Jonathan Hooker

Frequently Asked Questions

This website is to help you. If you are reading it, then it is likely that you are looking for some kind of support, guidance or help with some aspect of your life.

This site, and my work, are both dedicated to helping people to make sense of their lives. If our lives do not make sense, or if something is causing us pain, sadness, anger, or discomfort, then we need to change it. The purpose of this site is to help you find the support you need to do that.

It is also important to understand that in addition to the emotional and mental issues referred to here, if we experience high levels of stress, or some other pressure for an extended period, we are likely to begin to develop some physical symptoms or ailments. These may start out as headaches and develop into migraines, or it might be physical tension which in time can develop into arthritis and/or muscular or skeletal degeneration. (If our solution to this is to take painkillers regularly, or to increase the dosage or strength of what we take, then it is difficult to feel very optimistic about the future).

This is not to say that life is supposed to be easy, but we need to approach and organise our lives in such a way that we can be relaxed and comfortable for a reasonable proportion of the time. In earlier times this might have been referred to as being in ‘a state of ease’. A failure to have enough relaxation will inevitably lead to a state of dis-ease or disease, because we now know that mental and emotional issues, if left unaddressed, do become physical illnesses.
This also means that changing our understanding of, and attitude towards, our lives can also alleviate tension, back pain, headaches and many of today’s more common complaints and ailments.

You can use this site in a number of ways. Firstly, there are a number of articles which aim to explain particular topics such as anger, grief and sadness, assertiveness and panic and anxiety. This is not a complete list, but they are some examples. If you feel that any of these are issues you are dealing with, struggling with, or would like to know more about, then the articles may be a good place to start.

Of course, if you just want a quick discussion, or have specific questions, it may be quicker to just call me, and you are welcome to do that. I am adding to these articles all the time, so if the topic you are interested in is not there, send me an email asking for it, and if it is something I believe I can help with I will aim to write something, or again, just give me a quick call.

If you have read these, or other articles already, and they have raised questions for you, or they have not told you what you wanted to know, then you can email any questions to me, or if you prefer, you can call me and discuss the issue directly. It is a question of what you are most comfortable with.

All aspects of our personality are linked and they interact and affect each other. So, it is perhaps not surprising that many of the topics in the articles are related to each other. Some have introductions and then a number of exercises to guide you to a deeper understanding, such as in the case of the material on assertiveness. Also, topics may refer to other topics to show how they are linked and how some aspects of our behaviour come from certain causes.
Some people will gain quite a lot from reading and internet research, while others find they retain frustratingly little and cannot really understand how the messages relate to them, or what to do with their newfound insights. Clearly in these cases it is helpful to talk to a professional, as this can give you a clearer perspective more quickly. This may be a quick telephone conversation or may be one or more appointments. Only you can decide how you will make progress more quickly and to understand that you may want to try a free call to see how it helps you.

Again, it is important for you to decide what works best for you. If you do decide to call a therapist or make a visit, remember there should be no pressure to continue or book forward or regular sessions. This is not appropriate. It is up to you to decide if you are comfortable and would like to continue, and you may wish to take your time to reflect before making this important decision. If you do not feel at ease, do not give up, but do try someone else, as only you will know when you have found someone you are comfortable having these discussions with. There should be no pressure put on you and no arguments about payment or money. This should all be clear and should not get in the way of you finding the support and guidance you are seeking.

Some people see psychotherapy, or any therapy, as a necessary intervention when there is a crisis, or as a last resort. However, many realise it is like talking to anyone who works in any field. They specialize in it and consequently know something about it and can offer guidance and help. We seek help with our accounts or taxes, so why not seek help with relationships, and how we relate to the world. Many recognise therapy is a useful way of gaining a third-party objective view from someone who is on your side, and has your best interests at heart, yet not a friend. In this sense there is no ‘baggage’ or barrier

The UKCP on their website do not really differentiate between these two terms. I tend to think psychotherapy is a more general look at how we relate to others and our attitudes to life, whereas counselling is more about a specific well defined issue, such as a relationship, or family issue. However it is important not to get too hung up on terms. The reason why I describe myself with different titles is because I work in different ways at different times, and as each client requires.

