confidential. professional. personal.
Counselling & Psychotherapy Malta
By Dr Patricia Bonnici CPsychol
Counselling Psychologist and Psychotherapist
How I work
I work from within an existential framework, which is a philosophical approach to counselling and psychotherapy. My aim is to help you clarify your understanding of yourself and your life circumstances. This is equally true whether you are coming to therapy with a crisis situation or whether you simply feel the need to talk.
I see therapy as a relationship where we work together as equal partners trying to understand how you see and experience yourself, others and the world around you. The objective is for you to become more in tune with yourself and your desires, along with your limitations. This will open you up to engaging more fully with life and finding new opportunities for growth and change. The process will also help build up your self-esteem and resilience to better deal with future challenges.
We will look at where you have come from, where you are currently at, and where you would like to go from here, along with trying to find a way to achieving that. In line with existential ideas, there is a focus on making choices and accepting responsibility for your life, but I also incorporate other ideas and techniques from different areas when appropriate. Therapy works at your own pace and is adapted to your individual style and needs. Like any other relationship it changes and develops over time as we continue our work together and as your needs change.
You are invited to bring all aspects of yourself to therapy and to discuss them freely – whether they are anxieties, feelings, thoughts, memories, dreams, events or fantasies.
You might find this blog entry helpful on how to get the best out of your therapy session.
What to expect during your first session
The first session is an opportunity for both us to explore whether we are a good match and can work together.
We will discuss what brings you to therapy, your needs and expectations. I will be able to answer any questions you might have about the process and you can get a sense of what it feels like to talk to me. If you would like to continue together, we will come to an agreement about the frequency of your sessions and fees.
Length of work
Sessions generally take place once a week, start on the hour and last 50 minutes. Work can be both short-term or open-ended. This will be discussed in the first session and we can come to an agreement which is based on your needs. Short-term work (10-12 sessions) is usually ideal to look at a specific issue in your life. Longer term therapy may be more appropriate if you would like to discuss several issues, if your distress is more severe or if you would like to achieve more significant change. Within long term work we will regularly re-evaluate where the therapy is going and how you would like to proceed.
My therapy room is conveniently located in central Birkirkara and it is easy to access by several bus routes or by car with ample on-street parking. My counselling room is comfortable, quiet and private.
What we talk about in our time together is strictly confidential and I shall only discuss it with my clinical supervisor. There are however, some exceptions to this where I am legally required to break confidentiality : I will disclose relevant aspects of what is discussed if there is a court order, if a child is being neglected or abused or if there is a serious and imminent threat to the life of another. I would always endeavour to have your consent first before contacting the appropriate third party.
In the case of suicidal intent or serious self-harm I will not break our confidentiality agreement, but would discuss with you the possibility of consulting with your GP or making a referral.