Howard Widdicombe

Howard Widdicombe - Psychotherapist in Woking

My Practice

William James, a famous philosopher once said that there are the "once born and the twice born". The once born are very nice people. It is the twice born who really understand something and who reconstruct themselves from the ground up at some major point in their lives. To use ourselves differently is the key to our 'salvation' - never mind changing the other person - others are directly affected by how we use ourselves! If we want to revolutionize the world we need to be capable of reorganising ourselves.

People engage in psychotherapy for three main reasons:

  1. they may be hurting, feeling dissatisfied, or that something is missing from their lives or they want things to be better.
  2. they want to acquire the ability to be able to manage their own behaviours.
  3. they want to change, grow and develop.

There are certain "ground rules" that apply to therapeutic work and it is important that you understand and agree to these principles if you want to work with me.

Therapy Sessions

I support you to work towards the outcome you seek by creating a caring and informative learning environment in which you can explore, heal, grow your resilience and learn to create a satisfying internal relationship with yourself and to respond appropriately to the external circumstances and situations you encounter as you go through your life.

This process is organised to take account of your needs. You may want to work on a specific issue or to consider the possibility of longer term work to look at more general underlying concerns. I suggest we meet for an initial consultation of one hour. We can each assess whether we can usefully work together, agree what our work together is for, and consider the best way to do this for your benefit. If we can agree that this seems a realistic and sensible step for both of us and we decide to continue I will ask you to initially book weekly or fortnightly sessions.

The success of our work is dependent on our relationship. It is important you feel safe, supported, and challenged and able to work at a pace which is appropriate to your needs and circumstances. Our work begins with where you are now in the process of coming to terms with your issue or experience. I never try to fit you into a pre-existing model or theory of growth or change. Most learning, in fact comes from reflecting on your own actual experiences and then, if you chose to do so, learning how to adjust your approach to be able to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Sometimes the work turns out to be more complex or to be about something different from your initial need. Then we discuss where the process is leading and agree together how far and deep you are willing to go in these directions. Obviously it is difficult to be exact about how long such personal work might take. As we work together it is always possible to review how our sessions are progressing and to make any adjustments we consider helpful.

When we decide to end your therapy, as all aspects of the therapeutic process (beginning, middle and end) are important, we will schedule one or possibly more sessions, depending on the circumstances, to review the process of your therapy and to clarify what you have taken from it.

I normally book sessions for one hour. In exceptional circumstances I book sessions of up to two hours if you have to travel a long way or weekly sessions are impossible due to work/life commitments. The session is your time and will not normally be changed or interrupted. Occasionally the work in a particular session takes a little longer so I recommend that you allow an extra twenty minutes when scheduling events to follow your session. It also means that sometimes sessions can start and finish a little later than planned.

Most, though not all, therapy sessions involve talking. Increasingly I use experiential exercises as a way of enabling you to experience 'how' you create experiences of yourself and perceptions of and judgments about the situation/circumstances you we encounter throughout your life. I may also use psychometric profiling, drawing, movement or role play, visualisation and other methods and techniques that are most appropriate for your circumstances.

I sometimes ask you to complete 'homework' - reading or assignments between sessions to help internalise and integrate the work we do in our face to face sessions. I always recommend you keep a note book or journal to help your understanding and reflection over time which is a valuable experience in its own right.


All sessions are, and remain, confidential between us unless I have reason to believe that you may cause harm to yourself or others, engage in drug trafficking or money laundering or commit a statutory offence when I reserve the right to use that information to protect yourself and anyone else from the consequences of your intentions. If an unusual event arises necessitating a break in confidentiality, it will be done where possible with your knowledge and only to those parties who have an absolute need to know.


My fees are currently 120.00 per one hour session for individuals, 135.00 per one hour session for couples and 150.00 per one hour session for families and groups. I review and may increase my fees annually on September 1st each year. I expect to be paid at the end of each session by BACS, cheque or in cash, whichever method is more appropriate for you. If there are exceptional mitigating financial circumstances to be considered, I am willing to discuss the possibility of coming to an arrangement that is mutually acceptable.


In the event that you need to cancel a booked session, please be aware that I will still charge my current fee unless you rearrange the cancelled appointment for another time during the next 7 days assuming I have a vacancy I can offer you. If I do not then the full session fee becomes payable. A waiver will only be possible if it has been agreed between us in advance. I will also expect you to re-book the session as soon as possible.


I will need to know if you are taking any medication whilst working with me. Certain forms of medication can have an influence on the therapeutic process and it is useful for me to know this in advance of our sessions.

Professional Standards and Ethics

I subscribe to The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy's professional standards and code of ethics.

I continue to attend a wide range of workshops, lectures and seminars to broaden and deepen my professional knowledge, skill and experience. I have regular supervision for my practice and I also develop my work through written and oral professional studies. These are confidential and an essential part of my work as a psychotherapist.

