Dr Tony Weston BSc (Hons) DMS DipM MA MBACP (Senior Accredited) PhD

Tony has a first degree in Biochemistry and specialised in the biochemistry of mood and behaviour. He has experience of psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural and humanistic therapies. Tony is a Counselling Psychotherapist and offers professional Supervision to other therapists. He is a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist, a Registered Member (#12352) of the BACP Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, a BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor for individual supervisees and an International Affiliate of the American Psychological Association. His Masters dissertation was on ‘clinical effectiveness of the person-centred psychotherapies’. His Doctoral thesis was on ‘clinical effectiveness of the person-centred psychotherapies: the impact of the therapeutic relationship’. Tony’s research interests include severe anxiety, severe depression and severe client dysfunction (including so-called ‘personality disorders’), especially following childhood trauma.

In addition to private practice, Tony has worked in primary care and university counselling. He has lectured in counselling at University Campus Suffolk and West Suffolk College and is a visiting lecturer at the University of East Anglia, Norwich (UEA). Recent lectures include ‘An introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)’, ‘Making effective use of clinical supervision’, ‘Effective ways of working with clients with personality disorders’, ‘Researching counselling practice’ and ‘Researching sensitive issues’.

Research suggests that the therapeutic relationship is an important contributor to success in counselling and psychotherapy. Professor Mike Lambert analysed over one hundred process-outcome studies in an effort to identify the factors that predict 100% of client outcome. He concluded that the contribution these factors make are as follows (1):

a) extratherapeutic change 40% (events that happen outside therapy)
b) common factors 35% (factors common to all therapies, e.g. the therapeutic relationship)
c) therapist effects 20% (the effect of the individual therapist)
d) techniques 5% (the techniques of the different therapies)

It is therefore important to find a therapist you get on well with, who uses effective techniques, is personally effective and with whom you can form an effective therapeutic relationship. Addressing external issues within therapy (e.g. home and work relationships) can leverage the impact of therapy and Tony has developed an approach to this that is proving successful. Routinely Tony invites clients to assess their therapeutic relationship after the first session because good therapeutic relationships assessed in this way have been found to predict: 1) more rapid improvement, 2) better end of therapy outcomes, and 3) better post-therapy outcomes (2). The following graph shows average client perceptions of Tony Weston to December 2018, by 220 clients (57% female, 59% married, 63% parents, average age 40, range 12 to 70 years), to the extent that clients consider him to provide them with congruent empathy and unconditional positive regard (dimensions associated with success in therapy, 3):

therapeutic_relationship

Note: Regard = Counsellor perceived by client as holding them in high regard. Empathy = Counsellor perceived by Client as accurately understanding the world of the Client. Unconditionality = Counsellor perceived by Client as accepting them without needing to be a certain way. Congruence = Counsellor perceived by Client as being genuine or authentic.

Generally experience has been at this service, and in the literature, that therapeutic relationships get even better as the work progresses. As at December 2018, the mean score for the relationship after four sessions was 12.5 units higher than after one session, p < .001 (95% CI 3.9 to 21.1 units), as illustrated in the following graph:

therapeutic_relationship_by_session

Another way of assessing the therapeutic relationship is to consider the attachment a Client feels with their therapist. Attachment Styles are often formed in early childhood and can remain stable throughout life. Different attachment styles can contribute to problems and difficulties Clients experience and in particular can contribute to relationship difficulties, in couples, families, parenting and at work. Ideally, Clients create a secure relationship with their therapist, wherein they feel they can be themselves, be transparent, authentic and have no need of avoiding thoughts and feelings and be without fear of rejection or abandonment. This ‘secure base’ enables the appropriate working through of thoughts and feelings to resolution, and the remediation of avoidance of thoughts and feelings, which can itself cause problems. A Client’s relationship history can alter how they perceive others, e.g. growing up with experiences of abandonment by important others can lead to a fear and expectation of abandonment by others. The following chart, to December 2018 shows initial client perceptions of Tony Weston after one session by 158 clients:

thearpist attachment

The triangle in the top right box of Secure Attachment indicates the average client perception of the initial therapeutic relationship with Dr Tony Weston after one 60 minute counselling session. The research evidence is, see above, that therapeutic relationships on average tend to improve with increasing numbers of sessions.

You can contact Dr Tony Weston on 01223-894896 (phone is answered by a receptionist 24/7) or email him at tony.weston5@btinternet.com to make an initial appointment.

References:
1. Lambert, M J (2006). ‘Effective methods for reducing treatment and enhancing patient outcome: the importance of tracking treatment response’ Maine Consortium Workshop 2006.
2. Zuroff, D C and Blatt, S J (2006). ‘The therapeutic relationship in the brief treatment of depression: Contributions to clinical improvement and enhanced adaptive capacities’. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 74 (1) 130-140.
3. Norcross, J C (2011). Psychotherapy relationships that work (2nd Edition). New York: Oxford University Press.