Individual Therapy

Starting therapy

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to therapy. We’re all different and we all come to therapy for different reasons. Some people come to therapy because they want to work on a specific goal. Others come because they want to delve deeper into their past and understand how it might be impacting them today. Others simply because they feel like something’s “up” and they can’t put their finger on it.


This is why our approach is tailor-made.


From the moment you reach out to us, we’re focused on finding you the right support. Good therapy is all about finding the right match – both in terms of the connection you have with your therapist but also the issue you’re looking to work on and the approach to therapy they take.


We take great care in matching you to the right psychologist, according to a variety of different factors – such as your needs, goals and learning style. And this tailor-made approach continues once you start therapy too. All of our psychologists are trained in multiple modalities which means they adapt their approach according to what they think you’ll most benefit from throughout your therapy.


What are the benefits of therapy?

Coping strategies are actions we take – consciously or unconsciously – to deal with stress or difficult feelings. While unhealthy coping strategies may provide some relief in the moment, they often have negative consequences longer term. In therapy, you’ll learn new tools for dealing with problems which provide positive outcomes for you in the long-term.
A therapist offers a uniquely objective viewpoint which means personal feelings never influence the wider picture. Having spent years learning about the mind, they can quickly pick up on areas that might be holding you back and help you build tangible steps to change and grow.
Our bodies respond to unresolved trauma as well as our minds. For this reason, when therapy is successful, we’ll often find that our headaches lessen, digestive issues ease and our sleep improves.
Therapy helps you break out of any negative and unhelpful thought patterns that might be holding you back. With time, you’ll reshape these thoughts into positive, helpful thoughts which build your confidence and self-esteem.
Therapy doesn’t just help you understand yourself but it helps you understand other people too. As you start to build more self-awareness, you’ll become more aware of other people’s vulnerabilities as well. This helps you cultivate empathy and become less reactive.
The changes you make in therapy will also change the way you respond to any curve balls that are thrown your way in the future. Over time, these changes in thinking and behaving literally rewire your brain, protecting you from falling into the same traps again.
When you go to therapy, you’re not just going for yourself, you’re going for all the people before and after you too. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, unresolved trauma can end up getting passed down from one generation to the next. By working through your own issues, you break the cycle for future generations to come.

What happens in therapy?

When you first contact the clinic, you’ll speak to one of our assistant psychologists over the phone who will ask you a few questions about yourself and what you’re looking to get out of therapy.


From there, they will match you with a psychologist or psychiatrist for your initial assessment. In the assessment stage, we’ll look to explore any issues you might be facing, your past, recurring themes or patterns, alongside what you’re looking to get out of therapy. On the basis of this information, you’ll be matched to the psychologist who we believe to be the best fit for you and your needs.


Your ongoing sessions will look different depending on the type of therapy you have. Some approaches to therapy are more direct and goal-orientated and others are more exploratory and open-ended. But broadly speaking, the first phase of therapy is typically focused around gathering information about your past and the difficulties you’re currently facing and, importantly, looking to see what might be maintaining those difficulties.


From here, your psychologist will develop a formulation for treatment. This will look different for everyone. For some people, this may involve some behavioural tasks or work around breaking specific relationship patterns. For others, it might involve identifying unhelpful thought patterns and where they stem from, and then practising new ways of thinking and being in the world. The course of therapy often shifts and changes over time as new things come up and you develop a new understanding of yourself.

Frequently asked questions

It depends on your needs and what you’re looking to get out of therapy. We would consider 3 months to be short-term therapy and this would be focused around working on a specific problem. But if you’re looking for in-depth change, therapy tends to be longer term – around 6 – 12 months. Clients very often end up staying long-term because something else comes up and they find that they benefit from therapy in different ways at different times.

It can help to have a bit of an idea around what you’re looking to get out of therapy as this can help steer the direction and make sure the focus rests on the areas that are most important to you. That said, it’s also fine if you’re not sure. Lots of people seek therapy because they’re lacking that clarity so it’s also completely fine if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Just making it through your psychologist’s door is enough.

Yes, consider therapy your safe space. Everything you talk about is completely confidential. The only exceptions are if your psychologist or psychiatrist thinks that you are a risk to yourself or others, in which case they may contact other professionals involved in your care, such as your GP.

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Dr Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.