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£5 a session psychotherapy centre to open second Brighton and Hove branch
A low-cost therapy clinic is planning to expand following a sharp rise in demand for its services.
The Rock Clinic provides affordable psychotherapy, counselling and other support for people in Brighton and Hove.
It sees around 500 people a week – a rise of around 30% in the last five years.
The clinic’s base in Eastern Road has now reached saturation point and it wants to open a second centre in the west of the city to deal with the ever growing numbers of people needing help.
The clinic, which is run as a charity, provides low-cost counselling, psychotherapy and complementary therapies for people on low incomes.
The plans come as the recession is being blamed for a rise in stress-related depression.
The Argus revealed last week that 1.4 million prescriptions for antidepressants were handed out to people in Sussex in 2011/12, and 268,911 of these were in the city.
Clinical director Mel Withers, who founded the clinic in 1990 with her partner Bob, said the team had noticed a large increase in referrals, often for their low-cost services.
She said: “People have clearly been suffering from the anxiety and uncertainty of the current economic situation and the impact on mental health and family life has been quite severe.
“We have also noticed people wanting to come for a few months only – as, despite their respective issues, affordability is such a priority these days that people dare not commit to longer.
“The clinic has ten consulting rooms and is pretty much booked all the time. We try to keep waiting lists low and aim to see people within a couple of weeks but this does mean we have expanded into much more Saturday work this year and are probably reaching saturation point.
“Counselling and psychotherapy are not cure-all treatments, but GP focus is now to offer talking therapies before anti-depressant medication. We feel we have a huge part to play in that process.”
The clinic has about 25 volunteer therapists to whom it offers training placements and who work for free.
The other 75 are paid directly by their clients within a band of fees set by the clinic.
Fees are kept low as £5 a session because it can offer therapists sufficient numbers of referrals for them to make a living, as well as the experience of working with a range of people and their difficulties.