The Soke is a new psychotherapy centre putting its clients first. Absolutely London takes a tour of its Kensington site
By Eve Herbert
If you’ve tried and then dropped out of psychotherapy after a couple of sessions, congratulations, you’re not alone. In fact, it happens so much that there’s an official term for it: psychotherapy discontinuation. Ask a practitioner why this happens and they might (quite rightly) give you more official terms to add to the first one. Ask a client and these are three of the most common responses:
• I didn’t think it was working
• I’m not sure my therapist understood me
• He/she just sat there
Sometimes, of course, clients will be right in their assessment, but more often issues arise simply because they feel unable to address their questions directly to the therapist – and let’s face it, even if they did, they might not receive the sort of answer they’re accustomed to when paying for a service.
So given that the ‘dropout’ problem is so obvious, why does it remain so prevalent? Step forward with the answer: The Soke, a new centre providing psychiatry, psychotherapy, family counselling and leadership development in the heart of South Kensington. According to the founder, Maryam Meddin, what the behavioural health sector lacks isn’t a slew of experts to understand individuals inside the consulting room. It’s the people who can understand a client’s service needs outside of it.
“Suggesting that someone goes to therapy is asking them to take a huge step outside their comfort zone. It’s only natural that they’re going to have questions and insecurities about the experience. It’s up to the providers to make clients feel safe and informed about the process, thereby encouraging them to remain engaged with it.
“Unfortunately, practitioners aren’t really wired to think about the ‘service’ elements of their work. That’s why at The Soke we pay attention to people’s actual experience of therapy and make sure that we’re changing processes when we see room for improvement. We follow the client journey from the minute they start to consider talking to someone to their first physical entrance into the behavioural health world and well beyond the point when their ‘course’ is over.”
The Soke aren’t just talking a good talk, they’re really putting their money where their mouth is. Their premises is a stunningly refurbished character building that offers luxurious consulting rooms and private “quiet pods” for clients to use. Their staff includes a Client Services Director too. Clearly, there’s a new name in town, and it’s going to shake things up.
241 Fulham Road, SW3 6HY; thesoke.uk
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