As a general guide, psychotherapy or counselling can help if:

  • You are depressed and anxious
  • You lack feelings of self-worth
  • You have suffered a loss, bereavement or other trauma
  • You frequently feel lonely and isolated
  • You feel dependent on drugs or alcohol or use them more than you feel comfortable with
  • You wish to improve your relationships
  • You seek greater self-knowledge and wish to develop your potential

Psychotherapy and Counselling can help by:

  • Offering a reliable and confidential relationship free from the pressures of ordinary life
  • Offering support during times of crisis or transition
  • Deepening your awareness of yourself and your relationships
  • Offering a safe place, completely free of any kind of judgment, where you can speak about feelings that worry or frighten you
  • Making sense of recurring patterns or recurrent problems and exploring their links with the past
  • Exploring alternative responses to difficult situations
  • Clarifying choices and helping to resolve old hurts and conflicts

For many people life really works pretty well, and their direction and objectives seem clear and focused. For these people it may be with one goal or area of their life with which they cannot seem to make progress. This may be work related, or a personal issue that is causing anxiety or not even that but just some doubt or discomfort. For many the journey of deepening their understanding of life and their place in it comes from wanting to be a bit happier or having more joy. Everything seems okay but something is missing. For some it can be a search for more meaning in their lives and understanding how they can create that.

Personally, I spent many years asking myself in quiet moments:

“Is this all there is?” or: “When is my life, the real part, going to actually start?” and: “Isn’t this life supposed to be fun, and if so, where is all the joy?”

Well, the good news is Yes, it is!

I spent many years walking through airport lounges going to advise companies, and hoping they would not see through me, and see my self-doubt. I would be waiting for a car to pick me up, or for the metro and thinking:
“What the hell am I doing here?”
Only much later afterwards did I come to realize that I was very good at what I did, but because I did not feel alive and passionate about it, I always doubted my ability, because it didn’t feel real to me.
It was like hoping I would wake up from a dream, or step out of someone else’s life. In reality, I was just living my life to someone else’s script instead of my own and, not surprisingly, it didn’t fit. There was no satisfaction, no passion and no joy, and I couldn’t engage with it. It was my own therapist John who helped me to see this clearly and I am so glad that I don’t do that anymore.

Your life does not have to be in crisis to go and see a therapist. It may just be that you have some nagging doubt about some aspect of your life that you want to talk about and discuss confidentially with someone outside of your normal circle of friends.

For example, someone who is an expat may find they have moved around and lost their identity somehow. This may be because they have moved with a partner who is the main breadwinner or provider, and they have sacrificed their own career and now feel a little lost or without direction. This can pave the way to an exciting new chapter and a real voyage of discovery.

It is also true that for some expats, arriving in a foreign country and being confronted for the first time with living for an extended period isolated by language and culture, and without any friends or family around to support us, can be a profoundly shocking and very frightening experience, certainly sufficiently so to cause anxiety and even panic attacks, which in themselves are very frightening. Finding we cannot sleep or eat and almost every aspect of our daily living a challenge certainly is enough to cause some people to return straight home. However, it pays to take the time to understand what is happening and if we are able to face these challenges, they can lead us to significant growth and increased confidence in ourselves. I mention expats because having spent 12 years in France and then 17 years in Spain I have worked with many of them.

Whatever your reason for considering therapy, do not allow yourself to be put off by the term. I often find myself working more as a life-coach or guide and that is hugely exciting and rewarding. This is your life, and you are in charge, so do not be worried about finding yourself committed to endless sessions, because it doesn’t work like that, or it shouldn’t. Feel free to come and talk, and to try it out for yourself. Only you can decide if it is helpful or not, so only you can choose whether to go on or stop. Email is great for making contact but is not a very good way of finding out what a session or practitioner will be like. It is far better to call and have a chat by telephone to begin to see what this mystery person on the other end of the advertisement is really like. Whatever you do decide to do – do something! As a wise person once said: “If you are going through hell – keep going!” Why would we want to stay stuck in such a place?

There is only one person who can decide the best therapist for you, and that is you. The question is how do you do that. In my view it is best to talk to several by telephone to see how easy they are to talk to. This will begin to give you an idea about whether you can relax with them or not. If you are not sure after that, arrange to see the most promising ones for a trial session to see whether you are able to talk about the issues you feel the need to discuss.

If you have a first session with someone and you are not sure about continuing, then tell them you are going to think about the session, and you will let them know what you propose to do. Do not allow yourself to be pushed, coerced or bullied into signing up for a string of sessions, if you do not feel sure. If you have any doubts at all, repeat that you are going to take some time to reflect on the session and then decide what you want to do.

Some in this profession believe it is detrimental to see more than one therapist at the same time. I disagree with this as different people work in different ways, and my belief is that you will get different things from different people and their differing approaches and ways of looking at things.

