session on time, as running over may create problems for other clients. This will be fully discussed and agreed as part of our contract.
I will normally alert you when we have 10 minutes remaining, so that we can make sure the session ends safely, and on time. This will also give us time to arrange the next session.
All counsellors and psychotherapists abide by a professional codes of ethics, set by our membership bodies (in my case the BACP), and this includes confidentiality. I understand and respect the need for complete privacy and discretion when looking at sensitive issues.
However, if it seems there is a high risk of serious harm to yourself or someone else, then I will usually discuss that further with you, to see if anyone else might need to be informed (such as your GP).
If you tell me something that I am required to divulge under oath in a Court of Law, then I must do so.
For those under 18, there are additional rules about confidentiality to conform to the safeguards of UK Child Protection laws.
We will talk in more detail about confidentiality at our initial assessment session, and confidentiality is a key part of our contract.
Wonderful service. Stuart made me feel immediately comfortable and welcome. I was able to discuss a very difficult subject for the first time, and feel that this has made a huge positive difference to my life. I can’t thank you enough.
So grateful for the sessions I have had – I was really nervous about counselling, feeling that I would be judged. But Stuart has helped me to overcome my anxiety and helped me to move forwards. I would highly recommend Sound Counselling to anyone who is struggling.
A massive big fat thank-you for everything, you are a star! Thanks for your time, empathy, challenges, honesty and warmth. I’ve really enjoyed and benefitted from our sessions – it’s good to feel human again. Finally, thank you for being you.
Get In Touch
If you think that I might be able to help, please contact me using the form below
How to Find Us
Parking is available on site