I may occasionally ask your permission to talk about my work with you as part of my supervision process


Individual work primarily emphasises an intrapersonal and interpersonal focus; an exploration of our relationship to ourselves and to others. You will be able to reflect on how you have handled relationships in the past and learn a lot about how you enter, how you think, feel about and end a relationship.

Most people feel it is important to have someone there for them over time and on a regular basis. This can have a positive influence on self-esteem and confidence. Some people feel that the issues they want to talk about in therapy are too sensitive to talk about in a group and individual work is more appropriate.

In individual therapy, whilst each session is usually an hour and initially we will probably meet once a week, the frequency and length of the therapy is decided by the client and the therapist together.

I offer both brief and long term psychotherapy to take account of different needs. Brief therapy focuses on specific issues within a contracted number of sessions. The number of sessions may be re-negotiated as necessary. Brief therapy may also work for you if you have logistical problems for which short term contracted periods of personal work may be the answer.

Long term psychotherapy involves a different commitment of time and a deeper exploration of our relationship to ourselves.

I have regular review discussions with you to look at how the therapeutic relationship is progressing.


Couples work provides an opportunity to explore and learn about creating and sustaining a satisfying intimate relationship with another person. Learning about the dynamics of significant relationships is not something that our education system sees as necessary to include in our formative years. Many of us come into relationships doing the best we can, often based on what experiences we have had in our family of origin and information gleaned from friends and whatever we have managed to acquire during our school/college years.

Couples work provides a safe and supportive environment to examine and review the attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviour that we bring into our relationships and to look at how we can develop new knowledge and skills to enhance the quality of our significant relationships.

Couples therapy is most appropriate when two people in a relationship are having problems which they can't sort out between them. Couples often get locked into battle trying to see who's "right" and whose "wrong" so it can be a great relief to have a counsellor/therapist clarify and help you to focus on the real underlying issues without taking sides.


Parents work provides an opportunity to affirm the skills we have as parents, explore our own parenting issues and increase our options for coping in times of difficulty. It offers us a chance to continue developing skills that maintain and enhance our self-esteem within the family unit and help form the person we want to be as a parent.


Family work provides all members of a family unit with an opportunity to become aware of the impact and influence of the many and varied various roles and dynamics that can occur. A family is more than just a social organisation, it is an attitude and an experience, a statement that people matter and can work best when the various members contribute together for the benefit of each individual and the family unit as a whole, and that both conserve the interests and growth of the other.

Family therapy is useful when the whole family seems to be having difficulties getting on together. It can be a highly effective way of helping everyone rather than letting one family member take the blame for the discord.


I sometimes refer you, with your permission, to groups that match your particular needs and interests. Group work is an invaluable way of enhancing personal growth and effectiveness in conjunction with individual work. I will discuss this option with you if it is relevant.

Sometimes people participate in group work as well as working individually. As groups operate on an 'us' level of awareness and emphasise learning with others they offer an opportunity to experience ourselves in relation to others. This combination can be very useful as groups often provide material that can be worked on in individual therapy and vice versa. I offer three different ways of working in groups:

On-going groups

Group therapy is another form of therapy that is becoming increasingly popular. About 8-12 individuals (or couples) meet with a counsellor/psychotherapist once a week for 2-3 hours and people talk about their own concerns. Ongoing groups can offer you the opportunity to come out of isolation with your issues and to share and compare your experiences with others. The idea might seem a bit intimidating at first but most people find it very reassuring to discover that others are wrestling with similar problems, and it is helpful to get other points of view on your worries. They may also provide an excellent forum for receiving feedback about your interpersonal behaviour, how you are seen and perceived by others as well as how you see and perceive them. Ongoing groups continue over time and usually require a certain period of notice to end which varies according to the individual therapist running the group and is agreed with you before you join.


Workshops are usually time limited. They have a theme and may range from a one day event to a specified number of evenings, days or weekend spread out over a number of weeks/months. The degree of emphasis placed on interpersonal work varies from one group to the next in relation to the theme and my style of work.

Residential courses

Residential courses are usually held in a country setting. A residential workshop is a profound experience for all who participate. The fact that a group is residential means that we can suspend the normal pressures of life, slow things down, and appreciate what emerges as a result of this process. The residential experience is built around a theme which offers us the opportunity to look at issues that have occurred in our lives and the possibility of working towards an emotional resolution. As with all my work, I focus on how we translate the experience of the group into our day to day lives and close relationships with others.

The positive outcome of group work is directly related to the stability of membership through attendance. Because of this I ask that you only do group work at a time when you will not be distracted by holidays and other commitments. I treat all personal work in a group confidentially and I ask that all group participants also maintain this boundary.