It is not the job of a therapist to tell you what to do, or how to live your life. They should not be taking your life decisions for you and making you dependent on their advice. The role of a therapist is to help you gain clarity about what you would like to do and what your own preferences are. If you have beliefs that hold you back, then it is appropriate that the therapist points them out to you, and then you decide what to do with that information.

There are several ways to find out:

Call me for a short conversation at +44 77 99 190 392. Or we can have a text or Whatsapp conversation which would be via my Spanish number which is +34 639 579 646. Alternatively if you prefer, you can email me any questions you have at 

People often feel better after one session – the act of talking and sharing is truly liberating, so some people book a free first session to see if they are comfortable working with me.

I always recommend speaking with several therapists to see which one feels best for you.

My background is humanistic psychotherapy, but my training involved looking at a broad spectrum of theories and models. The focus was on understanding and viewing the therapeutic process through verbal, symbolic and somatic communication. I work with groups, couples and individuals. However I do not wear any particular badge or title, but prefer to use my knowledge and experience differently and as required, in each individual situation. I trained part-time with Spectrum in north London over a period of seven years, and have worked in industry as a coach and guide for 12 years. Spectrum is a UKCP accredited training organization. In the last four years I have focused more on working in private practice, although I divide my time between corporate clients and private individuals, couples and families. I moved to Barcelona in September 2005 from the South West of France, where I had been living for 12 years.

I cringe when I watch a television drama or sitcom when a therapy client lies down on a couch and talks at the ceiling whilst the therapist watches as the second hand reaches the 12 on the clock on the wall and cuts the client mid-sentence and says: “That’s time for this week – same time next week”

  1. Clients decide when they want to see me and how often. The frequency depends on what they want to achieve and what they are dealing with or want to change.
  2. We face each other in chairs as equals and have a discussion and conversation which usually involves me asking quite a few questions so we can both gain clarity about your situation and see it more clearly.
  3. If there are experiences from my own journey that will help to demonstrate a point or a change of behaviour that is required I will share that.
  4. We will finish when you feel complete and that you have finished dealing with whatever we are discussing
  5. Most sessions are now online so you can even stay at home and try a session in your own comfort.
  6. In summary it is a two-way conversation with someone who has over 15 years professional experience, helping people understand their relationship with themselves and others.

I charge 90 euros per hour, and generally see clients each week. This is, in my experience, a long enough gap to reflect on a session and try new behaviours, but not so long that inertia or momentum for change is lost, due to there being a weekly reminder of new ways of looking at life. The exception to this hourly rate is the first session, in which we tend to cover a lot of background information, and usually there is time spent discussing questions clients have for me about my training and background. For this reason this initial session can be up to two hours, however the charge is still 90 euros. Having stated these charges, I have never refused to see someone because they could not afford the price, and I am always willing to talk to people who have special circumstances.

Confidentiality is essential if clients are to feel completely comfortable being open and honest. For me confidentiality means that I do not repeat anything anyone has said in a session, nor tell anyone else that they were here, or are a client. This is their information and it is for them to decide if they wish to share this information, with whom and when and how. During a meeting with a client, if it is helpful, I will feel free to talk about my own experience. What they do with this information is up to them. The only information that I keep about clients is a telephone number and email address, so that I can contact them between appointments if the need arises.

For me when I started therapy, the hardest part was booking an appointment and getting myself into the room.

However it has never been easier than it is today as 99% of all appointments are online, so you can choose when to logon and you can leave whenever you like. So a free trial session has lots of advantages and no disadvantages today.

The issue today is that when most people have problems we isolate ourselves and keep them bottled up. So needing to speak to someone is the one time when we feel least inclined to reach out – especially to someone we do not know.

The quotation below is to illustrate that staying stuck is keeping you in a painful place.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result – Einstein

I believe Winston Churchill said: “If you are going through hell – keep going”

So I encourage you if you are in a difficult place and do not see a way out – do something different – even something which may appear counterintuitive to you at the moment, but make the decision to break out of where you feel trapped and try a free ‘phone call. Making contact does not commit you to anything. If you are reading this you are looking to change something.

Just existing is not living. Life is to be enjoyed. Ask yourself, do you want to spend tomorrow feeling the way you feel today? Do something different – reach out. If you don’t change anything, your life will stay the same. You deserve to feel better.

Let’s Chat

There is no obligation to make an appointment and you will feel clearer afterwards.